Monday, February 19, 2007

Sour Grapes and Green Grass


I’m just thinking aloud here. This has been bugging me for some time now.

There are 2 well known fables that seem to contradict one another..

1. The fox and the grapes. The fox sees a bunch of beautiful purple grapes on a vine and attempts to get them but he cannot reach. After trying for awhile he walks away and mutters to himself “they were probably sour anyhow”.

2. The sheep that are gazing in their field, across the valley there is another field but they're having a hard time enjoying their pasture noticing how much greener the grass appears on the other side.


Two very flawed human reactions to two very similar situations. Yet the two reactions could not be more different.

When faced with something desirable but out of reach when do we react like the fox and say, eh they’re probably sour anyhow and when do we react like the sheep and think that the grass is greener on the other side?

Is the fox saying that because he tried to reach the grapes, and exhausted all his physical resources?

Whereas the sheep, if they really want to could cross the fence to the other side, but are being held back by something more abstract.

If we could train our heart to see that desirable item that does not belong to us as grapes that are simply out of reach, would they become sour to us?
Rather than seeing them as lush green grass just over that flimsy picket fence.

Just some food for thought (if you’re a sheep)

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22 Comments:

Blogger chaverah said...

good question. I guess it depends on how much you want something. If you want it but are to lazy to get it then its like the grass on the other side of a flimsy fence. If we really want and tried everything possible, then it becomes the grapes. But to tell you the truth even though I cant reach the grapes it always stares at me with shine.

February 19, 2007 9:32 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

1) The fox may have said that the grapes were sour, but what do you think he truly felt inside? he claimed sourness for the benefit of others around him, so that they shouldn't think he's not powerful enough to get them. Inside, he probably still wanted those grapes.

2) The grapes didn't belong to someone else. The grass does. Something that belongs to someone else almost always appears to be better.

3) The fact that the fox viewed the grapes as sour was a negative, not positive, thought. Once he places them in his "bad box", he'll no longer try for them, and never get to experience the taste of the grapes.

4) Perhaps the grass is greener on the other side. One doesn't have to view another's possessions as bad simply because he does not possess it himself. He can admire another's things;just not covet them.

Is that enough of a drasha for you?
lol.
:)

February 20, 2007 12:36 AM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

By lo sachmod one of the explanations is to think of the desired as the princess that is not for you and so far out of reach. As far as being sour well if that helps not to be jealous then at least that is one level that helps a person, and one can strive to the highest level of just knowing that the desirable is just not meant for us as hashem gave us whatever we needed. I think it's better to think that whatever we want and can't have is sour rather than thinking it's greener on the other side which is worse imho.

February 20, 2007 10:09 AM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 20, 2007 10:31 AM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

sw/fm - there's no mitzvah in thinking bad of something that you can't have. And in this instance, the fox wasn't trying for something that belonged to someone else; hence, the jealousy aspect doesn't exist.

One is allowed to admire another's possesions, as long as he doesn't want those exact possessions. If your friend wears a certain style dress, you can copy her style for yourself; you just can't wish to have HER dress. To begin seeing her dress as ugly would not b a higher level.

Just because the princess is out of reach for the farmer, it doesn't mean she became ugly in his eyes. She doesn't lose her beauty, he just doesn't have a desire for that unreachable beauty.

K, that's enough darshaning for me. Anyone want to add to the conversation?
LOL

February 20, 2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Chavera...
hmmm I think it would take more than laziness to make it look greener..If it really looks good and the only thing holding u back is laziness then it can't be lookin that green..

dreamer....
Ok..I thought of sme of these possibilities..
1) In the tale..there are no others around him..so he's internalizing this..to somehow make himself feel better...that it's not worth it anyhow..
Although I agree that on some other level if the grapes suddenly dropped down a bit they would cease to be sour.

2) This seems to be valid difference as well. There's the aspect of nisht farginnen...being jealous.
Although the grapes in that story might've also belonged to another..Aesop wasn't clear on that point...lol

3) Well there are 2 ways of interpreting the foxes words..
1 way is that he makes them sour for himself..which would be noble. You can be happy for the next guy that does manage to reach it but make it easier on yourself by convincing yourself that its not good for you.
2 way is that he makes them sour for everyone. Like a kid might do..when he doesnt get his way..he'll convince everyone that its sour and not good.
I'm assuming Aesop meant the latter

4) True..but in the tale..the sheep are having a hard time enjoying their own grass on a coount of the greener grass on the other side..so thats not good.

Ideally we should be happy for the next persons good fortune..and not have to come onto even the least harmful of these 3 options..having to make them sour for ourselves...

whew

February 20, 2007 11:32 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

swfm...
Read above..I think it covers all ur very good points..

February 20, 2007 11:32 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

and the princess to the farmer is so out f reach its almost like being attracted or infatuated with a historical character.

February 20, 2007 11:34 AM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

david - not good for you doesn't mean that it's sour. if you convince yourself that it's sour, there's no way that you're going to fargin the person that reaches the grapes, because they just disproved the sour point.

you know what? i actually know someone who wishes she was born 150 years ago. seriously. and she's an adult... LOL
she's not exactly attracted to a specific person; just the time period.

February 20, 2007 12:35 PM  
Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

Baaaaa

February 20, 2007 12:45 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

we always knew you were the sheep, LV.
LOL

February 20, 2007 12:58 PM  
Blogger chana said...

i think both attitudes are negative. they are just different reactions based on personality and experience.
it's interesting to note what kind of animal the characters in either fable are represented by.
the fox is a proactive kind of personality, cunning & a go-getter. for that kind of personality, after he exhaused his efforts to get what he wants, his negativity makes him say that it must have not been worth it anyway. a healthy person would acknowledge that for whatever reason, it's not for him. on a human level, it takes a deep trust in G-d to achieve this level fully.

sheep are very passive, and in this case, just plain whiney. the type of person who is forever dreaming about what if... that must be so amazing... i wish i could have that... if only... then life would be perfect. romanticizing without actually even trying to do anything about it. it's a different personality, so really ends up being a different issue. cuz if the fox was in the pasture, he would just run over to the other field to eat.

February 20, 2007 2:07 PM  
Blogger JewishBiFemme said...

Damn boring!

February 20, 2007 2:11 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

dreamer I know it's not the same but I thought of it from this. I didn't mean it was good to think bad just that if someone feels the other side is "sour" I am saying it is not necessarily bad as it is better than needing it, I think.

February 20, 2007 2:40 PM  
Blogger Moiy-rah said...

ahem:

"Flimsy picket fence"

Rashi says that when the mechaber talks of a flimsy picket fence, he is actually alluding to the fox mashal- where the fox sees the grapes as sour grapes. In reality Aesop tells us that the greener grass was not devided by gate...it just never occured to the sheep that they could have the other grass. They were held back by their own ignorance. The sheep were just commenting(shmoozing while grazing...dont worry it was bain hazmanim) how the grass looked greener-- (DO THE THUMB DIP) they didnt even have a havamina of eating it!!

blashon Blaz- s'floosh

-Reb Moiy

February 20, 2007 7:47 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

dreamer..
I'm using sour more symbolicly..that it's sour for me..Not good for me.
Again as I said..I don't thin that was the intention..

Funny..because I'm a history buff..and I love to imagine myself in different periods...though I don't have any infatuations with anyone in the past..lol

LV...
not sure what to say...

Chana...
Very clever..
I ddnt think of it from that angle..

JBF..
well excuse me...lol

R' Moiy..
I'm speechless...
ur lumdis just blows me away
Youre mamesh a yeshiva man in sheeps clothes

February 20, 2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Moiy-rah said...

lol

once again...out of words

what is it with me?

-moiy

February 20, 2007 10:28 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

moiy...
Before u get all excited..it was just for a moment..
I'm speeching away now..

February 21, 2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

speeching away?

where did you learn english?

lol

February 21, 2007 11:58 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

just a play on words...
speechless...speeching

lol

February 21, 2007 12:18 PM  
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