Where is there a discussion in any source, from Talmud to Midrash, where a woman, whether as the only wife or one of several wives of the same husband, refers to herself (or is referred to), literally or figuratively as worn-out or aging or decaying?

Is there anywhere else in the Tanakh or Rabbinic Literature in which Sarah Imenu's answer, or parts thereof, אַֽחֲרֵ֤י בְלֹתִי֙ הָֽיְתָה־לִּ֣י עֶדְנָ֔ה וַֽאדֹנִ֖י זָקֵֽן (or any synonym thereof) is used by a woman to refer to herself or to her body (or such words is used to refer to a woman or to her body)?

My question came from reading Bereshith 18:12

וַתִּצְחַ֥ק שָׂרָ֖ה בְּקִרְבָּ֣הּ לֵאמֹ֑ר אַֽחֲרֵ֤י בְלֹתִי֙ הָֽיְתָה־לִּ֣י עֶדְנָ֔ה וַֽאדֹנִ֖י זָקֵֽן

Are there any other women who similarly described themselves with the words (or parts thereof) אַֽחֲרֵ֤י בְלֹתִי֙ הָֽיְתָה־לִּ֣י עֶדְנָ֔ה?

I find בְלֹתִי֙ interesting, only Sarah used it to refer to her body, other Torah passages use it to refer to objects.

I find Rashi's words on הָֽיְתָה־לִּ֣י עֶדְנָ֔ה interesting:

'smooth flesh: Heb. עֶדְנָה, smoothness of flesh, and in the language of the Mishnah (Meg. 13a, Men. 86a): "It causes the hair to fall out and smoothes (מְעַדֵּן) the flesh." Another explanation: an expression of time (עִדָּן), the time of the menstrual period. — [from Gen. Rabbah 48:17]' http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8213#showrashi=true

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    Right. But why? – ezra Sep 1 '17 at 16:33
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    @ezra "Why would [I] think such a quote would exist"? There are many discussions in the Gemara about women/wives, and I am hoping that somebody may have come across such a discussion or even a comment. I find בְלֹתִי֙ interesting, because only Sarah Imenu used it to refer to her body, whereas other Torah passages use it to refer to objects. – ninamag Sep 1 '17 at 16:36
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    Then perhaps you should edit that info in and make it more like "is there anywhere else in the Tanach or Rabbinic Literature in which בלתי is used to refer to the body?" – ezra Sep 1 '17 at 16:38
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    @ezra I fully understand and will comply, but the reason I did not want to do that, is because I did not want to narrow my field of possibility, in case somebody know of a synonym that was used and not בְלֹתִי֙ – ninamag Sep 1 '17 at 16:40
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    It's not exactly describing aging, but there's the worn-out sounding widow depressingly describing her and her son's imminent starvation to Elijah in I Kings 17:12: And she said, "As the Lord your God lives, if I have a cake, [nothing] but a handful of flour and a little oil in a flask. Behold, I am gathering two pieces of wood and I will come and make this for myself and for my son, and we will eat it, and we will die." – Gary Sep 5 '17 at 3:53

There is story brought in the Yalkut Shimoni (Mishlei, remez 943 and Parshas Eikev, remez 871). Here is the Hebrew text (sorry about the format) and my attempt at translation.

מעשה באשה אחת שהזקינה הרבה. באת לפני ר"י (הגלילי) בן חלפתא. אמרה לו רבי זקנתי יותר מדאי ומעכשיו חיים של ניוול הם שאיני טועמת לא מאכל ולא משתה ואני מבקשת ליפטר מן העולם. אמר לה במה הארכת כל כך ימים? אמרה לו למודה אני אפילו יש לי דבר חביב אני מנחת אותו ומשכמת לבית הכנסת בכל יום. אמר לה מנעי עצמך .מבית הכנסת שלשה ימים זה אחר זה. הלכה ועשתה כן וביום השלישי חלתה ומתה

There was a story of a woman who had aged greatly. She came before Rabbi Yose (Hagelili) ben Chalafta. She said to him, "Rabbi, I have aged more than enough and now my life is one of ugliness because I do not taste food nor drink, and I ask to depart from the world." He said to her, "How did you did live so many days?" She said to him, "I am in the habit that even if I have something beloved, I leave it and arise early to go to the synagogue every day." He said to her, "Withold yourself from the synagogue for three consecutive days." She went and did so and on the third day she fell ill and died.

Yalkut Mishlei (right column 3/5 of the way down) - http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9758&st=&pgnum=296 Yalkut Eikev (left column 2/5 of the way down) - http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14573&st=&pgnum=595

There is also another Biblical example. In Sefer Ruth (ch.1, v.11-12) Naomi is quoted as saying:

וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לָמָּה תֵלַכְנָה עִמִּי הַעוֹד לִי בָנִים בְּמֵעַי וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לַאֲנָשִׁים. שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לֵכְןָ כִּי זָקַנְתִּי מִהְיוֹת לְאִישׁ כִּי אָמַרְתִּי יֶשׁ לִי תִקְוָה גַּם הָיִיתִי הַלַּיְלָה לְאִישׁ וְגַם יָלַדְתִּי בָנִים

And Naomi said: 'Turn back, my daughters; why should you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Return my daughters, go; for I am too old to have a husband that I should say: I have hope; should I even have a husband tonight, and also bear sons.

  • Thank you for the answer and translation. Please add a link to the "Yalkut Shimoni (Mishlei, remez 943 and Parshas Eikev, remez 871)". – ninamag Sep 7 '17 at 22:12

With regards to the first question, elsewhere (Tanhuma, Shoftim §18) we find an interpretation on the verse "va-titzchak Sara be-kirbah" (Gen. 18:12) that Sara had exclaimed, looking at her body (be-kirbah): "Can this stomach carry a baby? Can these shriveled breasts produce milk?"

  • What is the Hebrew for "Can these shriveled breasts produce milk"? – ninamag Sep 1 '17 at 19:09
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    ״שדים הללו שצמקו מושכין חלב״ – Oliver Sep 1 '17 at 19:53
  • If you can find another reference about a different woman who refers to herself or her body in a similar or worst way, it would help my search for an answer. – ninamag Sep 2 '17 at 18:45

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