Psalm 133

“It is like fine oil on the head.” (133:2)

Most 21st century Westerners find the thought of pouring oil, no matter how pure, into their hair, gross and disgusting. But it need not be so. It happens that the main ingredient in soap is some kind of oil or fat. Combined with lye, it lifts oil from surfaces. Shampoos are chemically more complicated, because their purpose is to clean the hair without removing all of the natural oils. Pouring a small amount of pure extra-virgin olive oil into one’s hair was a ritual of consecration. It was luxurious, and brought out the natural luster and shine of one’s hair, an ancient spa treatment.

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