Think about it. The function of the rib cage, as the main upper part of the torso in the human body, is to protect the vital organs that lie within. These include the majority of the torso organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and partially the intestines. Without this protection, fatal damage to these organs could easily occur. They also anchor the muscles that work the lungs and literally keep us breathing by lifting and lowering the rib cage. This is the primary function of ribs, however, they do so much more.
The human rib cage consists of three types of bone. The large flat bone or sternum, in the front center, twelve thoracic vertebrae of the spine, and twelve pairs of ribs. Without the rib cage, the skeletal system would collapse. Individual ribs are composed of inflexible hard bone tissue and flexible cartilage to allow for both protection and breathing.
Interestingly, given the important job of protecting the vital organs, the ribs are actually fairly easily broken. Taking a direct hit during sports or horsing around, a fall, and even a violent sneeze can break a rib. The pain of a broken rib is excruciating and care must be taken that the sharp edges of a broken rib do not puncture a vital organ causing serious, possibly mortal consequences.
WoW! I wonder if it is even necessary to go into the parallels with the role of ezer k’negdo. Protection, aiding in life processes, support, complexity, strength as well as delicateness. What a stunning choice of body parts!
I am intrigued by the information about how easily a rib can be broken. When something is not allowed to perform its function, is abused, fractured, seen as insignificant, not properly respected, can it fulfill its purpose? The answer is: It can try, but with such obstacles, how long will it last? And more to the point, how long can the body that rejects the purpose of the rib(s) continue to be productive?
Ishshah is not like a rib (simile). She IS a rib (metaphor).