watercolor of Jewish bride in elaborate traditional garb by Eugene Delacroix

Four types of minds sit before the wise: a sponge, a funnel, a strainer, and a sieve. A sponge takes in all things. A funnel receives at one end and lets out at the other. A strainer lets out the wine and retains the dregs. A sieve lets out the course meal and retains the fine flour.

From Chapters of the Fathers in Gates of Prayer, Chaim Stern, ed. (New York, Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1975), 26.