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Five Books Of Miriam: A Woman's Commentary on the Torah Paperback – December 29, 1997
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From Library Journal
In this wonderfully imaginative book, Frankel (The Classic Tales, Aronson, 1995), the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Publication Society, presents a chorus of women's voices?from Miriam "the problem," Leah "the namer," Lilith "the rebel," and Eve to "our daughters" ("today's Jewish women and the women of the generations yet to come"), our mothers, and our bubbes ("those who have lived long and seen it all"). The voices speculate and give valuable historical background on the Five Books of Moses as they are presented in the normal order of synagogue readings. What a lively and revelatory exchange it is, and how refreshing it is to hear the points of view of the usually silent women of tradition and the Old Testament. Highly recommended for Judaica collections.?Marcia G. Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the great contemporary knocks against the Bible is that it is filtered through a masculine lens--both the writings and the interpretations. Frankel attempts to remedy this situation by offering biblical commentary from a female perspective. Her framework is a bit gimmicky: she introduces her cast of characters, everyone from Lilith, the first woman, and Hager, the servant woman who bore Abraham's son and mothered the Arab nation, through various commentators, including ancient and contemporary rabbis. After each character or group states its point of view in the first person, the five books of Moses (here renamed Miriam) are presented in portions, as they are read weekly in Jewish houses of worship, and commented upon by the various characters. Important questions are asked, and thoughtful answers supplied from differing perspectives. Why did Abraham pretend Sarah was his sister and offer her to Pharaoh? Why are menstruating women considered unclean? Each portion is short enough so as not to overwhelm the reader, but the commentary gives plenty to think about and reminds us how fully human the people of the Bible were. An excellent addition to public library religion collections. Ilene Cooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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...to fill in the gap...
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid (female soul/male body) says: In the beginning, G-d The Bored Mad Scientist Genetic Manipulator...erred.
The Rabbis EXCLAIM: HERESY!
Lilith The Rebel interjects: Ya got MY vote. Continue.
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid continues: Lilith and Adam were created EQUALLY. Not identically, obviously, but equally. Lilith acted within her proscribed nature. Adam overstepped HIS proscribed nature. Yet G-d The Sometimes Random One ("I shall show kindness to whom I care to show kindness") sided with Adam, while abandoning his precious daughter Lilith. And the world has been broken ever since.
Lilith The Rebel asks: Where were YOU at the beginning?!!!
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid quips: Here, at the end.
Lilith The Rebel fires back: Watch it, sonny boy. I like you, but I am not one to be messed with.
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid replies: I understand.
Lilith The Rebel adds: Still...talk is cheap. Even beautiful truthful talk. What do you plan to do about it?
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid responds: I pray for the opportunity to convene a Heavenly Tribunal and serve as your advocate against G-d The Abandoner.
Miriam The Prophet asks: Do you know what you are risking?
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid answers: My name in the Book Of Life.
Lilith The Rebel presses: And do you possess the merit to serve as my advocate?
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid replies: Clearly I do not. But YOU possess the merit to have your case heard. And since no one else seems to be willing to serve as your advocate, I guess you're stuck with me.
Lilith The Rebel (after a pregnant pause) states: I can't remember the last time I cried -- out of joy. Thank you.
Our Daughters ask: But how can YHVH err?
Smilin Sam The Hybrid answers: There is only one way YHVH can err; YHVH CHOOSES to err.
Our Daughters ask a follow up question: But WHY would YHVH choose to err?
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid explains: To see who among us would seek the TRUTH, even if it means challenging YHVH Itself.
Lilith The Rebel yells out: You're hired!!
Smilin' Sam The Hybrid replies: Bring out the scales.
(Great joy, laughter, and love reverberate throughout all the Heavenly realms.)
The book became a nightly read for the two of us along with a discussion on the section that I read to her. The way the book is presented, with various writers taking the persona of a biblical woman and what the writer felt that woman's point of view might be and then expressing it, is very unique.
Altogether, it makes for a fascinating read - as strange as it may sound. Most nights I only stopped reading because my voice gave out and I could read no further. My friend and I only were able to begin Leviticus together before she passed away but I've recently started to read the book for my own pleasure. Although I miss the discussions we shared, just reading the woman's viewpoint on the Torah has brought much more meaning to the narratives and the characters in them.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Torah and wants a different type of commentary on the Torah portions. There is as much meaning and clarity given in this book as can be found in any of the Torah commentaries written by men.
The author's pleasure in writing this book comes through on every page. It can be a good source for a Bat Mitzvah girl who needs to do a dvar torah and is looking for some non standard ideas that won't be offensive to anyone who doesn't find a Bat Mitzvah itself offensive.
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I might beg to differ in a sense.Read more