- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Plume (July 31, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452288630
- ISBN-13: 978-0452288638
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rashi's Daughters, Book II: Miriam: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France Paperback – July 31, 2007
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From the Author
"Rashi's Daughters" is the story of the three daughters of the great Talmudic authority Salomon ben Isaac, a.k.a. Rashi, who lived in 11th century Troyes, France and had no sons. At a time when most women were illiterate and the rare educated woman was one who could read the Bible, Rashi's daughters studied Talmud. They were also vintners, merchants and mothers of the next generation of Talmudic scholars.
Built on seven years of exhaustive historical research and ten years of Talmud study, "Rashi's Daughters" explores what might have been, weaving actual events, as described in responsa literature and Talmud commentaries, into an account of the lives of these amazing women. Talmud is an integral part of these novels; readers will learn along with Rashi's daughters as he explains selected texts. This is also the story of the medieval French Jewish community, how they lived, loved, worked, ate, prayed and interacted with their non-Jewish neighbors. A wealth of material about Jewish women's daily lives is provided, including how they observed life cycle events and holidays.
I wrote this book because I wanted to share my research into Jewish women's lives in medieval France, how the prosperity and tolerance they enjoyed differed from the negative stereotypes usually associated with the Middle Ages. In addition, I wished to encourage women to study Talmud, the foundation of Jewish Law that, until very recently, women have been unable to access. I hoped to share the excitement and pleasure Talmud study can engender.
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Top Customer Reviews
Whatever struggles the characters are going through are the same struggles that people are experiencing to this very day. To me, that is just one thing that made this book even more real - you experienced their struggles, their questioning of themselves - just as we all do every day of our own lives.
Maggie - excellent book! I have no doubt that the third book will be just as wonderful. L'Shanah Tovah!
Miriam: Excellent Social History and the Talmudic Process in One Good Read
Rashi's Daughters: Miriam
Review by Art Finkle
This second historical novel of a trilogy continues with Rashi's (a 10th century Jewish commentator on scared writings in what is now the Champaign region of France) second daughter, Miriam. The author brings realism of the 10th century social history, no small feat and places the emphasis on women in a patriarchal society. Although many may consider this book targeted to females, it should be read by all. Males should know that sacrifices their wives and mothers made for t heir education, a highly prized commodity during these times.
That merchants, vineyard supervisors, jewelers and other what was thought to be traditionally male activities comes as a surprise. Moreover, not only is midwifery involved with the delivery of babies but they also had the very best of medical knowledge.
Miriam, as the second daughter of the great thinker continues to involve herself in the study of Talmud, a Jewish process of learning insights (from the Sages' writings from the 1st century onward), and making rulings on real-life situations. Such study was a male's role but since Rashi, a born teacher, only had daughters, he taught this arduous process to all of his daughters.
There were also vignettes that bespoke the unique personality of Rashi,
who collaborated with the Cardinal from the Christian community to interpret difficult passages from the original Hebrew; the role of semi-annual Fairs that promoted commerce and communication of all kinds; and the large role of superstition.
Overall, this novel captures social history and the Talmudic process in an extraordinary way. Plus the book is a great read.