- Series: Rashi's Daughters (Book 1)
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Plume (July 31, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452288622
- ISBN-13: 978-0452288621
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rashi's Daughters, Book I: Joheved: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France Paperback – July 31, 2007
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“Anton delivers a tour de force . . . [Readers] will fly through the pages and come away wishing for more.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A compelling combination of drama, suspense, and romance.”—Lilith magazine
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
Not being Jewish, I don't really understand the discussions of Talmud; I have not studied them. But, I do, through this book, understand their importance and meaning to Johoved. The author has somehow shared that in her book.
I look forward to her next book. If it is as well-written as this, it should be a "best-seller".
At two births in the book, (pg 125 and 265) a technique of sneezing a baby out is used. Historically, sneezing was used to deliver the soft placenta. No one would use it to deliver the head of the baby. Any delivery of the head being pushed out suddenly, with any sudden force, causes tearing of the perineum which was particularly difficult to deal with, without sutures and antibiotics. Jewish midwives would figure that out the first time they tried it.
Page 145: the baby dies, because it was strangled by the cord. One-third of all babies deliver with the cord 1,2,3, 4 or more times around the neck. Babies with cords around the neck are proven to be stronger and healthier: Mastrobattista Am JPerinatol 2005, Cohain JS, Nuchal cords are necklaces, not nooses. Midwifery Today. 2010. It is a well oiled myth that babies die because of a cord around the neck. Particularly in Rashi’s time when there was no refrigerators and obesity causing macrosomic babies of over 3500 gm. The baby is swimming in water, not being strangled by a cord around its neck as it it were hanging from a tree.
Rashi’s wife, Rivka’s third birth took more than a day. It is very unlikely that she would have a full term fourth birth in an hour. Women with longer births, consistently have longer births, in general, although of course anything is possible.
Pg 265. The fetus was Transverse even though the woman was having contractions. Before labor, fetus may be transverse. But once the uterus starts pushing the fetus down, either the breech or head will present first. Transverse only exists before labor. Look at the shape of the uterus, and the direction the muscles push the baby. The above is obvious.
Pg 265 The woman says she wants to die after two days of labor. Women dont want to die. The pain is not that bad. Women say, get the baby out of me, I want labor to end. I have been to thousands of birth. No women want to die and I have never heard a women say anything remotely similar to wanting to die. They are afraid of dying, but they never say they want to die because of the pain. Its not that bad and there is a 2 to 4 minutes break without pain for every one minute with pain.
Pg 277. Women dont die because of placenta previa. The baby dies. Not the mother. This is just bad writing. And makes me wonder whether anything in the book is reliable, because the midwifery parts that I hold expertise about, are not accurate. Judy Slome Cohain, CNM since 1983. Facebook judy slome cohain midwife
We REALLY care about the characters, both because Maggie Anton is a marvelous writer, and also because we know that many were real people who were important to Jewish history, law, letters and culture.
I loved reading this book out loud with my 86 year old mother, who loved it! If I had a daughter over the age of perhaps 15, I'd read it out loud with her, too! This book could well be appropriate, as well -- and a great "ice-breaker"-- for groups discussing Jewish orthodox sex issues. While certain explicit sexual descriptions may not be appropriate for younger children under the age of 15, other chapters and sections of the book are perfect for reading out loud to children of any age, and may well initiate interest in Talmudic study, history, and current events. This book is a true tour de force of historical fiction, and I can't wait to read the next books of the trilogy and bury my nose in Maggie Anton's words and worlds. Mazal Tov to writer and readers alike! This book is a major gift to the greater Jewish library, although non-Jews will also love it and find it fascinating. Parental discretion is advised for chidren under 15 reading certain parts of the book. The rest of us can dig in and relish it all!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am looking forward to the second book in the series.