Mikeitz: Something to Notice

BERURIAH THE SCHOLAR EXPLAINS: The story of Joseph is the most elaborate in the Torah, spanning four parshiyot, more than the stories of any of the patriarchs and matriarchs. And yet women are virtually absent from the tale. This is a tale of brothers, of patriarchy, of male power relations….

MIRIAM THE PROPHET PROCLAIMS: Like the ancient Rabbis, we need to imagine lives for the many women who must have been involved in this drama: the brothers’ wives, left behind to fend for themselves while their husbands go down to Egypt; the many maidservants who prepare for the journeys, tend Pharaoh’s court, weave and cook, nurse and wipe bottoms, sing lullabies and keen at funerals. Indeed, a whole world of women contributes, albeit behind the scenes, to this drama. We owe it to them to serve as archaeologists and imaginers of their lives.
— Ellen Frankel, The Five Books of Miriam*

*This volume — a great source for considering visible and invisible women in the Torah — was originally published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons (1996) and is available in paperback from HarperCollins. See elsewhere in this blog for more on this source.

The “Opening the Book” series was originally presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group that for many years pursued spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.

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