Friday, October 26, 2007

The Akeidah: Where was Sarah???

When Sarah lived, her tent had three constant blessings: the candles burned from Shabbos to Shabbos, the dough was blessed, and the cloud of the Shechina rested over the tent. These three blessings correspond to the three special mitzvot of Jewish woman: Lighting Shabbos candles, the taking of challah which is associated with a kosher home, and Taharas Hamishpocha -- the observance of the laws of family purity. These beautiful challah covers from Sarah (not THE Sarah, but Sarah of Judaica Fabric Art) will certainly bless your Shabbat table!

From: Sarah's silence: a newly discovered commentary on Genesis 22 by Rashi's sister Judaism, Fall, 1994 by Dvora Yanow

THE FOLLOWING COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLICAL story known as "the binding of Isaac," which is published here for the first time, was recently discovered in the geniza of the old synagogue in Troyes, France, a mid-sized city southeast of Paris, on the Seine River. It is worth noting that a geniza--meaning, literally, "hiding place"--is an out of the way space in a synagogue, typically an attic or anoversized crawl space, in which prayer books and other sacred writings that are falling apart or disintegrating are placed for storage. Such objects retain their sacredness and so are not thrown out or burned, although they may be buried in a cemetery. Other, non-sacred writings have occasionally found their way into genizahs.

Written on a scrap of paper, this commentary was stuck inside what appears to be the accounts ledger for a vineyard. Carbon 14 dating has established the book to be about 900 years old. Because of the age of the ledger, its source, and the inscription on the first page, scholars surmise it is the bookkeeping for Rashi's vineyard, and that the bookkeeper was none other than Rashi's sister. The handwriting on the scrap of paper matches that of the ledger, leading most scholars who have been consulted to conclude that she is the author of the midrash. Complete the article here.

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