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Jewish Holidays

Shiphrah: Midrash and Aggadah

Shiphrah (more commonly spelled "Shifra") was one of the two Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) who delivered the children of the Israelites during the Egyptian servitude. The Torah chronicles (Ex. 1:15–21) that they disobeyed Pharaoh’s command and did not kill the Israelite male newborns.

Shiphrah: Bible

Shiphrah (more commonly spelled, "Shifra") is one of the two named midwives who serve the Hebrew women in Egypt and who contravene Pharaoh’s order to kill at birth all Hebrew males.

Sarah: Midrash and Aggadah

Sarah, the first of the four Matriarchs, has come to symbolize motherhood for the entire world, and not only for the people of Israel. The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] presents her as a prophet and a righteous woman whose actions are worthy of emulation; she converted Gentiles and drew them into the bosom of Judaism.

Tamar De Sola Pool

Tamar de Sola Pool dreamt of a socially and economically just world where people consistently acted toward one another with good will, fairness, and faith.

Hannah: Midrash and Aggadah

Hannah is depicted by the Rabbis as a righteous woman who was devout in her observance of the commandments, especially those of pilgrimage to the Tabernacle, [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:373]niddah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (the laws governing family purity), the taking of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:319]hallah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] from dough, and the kindling of the Sabbath lights.

Esther: Midrash and Aggadah

Queen Esther, the central character in the Biblical book named after her, is extensively and sympathetically portrayed in the Rabbinic sources. In their commentary on the Book of Esther, the Rabbis expand upon and add details to the Biblical narrative, relating to her lineage and history and to her relations with the other characters: Ahasuerus, Mordecai and Haman.

Esther: Bible

The heroine of the book named for her, Esther is a young Jewish woman living in exile in the Persian [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:308]diaspora[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], who through her youth and beauty becomes queen of the Persian Empire, and then by her wits and courage saves the Jewish people from destruction. The message of the Book of Esther, a work of historical fiction written in the diaspora in the late Persian—early Hellenistic period (fourth century b.c.e.), gives encouragement to the exiled Jews that they, although powerless in the Persian Empire, can, by their resourcefulness and talents, not only survive but prosper, as does Esther.

Esther: Apocrypha

The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible Book of Esther is designated Additions to Esther and pre-serves many details of the Hebrew account. Its portrayal of Esther herself, however, is appreciably different, primarily because of Additions C and D (Add Esth 13:8–14:19; 15:1–16). The Additions to Esther consist of six extended passages (107 verses) that have no counterpart in the Hebrew version. They are numbered as chaps 11–16, designated A–F, and added to the Hebrew text at various places. Another important “addition” to Greek Esther is the mention of God’s name over fifty times. This has the effect of making the story explicitly religious, in sharp contrast to the Hebrew text, which does not mention God at all. The Additions, which probably were not composed at the same time by the same person, can be dated to the second or first centuries b.c.e. because of their literary style, theology, and anti-gentile spirit.

Trafficking, Sex Work, ... and Purim?

Purim starts in a few hours, and while the holiday is considered by many to be the most joyous in the Jewish calendar, there is a somber side as well.

Zeresh: Midrash and Aggadah

The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] portrays Zeresh as being even more wicked than her husband Haman (Midrash le-Esther, Ozar ha-Midrashim [ed. Eisenstein], p. 51).

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Holidays." (Viewed on September 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/jewish-holidays>.

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