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Marriage

Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab: Midrash and Aggadah

Elisheba is mentioned only a single time in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (Ex. 6:23), as the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon and the wife of Aaron the High Priest. The Rabbis speak at large concerning her. They note her importance, since her life was bound up with the most distinguished families in Israel: her husband was appointed High Priest, her children were deputy high priests, her brother was nasi (chieftain) of the tribe of Judah and her brother-in-law Moses led the Israelites. The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] accordingly applies to Elisheba the verse “And may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah” (Ruth 4:12), which was meant to signify that Elisheba, too, was descended from the royal line since she was from the tribe of Judah (Ruth Zuta 4:12). Commenting on Jacob’s blessing to Judah, “You, O Judah, your brothers shall praise” (Gen. 49:8), the Rabbis list Elisheba daughter of Amminadab among the important people and officials that were born to this tribe and call her “the mother of the priesthood” (Gen. Rabbah 97:8).

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: 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.

Eve: Apocrypha

Eve, the first woman according to the Eden story (Genesis 2–3), is mentioned very rarely in the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. One text mentions her by name (Tob 8:6), and four others allude to her (Sir 25:24; 40:1; 42:13; 4 Macc 18:7). Only Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus or Ben Sira) presents the negative theological judgment that women are the source of sin.

Zilpah: Bible

Through the initiative of Leah, Zilpah became a secondary wife to Jacob and bore him two sons, Gad and Asher.

Wifebeating in Jewish Tradition

Wifebeating is found in all cultures, because women’s status is usually lower than men’s and wives are expected to perform specific tasks to serve their husbands.

Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights in Erez Israel

The Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights in Erez Israel which led the fight for women’s suffrage until 1926, continued to work for full and equal political, legal and economic rights for women until the establishment of the State in 1948, when it merged with the WIZO organization.

Turkey: Ottoman and Post Ottoman

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, far-reaching changes took place in the Ottoman Empire in the political, social and geopolitical spheres.

Hannah Mayer Stone

A pioneering physician and advocate of birth control, Hannah Stone defied both New York City police and the federal government in her efforts to make contraception legal and available to American women.

Sotah

Sotah (beginning in Talmudic literature) is the term for a woman suspected of adultery, who must undergo an ordeal that will establish her guilt or innocence.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Marriage." (Viewed on January 17, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/marriage>.

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