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Prayer

Judith: Apocrypha

The Book of Judith (second or early first century b.c.e.) is an imaginative, highly fictionalized, romance that entertains as it edifies. From a literary perspective, the book is an artistic masterpiece, constructed in two parts (1:1–7:32, 8:1–16:25), with each internally ordered by a threefold chiastic pattern. Numerous correspondences between the two halves of the story provide elegant compositional symmetries. The Book of Judith is a story of balance and counter-balance that makes the point that God’s people have all they need to survive if they rely wholeheartedly on the covenant.

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.

Hannah: Bible

The narrative in 1 Samuel 1–2, in which Hannah is protagonist, is set in the late premonarchic period (eleventh century b.c.e.). It opens obliquely with the introduction of her husband, Elkanah, who is identified by name, location, and extensive genealogy. Elkanah’s two wives conclude the exposition, and they are presented without genealogy. The significance of the women lies in their relationship to Elkanah and in their childbearing capacity: “The name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children” (1:2).

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.

Women's History Month Podcast Feature #2

Out from the balcony and onto the bimah! Introducing JWA's second Women's History Month podcast feature, Jewish Women and Religious Innovation. Learn how Hadassah Blocker, Sally Priesand, and Marcia Falk created religious experience on their own terms, expanding opportunities for women's religious participation in their own communities and for American Jews at large.

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef

Of his numerous works the major one is [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:386]Responsa[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary]: Yabbia Omer (YO), the ten volumes of which contain his responsa on many subjects of Jewish law.

Women's Tefillah Movement

Orthodox women’s [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:419]tefillah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (prayer) groups consist of women who wish to maximize women’s participation in communal prayer while remaining within the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:317]halakhic[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] parameters of the Orthodox community, and so meet regularly to conduct prayer services for women only.

Women of the Wall

Women of the Wall (WOW), a group of women who have asserted women’s right to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, have struggled against personal violence and public opprobrium since 1988.

Seder Mitzvot Nashim

The title Seder Mitzvot Nashim (the order of women’s precepts) refers to the genre of literature in Ashkenazic and Italian communities, written in the vernacular. Such compositions explained the specifics of how women should observe the commandments that were particularly associated with them.

Rashi

Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, 1040–1105) is considered the greatest Jewish scholar of medieval times in Ashkenaz (Germany, France and England). It is doubtful whether we can find another Jewish scholar active at the time who was willing to make changes for the benefit of women’s rights even where halakhic and aggadic sources were not kindly disposed towards them. True, he sometimes accepted prejudicial opinions about women in the sources, but his relatively tolerant and considerate attitude towards women is worthy of note.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Prayer." (Viewed on December 16, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/prayer>.

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