For the last seven years, I have been conducting research for my book Undertorah: An Earth-Based Kabbalah of Dreams, which is about to appear courtesy of Ayin Press. On this writing journey, I’ve interviewed seventy dreamers, and have studied pre-modern dreams from texts of ancient Israel and ancient Sumer to dream accounts of women kabbalists and Chasidic masters. I’ve also sat with my own dreams and their odd truths. Many of the dreams I’ve encountered express powerful visions of the feminine. I find these often odd and eerie visions particularly useful in expressing “the multiplicity of experiences of [the feminine]… rather than an imposed definition of those experiences…”[i]Continue reading “Moving to Ursula: Dream Wisdom and the Sacred Feminine by Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD”
Tag: Torah interpretation
Breathing Life into the Women of Chayei Sarah by Ivy Helman.
One of the basic tenants of feminist methodology in religion is the recovery of women’s history. There are many ways to approach such a task. In religions with sacred writings, one avenue for recovery may be reinterpreting them. This could come in the form of a critique. For example, traditional interpretations may overlook or undervalue women, who appear in the text, reaffirm sexist, patronizing, and/or misogynist viewpoints already found in the text, or develop new ones. In order to recover women’s history, feminists working with their sacred texts would then call out these interpretations for their sexism. They would correct phrasing, understanding, and even translations, when necessary.
In addition to critiquing, feminist interpretations of scripture could also be constructive. Religious feminists may highlight values, teachings, and images that affirm women’s lives. They may incorporate documented history into their interpretations as proof of expanded roles for women. That would then contextualize or negate later traditions that deny women such roles.
Continue reading “Breathing Life into the Women of Chayei Sarah by Ivy Helman.”
Ruminations on Emor by Ivy Helman
This week’s Torah portion is Emor, or Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23. It details purity and the priesthood including whose funeral a priest can attend, who can marry a priest, bodily blemishes and temple services, and under what circumstances daughters of priests can still eat temple food. Emor also discusses the treatment of animals. A baby animal must be 7 days old before it can be sacrificed and cannot be killed the same day as its mother. In addition, the parshah describes the holiday calendar, including the counting of the Omer, how to harvest fields, and what type of oil should be used in the Temple’s Menorah. Finally, it outlines punishments for various crimes including blasphemy and murder.
To say that there is a lot there would be an understatement. In fact, a good question about this parshah is where does one begin? An obvious place would be the mention of the named woman, Shelomit bat Dibri of the tribe of Dan, almost at the end of the parshah. First, it is remarkable that a woman has been named and more so that her name has been remembered as significant. It begs the question of who was she? Why remember her name? Why mention her at all? The discussion about her son’s crimes could easily not have needed any mention of her name! So why is it there? Continue reading “Ruminations on Emor by Ivy Helman”