Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reserach* (for Research*)

Serach is considered by some to be the oldest woman in the Torah since she was the sole granddaughter of Jacob to be mentioned there by name. (By contrast, there are 53 names of grandsons listed.) Therefore, if you're researching women and Judaism, you might do well to start with her. Serach (aka Serah) was the daughter of Asher, one of Jacob's twelve sons (who were known as the "Tribes of Israel"). She was beloved by her grandfather and brought him great joy, most notably the news that his long-lost son Joseph was actually "alive and the ruler of all Egypt," which Jacob repaid by granting her a long life and the gift of prophecy. Hers is a rich and rather convoluted story: she supposedly lived to be hundreds of years old and, according to one midrash, never died at all, being one of only a few people to enter Paradise while still alive. Another account has her buried in a tomb in Persia (the modern-day Iran). Our typo for the day was found 65 times in OhioLINK and nearly 600 times in WorldCat.

(Portrait of a Young Jewish Woman, by Maurycy Gottlieb, done in 1879, the year of the artist's death, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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