Women in the Desert
Sefer Bamidbar contains a number of stories about B’Nei Yisrael in the desert that feature women. Join Dr. Lisa Fredman as she takes a close look at personalities such as Miriam, Tzipporah and Bnot Tzelafchad and how they differ from women elsewhere in the Torah such as Sefer Bereishit.
Women in the Desert: Miriam- through the lens of the Talmud/Midrash
Our series entitled “Women in the Desert” will begin with a close look at the personality of Miriam through the lens of the Talmud/Midrash. An examination of important periods during her life will highlight her leadership qualities and will demonstrate how the Rabbis brilliantly weave together the scattered Miriam narratives into one holistic unit.
Women in the Desert: Miriam- through the lens of peshat
This week, we will revisit the Miriam narratives through the lens of Peshat. Our exciting investigation will take us from the Biblical text, classical commentaries to a Qumran text with the goal of better understanding Miriam’s contribution to the Jewish people during the desert years.
Women in the Desert: Meeting Tzipporah
Our next class will investigate the personality of Tzipporah & her relationship with Moshe. How does their initial “meeting at the well” portend to their future life together? Did her Midianite background impact upon their relationship? We will examine the enigmatic “Encounter at the Inn” in order to uncover both its personal and national message.
Women in the Desert: Bnot Tzelafchad: Their Outstanding Request
We will investigate the carefully worded request of the Bnot Tzelafchad focusing upon the intelligence & intuition which it reveals. We will try to understand why Moshe is stymied by their question and must turn to Hashem for guidance! And, of course, we will take note of the fact that the personal names of these five outstanding women are mentioned not once or twice, but four times in total!
Women in the Desert: Addendum to the story of Bnot Tzelafchad
Our last class will examine the addendum to the Bnot Tzelafchad story – the closing narrative in the book of Numbers. Why was the addendum not written immediately after their original request, and how does its placement highlight the uniqueness of these women and their story? We will conclude with an examination of these women through the eyes of the Talmud and see how their impact is felt until today.
Dr. Lisa Fredman has a BA from Stern College, and an MA and PhD in Bible from Bar Ilan University. She has recently published "A Critical Edition of Rashi's Commentary to Proverbs" and is currently working on "A Critical Edition of Rashi's Commentary to the Book of Daniel". Dr. Fredman was the founding Principal of the YTA Girls' School in Jerusalem and is currently a lecturer of Bible at Efrata College, Jerusalem and the Women's Beit Midrash in Efrat.