Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thanks to colleagues and students and friends, hosting and facilitating the first seminary discussion in New York City of The Torah: A Women's Commentary was sheer joy. 12,500 copies of the first run have sold out! The second printing is due any time.

Prof Andrea Weiss took us through Deuteronomy 32 and the five layers of the multivocal commentary pointing out the images for God such as Rock, Father, Mother. The translation is a carefully revised version of the 2002 NJPS translation finished in 2005 by Rabbi David Stern. Details here. Prof Weiss noted the verb of nursing in Deut 32:13 (often obscured by English translations) and the verb of begatting in 32:18. On this latter verse, the Rabbis described the image of God (as a woman in labor) imagining God saying, "You caused me to feel like a male trying to give birth." (Sifre D'varim 319). She read a poem from the interpretation section called Voices in which Death is compared to a messenger coming in the night. This brings out the idea of Deut 32 as almost the last words of Moses.

After his helpful response pointing out the contribution of these insights to commentaries already in existence on Deut 32, Prof Owens asked, Can we see this commentary side by side with (revised) Plaut in synagogue seats? An intriguing possibility.


Rev Dr Mom said...

Oh, I wish I'd been there! Glad it went well, and this book is now on my must-get list!

Jane said...

I wish I could have been there too.
Sounds completely fascinating
Must get my hands on a copy of the new print run!

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