goodreads Review of Women at the Crossroads

by Chaya Golda Ovadia

To be frank, I sat down to read this book with the expectation that it was just another book on the Parasha (Torah Portion). While each book may have its own nuances and unique leanings, the message is usually very similar. I was very pleasantly surprised that this was not a typical work in the least. This special collection of commentaries on the weekly Torah Portion is both enlightening and fascinating, unlike anything I have ever read in this genre of a book. It goes beyond the prevailing line of thought on the Parasha and reaches into the soul of the matter as it pertains to women in each segment. Interestingly, in many cases it is actually the women who are pivotal characters. Despite the fact that the ‘heroines’ of the Chumash (The Five Books of Moses) existed thousands of years ago, they are brought to life for women today in a relevant and timeless manner. Each character is personified in such a way that it makes us want to emulate their awesome qualities. Their righteous conduct provides guidelines for our own lives and through reading their stories we are compelled to attain some of their holy attributes. Even through those who were not so virtuous, such as Korach’s wife, there are still valuable lessons to be learned.

Rebbetzin Siegelbaum draws on impeccable sources to illustrate the points being made which adds validity to all her narratives. She writes with wisdom and charm, highlighting her love of family, Judaism, the Land of Israel and the History of its People. The emphasis is on the woman’s role within the context of religion, family and life in general. She expounds on the central theme that woman are of equal importance to men, each having their specific function to fulfill. Contrary to what many unenlightened observers believe, Judaism teaches that a woman’s value is not diminished in relation to her husband but rather, they compliment each other. These eternally Divine stories are filled with mirrored references to our modern lives and those of our family which makes them a joy to read.

While men would also benefit from this publication, I would say it is really a woman’s book. I would recommend it to all women, regardless of their present level. It can be read in one continuous session, but is also a valuable volume to refer to on a weekly basis. What mother wouldn’t find it a blessing to bond with her daughters around these moving tales? I know I would.

Original review can be found at goodreads.com

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