An inspiring reimagination of timeless stories
Eve, Miriam, Esther. Naomi, Ruth, Rebecca. These names and those of the many other women of the Old Testament resonate in our imaginations. But how much do we really know about our biblical foremothers? Their stories are briefly told in the original text and are shrouded in questions. How did Eve navigate the journey to wisdom? What enabled Hagar to sustain herself and her son, Ishmael, in the wilderness? How did Miriam inspire hope in the refugees escaping from Egypt? Most importantly, what enduring lessons can these women share with us today?
In this vivid collection, Judaic scholar Vanessa Ochs brings the legends of the biblical matriarchs to new life using her own form of midrash, a creative but scholarly reinterpretation of sacred works that puts flesh and bones on the original. Finding her own, distinctly female voice in this traditional art, Ochs retells the incredible stories of the biblical matriarchs, filling in the gaps and answering some of the key questions left behind by their original male writers.
For each of the women in Sarah Laughed, the author first translates the Hebrew passage in which the woman appears and then presents an eloquent new rendition of the story, offering a creative way to connect to these heroines, making their trials and triumphs relevant for women today.
Intimate, familiar, and wise, the mothers, wives, and maidservants you'll find here are revealed to be uplifting role models, from Eve's rebellious taste of wisdom to the righteous anger of Job's wife. Each story is accompanied by real-life rituals that you can perform at home, including friendship meditations and original craft ideas. By learning about the gifts of these ancient women, you'll discover exhilarating ways to embrace your own personal gifts and gain fresh insight into:
- Finding your inner wisdom
- Speaking your true self
- Being a good friend
- Maintaining romantic partnerships
- Raising a family
- Letting go of children
- Feeling blessed with a life well lived
- And much more
Like never before, this unique book reveals the real people behind the immortal women of the Bible--gutsy, vulnerable, and ultimately inspiring. By consulting our ancient community of sisters, our own lives are illuminated and empowered by the experiences and lessons of these age-old and still vividly available women.
Advance Praise for Sarah Laughed
"The Bible provides just the barest of outlines about the lives of its great women. Vanessa Ochs fills in the details with laughter, conversation, and a sense of place. Ochs takes us into Eve's garden and Sarah's kitchen and Dina's tent and Esther's vanity. It is all so wonderfully imagined that it takes on a truth for our times. This is modern midrash at its best. In these pages, the women of the Bible come to life and leave us with some important lessons for our own lives." "Vanessa Ochs's delicious retelling of the old tales is radiant with her affection for her subjects and, more importantly, with her respect for her readers. True to her promise, Ochs dances with the Bible in every one of these pages."
--Ari L. Goldman, author of The Search for God at Harvard
--Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours and The Shaping of a Life
"Sarah Laughed addresses contemporary female experience through insights from biblical women and wisdom. Ochs offers psychologically astute analyses and empowering rituals that will inspire her readers to find meaning in the joys and vicissitudes of their own lives." "Vanessa Ochs re-creates the lives of Biblical women and makes them achingly relevant to our own. If you liked The Red Tent--actually, if you like the Bible and want to get to know it
--Judith R. Baskin, Knight Professor of Humanities and Director of Judaic Studies, University of Oregon