The Slave Wife

By highlighting the shadowy woman in the background, we get a rare, ironic glimpse of the dilemma of slavery in the Bible.

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The Torah is truthful with us, although that truth does not always make us happy. Ancient Near Eastern law could not imagine a world without slavery; yet Israelite law wanted the people to remain free of all human appropriation. That dilemma resulted in the preservation of this vignette about the conflicting loyalties of the Israelite slave. By highlighting the shadowy woman in the background, we get a rare, ironic glimpse of the dilemma from her usually invisible point of view.

The product of fourteen years of work and the contributions of more than 100 scholars, theologians, poets, and rabbis—all of them women—The Torah: A Women’s Commentary is a landmark achievement in biblical scholarship and an essential resource for the study of the Bible. For more information or to order a copy, visit URJBooksandMusic.com.

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Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler, a feminist theologian, earned a Ph.D. in religion and social ethics from the University of Southern California jointly with Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, where she now teaches.