If you’re wondering how I’m celebrating two nights of Hannukah as one, I’ll explain myself! Last night and tonight I’m writing about two women who are always referred to together. Thus, they each get their own celebration but as one article. Curious? Keep reading!
Rachel and Leah
Specifically, I’m referring to modern interpretations, such as Orson Scott Card’s Rachel and Leah. Before anyone starts attacking Card for his beliefs, realize that T.S. Eliot basically sided with the Nazis and we still read his poems. I’m not saying it’s right, but I think it is important to separate the writer from his or her work.
In the early 2000’s, Orson Scott Card started a series of novels called The Women of Genesis. The first book is called Sarah, then Rebekah, then Rachel and Leah. Each book is a beautiful representation of the biblical stories. Yes, he expands on the tales, but he does not deviate. After reading each book, I looked at the original bible passages to compare, and found that no, the Mormons are not deviating egregiously. Each story fit my Jewish text.
Rachel and Leah starts with the sisters as children, and continues through the story of their marriages. I read this book as a teenager, and could definitely empathize with having feelings for the same man as my friends. However, after reading some reviews of this book, I feel like I need to reread it as an adult. I’m sure I’ll still wholly appreciate the bond between Leah and Rachel, as I’m very close to my own sister, but I wonder if these women stand up as the role models I remember.
I’ve always thought Leah’s swap with Rachel at the altar was a bold move, and I like the reasoning behind it in Card’s retelling, that Rachel was scared to marry Jacob. It turns a devious action into a more agreeable one.
Another modern interpretation of these women is The Red Tent, which was just featured as a mini-series on Lifetime.
It’s interesting that this Bible story is featured fairly dominantly in our culture, when we disagree with the act at its core, polygamy. Maybe as monogamists, we are trying to find a way to rationalize it? Or maybe this will bring more acceptance to different, polyamorous lifestyles? It’s an interesting concept to think about.
Happy Nights 6 and 7!