The Lost Matriarch offers a unique response to the sparse and puzzling biblical treatment of the matriarch Leah. Although Leah is a major figure in the book of Genesis, the biblical text allows her only a single word of physical description and two lines of direct dialogue. The Bible tells us little about the effects of her lifelong struggles in an apparently loveless marriage to Jacob, the husband she shares with three other wives, including her beautiful younger sister, Rachel. Fortunately, two thousand years of traditional and modern commentators have produced many fascinating interpretations (midrash) that reveal the far richer story of Leah hidden within the text.
Through Jerry Rabow’s weaving of biblical text and midrash, readers learn the lessons of the remarkable Leah, who triumphed over adversity and hardship by living a life of moral heroism. The Lost Matriarch reveals Leah’s full story and invites readers into the delightful, provocative world of creative rabbinic and literary commentary. By experiencing these midrashic insights and techniques for reading “between the lines,” readers are introduced to what for many will be an exciting new method of personal Bible interpretation.
Jerry Rabow is the author of A Guide to Jewish Mourning and Condolence and Fifty Jewish Messiahs.
Note on the Sources
The Family of Jacob and Leah
Introduction: We Meet Leah
1. Waiting for Leah
2. What Really Happened on Leah’s Wedding Night?
3. Leah Begins Married Life in Conflict
4. Leah Continues the Conflict
5. Leah and the Family Leave Haran
6. Leah Comes to the Promised Land
7. The Deaths of Rachel, Leah, and Jacob
Conclusion: Learning from Leah’s Story
Glossary of Names and Definitions