Writing Women into the Torah

It is time to do no less than to dress the Torah in the language of women.

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To underline that point, the Torah itself adds words of encouragement further on in the parashah concerning our ability to apprehend this text: "Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach ... No, the thing is very close ro you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it" (30:10, 14). The Torah belongs to everyone of us, not just to experts or to certain segments of the community; it does not belong to men alone. As this parashah reminds us, the Torah is far more democratic, fluid, and subjective. We await revelation--and yet revelation is right here, precisely where we stand. "It is not in the heavens...No, the thing is very close to you" (30;12, 14)--exceedingly close.

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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Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first Syrian Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi. She was ordained in 1995 at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently a freelance educator and writer, teaching and writing about a wide range of Jewish subjects. She lives in New York City with her journalist husband and their three children.