Tag Archives: wise woman

Serah Bat Asher


Charles Landell, “Jewish Woman from Tangiers”

“The sons of Asher: Yimnah, Yishvah, Yishvi, Briah. And Serah, their sister.” (Gen. 46:17)

“And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.” (Num. 26:46)

Serah is first mentioned in Genesis in the time of the patriarchs and matriarchs. She was among the 70 who went down to Egypt with Jacob and the only granddaughter mentioned. Continue reading

Women at the Entrance to the Tent of Meeting

Women at door of tent1

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“He made the laver of copper and its stand of copper, from the mirrors of women who performed tasks at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.” Exodus 38:8 (JPS translation)

Ah yes, the “women who performed tasks.” Who might they be and what tasks might they have performed? Many commentators have argued that the women performed menial tasks at the Tent of Meeting, that they were merely cleaning servants. However, the technical Hebrew word used for “tasks” has a military connotation in contrast to more general terms for “work” and “service.” The same word is used when discussing the tasks the Levite priests perform. Continue reading

Women Who Made Veils for the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem

women weavers1

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“And all the skilled women spun with their own hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen. And all the women who excelled in the skill spun the goat’s hair.” Ex. 35:25-26

After leaving Egypt, God directed Moses to prepare a portable sanctuary, a tabernacle. This became a sacred place where the wandering Hebrew people could commune with God. We learn in Exodus that skilled women prepared the woven materials needed for the tabernacle. Later these highly trained weaving women worked within the temple compound. In Hebrew, the word used for “skilled” is related to the word “wisdom.” Culturally, the Hebrews saw the technical abilities of artisans as a form of profound understanding. Thus we find that women’s traditional work of weaving was highly prized not just for the domestic and economic benefits but for religious and spiritual reasons as well. “When textiles were needed for ritual purposes, as in the case in the tabernacle texts, women’s skills in preparing fabrics and converting them to specific forms situates them in positions of social or religious prominence; it gives them a public role that has been little noticed” (Carol Meyers). Continue reading