The Red Tent: A Novel

By Anita Diamant

Her identify is Dinah. within the Bible, her lifestyles is simply hinted at in a short and violent detour in the extra ordinary chapters of the booklet of Genesis which are approximately her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons.

Told in Dinah's voice, this novel finds the traditions and turmoils of old womanhood-the international of the crimson tent. It starts off with the tale of her mothers-Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah-the 4 other halves of Jacob. They love Dinah and provides her presents which are to maintain her via a broken early life, a calling to midwifery, and a brand new domestic in a overseas land. Dinah's tale reaches out from a awesome interval of early background and creates an intimate, rapid connection.

Deeply affecting, The crimson Tent combines wealthy storytelling with a important fulfillment in glossy fiction: a brand new view of Biblical women's society.

*© 1997

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A few midwives acknowledged that excitement overheated the seed and killed it. yet others claimed that infants in simple terms come whilst ladies smile. This used to be the story she instructed Jacob to motivate his caresses. over the last months of Bilhah’s being pregnant, Zilpah went to Jacob’s mattress for the 1st time. She didn't supply herself as Bilhah had, notwithstanding she used to be a minimum of 5 years older, as previous as Leah, who had borne 5 stay sons via that point. Zilpah knew it will take place sometime, and he or she was once resigned to it. yet in contrast to Bilhah, Zilpah might by no means ask. Leah must command it. ultimately, she did. “One evening, while i used to be strolling within the gentle of a whole moon, she seemed prior to me,” Zilpah acknowledged. “At first, i presumed i used to be dreaming. My sister slept as seriously as Laban and not rose at evening. Even her personal infants had hassle rousing her. yet there she used to be, within the stillness. We walked within the shiny white gentle of the woman moon, hand in hand, for a very long time. And back I questioned if this used to be quite my sister or a ghost, as the lady beside me used to be silent, while Leah regularly had whatever to claim. “Finally, she spoke with cautious phrases in regards to the moon. She advised me how a lot she enjoyed the white mild, and the way she spoke to the moon and known as to her by way of identify each month. Leah acknowledged the moon was once the one face of the goddess that appeared open to her a result of manner the moon referred to as forth the filling and emptying of her physique. “My sister was once wise,” acknowledged Zilpah. “She stopped and confronted me and took either my arms in hers and requested, ‘Are you prepared to swallow the moon finally? ’ “What may well I say? It was once my time. ” certainly, it was once attainable that she had waited too lengthy, and Zilpah part was hoping she was once too previous, at 5 and twenty, to endure. Age by myself was once no sturdy augury. Rachel have been barren from her adolescence, regardless of all her efforts. And Leah, fertile as a watered simple, confirmed no signal of giving off. the single strategy to observe what the mum of lifestyles had in shop for Zilpah used to be for her to move in to Jacob and develop into the least of his other halves. the following morning, Leah spoke to Jacob. Bilhah provided to place henna on Zilpah’s arms, yet she set her mouth and refused. That evening she walked slowly to Jacob’s tent, the place he lay together with her and knew her. Zilpah took no excitement from Jacob’s contact. “I did what used to be required of me,” she acknowledged, with this sort of tone that nobody dared ask her to claim extra. She by no means complained of Jacob’s attentions. He did his most sensible to calm her fears, simply as he had along with his different better halves. He referred to as for her time and again, attempting to win her. He requested her to sing songs of the goddesses and brushed her hair. yet not anything he did moved Zilpah. “I by no means understood my sisters’ eagerness to lie with Jacob,” she stated, with a weary wave of her lengthy hand. “It was once an obligation, like grinding grain—something that wears away on the physique yet is critical in order that existence can cross on. “Mind you, i used to be no longer disappointed,” she stated. “It was once not anything I anticipated to get pleasure from. ” Zilpah conceived in the course of Bilhah’s being pregnant. and shortly after Bilhah’s Dan used to be born, it actually did seem as if Zilpah had swallowed the moon.

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