Anne Roiphe has done a masterful job weaving together material about the biblical matriarchs. Taking pieces from the midrash, Talmud, and Jewish legends as well from the Bible itself, she has created a compelling portrait of the four matriarchs. In these pages, the lives and personalities of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah are brought to the forefront. Roiphe adds contours to the well-known stories and characters, providing new perspectives on these women and their realities. She uses insights from anthropology and history to make the biblical age feel familiar. At the same time, these women are presented like timeless Everywomen, struggling with husbands and children, love and loss, just as women have throughout time. The style of this book is not novelistic; rather it is an ongoing unfolding that continually sheds new light and adds depth to stories we think we already know. There is a self-consciousness to the telling that continually reminds the reader that this is not merely a fictionalized retelling but instead a carefully chosen combination of source material and innovative new interpretation. Water from the Well would be a welcome addition to any Jewish collection. Bibliography.
Hara E. Person was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a writer and editor.