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Treasures of the Heart

Treasures of the Heart is a unique rendition of stories in the Hebrew Bible that are part of the foundation of Judaism and western literature. Renowned storyteller and mythologist Diane Wolkstein seamlessly weaves oral legends into the fabric of the ancient texts, creating new stories that remain true to the spirit of their original sources. Drawing on a lifetime of study of world myths and tribal cultures, the author chooses the legends that best illuminate the text and reveal its hidden wisdom. Biblical characters such as Moses, Ruth, and Solomon--their passions, ethical dilemmas, and changing relationships with God--are rendered with astonishing immediacy, achieved through careful research and a storyteller's grace.
Structured according to the Jewish calendar, Treasures of the Heart retells the stories that are
traditionally read on each holiday. In recounting the holiday stories, Wolkstein discovers a new narrative. As the Hebrew people journey from spring to winter, from Passover to Purim, they follow a path from youth to maturity. This holiday cycle also moves from Moses, a male messenger of God, to Esther and Mordecai, a woman and a man who work together to rescue their community. Wolkstein offers a modern perspective by highlighting the role of female characters in the stories and by introducing the Kabbalistic concept of the Shechinah, God's feminine presence on earth.
The commentaries, often based on Kabbalistic thought, place each story in an historical and religious context.
Treasures of the Heart presents a wealth of scholarship in a form that makes compelling reading for all students of spiritual life. In our rapidly changing world, this innovative bookinvites.
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"In Treasures of the Heart, Diane Wolkstein writes with grace and power, seamlessly weaving midrashic traditions into the Biblical narratives. She illuminates her texts with profound spiritual understandings of the past, nuanced so as to address the contemporary reader. A master story-teller."-- Avivah Zornberg, author of "The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis""Diane Wolkstein brings her poetic insight to the bible stories. We are present with Hannah, Judith, and Ruth, as we were with the stories of the forefathers. In her commentaries, she argues with God and faces the terrible questions of war and violence. Like Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth," "which changed our perceptions of the ancient world, Treasures of the Heart" "is a daring and important book." --Grace Paley, author of "The Little Disturbances of Man" "Diane Wolkstein's Treasures of the Heart" "is a heart opener -- authentic, current, and available to readers of all backgrounds. An inspiration!" -- Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Author of "Wrapped in Holy Flame" and Lecturer, Naropa University "Diane Wolkstein has woven biblical, rabbinic, Hassidic, and feminist Jewish stories into the cycle of Jewish festivals to give new energy and life to both the stories and the celebrations."-- Rabbi Phyllis Berman & Rabbi Arthur Waskow, authors of "Seasons of Our Joy" "Treasures of the Heart will be treasured by all those who seek to join the temporal with the spiritual in Jewish tradition. With her bold and deep understanding of our most compelling Biblical and rabbinic stories, Diane Wolkstein lets Jewish holy days shed a new light on how we live now -- and how we can livein the future."-- Alicia Ostriker, author of "The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions" "This book is aptly named -- Diane Wolkstein skillfully interweaves biblical text, midrash, Kabbalah, and her own inspired insights to reach into the heart of these stories that are the precious legacy of the Jewish soul. Wolkstein retells them to delight the spirit of young and old, beginner and scholar. These are stories to read aloud, to share with our children, to hug to ourselves for inspiration and comfort. Each generation is commanded to create its own midrash. Treasures of the Heart is a marvelous fulfillment of that mitzvah." -- Professor Diane Sharon, Department of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages Jewish Theological Seminary of America

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