1997 - The Red Tent

Anita Diamant

Leah tried to ignore the desire of her own body and Rachel was unaware of anything but the preparations for her wedding, but Zilpah saw lust everywhere she looked. To her, the whole world suddenly seemed damp with longing.

Bilhah offered Adahni, in memory of my grandmother Adah, who had loved them all. This led to a long session of sighing and remembering Adah, who would have been so delighted by all of her grandchildren. But Zilpah worried that such a name would confuse the demons, who might think Adah had escaped from the underworld and come after me.

The sisters sat in silence, considering Rachel’s bold idea. Finally Rachel spoke. “I will take the teraphim and they will be a source of power for us. They will be a sign of our birthright. Our father will suffer as he has made others suffer. I will not speak of this again.”

“Enough. You are not fit to be in my tent. Get out of here. Be cursed and leave this place and never let me see you again.”

Ashnan also taught me boredom, which is a dreadful calamity visited upon women in palaces.

Jacob cowered and took a new name, Isra’El,

The harvest was still many days off and most of the farmers had little to do but wait for ripening, so the stalls were clogged with country folk who had nothing much to trade except time.

They were at ease with themselves and one another like no other people I had ever seen, and I wondered what made it so. Perhaps it was because there were no lords or guards on the boat, not even a scribe. Only craftsmen and their families, heading home.

But now that you entrust your past to my keeping, it is safe. I know you need no oath from me, or else you would not have told me.

“You have many uncles?” I said. “Eleven,” Gera said.