A Woman Who Fired the Torches

Why Jewish girls are named after the fierce prophetess Deborah.

An engraving of Deborah by the French artist Gustave Doré. Wikiart.

An engraving of Deborah by the French artist Gustave Doré. Wikiart.

Atar Hadari
Observation
Jan. 29 2015
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


Most epics involve heroic men leaving women to pursue adventure, victory, and conquest. Odysseus leaves his wife Penelope and the enchantress Circe, Aeneas leaves Dido, Homer’s Iliad is set in motion first by the theft of a woman, Helen, and then by an argument over the female spoils of war that erupts between the warlord Agamemnon and his mercenary Achilles, the poem’s hero.

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More about: Book of Judges, Deborah, The Monthly Portion, Torah