Longing for the Blessing: Midrashic Voices from Toldot

poems and prose by Judith Sarah Schmidt


Rebecca's Dream

I am in a green land.
The scent of myrtle trees
and the sounds of the turtle doves
          fill the air.
I am with my husband, Yitzhak.

We are wrapped
          in shimmering waters
          under a silken sky.

He is holding me close
          the way he used to.

We are moving together
          like luminous slippery fish.

He is sliding the stars
          into my dry heart.

My mouth is opening
          I am crying out:
          "Lord, fill my womb.
                    Make me mother,
                    Lord, make me mother."

I am swelling, I am swelling.
          I am becoming river.
He is still holding me


Judith Schmidt's bold and original poetic meditations on the Biblical stories in the Torah portion of Toldot will surprise you with their subtle psychological insights and inspire you with their fresh and spiritually mature midrashic interpolations. The book will change the way we read these stories forever; its imaginative poetic gifts will enlighten readers and also challenge them to make the Torah portion their own.
Lawrence Besserman, Professor of English, Emeritus The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


To enter Judith Sarah Schmidt's stunningly profound and beautiful Longing for the Blessing, her reflections on the section of the Torah called Toldot, is to become intimate with words of Torah, dream images, the collected insights of over a thousand years of religious commentary, contemporary psychology and literature and personal memories. Through these words and images you enter into the soul of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, as well as of her great-grandfather Judah, and of Judith herself. Through these images you deeply understand and love them, their faith, their prayers, their struggles and triumphs. In their light, you see your own.
Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Co-founder of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality