The Kabbalist's Wife: The Politics of Appropriation in Two Poems by Women Scholars
Abstract

This paper discusses two poems that give voice to the forgotten wives of venerated Jewish mystics.In ways both overt and covert, they manifest the writer's occupation as an academic scholar and a woman learned in Jewish texts. The story of the kabbalist's wife, left out of the sacred texts and seemingly insignificant from the writer's professional point of view as a scholar, comes to expression by way of art, in a poem. The poems are discussed here within a political context of poetry that poses demands for social change within the space defined as simultaneously public and private. A reading of these poems presents the ways in which their authors, as creative artists, appropriate canonical Jewish texts for themselves. The extra-textual political nature of these works comes to expression, for the first poem, in the mode of its publication, and for the second, in the place it occupies in the poet's personal biography, as she chooses to present it.


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