Tag Archives: yibbum

Marriage, sex and death

Or should it be sex, death, and marriage? Hello from the depth of my creative cave.

I’ve been offline for a long time (sorry) trying to dig my way through this novel about Abigail, her husband, Ben, and his brother, Daniel, all of whom are caught in the love triangle that is a Levirate marriage (or yibbum as it is known in Hebrew).

It’s been slow going – unfortunately, I’ve thrown out somewhere in the region of 50,000 words – but I am now beginning to believe again that this novel will come to an end and will be published sometime this year.

In terms of actual progress, I’ve written around 60,000 keep-able words of the draft; I’ve killed the husband, Ben; and I am creating a tension between Abigail and Daniel that is starting to get momentum.

Image by Christiana Rivers https://www.zengardenproductions.com/christiana
Image by Christiana Rivers https://www.zengardenproductions.com/christiana

There is sex, but this is more than a novel about sex – it is about people and their decisions, their lives, their relationship with Judaism and community and family. Who am I kidding? It is also about sex and how it can drive us, blind us and generally muddy the water when it comes to life.

One of other big challenges is working out just how Levirate marriage laws apply in contemporary Orthodox Judaism – and what that means for the plot. It has not been as simple as I had initially imagined it would be and I am going to have to seek halachic guidance from a rabbi. But more on that later…

If you would like to hear about the book’s release (and any associated deals I might run), please join my mailing list. I promise you won’t be spammed, in fact, I am naughty for not having sent out an email in …forever!

Stay well, Shosha xx

 

Top image from www.StillsByHernan.com

Love and the Levirate marriage

I know it may seem like all is quiet on the Shosha front, but in truth in between the demands of life, I am slowly working away on a couple of projects – one of which is a novel with a Levirate marriage (in Hebrew, a yibbum) as the central narrative concern.

Interestingly, the concept of a Levirate marriage can be found in a number of different cultures and religions. In Judaism, the basic obligation of the law is that if a married man dies childless, his brother is required to marry his window and his widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband’s brother – thus ensuring a continuation of the genetic line of the deceased man.

Fortunately, in Judaism there is a get out of jail free card. Performing the ritual of halizah allows either (or both) party to  be released from the obligations of the Levirate marriage. Once halizah occurs, both parties can go off and marry whoever they choose. (Obviously, there’s more to it. Wikipedia has some good overview articles on Levirate marriage, yibbum and halizah if you are interested.)

My story’s coming along nicely – the idea has so much dramatic (and romantic) potential. Doing some research during chol hamoed Pesach – the intermediary days of Passover – I stumbled across a movie on the subject.

Loving Leah follows the story of Jake and Leah. Leah has recently been widowed by her rabbi husband, Benjamin. When Benjamin’s non-observant brother Jake is required to perform the halizah ceremony he backs out – and suddenly Jake and Leah are married.

Loving Leah is a Hallmark movie. I think it’s interesting that Hallmark went with a subject like this, but if you’re looking for sex scenes, you’re going to be disappointed with this film. Nonetheless, it’s cute – so if you are interested in watching it, you will find below a the trailer and the full movie (I’m assuming the full movie is unauthorized, but I have heard rumours that sometimes content providers allow unauthorized sharing and split the profits from advertising revenues. Otherwise it wouldn’t be fair, right?).

For anyone who has any insights on Levirate marriages/yibbum or halizah, please comment below or send me an email, message me on Facebook or tweet me. In my other life I’m doing some academic research for my Masters’ Degree on the subject and I would love to hear from you.

Hope you all had a good Passover – full of liberation and redemption.

Shosha xx

 

PS. The picture is Rembrandt’s painting of Yehudah (Judah) and Tamar – perhaps the most famous story exemplifying the Levirate marriage.