If I showed you what’s going on under the covers, would you still love me?
It’s been far too long since I put my head outside into the world and no one is to blame but me. I’m sorry.
My novel, the one I’ve been promising forever, the one about a levirate love story (yibbum), is finally starting to come together. I’m excited, I think it’s going to be good!
Would you like to have a look at the opening scene? Please keep in mind that this is pre-edit and that things may change, but I wanted to share it with you…
They had only been sitting shiva for a few hours; the first hours of a week-long formalized period of mourning that Abigail expected would seem like an eternity. She already felt as though she had been sitting for days on this low mourner’s stool. As was if she brought with her a cumulative sensation, the feeling in her body after weeks of sitting by Ben’s hospital bed. That same stiffness; the numbness she experienced after waking up in a chair – another set of hours in the same unnatural position, waiting for Ben to wake up.
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.
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 halizahif 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.
PS. The picture is Rembrandt’s painting of Yehudah (Judah) and Tamar – perhaps the most famous story exemplifying the Levirate marriage.