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Yentl the Yeshiva Boy A Story

- Abstract

AFTER HER FATHER’ S death, Yentl had no reason to remain in Yanev. She was all alone in the house. To be sure, lodgers were willing to move in and pay rent; and the marriage brokers flocked to her door with offers from Lublin, Tomashev, Zamosc. But Yentl didn’t want to get married. Inside her, a voice repeated over and over: “No!” What becomes of a girl when the wedding’s over? Right away she starts bearing and rearing. And her mother- in-law lords it over her. Yentl knew she wasn’t cut out for a woman’s life. She couldn’t sew, she couldn’t knit. She let the food burn and the milk boil over; her Sabbath pudding never turned out right, and her challah dough didn’t rise. Yentl much preferred men’s activities to women’s. Her father Reb Todros, may he rest in peace, during many bedridden years had studied Torah with his daughter as if she were a son. He told Yentl to lock the doors and drape the windows, then together they pored over the Pentateuch, the Mishnah, the Gemara, and the Commentaries. She had proved so apt a pupil that her father used to say:

“Yentl-you have the soul of a man.”

“So why was I born a woman?”

“Even Heaven makes mistakes.”

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