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הפרדס של עקיבא

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  43 reviews
הפרדס של עקיבא, ספרה החדש של יוכי ברנדס, הוא רומן פוקח עיניים, מהנה ומענג לאין שיעור. רבי עקיבא הוא מהדמויות הנערצות אך גם החידתיות והשנויות במחלוקת ביותר בפנתיאון האישים של העם היהודי. פרשנים רבים שברו קולמוסים בניסיון לפענח את מסתורי הדמות הזאת, שהכרעותיה עיצבו את זהותו של העם היהודי וגזרו את גורלו למשך דורות. בספרה השאפתני ביותר, ומבחינות רבות גם האקטואלי ביותר, משרטטת ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published 2012 by Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
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 ·  252 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Mimi
I've read another Brandes book (The Secret Book of Kings ) and enjoyed thoroughly. This one was also very good and I really appreciated the story of how the Jewish and early Christian communities interacted and what the Jewish community thought.
Having said that, there's a lot about the writing of the Midrash and the personalities therein that I do not know and this book assumed knowledge without really explaining. I have the feeling that I missed a lot, but what I did get was well told.
Judy
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an ambitious historical novel, translated from the Hebrew, about the life of one of the most monumental figures in Jewish history. Rabbi Akiva lived in a tumultuous time, during the Second Century CE, when the Jews were under harsh Roman rule. In fact, Rabbi Akiva was brutally murdered by the Romans as part of their "payback" to the Jews during the Bar Kochba rebellion, a rebellion that Rabbi Akiva seemed to support.

This will be a challenging book for anyone unfamiliar with the famous
...more
Cindy H.
Read this for bookclub. Far from perfect. Writing was pretty simple but not sure if that was due to translation. Slow start but story picked up towards the end. A story based on the ancient Jewish Rabbis and leaders of the early century after Christ. My biggest takeaway was that these figures from childhood lure are still men who have the same desires and traits as the “common” man and for all their holiness they mess up like the rest of us. I’m not sure how much of the story was fictionalized ...more
Jane
Thanks to LibraryThing and Gefen publishing for this book.

I really try to enjoy different types of books, especially Jewish related ones, but this one was too Biblical and historical for me and didn't get past page 25.
Chava
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do we really know about the ancient rabbis? Most scholars say that the legends of the Talmud are not biographical works as we currently think of biography. Rather, the stories teach us as much about the compilers of the Talmud as the rabbis themselves. In Rabbi Reuben Hammer’s biography of Rabbi Akiva (see The Reporter’s review at www.thereportergroup.org/Article.aspx...), the author suggested that it would be easier to write a novel about his subject because so many of the stories about ...more
Plonys
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow - fascinating to think about how Chazal (collective of Sages) may have behaved as individuals and interacted with each other. The author weaves together numerous aggadot (Talmudic stories) and teachings - many of which are cryptic one-line comments or side points - into a cohesive narrative. She builds plausible context for well known stories such as the oven of ben Achnai and the seder in Bnei Brak, then layers in commentary on the aftermath of these events that even if unrooted in sources ...more
Stephen Feingold
Amazing, Engaging, and Insightful

This book - told from the perspective of Rabbi Alina’s wife— covers the period from about 85 ce to 135 ce. The author weaves together midrash, Josephus , the Haggadah, and Jewish secular scholarship to bring together the multiple themes and complex personalities of the period that provides insight into the formulation of rabbinic Judaism. The significance of the struggle between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel is explored and explained more
...more
Sunie Levin
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Orchard
by Yochi Brandes
A compelling journey seen through the eyes of biblical Rachel about her husband Rabbi
Akiva. You are drawn in to their lives and personalities when the ancient sages come
alive as they argue how to interpret the teachings of Jewish law by old methods or new
inquiry. Rachel argues “We have free will. We choose our own ways. The course of our
lives is determined by what we do, not by what is forseen.” Rabbi Akiva answers,
“everything is forseen, yet free will is given.” Yochi
...more
Jess
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Without some context and understanding of Judaism, The Orchard can feel like stepping into an unfamiliar world.

It is, however, is a captivating retelling of well known stories and characters of Jewish faith and lore. The story, as told through a women, Rachel, highlights the beauty and tragedy of religious life. The Orchard humanizes a time, place and the people whose lives became legend.

As an agnostic, I enjoyed The Orchard as a look into how tribes of communities solidify their values and
...more
JMH
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, jewish
Wow. This is a gripping and deeply moving book. To create a cohesive narrative with compelling personalities out of fragmented episodic source material is quite an achievement. Reading this requires both an interest in tradition and a very open mind to dramatic license and new perspectives. The general setting and story arc is more or less accurate. Some of the details are based in history and/or tradition, some are not, and some are contradicted by them. But the reader who's looking for ...more
Aryeh
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eeeh. What to say about this. It's the most secular take on Talmudic midrash/aggadah that I've read in a while. I was somewhat impressed (not really in a good way) by the entire ability of the author to erase Rabbi Akiva's yearning for GD in all but a few places. On the plus side, the author has a solid grasp of canonical Talmudic literature and a wide variey of midrash. Brandes did a seamless job of stitching together multiple stories into a coherent whole. I did feel like the book took a bit ...more
Ben Pashkoff
I have read a few in this genre and usually get frustrate3d with the attempts to weave a tale and a story from the aphorisms in the Talmud. This was better than most, NEVERTHELESS there are some glaring anachronisms (wooden coffins being buried?? , hired carriages as regular conveyance from Bnei Brak t Caesaria or Yavne??) and some discourses that simply could not be. To the best of my knowlege, Pek'in is in the North and not in the SOuth (maybE there was another town of Pek'in in the South ??). ...more
Jonni Jones
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
“The Orchard” takes place in Judea in the first century after the death of Jesus. It is told from the perspective of Rachel, the wife of Rabbi Akiva, arguably Israel’s greatest sage.

To have such a beautifully rendered description of the Torah’s teachings, and how the rabbis and sages thought, interpreted, taught, and argued left me breathless with admiration for her story-telling ability. The rabbis, the sages, and the people of Israel are all brought alive in this beautiful story of prophesy
...more
Michele Kaplan-Green
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yochi Brandes is an excellent teacher and writer. The book highlights the discussions, challenges and personalities of the great rabbis, the Sanhedrin and the different schools of thought. It is interesting to read how laws and customs were established. The book also offers a great explanation of the discussions and personalities in the Passover Haggadah. It also touches upon how the Jews lived under Roman rule. Before, during and after reading the book, I question how great leaders can be ...more
Linda
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book. I will remember this one forever. It includes Kabbalah with the most famous stories written against its study. How dangerous it is. It's main character is a 1st century woman married to one of the Jewish peoples most revered sage, Akiva. And he and all the sages of the time come to life so as I read bits of Talmud I feel like I know them. Loved it! Historical fiction based on tidbits of what is known about them, masterfully researched.
Barbara C. Pollak
Historical fiction at its best! I usually read Yochi Brandes in the original Hebrew and her Melachim Gimmel (Secret Book of Kings) is one of the best books I ever read, life changing in a way similar to The Red Tent. This book did not disappoint! Brandes does her research and her novels are totally beiievable, especially if you are familiar with the material - or think you are! I highly recommend The Orchard!
Linda
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How fortunate I am to read this in English

Thank you Gefen for this gift. Some of the laws, I would feel lost, other times, I wanted to cry for the heartache they suffered. I couldn't wait to continue reading, these people lived and loved. I feel as though I am still with them. Thank you Yochi. Please translate more of your writings.
Lizz Goldstein
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had trouble warming up to Brandes's characterization of the rabbis, and as with the Secret Book of Kings I thought some of her choices were problematic. But in the end, I felt bittersweet about finishing it and I felt the warm and fuzzies of a satisfying ending to a good book so I begrudgingly concede that I liked the book.
Marklutherlawoffice
This a book I read for our synagogue book club. It's about the Sages in Israel in the first century AD-when the Romans ruled. It is good historical fiction plus informative about Rabbi Akiva, the first Yeshivas, why the Torah started to become written down in that period of time-a worthwhile (sometimes confusing with all the Rabbi names) read.
K C
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story that really brings to life the rabbis in the gemara and told from a women's perspective. I don't think I will ever again confuse which rabbi believed what, now that I have "lived" with their story. Excellent work - and so fitting to finish it on tisha b'av.
Amir
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this in the original Hebrew and found it fascinating and addictive. Cool alternative historical fiction version of the life of Rabbi Akiba's wife, all deeply rooted in the actual texts. Very fun.
Boris Feldman
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superb historical novel about the greatest sages of biblical Israel, told from the perspective of the wife of Rabbi Akiva. This is a wonderful alternative to one of the most poorly written books of modern times about the same events, As a Driven Leaf.
Ssadow
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compelling. The novel presents a part of Jewish history, that is mentioned at Passover, but never discussed.
Liora Sophie
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book if you are interested in Judaism or Jewish history, or Jewish. The main thing it does is takes the million Rabbis you've heard of and organizes them in your head: Who lives when, whose student is whom, where they taught, how they were related and how they interacted with each other. When reading about them in the scriptures these things are never clear, and one can easily get the illusion that they sit around a table and discuss things, although many of the characters ...more
Susan
Jun 16, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by Boris
Adrian Durlester
I thought The Secret Book of Kings couldn't be topped. I was wrong. Yochi Brandes has written a book as brilliant as, and in some ways superior to her previous novel. I'm not really qualified to comment on Dan Liebenson's translation, but it flows as easily as his translation of her previous novel. As someone who loves to read and also dabbles with writing what can best be described a biblical fiction (or in this case, perhaps fiction of the Tannaim) I am drawn deeply into the story, and will ...more
Maegan
Thank you to LibraryThing and Gefen publishing for my free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, as interesting a premise and beginning chapters as this book had, I just couldn't finish it. I got about half way through before I decided I was bored enough to give up. I may try again later, because it had an interesting beginning, and I skimmed the end a bit.
Michael
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a remarkable book, which, if I could, I would rate with 4.5 stars. The book is a tour de force. It imagines the story of the rabbis after the destruction of the Second Temple and deftly integrates Talmudic and Mishnaic quotes into a convincing narrative that makes a wide number of rabbis come quite alive. The most remarkable passage, in my opinion, was an evening in which the rabbis got together to fix a new way to celebrate Passover (and set the Passover seder. She tells the story of ...more
Amy Ariel
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-challenge
Yes. This book.

It grows from the texts themselves.

It’s dense. The first 1/4 might be a challenge to get into. The translated writing sometimes a little stodgy.

And the story is beautiful, the fleshing out of the sages inspired, and the end- of course - tragic.
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Yochi Brandes was born in Israel in 1959 to a family of Hassidic rabbis. With degrees in both Biblical Studies and Judaic Studies, she has been a prominent and sought-after lecturer on the Bible and on Jewish cultural topics for many years.

One of Israel's bestselling writers, she is the author of seven historical novels and two non-fiction books, all centered on Jewish ideas, history, and culture.
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“interpretations speak to the mind, while stories penetrate directly to the heart.” 0 likes
“I believed that only constant surrender would ensure our survival, but Rabbi Akiva and Bar Kokhba proved to me with a string of brilliant victories that if the nation of Israel believes in itself and unifies in a common goal, no power in the world can stand against it, just as it was in the days of the Maccabees.” 0 likes
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