Noah's Wife: The Story of Naamah
By Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Illustrated by Bethanne Andersen
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2002, 32 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - August 3, 2012
This delightful children's tale is based on an imaginative elaboration of the biblical text contained in the ancient Midrash Genesis Rabbah, which states that Noah's wife was named Naamah "because her deeds were neimim, Hebrew for "pleasing." The book focuses on what Naamah did during and after the famous biblical flood. It helps us see how women and men are partners in all that transpires. The author is the second woman who was ordained as a rabbi, but her book, which was awarded a Publishers Weekly "Best Book," is appropriate for and will be pleasing to people of all faiths. The illustrator has a master's degree in visual art and her art works appear in museums.
While the Bible tells us that God instructed Noah to save the animals by taking two of every kind, and seven of some, aboard the ark that saved him and his family, Sasso reveals that God gave Naamah a different mission, to "take two of every kind of living plant and bring each one onto the ark." Sasso describes Naamah's difficulties and how she overcame them, and about her decision about weeds, such as dandelions. Sasso also reveals how the dove was able to bring back an olive branch to Noah and Naamah in the ark to show that the flood waters had receded: how could the dove find an olive when the flood destroyed everything?
Children will enjoy this tale and learn much from it.