Hannah and Peninah


In the Haftarah portion for Rosh Hashanah, we are introduced to Hannah and Peninah, two wives of Elkanah. These women are depicted in both the Tanakh and Midrash as antagonists, opposites, and rivals. In this Midrashic Monologue, we explore the parallels between these women’s needs and hopes. We allow them to tell us of their dreams and of their pain.

(Click HERE to access a pdf version of this #MidrashicMonologue that displays the two women's prayers side by side.)


HANNAH:

Elohai Rachel, God of Rachel:

Give me a child.

Make my body a sanctuary where new life will take hold.

Let my baby’s laugh heal the brokenness that has spread through my heart.

My husband’s love is not enough.

I yearn for more.


Ima Shebashamayim, Mother who is in the heavens:

I am loved but feel alone.

What more must I do to win your favor?

I am overwhelmed by grief and

desperation.

This is not the life I want.


Elohai - My God:

I lack that which I hold most precious, a child who I can love above all others.

I pray for this dream so strongly that men think me intoxicated.

But I am not drunk, just passionate and in pain.


Elohai imoteinu - God of our Mothers:

Fill the emptiness in my life.

Allow me to be the mother I desperately wish to be.


Shma Koli- Please hear my prayer.


PENINAH:

Elohai Leah, God of Leah:

Give me his love.

Make my heart the home where his love will take hold.

Let my husband’s laughter heal the brokenness that has spread through my soul.

My children’s love is not enough. I yearn for more.


Ima Shebashamayim, Mother who is in the heavens:

I am a mother but feel lonely.

What more must I do to win his favor?

I am overwhelmed by jealousy and desperation.

This is not the life I want.


Elohai - My God:

I lack that which I hold most precious, a husband who loves me above all others.

I wish for this dream so desperately that I cannot stop myself from lashing out.

But I am not cruel, just passionate and in pain.


Elohai imoteinu - God of our Mothers:

Fill the emptiness in my life.

Allow me to be the wife I desperately wish to be.


Shma Koli- Please hear my prayer.

#RoshHashanah #Hannah #Peninah