Meet Women in the Bible Root Source Teacher, Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler

Rivkah's photo1Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler, our newest Root Source teacher, grew up in an unaffiliated Jewish home and has gone on to become a sought after teacher, writer and the wife of an Orthodox rabbi, Root Source’s own Rabbi Elan Adler.

How did this wonder woman change her life? Growing up in New York and South Florida, Rivkah thought that the only observant Jews lived in Miami Beach and were a dying breed. While getting her PhD in Higher and Adult Education from the University of Maryland, she found her way to an Introduction to Judaism class being taught by Reform and Conservative rabbis to non-Jews considering marrying a Jew. “It was just my level,” Rivkah recalls.

After completing the Introduction to Judaism course and having an adult Bat Mitzvah, Dr. Adler met a Jewish outreach professional who gave her a pop-quiz on Judaism. She failed royally.

Realizing that she still lacked basic knowledge of her own religion started Dr. Adler on her pursuit of Bible true studies.

Rivkah chose to focus on biblical women following several experiences in the Orthodox Jewish world which made her question the traditional view of women. She spent years exclusively learning what historical and accepted sources said about the status of women. This led to her well received teachings on Women in the Bible. In fact, for about three years she was the only Orthodox woman to have a Bible column in the Baltimore Jewish Times.

Following the tragedies of September 11, 2001, Rivkah became the motivating force behind her family moving to Israel, which they did in 2010. She has been blogging about women, Judaism and the importance of Jews living in Israel since 2004.

Root Source (RS): Why do you particularly feel that the study of women in the Bible is so important?
Dr. Adler: We know that we are near the end of days. Our sources tell us that the status of women will be restored at this time. Not that men and women will be the same at all. That is not our purpose. But, rather, that we will fix the mistakes that Eve made in the Garden of Eden and bring the final redemption. By learning what this is all about, we can all do our part to speed the redemption.

RS: Do you have a favorite biblical woman?
Dr. Adler: Serach the daughter of Asher is one of my favorites. Most people have never even heard of her. Yet, she had a powerful influence on the Jewish people for generations. She is a good example of the strength of women in the Bible. Avigail, one of King David’s wives, is also special to learn about.

When starting to research these women, you gain the greatest appreciation for the depths of Bible study using traditional sources. You can reach deeper and deeper inside and pull out more and more practical insights for today.

RS: What led you to teach on Root Source?

Dr. Adler: In 2002, I was working to recruit Jewish exchange students to study at the University of Haifa. It was the height of the second intifada and Jew students were discouraged from coming to Israel. Christian Zionists, however, were not dissuaded. Therefore, my work changed from bringing Jews to Israel to bringing Christians. I quickly realized the sincerity of this special group of people.

RS: What do you hope people will gain from your teaching on Root Source?
Dr. Adler: I feel really honored to be the first female Root Source teacher. I think that it is really important for people to not only have a man’s view of the Bible but also a woman’s view. Women have a different perspective and approach to learning. I hope to balance the scales in what I am teaching.

8 thoughts on “Introducing Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you Rivkah! There have been many women’s studies within my Christian life.One can benefit greatly. However, after being introduced to Hebrew Roots, some Hebrew and Torah. The language of Hebrew comes with a different thought process from the English/Greek/Roman influences. Simply put, not every Hebrew word has an exact meaning, from Greek to English; something gets lost a bit. The words are more black and white on a page. Learning to read Hebrew opens up a wider world of color and motion and great depth; that’s not there in the English bibles. Also, the translations do not come with the culture or history of it’s times. So, the first Jewish Female teacher I ‘ve had is Rabbi Chaim Richmond’s wife Rena. From her Hebrew perspective and resources not readily available to Christians; when she teaches about the women in the Bible; they become real people who lived and not just hmm examples.

    I know from being familiar with Rabbi Adler’s teachings; that Rivah will be a well spring of life and learning to all the women. I highly recommend if you are curious; that you dive in, the water is fine; and drink from her well.

    1. Rivkah Adler

      Janice,

      Sounds like you’ve already had an excellent introduction to the general topic of the Women in the Bible channel from a Jewish perspective. Thanks for the endorsement!

      Rivkah

  2. Avatar

    Shalom Rivka!
    I enjoy Root Source immensely, but am new. I was wondering if you could elaborate on what you meant by “what Eve did”. The reason I am asking is that Adom walked and talked intimately with G-d everyday in the Garden prior to Eve’s creation, so when he chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life (G-d Himself), he actively knew he was choosing his own will to have the woman G-d created for him, rather than G-d’s will – obedience which brings blessings. When faced with the scrutiny of G-d’s eyes, he shifted the blame to “the woman you gave me….” instead of taking a step back to get perspective and clearly see it was that nagging voice of doubt: “surely G-d did not say……” which squarely put the responsibility upon that old crafty serpent! Thank you for answering; it’s my first post. G-d bless.

    1. Rivkah Adler

      Deborah,

      Welcome to Root Source and thanks for writing. My answer to “what Eve did” is actually the core of my lessons on Eve. Based on what you’ve written about your understanding, I think you’ll find the lessons, especially Eve #4 – How did the snake convince Eve to eat? most interesting. After you’ve listened to that lesson, feel free to comment again.

      Rivkah

  3. Avatar

    Shalom Rivkah, I am putting this message here because I do not know how else to reach you.
    A bit of interesting information about the name of Gog/Magog. I was living in NY in 1959 during the refusal of dock workers to unload Russian cargo from ships at the port. The Russians relabeled the cargo to read MAGOG. The dock workers unloaded the cargo not knowing from where it originated. I hope that you can find some documentation of this event. Thank you for your insightful articles. I really appreciate all that you do and especially your work to help new immigrants and women. Have you read “God’s Word to Women” by Katherine Bushnell? I think that she lived in the 1800’s. She lived in England and was fluent in seven languages including Hebrew. She was exceptional in her research. My mother was instrumental in having this book reprinted. I think that you would really appreciate her book. If you can not find it, let me know. I can find one for you. The L-rd bless you out of Zion,
    Roz Hager

    1. Rivkah Lambert Adler
      Rivkah Lambert Adler

      Roz,

      Thanks for being in touch and for your kind words. I have never heard of that incident on the docks of New York but I’m going to look and see what, if anything, I can find online.

      I have never read Katherine Bushnell’s book, but, as an Orthodox Jewish woman, teacher and rabbi’s wife, I have amassed a pretty significant collection of books about women in Judaism 😉

      best,
      Rivkah

  4. Avatar

    Dear Rivkah: I am currently writing a book called “Women in Judaism” with an analyses of the ‘Rights and Duties of Jewish Women under the Holy Scriptures’. and the Halacha exempting women from ‘time bound’ Torah Commandments. I challenge the Halacha as being irrelevant due to changed circumstances in recent generations, and also due to its unreasonable justification as provided by our Sages. I submit that Torah principles as expressed in Torah texts relating to Biblical female heroines indicate that God does not discriminate against women in relation to His Torah Commandments unless such view is specifically asserted in the relevant texts. Examining Eve’s part in committing the Old Sin i found she remains condemned by mankind together with all women after her however as to the Matriarchs I found that whereas Sarah who lied about her laughter at the presence of God’s angel was rebuked and Abraham’s laughter was judged under different criterion. Sara’s case can teach us that she may have been punished for doubting God’s powers because she was not assertive and failed to comprehend her spiritual power or underestimated her role in materialising God’s Master Plan for the Creation of His Chosen People. However Rebecca, unlike Sarah, who was a couragous woman and recognised her spiritual powers from early age, was prepared to acted deceitfully, when realising that Itzhak failed to see the magnitude of Esau’s bad deeds, by initiating a conspiracy behind Itzhak’s back only because she wanted to ensure that Ya’acov will extract maximum blessings to enable him to be the bearer of Abraham’s mission. Indeed in the case of Rachel aches to bear a child, Ya’acov advised her to progress spiritually rather than to dwell on her sufferings due to her infertility. Ya’acov guidance meant that he considered women as equal to men in their respective spiritual potential and their intellectual faculties. However Biblical Commentators criticised Ya’acov, and their opinion was based on their biased attitude towards women. I mention Rabbi Soloveitchik opinion that women in our generation must act under their own initiative to hasten Israel Redemption.

    If you wish to exchange views on these matter, please write me an email.
    M. Zeckler, M.Jur, LLM

    1. Avatar

      Hi Malka,

      Besides teaching about women in the Bible for Root-Source, I have been studying the issue of women in Judaism since 1988. I have an extensive library on the topic, ranging from very liberal perspectives to very right-wing.

      I agree that there was a difference between the status of the Biblical matriarchs and women in rabbinic literature. My position is this.

      There are mystical reasons for the diminution of the status of women for most of human history. Prophecy tells us the original, proper status of women and value of the feminine will be restored along with geula. Two important books on this subject that have changed my paradigm are:

      The Moon’s Lost Light by Devorah Fastag
      Kabbalistic Writings on the Nature of Masculine and Feminine by Sarah Schneider

      As an Orthodox Jew, I’m not at all comfortable agreeing with this statement of yours: “I challenge the Halacha as being irrelevant due to changed circumstances in recent generations, and also due to its unreasonable justification as provided by our Sages.” Circumstances have changed and the tikkun of Chava is being completed. But that’s not a reason to throw out the halacha, much as it’s sometimes a thorn in my side. It’s in flux. And I look forward to the resolution in favor of valuing feminine spiritual energy.

      best,
      Rivkah

Comments are closed.