'“Outside the Natural Order”: Temer'l, the Female Hasid

T. Kauffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women are far more present in Hasidic tales than they are in Hasidic teachings. Temerl Sonnenberg-Bergson, a famous wealthy patron of Poland's tsadikim, is the heroine of a number of Hasidic tales. She is esteemed for her support of tsadikim, but is looked upon as a woman who deviates from the rigid social order of which she is a part, making her a threat to community norms. This article focuses on the literary figure of Temerl, who, within Hasidic discourse, comes to represent a kind of hermaphrodite: on the one hand, her wealth augments her material, feminine side and intensifies her sexual attraction; on the other, her power and influence construct her as masculine, casting the tsadik whom she supports in a feminine role which he must strive to overcome
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-109
JournalStudia Judaica
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


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