Hisdadukh, whose Persian name means Hisdas
daughter, is one of the most frequently mentioned women
in the Talmud. Her story, set in the household of the 3rd
century Babylonian sage, unfolds as this sacred Jewish text
is being created by her father, his colleagues, and their
students. Her world is full of conflict. Rome, fast becoming
a Christian empire, battles Zoroastrian Persia for dominance.
the same time, a small group of beleaguered rabbis try to
establish new Jewish traditions after Jerusalems Holy
Temple is destroyed. Against this backdrop Hisdadukh embarks
on the tortuous path to become an enchantress in the very
land where the word 'magic' originated, where some women draw
on the occult to protect and heal, while others employ sorcery
to injure and to gain power for themselves.
the conflict that affects her most arises when, as a child,
her father brings his two best students before her and asks
whom she wants to marry. To everyones surprise, she
replies, Both of them, after which the younger
student says hell be the last.
she marries the older youth, although it is apparent that
his rival has not lost interest in her. But Hisdadukh
is to suffer the greatest losses a woman can experience,
and to find solace, flees to Eretz Israel. There she will
face an evil sorceress who intends to destroy her, an
old suitor she despises, and a mosaic artisan who offers
her happiness at the cost of repudiating everything her
family values most.