Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln. Details 60 years of life as a Jewish woman in the middle ages

Essay by biytsUniversity, Bachelor'sB, November 2002

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The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln provides an inside look into the life of a Jewish woman in the middle ages. The author of the book, Gluckel, probably never thought her memoir would last for generations, but there is a lot that can be discovered from this deeply personal look into her life. Gluckel wrote this memoir to her children to detail the many events that occurred in her life. Her book covers a wide breadth of experiences from the mundane, to the tragic, to the joyful. No matter what happened to Gluckel in her life, she always maintained her deep faith in God rooted in Jewish religious observance. Without ever second guessing God's decrees, she accepted the good with the bad.

Although she begins her tale by saying, "This my children will be no book of morals," (Gluckel, 1) she immediately launched into a directive to her children on how to live as faithful Jews. In this narrative the Torah is considered a guide for life. Throughout the book, we see how Gluckel's various life cycles revolve around the Torah and the Jewish holidays. She encouraged her children to learn Torah diligently, and to follow the letter of the law in their business activities. She instructed her children to be honest with matters concerning money, and with all people so as not to profane God's name. Gluckel did not just expect her children to follow her words, but her very actions embodied the words she spoke. Her countless business dealings were complemented by her desire to be righteous to all involved. Towards the end of her life, Gluckel's daughter helped her mother with all her needs because she could no longer help herself. Gluckel's daughter's great respect for her mother was surely an effect of...