The thirteenth-century Spanish Jewish mystical classic Sefer ha-Zohar interprets the biblical matriarch Rachel's death in a manner distinct from earlier Jewish literature. Borrowing elements from Christianity, it presents a narrative that mirrors Christ's Passion, encouraging readers to compare and evaluate Jewish and Christian truth claims in relation to each other. Such comparison reveals a subtle but strategic critique of medieval Western Christianity's anti-Jewish polemic, which developed in innovative ways during the period of the Zohar's composition. Additionally, the Zohar's correlation of the feminine Rachel with the masculine Christ offers insight into differences between medieval and modern assumptions regarding gendered symbols.
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