“Tell me, who are you…”

Magda van der Ende.  New book release, January 2019.

Most biblical women are known as the wife of an important biblical figure. The focus on patriarchs and other wise men pushed the woman into the background. In commentaries, women’s behaviour is often judged from culturally determined male norms about what does and does not belong. Motherhood seems to be the main task. The history of exegesis is extremely fascinating from a gender perspective! 

In ‘Tell me, who are you …’ women play the main role. Not to push the role of men to the background, but to bring the women into the picture. Stories remain alive only when they are told over and over again, adapted to the language of the time.

Ten women: not twelve or nine? The number is determined by the structure of the tree of life of the Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition. Mysticism is universal at the same time. The wording of mystical experience and transfer of wisdom happens in a specific culture and tradition. 

The tree of life has ten spheres or sefirot. The stories about the ten women are described in the light of one of the spheres. According to Magda van der Ende, they are archetypes in the psyche of every person. They resonate naturally with everyone who hears or reads them.

‘Tell me, who are you …’ not only offers a deeper understanding of the role of THE TEN women with the aid of Jewish, kabbalistic and extra-biblical sources. The book also wants to be an introduction to the world of Kabbalah. Connecting stories about women to Kabbalistic principles makes the great treasure of Kabbalah wisdom accessible, for women and men. Every drop of wisdom that is not lost but passed on will benefit mankind. 

These stories also inspired the sculptor, Thijs Kwakernaak*, to make ten related images from different types of wood, which were exhibited in Dom church in Utrecht for the launch of the book. An English translation of the book is anticipated in the near future.


  • Pocketbook: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Uitgeverij Van Warven (25 Jan 2019)
  • Language: Dutch
  • ISBN-13:978-9492421746


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