The Orchard

The Israel Book Publishers Association's Platinum Medal

The Steimatzky Prize for outstanding writers

The novel we’ve been waiting two thousand years for.” -Sarah Blau, author

At the heart of the book is Rabbi Akiva and his complicated relationship with his wife, Rachel, who met him when he was a forty-year-old illiterate shepherd, married him against her father’s will, and compelled him to study the Torah (the five books of Moses) until he became the nation of Israel’s greatest sage. His novel method of interpreting the scriptures provides his people with a life-giving elixir, but also gives them a lethal injection the Bar Kokhba Revolt (the second rebellion against the Romans), which brought a terrible holocaust upon the nation of Israel and nearly caused its end. The Orchard offers a brilliant narrative solution to the riddle of the Bar Kokhba Revolt by tying the rebellion to one of the most fascinating stories in Jewish tradition, the story of four sages who entered a metaphysical orchard: one died, one lost his mind, one became a hater of God, and one, Rabbi Akiva, made it out unscathed. Or did he?

2012 | 365 pp. | English translation available | Rights Sold: English (world), Russian, Hebrew

“The novel we’ve been waiting two thousand years for. I read it in one sitting. The novel breathes life into the first century AD, and transforms the anonymous group known as the wise elders into complex individuals with separate, defined personalities.” – Sarah Blau, author

“This novel is the work of a wise scholar who weaves together hundreds of Midrashim and Jewish laws. Yochi Brandes makes a contemporary statement without shrugging off the past.” – Rabbi Shai Piron, former Minister of Education

Yochi Brandes was born in Israel to a family of Hassidic rabbis. With degrees in both biblical and Judaic studies, she has been a prominent and sought-after lecturer on the Bible and on Jewish cultural topics for many years. She was awarded the Israel Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize for all eight of her novels.
Yochi Brandes is one of the three most-read authors in Israel, and has sold over 1 million books in Israel.