Friday, April 02, 2021

If Not for the Women...

The splitting of the Yam Suf - the reed (red) sea - is considered the greatest miracle of Pesach. I can only imagine the euphoria of that moment. Israel’s oppressors were taken down in one fell swoop -  drowning in them in the sea while chasing Israel as they were crossing it on dry land. 

Mida K’neged Mida. It is God’s way to mete out justice in kind. Years earlier - fearing a leader would be born at that time that would arise and free Egypt’s Jewish slaves, Egypt proceeded to drown all the male Jewish children. God repaid them in kind by drowning them. 

Tomorrow is the anniversary of that event. This is why we read that portion of the Torah that describes it. That portion also tells us that it was at that moment that Moshe and all of the Bnei Yisroel broke out in spontaneous song (Shemos 15:1). So great is that song - Chazal has incorporated it into our daily prayers – recited every morning of the year. 

It is not insignificant that the Torah also mentions that Moshe’s sister, Miriam, took out her tambourine and led the women in song, too (Shemos 15:20). Why single them out? It is because it was through our righteous women that the entirety of the Jewish people were saved. The Gemarah (Sotah 11b ) tells us that it was the women who maintained the Jewish names of their children. It was the women who enticed the men into having children – even though they were slaves suffering under the most oppressive of conditions.  

Chazal also tells us that the Jewish people had descended into the 49th level of spiritual impurity (Tumah), which was the last chance for their salvation. Had they sunk one more level they would not have been saved. It was the women who saved us from that fate.

How ironic it is that we live in a word today wherein the most righteous looking among us are trying to erase women from the public eye when it is the Torah itself that does the opposite. And as indicated by Chazal - it is they who deserve the entire credit for our salvation.

Something to think about on this day as we are about to enter the final day(s) of Pesach.  

With that, I would like to wish all – a joyous rest of Pesach. 

Chag Sameach