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Exodus

The Magnitude of Miriam Through Midrash

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled to make the Torah meaningful to me.  In first grade, the boys in my class had already found strong and charismatic role models in Moses, Aaron, Abraham, and countless others. I, and the other girls in my class, were left to search for leaders in soft-spoken and often overlooked sisters and mothers. 

The Forgotten Sister: Miriam

Miriam is one of many strong women described in the Jewish texts, and is far too often forgotten when we retell our stories. Two stories stand out to me in illustrating that Miriam is a truly wise and courageous woman: when Miriam saves her brother Moses in his youth, and when she leads the Jewish people in celebration after they successfully cross the Red Sea to safety. 

Passover Poetry: Giving Miriam her song

In recent years, Miriam has become regular presence at the Passover table.  For some she is there in the form of Miriam’s cup, a ritual addition to the Passover Seder created by Jewish feminists. For others, she is invoked through Debbie Friedman’s joyous song, an occasion, at many seders, for women to sing and dance, continuing or reexperiencing the celebration of freedom, led by Miriam, upon crossing the Red Sea.   

Celebrating Miriam

Big sister. Song leader. Outspoken challenger. Prophet. In her many roles, Miriam is integral to the story of Exodus. Her legacy is complex, dynamic, and hopeful.

Faith is packing your timbrel

Last Pesach, I heard a sermon given in which my friend and rabbi used the phrase “faith is packing your timbrel” and I got super fixated on this concept and have found it running through my head in difficult times, a sort of mantra to reflect upon.

Miriam and the Passover Story

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that Passover is my favorite holiday.

Miriam: Bible

Negative as well as positive traditions about Miriam testify to her prominence, power, and prestige in early Israel. She participates with Moses and Aaron to lead the Israelite community during the exodus and the wanderings. Her role in saving her baby brother and in celebrating the crossing of the sea highlights her concern for her people.

Hebrew Women in the Wilderness: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis portray the women of the wilderness generation as righteous, not caught up in the sins that swept Israel. Moreover, the women sought to correct what the men had spoiled, repairing the breaches for which the men were responsible. The Rabbis cite a number of examples of sins committed by the Israelites during the period of their wanderings in the wilderness which the women attempted to prevent.

Hebrew Women in Egypt: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis famously maintain that the Israelites were redeemed from Egypt by merit of the righteous women of that generation, who strove mightily to continue to bring forth children, regardless of the grueling servitude and despite Pharaoh’s decree that the male children be killed. God aided them in realizing their wish by miraculous means.

Hebrew Women in Egypt: Bible

Two references to women at the beginning of the story of the exodus focus on aspects of childbirth and lactation. Women are prominent in this narrative—as givers of life. They perhaps prefigure the “birth” of Israel in the story that follows.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Exodus." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/tags/exodus>.

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