“By the merit of the righteous women of that generation were the Israelites delivered from Egypt” (Talmud Sotah 11b).
The Talmud teaches that throughout the story of Passover there are crucial moments when strong, righteous women step forward to enable liberation to take place. Yocheved makes the courageous decision to give up her baby boy, Moses, in order to save him. Miriam stands on the shores of the Nile, making sure her baby brother is safe. Pharaoh’s daughter rescues Moses from the river, protects him from Pharaoh, and raises him as a prince of Egypt. Tziporah saves her husband Moses’s life on the trip from Midian back to Egypt. And as the Israelites celebrate on the far shore of the Sea of Reeds, Miriam leads all the women in song and dance in praise of the miracle of deliverance, a scene imagined in art by our own Betsy Teutsch.
As we prepare for Passover, we need to consider: who are the righteous women in our lives who have enabled our liberation and our freedom? And who are the righteous women of our generation who will lead the way to liberation and freedom, not only for the Jewish people, but also for all who dwell on earth? By the merit of the righteous women of our generation may we all be delivered from the constriction of Egypt to the expansive freedom yet to come.