To all our readers who celebrate, wishing you a Happy Passover and Happy Easter. May you continue to blossom and find freedom. From the Between the Lines family.
Amidst Jewish tradition, the Passover tale is told annually, complete with the same ancient customs to commemorate when the Jews were slaves in Egypt. Moses is the central character, as the prophet who was tasked by God to stand up against the Pharaoh and lead the Jewish people out of slavery towards the promised land. The tale could not be told without Moses; however, Moses would not be alive if not for his big sister and savior, Miriam.
Miriam is the most mentioned feminine figure in the Bible, her name dropped a mere four times. As the foundation of Judaism is built in the masculine perspective, this is noted in the highest honor, and Miriam is known as a virtuous prophetess.
To further support the rising of women’s voices, perhaps it is time to ponder the Passover tale from Miriam’s perspective. The story starts when Pharaoh commanded that all first born boys in Egypt be killed. A child wise beyond her years, Miriam was beside the river where her little brother Moses was cast away, and spotted him being picked up by Batya, Pharaoh’s daughter. Stepping into her fear, Miriam approached the stranger and offered a solution to nourish the baby. She accepted, and Miriam, using her intuitive prowess and most importantly, her voice, saved her baby brother, opened a channel for him to be cared for by their mother, and built an inspiring bond between women based on their shared instincts of motherhood.
As Miriam grew up, and alongside her brother Aaron, they were a support system to Moses, who lived with a speech impediment. Like every entrepreneur understands, a successful movement begins with a strong support system. Miriam was a voice who rallied her fellow Jews around Moses, encouraged them to listen, trust, and ultimately sparked the movement of the Jews to escape Egypt and begin a long, uncertain journey, away from everything they knew towards the hope of a new home. Imagine convincing a hoard of Jewish mothers to leave their kitchens before their bread came out of the oven. It’s my bet, that was Miriam.
Along that journey, where Miriam was, a well of water sprang, and her presence nourished the survival of the Jewish people. Basic needs met, Miriam also used the power of music, with her handy tambourine, to lead a 40-year desert wandering with an optimistic and energizing soundtrack to the exodus, offering a spot of light during the darker times, when the Jews needed reminders to celebrate their way forward to a better, brighter life.
Time and time again, Miriam invites the importance of speaking up, following her intuition, and celebrating with joy, despite the danger or fear she may have felt. She realized the power of her voice to matter for something bigger than herself, and so she was willing to take the risk of speaking up, for her family and the Jewish people.
Ironically, towards the end of her life, Miriam was punished for speaking against Moses. In the Jewish tradition, evil speech of another is a most serious sin, and so she was given leprosy and cast away. While Moses prayed for her healing, the story makes an example of Miriam, and she died alone before reaching the promised land.
May every one of us channel our own inner Miriam. May we find the strength to speak up for the causes we care about, with pure and good intention. May we follow our intuition and trust with certainty that one voice is powerful enough to change a life, a community, a faith, and perhaps, a whole planet.