Dear Family and Friends,
Last night I went to a dinner and they had a presentation from a children’s theater group of Fiddler on the Roof. They sang “tradition” and danced around looking like children of the shteatel. It is interesting because tradition has always been part of my life, but more than just matzah ball soup on Friday night. Tradition or Mesorah as it translated makes me who I am. Mesorah is the link that was passed down from my mother to me and will be IYH be passed down to my children as what makes me a Jew. Mesorah helps guide my life and my choices and ironically, Mesorah is the through the Jewish woman and only she has the ability to truly pass it on.
Although in Fiddler on the Roof’s version of “Tradition” a Jewish woman runs the home, there is so much more to her. She has a strong gut, she is courageous and she is a leader in her family. This is theme of women leaders is highlighted through out Parshas Shemos through the actions of Miriam, Yocheved, Shifra and Puah and Tziporah. Due to Pharoah’s decree to kill the Jewish boy babies, Yocheved and Amram, the leaders of the Jewish people in Egypt, separate. Miriam, their daughter has a prophecy that the savior of the Jewish people will come from her parents and told them that they must get back together. Miriam had stronger Emunah than her father here and in a time of darkness had the strength to convince her parents to do what is right. When Moshe is put on a basket on the river, “His sister stationed herself at a distance to know what would be done with him” (2:4). Miriam was confident that Moshe would be saved. The question was only what would be done, meaning how God would cause him to survive.
Shifra and Puah, the Jewish midwives ( many say that they were Yocheved and Miriam) save Jewish babies and then tell Pharoah excuses on why the babies were saved. The Parshah ends off with Tziporah, the wife of Moshe, who saves her husband by giving her son a bris. The impression we have of her is of a figure of monumental determination who, at a crucial moment, has a better sense than Moshe himself of what God requires.
So last night as they sang “tradition” I started to think of what tradition means to me. Tradition is the strength of the Jewish woman and her role in the continuity of the Jewish people. Her courage in times of darkness and determination is what has held us up as a Jewish nation. Without her, there would be no Jewish people.
Have a beautiful and uplifting Shabbas! May tradition is always being an integral part of our life.
ps.Mazel Tov to my cousin Miriam on the birth of her baby boy!