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IN THE MERIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS WOMEN
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It is only She who can go forth to meet and overcome the threats to the sanctity of the Jewish home.

 

The natural hope and goal of the Jewish woman is to bring new souls into the world. This inborn trait saved the Jewish People during one of the darkest periods of its history, the period of its enslavement in Egypt.  Indeed, our Sages teach us that it hastened the nation's redemption from bondage.

 

The scheming Egyptian rulers hoped to eliminate the coming generation of Jewish youth, so that, to their thinking, the nation would soon disappear.  It was a sort of passive genocide.  To implement their plan, the taskmasters forced the men to work extremely long hours without rest.  Even when they were allowed a minimum of respite, all male slaves were ordered to sleep on the work site, that is, in the fields where they were currently assigned to labor teams. 

 

By keeping the men away from home, Pharaoh's diabolical plotters hoped to prevent the birth of another generation of Hebrews.  Thus, they assumed, within a few decades, Jews would be a thing of the past.

 

They did not reckon, however, with the Jewish mother and her concern for her nation's future.  The women did not lose heart.  Instead, they donned fine garments and went out to the fields to meet their husbands.  Despite the subhuman conditions which the wicked Egyptians imposed on them, the women were determined to bring another generation to the world and thus ensure the continuation of the Jewish nation.  They never gave up hope of G-d's promise to redeem them, and it was their fervent hope that the children they were bringing into the world would indeed share in that redemption.

 

 

G-d saw their faithful devotion to the future of their nation, and hastened His rescue.  The Talmud tell us that “in the merit of the righteous women of that generation, the Children of Israel were redeemed from Egypt.”

 

Shortly after the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites joined together to erect the Tabernacle, the Mishkan, in the wilderness.  This sanctuary represented the link between G-d and His people.  The miraculous events of the Exodus bound the People of Israel to their Creator with enduring ties of love and awe.  The Sages compare the Exodus to the engagement of the future bride to her fiancé, of Israel to their  Maker.  The Giving of the Law at Sinai is likened to the  wedding ceremony which follows.  Israel took a vow of loyalty to G-d, to be His people forever after.  The new “couple” then proceeded to build their home, the Mishkan, the Tabernacle where they would dwell together in a sanctuary of peace and harmony.

 

The Tabernacle in which the Holy Presence of G-d was united with the Jewish People came into being from the determination of righteous women that the House of Israel continue to endure, despite Egypt's cruel attempts to wipe it out.  To them, the Jewish home was a sacred site in its own right, and they were determined to preserve its sanctity forever.  From this sublime longing to build and to preserve the future of the Jewish home, the building block of the People of Israel, there arose the Tabernacle which housed the Holy of Holies within it.

 

Throughout all future generations, the Jewish woman's natural instinct and superior understanding led her to protect and shelter her family from alien influences. Today, in our generation, when appalling physical and spritual dangers threaten the sanctity of the Jewish home, the unique power of the Jewish woman to meet the challenge is more essential than ever before.  It is only she who can go forth to meet  and overcome the threats to the sanctity of the Jewish home.

 

The reward of their struggle against the forces that would taint our tradition of the secure and stable Jewish home are immeasurable; not the least among them is the hastening of the redemption of their people.  As in Egypt of old, so today, let these devoted women strengthen  their husbands and families with words of warm encouragement: “Despair not, for we shall not always be slaves to this lowly culture around us; G-d has promised that He will soon redeem us; may it be speedily, in our days.”


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