“By the merit of righteous women that lived in that generation were the Israelites redeemed from Egypt,” says a midrash in the Talmud (Sotah 11b). The list of women who play an integral role in the Exodus narrative is impressive. Consider Shifrah and Pu’ah, the midwives to the Israelites, and their refusal to carry out Pharaoh’s cruel decree.
Consider the daughter of Levi, who courageously conceives and conceals a son so soon after Pharaoh’s next cruel decree, then has the faith to place him in a mini-ark and let the river carry him where it may.
Consider the boy’s sister, who hides in the marsh to see what will happen to him, then has the audacity to address the woman who finds him and suggest a way to feed him.
Consider that rescuer, Pharaoh’s daughter, who takes a foundling into the palace under the nose of the very man who would have that baby destroyed, but for her unspoken hold over her father, the self-proclaimed ruler of all Egypt.
Consider, now, that when the midrash speaks of righteous women in that generation, it may not be referring to any of the above. So, then, who were those women? We’ll look at that midrash together on Shabbat morning. Hint–the textual trigger for this teaching is in Song of Songs, chapter 8, which we’ll also read on Shabbat morning. You won’t want to miss it!
Shabbat Shalom and Mo’adim Lesimhah,
Rabbi David Wise