It is not uncommon to open a history book and see a complete profile of a man. A woman, however is at best given a paragraph or a footnote and at worst, ignored completely.
The Jewish holiday of Passover starts this weekend. Though Moses is the protagonist of the story, his story would be nothing without the women around him. Given the many dangers around them, the easier thing would have been to say and do nothing. But instead, they stepped up, helping Moses to succeed and paving the way for Jewish women to do the same in their own eras.
Shifra and Puah: Shifra and Puah are the midwives who were responsible for bringing Hebrew children into the world. Brought before Pharaoh, they are told to kill every male newborn. They claim that they are unable to do this because by the time they get to the mother, the baby has already arrived.
Yocheved: Moses’s mother was facing a parent’s worst nightmare. Infant boys, when discovered by Pharaoh’s soldiers, were taken to the Nile and drowned. The only way she can save her son is to put him in a basket, send it floating down the Nile and pray that he would survive.
Bithia or Batya (sometimes referred to as the Egyptian Princess): Finding baby Moses in his basket as she washes up in the river, it is obvious that this child is of the Hebrew faith. Instead of reporting this discovery and sending him to his death, she adopts Moses and raises him as her own.
Miriam: Miriam is Yocheved’s only daughter. Not only does she watch over her baby brother, but she approaches the Princess, asking if she needs a wet nurse. That wet nurse is her mother. Years later, when Hebrews are wandering through the desert, it is Miriam who leads the former slaves via song to get to the promised land.
Tziporah: Tziporah is Moses’s wife. Though she is Midianite Princess and not of the Hebrew faith, she embraces his heritage as her own. Traveling with him back to Egypt, she encourages Moses to face his destiny and become the man who will lead his people to freedom.
Around the world, millions of Jews will sit down to the Seder and remember the exodus from Egypt.
Though the story is about one specific group of people are led to freedom, it speaks to everyone who has felt put down, pushed aside or made to feel like the other.
For me personally, this holiday coincides with the fact that there will soon be a change in my career. I will be walking through the desert of unemployment, with my creator walking silently by my side and praying for the professional manna that will support me until I am again employed.
I have to believe that something good is coming. G-d is not sending me to the proverbial professional desert for kicks and giggles. I believe that I will reach the professional promised land.
In this time of professional uncertainty and being that Passover starts tonight, I can’t think of a better song that “When You Believe” from the Prince of Egypt.
Tomorrow night begins the Jewish holiday of Passover.
The holiday is celebrated by the Seder, which is both a meal and a retelling of how our ancestors went from being slaves in Egypt to being free to live and openly practice their faith.
For me, Passover is more than just an elaborate meal with a story mixed in, which is then followed by eating a modified version of the Atkins diet for a week. While I am very proud and open about my faith and the history of my people, I am far from being labeled as ba’al teshuva (someone who makes a choice to live a more religiously observant life). Passover is about my statement to not only the wider world, but to my creator that I am who I am when it comes to my faith and I proud of that faith.
It is also the story of overcoming what seems like impossible odds and remembering the injustices done to us. Human history is full of tales of injustice, hatred, destruction and murder. By remembering the injustices done to us, we are able to be more compassionate and understanding to those experiencing the same injustice and hatred today.
Tomorrow night begins the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Most people who have some knowledge of Passover and the story of Moses.
Moses is born to Jewish slaves at a time in history when the Jewish people are enslaved in Egypt. Pharaoh is told of a prophecy that states that a newborn son of a Jewish slave will be his downfall. His soldiers are sent to kill every newborn son within the slave community to prevent this young man from reaching his destiny.
Tradition tells us that in an effort to save her son, Moses’s mother Yochoved, put her son in a basket and sets the basket adrift on the Nile. The basket is found by the Egyptian princess who takes Moses in and raises him as her own. Moses’s older sister Miriam, having followed the basket, offers the princess the services of a wet-nurse. That wet-nurse is Yochoved.
Moses grows up as a prince of Egypt. He believes that his destiny is set. But when he kills an overseer who is beating a slave nearly to death, he runs from Egypt in fear. This is the beginning of the Passover story and Moses’s journey to the man he is destined to become.
I am not that observant in my faith as some are. Like many adults, I was raised in an observant Jewish home, but I have chosen to be a little more lax in my religious observance. But there are certain traditions that I will always observe and Passover is one of them.
As a modern woman and a feminist, one of my favorite aspects of this story is the strong women who will, in each their own way, help Moses to reach his destiny. Whether it is his mother, who makes the ultimate parental sacrifice, the Egyptian princess he calls mother or his elder sister Miriam who is not going to sit idly by the wayside, this story, unlike many biblical stories have fully fleshed out, strong, capable and intelligent women. I am proud to be descended from these women.
The other aspect of this story that never fails to amaze me is the presence of hope. When all seems lost and the darkness is encroaching, sometimes all you need to pick yourself up and move forward is that little nugget of hope.
Ask anyone who is looking for a job and they will tell you that the technical aspects of the process are easy.
Log in to whatever job search sites you use, input the keywords of your preferred profession, and hit the apply button for the job you feel you are right for.
What is not so easy is remaining positive. For every 10 or 15 jobs that a job seeker may apply for, he or she may only receive two or three calls or emails to set up interviews. After a while, this process can feel demeaning and degrading. What is the point of continually applying if the only response is crickets?
Passover is coming up this weekend. Passover is the story of Moses, a man born into the household of the Egyptian Pharaoh. What he does not know is that he is not the son of the Pharaoh, but of a Jewish slave. His mother sent her son down the river in a basket to prevent Pharaoh’s soldiers from killing him. As an adult, Moses learns of his true origins and will lead the slaves to freedom. But that journey will not be easy.
Sometimes, we need to travel through the desert a little to get to the promised land. We also have to have a little faith in whatever higher power we believe in (if we do believe in any specific higher power).
I have faith that I will find another job, I believe that my G-d somehow has a hand in this process. I just need to travel through the desert for a little while.
We all know the story of Moses. He is the infant son of Hebrew slaves living in Egypt. A rumor is spreading that among this new generation of sons born to the Hebrew slaves, one will grow up and free the slaves. Pharaoh sends his soldiers to kill all of the male infants. Yochoved is one of many women who has just brought another son into the world. Willing to do anything to save her son, she puts him in a basket and puts the basket in the Nile. The basket stops at the watery doorstep of the Egyptian princess, who raises the infant as her own. Years later, Moses experiences a crisis of faith and must discover who he is meant to be.
In 1998, The Prince Of Egypt premiered. The actors who lent their voices included Val Kilmer (G-d/Moses), Ralph Fiennes (Rameses) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Tzipporah).
This was a biblical movie done right, for several reasons.
First is that it reflected the rainbow of skin colors that exist in the Middle East, unlike the upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings or the 1956 The Ten Commandments movie. Second is that there was a spiritual aspect to this movie. It was respectful of the biblical and religious aspect without becoming a spectacle or becoming a romanticized, Hollywoodized story that the 1956 movie is.
Biblical stories are tricky to transfer from the page to the screen. But this was done right.
While the times are constantly changing, Hollywood seems stuck in the film stone age.
A new film adaptation of the Exodus will be premiering in December. Exodus: G0ds and Kings stars Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Rhamses.
Am I the only one who thinks Hollywood is still colorblind? Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale are good actors, but they are Caucasian. Personally, I don’t think it would have hurt to have a more diversified cast. Prince of Egypt, even though it was an animated film, the characters were not all Caucasian.
Words, words, words... well said Hamlet! A little blog to go off on tangents within the worlds of history and literature that interest me. From the Tudors to Tom Hardy's Tess, or from the Wars of the Roses to Wuthering Heights, feel free to browse through my musings to pick up extra ideas and points for discussion!