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Friday, January 25, 2019

Women's March

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This Sunday is the Women's March in our town. It was postponed for the weather last week which brought a heavy snow fall and bitter temperatures across the region. 

It's been a hard week for our community as well, we have lost a matriarch and will bury her ahead of Shabbat. 

I thought this morning about the women we know and their strength to carry us all into the future. 

The Torah portion is Jethro this week and Moshe and Aaron are being lectured by Jethro, Moses' father in law on leadership, but where was Miriam? 

Aba, you would not believe the questions I get all the time.. "What says our angry desert god about sweatpants?"....what do I do? 
"Thou shall surly wear them on Saturday afternoons," but this is a decision you can delegate my boys.... 
While the elders of the tribes sat in counsel, what was happening? I suspect what was happening all along, Miriam was quietly, tirelessly, keeping the tribe together. 

Parsha Jethro is wildly important. Delegation of responsibility is an incredible strugle for a leader. The Decalogue followed, and it's part of the core of our reality. But I wanted to focus on the women that brought us to this moment, this week as I thought about leadership. 

We survived Egypt on the behalf of the midwifes, Shifra and Puah who willfully disobeyed Pharaoh. 

Moshe survives Egypt by the resilience and love shown by Jochebed and Bithiah and again watched over by Miriam.  

Later in the story we will have a challenging episode between the siblings and Miriam's death in Numbers 20.

Miriam dies, and the the first thing the people do is run to Moses in a panic and complain. No mourning, no wailing, no emotional out pour over the loss of the prophetess, or the loss of his sister. There was no water to drink, and the people came before Moses and complained over this loss of water. The narrative that follow details how in his actions Moses costs himself and Aaron the promised land to get them their water, but how if it's not literally water? 

"Miriam's well" has long been argued to have been her leadership and guidance. That all the while she was providing guidance and stability to the nascent Israelite people. Just as she looked over the infant Moses from the reeds of the Nile she was steward over the nation. While the boys were being schooled in delegating athority she was quietly making it happen, just like always and no one appreciated it until she was gone. 

This weekend our Miriams will come out from the reeds. They will walk across town  chanting and singing and hold lectures at one of our nation's older colleges, the first to offer women a comprable education to men. There assembled they will remind us of the continued contributions and roll of leadership and guidance women provide to the world. 

And I truly hope we will notice and learn to appreciate our wellsprings while we have them and afford the honor they deserve at the center of our camp and our lives.  
  



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