Women defied Pharoh's decree of death, resulting in Moses' opportunity to live and serve as leader of the Hebrew people. Women also led the joyous celebration after the miracle of crossing the Red Sea. Many times women are called and naturally step up with courage to change the course of human history.
But this is not only an historical reality. It happens every week in each home where a woman (or a man if a woman is not present) chooses Sabbath candle lighting as a conscious act honoring life, creation, peace and rest.
Dr Jacob Wright and Dr Tamara Cohn posted an article on Fox News this week called, The Passover Story Begins With Women. They write, "Miriam’s world is one in which social, political, and economic structures are all designed to oppress the body and crush the spirit. It is a dehumanizing world. But the abuse fails to vanquish her faith in humanity."
The authors are writing about Miriam, the sister of Moses, who accompanied the little basket carrying himalong the river when she was young. She stayed with her brother until he was found by the daughter of Pharoh, and lifted out of the water to begin his new life in Pharoh's palace. Miriam's courage contributed greatly to the history of the Hebrew people when she was just a child.
But the quote also applies to Miriam as an adult, at the time she led the women in joyous celebration and song after the sea parted, allowing the Hebrew people safe passage into their new life of freedom. She raised her timbrel, a tambourine with bells on it, and led the women in song and dance. Once again, Miriam set an example for us all to follow.
I say that every one of us who lights Shabbos candles to welcome the Sabbath on Friday night is also showing great faith in humanity, and in our Almighty God who made us.