In our ceremony for Passover is a major Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt. Its Hebrew name is Pesakh. Its name derives from the tenth plague, in which God "passed over" the homes of the Jewish firstborn, slaying only the Egyptian firstborn. Passover is celebrated for a week, and many diaspora Jews celebrate for eight days. The holiday begins at home at a seder meal and ritual the first (and sometimes second) night. Jews tell the story of the Exodus using a text called the haggadah, and eat specific food (matzah, maror, haroset, etc)., we focused on the redemptive properties of the living waters rather than on Miriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. As Moses' and Aaron's sister she, according to midrash, prophesies Moses' role and helps secure it by watching over the young baby, seeing to it that Pharaoh's daughter takes him and that the baby is returned to his mother for nursing. During the Israelites' trek through the desert, a magical well given on her behalf travels with the Israelites, providing water, healing, and sustenance. herself.
After the Israelites left Egypt, they complained that there was no water in the desert. Because of the righteousness of the prophet Miriam, God gave a miraculous well filled with pure, healing waters. This well, known as Miriam’s Well, traveled with the people during their forty years of wandering in the desert. A rabbinic method of interpreting text, often through the telling of stories. says that when Miriam died, the well dried up.
In the late 1980s, Joyce Miriam Friedman led our The new moon, which marks the beginning of the Jewish month. According to tradition, because women did not participate in the sin of the golden calf, they were given the holiday of Rosh Chodesh. It is customary for women not to work on Rosh Chodesh. group in a meditation to Miriam’s Well. Joyce invited us to take a goblet, fill it with the healing waters of Miriam’s Well and drink. Another member of our group, Stephanie Loo, was so taken with the image of the Well and the water, that she began using a crystal goblet filled with spring water to remind her of the mayyim hayyim (living waters) of Miriam’s Well. She called this goblet “Kos Miriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. As Moses' and Aaron's sister she, according to midrash, prophesies Moses' role and helps secure it by watching over the young baby, seeing to it that Pharaoh's daughter takes him and that the baby is returned to his mother for nursing. During the Israelites' trek through the desert, a magical well given on her behalf travels with the Israelites, providing water, healing, and sustenance.” (the Cup of Miriam), and used the cup to welcome Shabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends.. Stephanie gave Kos Miryam its name, and she wrote the original refrain for the Kos Miryam ceremony.
The following year, Stephanie, Janet Berkenfield, and I wrote a ceremony using Kos Miryam for the Passover Lit. Order. The festive meal conducted on Passover night, in a specific order with specific rituals to symbolize aspects of the Exodus from Egypt. It is conducted following the haggadah, a book for this purpose. The mystics of Sefat also created a seder for Tu B'shvat, the new year of the trees.. We used Kos Miryam at the beginning of our seder to set the tone for the evening. Kos Elijah is a biblical prophet who is said never to have died. There are therefore many legends associated with Elijah. In the Talmud, unresolved arguments will be resolved when Elijah comes. He will herald the coming of the messiah. In Jewish ritual, Elijah is a liminal figure, arriving at moments of danger and transition – at a brit milah, a chair is put out for him, a cup is poured for Elijah at the Passover seder, and he is invoked at havdalah. His Hebrew name is Eliyahu., which is at the end of the seder, reminds us of the hope for our future redemption, while Kos Miryam recalls our past redemption leaving slavery. In the ceremony for Passover, we focused on the redemptive properties of the water rather than on Miriam herself.
Using Kos Miryam on the Passover seder table has caught on in the past few years and many beautiful cups have been created for this purpose. Kos Miryam has been used especially at women’s seders, as a way to honor the women in the The Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general.. While I am very happy that Kos Miryam is being used in any capacity, honoring the women was not the original intent for Kos Miryam. The Lit. "Telling.” The haggadah is the book used at the seder table on Passover to tell the story of the Exodus, the central commandment of the holiday. It is rich in song, prayer, and legend. There are many different version of the Haggadah produced throughout Jewish history. doesn’t mention either Miriam or her brothers The quintessential Jewish leader who spoke face to face with God, unlike any other prophet, and who freed the people from Egypt, led them through the desert for forty years, and received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. His Hebrew name is Moshe. and Brother of Moses, chosen as Moses' interlocutor. His Hebrew name is Aharon. in telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Torah tells us that God brought us out of Egypt through miracles and wonders, and only God is mentioned in the haggadah as the One who brought us to freedom. This is to emphasize that we were taken out of slavery by God’s hand, not by human effort. The original intention for using Kos Miryam was to represent the mayyim hayyim of Miriam’s Well. In this way, we remember the miracles God brought the Israelites during the Exodus.
Kos Miryam was never meant to be a symbol for women only, just as Kos Eliyahu is not meant only for men. Hopefully one day the full potential and spirituality of the living waters will be recognized, and Kos Miryam will not be seen only as “a women’s custom,” but will be used throughout the Jewish community.
Rabbinic Pastor Matia Rania Angelou, Eshet Hazon (“Woman of Vision”), is a published poet, ritual artist, healer, and teacher of meditative chant. She is a SpiritSong teacher who uses her music for healing and spiritual refinement. Matia is an interfaith chaplain, a spiritual director, and a The ritual bath. The waters of the mikveh symbolically purify – they are seen as waters of rebirth. A convert immerses in the mikveh as part of conversion. Many Orthodox married women go to the mikveh following their period and before resuming sexual relations. Couples go to the mikveh before being married. Many, including some men, immerse before Yom Kippur; some go every Friday before Shabbat. guide at Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh.