The Four Children

The wise daughter asks, “Why do we gather here only women tonight?”

To her we say: “The whole Jewish people left Egypt together, all of them, women and men. But our mothers’ voices have been absent from our history, and we would find them again. As it is written: ‘Then Miriam the prophetess / took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her in dance.’ This night let us celebrate together, both their liberation and our own.”

The irreverent daughter asks, “Why do you gather here only women tonight?”

To her we say, “This is not about exclusion. We are not shutting men out of our lives, but bringing women into a safe space to share our stories. All women are not alike, but we do share some common history. Tonight is a time to focus on those issues which affect us as women, to help empower each other, and form the bonds of sisterhood.”

The assimilated daughter asks, “Why do we need to celebrate our feminism in a Jewish context?”

To her we say, “Because we deny our history if we forget we are Jews. Because we insult our foremothers if we forget we are Jews. Because we rob our children if we forget we are Jews.”

To the son who is unable to ask because he is not here, we say,

“I must learn, so that I may teach you.”

From Dancing with Miriam Haggadah: A Jewish Women’s Celebration of Passover by Elaine Moise and Rebecca Schwartz (Palo Alto, CA: Rikudei Miriam, 1996). Used with the permission of Rebecca Schwartz. See the Rikudei Miriam website.

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