Miriam’s cup, filled with water, is a symbol of Miriam’s Well, the source of water that nourished the Israelites as they wandered in the desert, and draws attention to the women of the Exodus story.
As the Passover story begins we read that a new king arose over Egypt—a king who did not know Joseph. (Exodus 1:8)
A new king arose who did not know empathy, who was not interested in seeking understanding. A new King arose who demonized others and ruled through intimidation, oppression and fear.
The book of Exodus tells us that, as this new king took power, there also arose strong courageous women who would not be intimidated by his threats and brutality.
The midwives, Shifra and Puah, were instructed by the Pharaoh to kill all the male children born to Hebrew women. Risking their lives, the midwives defied these orders and made sure the children lived.
The daughter of Pharaoh, refusing to let hatred or fear determine her actions, saved the life of a young Hebrew boy and raised him to adulthood.
Miriam, not letting herself be intimidated into submission by oppressive laws, stood on the shores of the sea and made sure that her younger brother would be safe from harm.
Let us raise our cups and honor women whose strength, courage, and love changed us and the world.