Parshat Shemot 5774–Shabbat Torah Study–Who are the people who shaped your life and destiny?

Rabbi Rachel Shere, Ruth Bergman and Melissa Ser are inspirational and engaging teachers of Torah knowledge, wisdom and literature at Adat Shalom. This e-drash is dedicated to them. Read on and you will see why.

We begin Shemot and are introduced to one of the most important figures in our faith, Moshe Rabeinu. We learn of his origins and very early childhood and through selective vignettes gain an understanding of who this man was and what qualified him for Mission Impossible: The Exodus Story and its sequel, The Ten Commandments.

Nevertheless, woven into and through this story are six women, each of whom was essential for Moshe’s existence, growth and development. The six women are:
• Yocheved—Moshes’ mother who risks her life to have the child, develops a plan for his survival and risks her life further to nurse him in Pharaoh’s Palace,
• Miriam—Moshe’s sister who, Midrash tells us convinced her father Amram to have another child notwithstanding Pharaoh’s decree and would become the greatest prophetess of our people,
• Shifra and Puah—the midwives whose acts of civil disobedience in defying Pharaoh’s decree are examples for all time of how morality must trump power,
• Bitya—Pharaoh’s daughter and Moshe’s foster mother who had the courage to rescues a Hebrew baby boy and raise him in the house of her father who was specifically looking for that child and to kill him. Bitya is the template for the righteous gentile, willing to sacrifice her station, life and livelihood to do what was right and not to look the other way when confronting evil.
• Tziporah—Moshe’s wife was a compass for him, at times exhibiting better judgment and focus than Moshe and even saves his life in this week’s Parasha.

The Torah teaches us that who we are and how we get there is rarely the result of our efforts alone. It starts with God and includes the people that God puts in our lives. The greatest man in the Torah would not have been that man if not for the incredible women in his life. The Torah also teaches us the importance of showing our appreciation to those who do make that difference for us—male or female.

At Adat Shalom, we are privileged to learn with some pretty incredible women (and men). This Shabbat we learn with Ruth Bergman at 10:00 a.m. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.

Shabbat Shalom,

Paul

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