By the Merit of Women
In this week’s Parshah (Yitro) we read of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
And much of the plot is driven by men. Moses’ father-in-law Yitro meets with and advises Moses prior to his arrival at the mountain. Moses’ sons are introduced.
Moses and Aaron partake of a sacrificial meal. Moses ascends and descends the mountain. And Moses adjures the men to “not come near a woman” for three days prior to the ophany.
Yet at this very time of the year we are reminded that it is the women who made it all possible.
According to the Babylonian Talmud, "Biz’chut Nashim Tzidkaniyot - By the merit of righteous women Israel was redeemed from Egypt" (Sotah 11b).
In Egypt, it was the women who maintained the hope and optimism to want to have children even in slavery. It was the midwives who saved the baby boys at birth. It was Miriam, and even Pharaoh’s daughter who saved the baby Moses from the river. It was Tzipporah, Moses’ wife, who saved them from death along the road back to Egypt.
In biblical times women are found to be prophets, religious leaders, military leaders, political leaders and later even Torah scholars in Talmudic times. This should not be a surprise.
And with the holiday of Purim just three weeks away, we are reminded that it was the piety and bravery of Queen Esther that saved the Jewish people from slaughter in Persia under King Achashverus.
So great is the merit of women, that the people Israel itself is oft cast in allegory as the bride of God, wed through the Torah as with a wedding contract under Mount Sinai as a Chuppah (see Rashi’s commentary on Exodus 19:15).
This allegory of God and Israel forms the mainstream rabbinic interpretation of the Song of Songs – an evocative love poem found within our sacred scriptures – which is read at the next celebration of the Exodus: Pesach (Passover) later in the spring.
Indeed, there is no survival, no past redemption, and no future redemption without the merit – and leadership – of righteous women.
So we at B’nai Shalom celebrate women in equality and leadership, performing roles historically open to them in ancient times.
Women count in minyan, read from the Torah, lead services, lead at the board level and more. Our daughters know this as much as our sisters, wives, mothers and grandmothers.
Come enjoy the springtime in shul. The season of women has begun.
This Shabbat the Torah Portion is Parashat Yitro
Service Times are as follows:
Friday, Feb. 1
Candle lighting: 4:56 p.m.
Friday evening service: 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2
Shabbat Morning services at 9 a.m.
4:50 p.m. Mincha, study with Rabbi Tobin, Ma’ariv and Havdallah
Sunday morning: 9 a.m.
Mornings Monday–Friday: 7 a.m.
Evenings Sunday–Thursday: 8 p.m.
Upcoming Programs at B’nai Shalom
Sunday, Feb. 3 5:30 p.m.-Men’s Club Super Bowl Party at B’nai Shalom
Watch the game on a big screen TV and enjoy pizza, beer, soda and snacks. ($15 per person, or $50 max per family) RSVP to Adam Kraemer at email@example.com.
Feb. 8 and 9 – Golden Ochtaves sing thru Shabbat at B’nai Shalom
Members of The High School Choir of The Golda Och Academy will lead services throughout Shabbat and will perform a mini a cappella concert on Friday night and on Saturday afternoon, after services and Kiddush.
There will be a Chinese-style Shabbat dinner after Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday, Feb. 8.
Reservations required by Tuesday, Feb. 5 for the dinner ($18 per person, $10 children under 12.) Reply to Programs@bnaishalom.net or call (973) 731-0160 ext. 207.
Saturday, Feb.9 10 a.m.: Torah Study with Janice Colmar discussing Parashat Mishpatim
Saturday evening, Feb. 9 – 6:30 p.m.–11 p.m.: West Orange USY offers Babysitting at B’nai Shalom. $10 per hour for one child, or $15 maximum per hour, for a family.
Sunday, Feb. 10 10 a.m.: Film; Praying With Lior - a beautiful and moving film about a boy with Down syndrome and his connection to Judaism and community. February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Come and see the impact of an inclusive community.
Monday, Feb. 11 7:30 p.m.: B’nai Shalom Sisterhood Zumba Class with Carmelle Bargad $5 admission. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, Feb. 13 12:30 p.m.: – Hazak meeting with Moshe Schreiber presenting "Jewish Humor and Wit" (This is the rescheduled presentation from the January meeting that was canceled due to bad weather.)
Saturday, Feb. 23 Neshama Shabbat- During Shabbat morning services, we will be honoring students from Golda Och Academy who are traveling to Poland and Israel during their senior year of high school.
Saturday Night, Feb. 23 6:30 p.m.: Erev Purim –Ma’ariv and Megillah Reading
Full Reading in the Lipka Chapel and Family Reading in the Gruhin Sanctuary
USY will be selling Pasta Graggers for Tzedakah, There will be Mitzvah Prizes, Hamentaschen, music and fun.
Sunday, Feb. 24 9 a.m.: Services and Megillah Reading
5 p.m. Purim Meal and Spiel- Festive holiday meal.
(Reservations required for meal $10 per person.)Then stay for this year’s Purim Spiel: “Mordecai and the Amazing Esther Being Queen Show” an original production written by Ann Hirsch and performed by a cast of B’nai Shalom’s talented merrymakers under the musical direction of Seth Saltzman and Stage Direction by Ari Kampel.