Leah’s Blog Parashat Shemot
Shemot – January 2024
This is going to sound like a huge cliché but Shifrah delivered Merav’s baby last Shabbat. I was sitting with Moshe and the kids in the green area down in our garden after a chulent lunch soaking in the Indian summer day when Michal came running down the stairs smiling and singing out: “Merav gave birth! On my bed!” Looking at her in disbelief, I actually thought I had heard the hum of the ambulance driving slowly down the street below us but it was a slow quiet engine kind of thing, like a jeep purring, nothing of the possibility of emergency, but then again everyone came to lunch BUT Michal and Merav.. The birds chirped and the quiet persisted as we sat here outside while Michal had been getting hot towels ready and telling Merav to take deep breaths just a ten minute walk from our house. Two scenes happening simultaneously- Shifrah, the midwife popped in just as Merav bore down. Michal described Shifrah’s flowing white Shabbat garment and how she gracefully pulled up her rippled sleeves as she murmured soothing words to Merav, just like the midwives in the story of Parshat Shemot. (You know, we don’t use our phones on Shabbat- so there was no way to know until Michal ran to tell us). All was well and in mazal, a beautiful baby boy was born ישתבח הבורא!. This Shabbat will be the brit ((ב”עה. This might seem strange to you, but later after Merav and Roee had gone with the ambulance to the hospital (standard procedure), I walked back with Michal who showed me her mattress that had some bloodstains on it. She said, “Ima, this is the blood of life, not the blood of death”. Hitting me hard, the thought made me realize how much, in a way, I am living on the edge. Life and death never felt closer. Our sons are deep in Gaza now, our family has had a blessed addition. The birth came on quickly, this war came on quickly and time seems to be speeding up. Every birth brings us closer to victory. Yes we are in a stereotype time because the theme of Shemot is hitting hard now, hitting again.
Shemot is about being man enough. As the Israelite man prepares to be brave enough to leave Egypt, to be adventurous enough, bold enough, courageous enough, strong enough- the woman of Israel was faithful enough. It was decreed that all male babies be put to death for fear that the great nation of Israel would overthrow Pharoh and Egypt. The midwives there defied the decree and kept the babies alive, soothing the worried mothers, showing great kindness in a time of evil and hatred at the darkest hour in Egypt. Flinging caution to the wind and flirting with extreme danger, the daughter of Pharoh did the unthinkable and saved the baby boy Moshe Rabbeinu, the savior of Am Yisrael. Think about this- Moshe grew up in the very household of the Nazi who decreed to kill all Jewish boys. The women of Israel are described by the midwives as “vigorous”. Even before this blood curdling decree was made, the passuk clearly tells us- “and a new king took over Egypt that did not know Yosef”. On a deeper level, Yosef symbolizes the persona of the Yesod- the giver, the man, the brit. Pharoh made sure to dissolve all masculine traits in men, reversing roles and tasks specified for each gender. Resolving to eradicate the symbol of Yosef as the Mashbir, anything male was abolished. After a long hard day the women would take mirrors to remember their feminine side as they saw who they really were and nurtured their husbands under the apple tree. Chazal tell us that after stepping down from the birthing stone the babies would suckle there until Israel grew to an exceeding amount. Trying ever so hard to be the stability in this black state, it is in the merit of the righteous women of Israel that we were able to leave Egypt.
October 7th had the young men in this country drop their lattes and get their M16’s. Cancel culture thankfully did not set in here in Israel. This is a time of identity. This is a time that the YESOD rises in this war of warriors. No Pharoh or power in the world can abort the plan for the complete restoration. There are all forms of replacement theology that claim Israel has been annulled, broken off. As Israeli women give birth here, our soldiers (their husbands who had to leave home) are taking grenades out of Leggo boxes in Khan Yunis now, RPGs out of UNRWA rice bags and Mein Kampf off of school shelves in Beit Chanoun.
This evil must be eradicated to the yesod, vigorous we can and will do it!
. Mazal Tov- I’ll let you know the name next week!
Shabbat shalom! Blessings! Leah