A Passover Message from Kayla Heering
Members of the 40 Under 40 winners share their thoughts, inspiration, advice and encouragement as you prepare for the holiday.
Many families across the country have added “Miriam’s Song,” by Debbie Friedman, to their seders, rejoicing with Miriam in the Israelites’ freedom from slavery. We celebrate Miriam for her leadership in caring for the people of Israel throughout the Passover story by watching over her brother at the Nile and teaching the Israelites how to praise G-d at the Red Sea. Though she hardly appears in the Torah, when she dies, the well that had been providing water and sustenance to the Israelites in the wilderness dries up. According to the Talmud, the well appeared before the Israelites because of Miriam’s merit in the tale of the exodus from Egypt (BT Ta’anit 9a). Miriam’s role as caregiver and sustainer for the people of Israel in one of their most challenging and triumphant moments was crucial, even though her role was quieter and more subtle than that of her brothers, Moses and Aaron.
As we recount our ancestors’ enslavement and subsequent freedom, let us also reflect on the significance of our leading female character, a woman celebrated and remembered for leading on the sidelines through trying times. When we hope for this to be the last Passover for ourselves, our friends, and our family members experiencing loss and infertility, let us also add “Miriam Han’viah” to our seders when we sing, “Eliyahu Hanavi.” May Miriam be present with us as well, leading us to help and healing.
Kayla Heering is the National Program Director for the Jewish Fertility Foundation.