While the crushing physical labor of the Egyptian exile left the nation exhausted and short of breath, the emotional toll was in many respects worse. Jewish families were torn apart. The people were demoralized and depressed, stripped of the most basic sense of human dignity and self-respect.

To a certain extent, the women felt the pain more keenly. After all, it was from their very arms that their babies were taken away to be thrown into the river or cemented alive into brick walls to fill missing quotas. It was they who saw their husbands’ tired faces, agonizing wounds, and mounting depression. It was the women who understood that even in such intense spiritual darkness and oppression, family life must go on and a new generation of children needed to be born. But no matter how difficult their lot, the women seemed to possess superhuman strength and emunah in Hashem.

The question is: From where did the women get their strength?

In the Egyptian exile, there were no open miracles and no Mishkan. So, what was their secret? The righteous Jewish women in Egypt had four very important things:

  1. There was a Divine promise that redemption would be at hand. These women no doubt drew strength from the fact that the Jewish people would indeed survive. They also knew clearly what their goal was: to prepare the nation for this impending g’ulah.
  2. They had Miriam. She was a formidable leader, teacher, and role model who imbued within the women a spirit of strength and emunah.
  3. They had each other. The women were incredibly united in their mission. The Torah attests to their m’siras nefesh, commitment to family purity, and their desire to draw close to Hashem. No doubt, each woman was a source of chizuk and inspiration to those around her.
  4. They no doubt had their personal avodah. Chazal tell us that at the time of the redemption from Egypt, these righteous women were on the level of tzadikim. How did they get to that level in a personal sense?

Every single day, each woman was presented with the choice to fall into depression or move a bit closer to her Creator. Every morning, each woman woke up to the darkness of the Egyptian exile and chose to focus on the light within it. When one of them would briefly fall into despair, she quickly picked herself up again, and continued to push forward, further encouraging those around her.

This should be an inspiration for us today. These days, we also have a Divine promise of redemption, and there are many “Miriams” among us, offering chizuk, encouragement, and clarity. But perhaps most importantly, today, as well as every single day, each one of us has the ability to choose to see the light within the darkness – whether that darkness is in the world at large, our communities, our homes, or even within ourselves. The more we choose to focus on that light and move towards it, the stronger we’ll be and the further we’ll go, bringing everyone else along with us.

(Material was previously published on www.ShiratMiriam.com.)

List of People Who Need a R’fuah Sh’leimah

(a complete recovery)

Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.

Yeshayahu Yosef ben Zari

Rachamim ben Sa’eda Mazal

Alter Shmuel ben Chavah Leah

Meir Yaakov ben Esther

Yehudah ben Dinah

Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Zisel

Yosef ben Basya

Yehudah Yudel ben Miriam Gittel

Yisachar Dov ben Chayah Brachah

Refael Aharon ben Devorah

Meshulam David ben Alta Hendel

Moshe ben Chasiya

Rafael Avraham ben Ivonne

Tinok ben Tzivia

Gideon ben Ludmilla

Yishai ben Moriasha Tovah

Yosef ben Miriam

Rafael Moshe Yehudah ben Feiga Necha

Yerachmiel Daniel ben Tovah Basha

Chaim Meir Binyamin ben Chanah Sarah

Pinchas ben Feiga Dinah

Yitzchak Mordechai ben Rose Nizha

Chaim Menachem ben Leah

Yechiel HaLevi ben Rachel

Yehudah Aryeh ben Yitta

Moshe Shmuel ben Freida

Sariel Yosef Yitzchak ben Bat-Chen


Rivkah Fruma bas Leah Baila

Irina Ester Chayah bas Yafah

Yafah bas Basanda

Chayah Sheva bas Sheina Reizel

Hadassah bas Hennah Rivkah

Ruchamah Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel

Hinda Zalma bas Sarah

Esther Hadasah bas Devorah

Sarah bas Ilanah

Rechamah bas Feiga Rivkah

Tinokes bas Efrat Tehilah

Efrat Tehila bas Nina

Chayah Esther Yirat bas Feige Dinah

Tziporah Yeta bas Yehudis

Rachel bas Hinda Reizel

Efrat bas Sonia

Gila Glikel bas Feige

Chayah Rachel bas Yafah