A Midrash teaches us that a miraculous well accompanied the Hebrews throughout their journey in the desert, given by יְיָ because of the merit of Miriam, the prophetess. Miriam’s optimism and faith was a spiritual oasis, giving the Hebrews the confidence to overcome the hardships of the Exodus.
"If it wasn’t for the righteousness of women of that generation we would not have been redeemed from Egypt" (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 9b).
Like Miriam, Jewish women in all generations have been essential for the continuity of our people. As keepers of traditions in the home, women passed down songs and stories, rituals and recipes, from mother to daughter, from generation to generation. Women's roles have changed over time, as the world around us has changed. It is important to recognize, however, that women have always, in many and varied ways, contributed and led and pushed their communities forward.
Miriam's cup is filled with water, not wine. Water, while not always celebrated, is fundamental to life. We invite women of all generations at our Seder table to fill Miriam's cup with water from their own glasses, and join with us in acknowledging and rejoicing in our contributions to our own people and the world around us.
זֹאת כּוֹס מִרְיָם, כּוֹס מַיִם חַיִים. זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם.
Zot kos Miryam, kos mayim chayim. Zeicher l'tzi-at Mitztrayim.
This is the Cup of Miriam, the cup of living waters. Let us remember the Exodus from Egypt.
Each woman and girl pours a little water from her glass into Miriam's cup.
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