A Midrash teaches us that a miraculous well accompanied the Hebrews throughout their journey in the desert, given by God because of the merit of Miriam, the prophetess. Miriam’s optimism and faith also was a spiritual oasis, giving the Hebrews the confidence to overcome the hardships of the Exodus.
Like Miriam, Jewish women in all generations have been essential for the continuity of our people. As keepers of traditions, women passed down songs and stories, rituals and recipes, from mother to daughter, from generation to generation. Let us each fill the cup of Miriam with water from our own glasses, we may remember the important role women play in both Judaism and the world.
.זה באר מר׳םת כוס מ׳ם ח׳׳ם
Zot be'er Miriam kos mayim chayam.
This is the well of Miriam, the cup of living waters.
Miriam's life is a contrast to the life of Elijah. Elijah was a hermit, who spent part of his life alone in the desert. He was a visionary and prophet, often very critical of the Jewish people, and focused on the world to come. On the other hand, Miriam lived among her people in the desert, constantly encouraging them throughout their long journey. Therefore, Elijah's cup is a symbol of future messianic redemption, while Miriam's cup is a symbol of hope and renewal in the present life. We must achieve balance in our own lives, not only preparing our souls for redemption, but rejuvenating our souls in the present. Thus, we need both Elijah's cup and Miriam's cup at our Seder table.
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