The Talmud teaches, "If it wasn’t for the righteousness of women of that generation, we would not have been redeemed from Egypt." The tradition of Miriam's Cup originated in Boston 1981 when a group of women who participated in a Rosh Chodesh (women’s study) group decided to honor the Prophetess Miriam during their families’ Passover Seder. By adding Miriam's Cup to our Seder table, next to the Cup of Elijah, we draw attention to the importance of Miriam and the other women of the Exodus story.
The Prophetess Miriam was bold and brave and provided strong leadership and constant encouragement to the Israelites throughout their long journey. She saved Moses from death and led the Israelites in song and dance to praise God for the miracle of splitting the Red Sea. Miriam's Cup is filled with water as a symbol of Miriam's Well. There are many legends about Miriam’s Well. It is said to have been a magical source of water that followed the Israelites for their 40 years in the desert because of the merit of Miriam. The waters of this well were said to be healing and sustaining. Thus, Miriam’s Cup is a symbol of her courage and all that sustains us through difficult times, while Elijah’s Cup is a symbol of a future Messianic time, reminding us that we must achieve balance in our own lives, not only preparing our souls for redemption, but rejuvenating our souls for the present.
DIRECTIONS: Miriam's Cup is lifted and we recite together:
This is the Cup of Miriam, the cup of living waters. Let us remember the Exodus from Egypt. These are the living waters, G-d’s gift to Miriam, which gave new life to Israel as we struggled with ourselves in the wilderness. Blessed art Thou, Lord our G-d, Who brings us from the narrows into the wilderness, sustains us with endless possibilities, and enables us to reach a new place."
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