Vehi Sheamda

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵיֽנוּ וְלָנֽוּ. שֶׁלֹא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד, עָמַד עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, עוֹמְדִים עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם

"And this (the promise) is what kept our fathers and what keeps us surviving. For, not only one arose and tried to destroy us, rather in every generation they try to destroy us, and Hashem saves us from their hands. "

The song “Vehi Sheamda” tells the story of the Jewish people and their survival. In the translation, וְהִיא refers to the the promise between God and the Jewish people, saying that it is what has always kept the Jewish people alive. Instead of reading וְהִיא in reference to the promise, read it as you normally would: referring to the people who have עָמְדוּ (stood for) the nation of Israel לַאֲבוֹתֵיֽנוּ וְלָנֽוּ ( for our fathers and us). This translation acts on the knowledge that the Jewish people are not sustained by a mere word from God: they are supported by those who embody God’s words and take action to aid God’s people. These people act as one force, which is why the singular הִיא is appropriate for the united group. The word הִיא is used to refer to these people, rather than the masculine הוּא, to demonstrate that the assistance often comes from those who are overlooked or written off. Whether it is a woman, as the word הִיא literally depicts, or some other minority,“Vehi Sheamda”acts as a reminder of strength and a call to action directed towards those unaccustomed to championing themselves or others.

haggadah Section: Maggid - Beginning