The Well of Tradition and Miriam's Well

Haggadah Section: Introduction

The Well of Tradition and Miriam's Well

One of our people's greatest strengths is using our tradition as a wellspring to renew our heritage as we pass it down from generation to generation. As Jews we have a living relationship with our past. Jewish history, Jewish traditions, and Jewish memories are not placed in museums and libraries for scholars to research. They are part of our people's daily lives.

When we study our sacred texts, retell our stories, celebrate our successes and mourn our losses, we seek to make deep personal connections to our people's heritage. When we succeed, we gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the richness and strength in Jewish life.  Every generation needs to renew Judaism according to its vision and concerns. To teach Judaism to our children, we need to make it alive for ourselves. Each generation asks new questions and brings its own concerns and understandings to our sacred texts and cherished traditions. 

One small example of our tradition's ever flowing well of inspiration comes from a traditional reading of the Torah portion, Hukat. We read about the death of Moses' sister, the prophet Miriam (Numbers 20:1). Joined with the announcement of her passing is a note that our ancestors had run out of water to drink (Numbers 20:2). The association of these two events provided the foundation upon which the sages of the Talmud built a beautiful legend about the abundant well of fresh water that followed Miriam as she wandered with her people throughout the desert. So long as she lived, the well was a fountain of living water that sustained the people. This source of strength and sustenance, however, dried up upon her death (Rashi on Numbers 20:2; b. Ta'anit 9a; Song of Song Rabba 4:14, 27). 

This legend emphasizes the importance of Miriam in the forty years our people spent in the desert and shows her to be a full partner with her brothers, Moses and Aaron. Her courage and enthusiasm sustained our people. Her death was a great loss for our ancestors and her two brothers. The Torah underscores this point by telling us that almost immediately after her death, Moses and Aaron are almost overwhelmed by the challenge to provide water for our people. 

Recently, this story has taken on a new significance. Today, as women join men as never before as leaders of the Jewish people, we seek ways to acknowledge this new reality and bind it to the living tradition of our people. The legend of Miriam's Well gives us one such opportunity.  Today, at many contemporary Passover Seders there is a new custom of placing a goblet of water on the table to represent Miriam's well. Its presence on the table provides an opportunity to talk about the significance of Miriam and the role women play in the Passover story and in the life of the Jewish people.

It helps us to relive the story by reminding us that real people and real families experienced the Exodus.

It reminds us of our people's abiding sense of God's protecting presence in the difficult weeks, months, and years after leaving Egypt.

It teaches us about the indispensable, life-giving power of righteous leaders. 

We are living in a time of unbelievable change. Who could have predicted the tragedies and triumphs our people experienced in the past century? The science, politics, and economics of our world present new and unexpected challenges to Jews and to all people. As Jews we are also living in a period of extraordinary growth and creativity as we rise up and meet these challenges. We are blessed to possess a rich and deep sacred heritage that often, in surprising ways, helps us bind our present day concerns with the life giving waters of our faith and tradition.

Author: Rabbi Lewis Eron http://www.jewishrecon.org/resource/well-tradition-and-miriams-well

Source:  
http://www.jewishrecon.org/resource/well-tradition-and-miriams-well
Edit Clip
Women's Seder
HA
Haggadot
Table of contents
    -- Cup #2 & Dayenu
  • Learning to say Dayenu
  • Miriam's Cup - Winona LaDuke, Native American Activist
  • The Passover Symbols, The Orange & Miriam's Cup
  • Learning to say Dayenu
  • Orange on the Passover Seder Plate
  • Still We Rise
    • Introduction
  • Audre Lorde Quote
  • Women's seder introduction
  • My Jewish Anniversary: A Liberation Story
  • This is Just the Beginning
  • Dispelling the Urban Myth of the Orange on the Seder Plate
  • The Well of Tradition and Miriam's Well
  • Dismantle the Patriarchy
  • Rape Culture Is...
  • Revenge of Dinah: Candle Lighting
  • Volunteer
    • Kadesh
  • The First Cup - Out of Slavery
  • Downtown Los Angeles 1.21.17
  • Kosi R'vayah-My Cup Runneth Over
  • 4 Cups, 4 Promises and 4 Mothers
  • Kadesh
  • On Account of the Righteous Women
  • First Cup of Wine
    • Urchatz
  • TOGETHER
  • Urchatz - Dip Hands
  • Urchatz
  • Dear 1%...
  • Revenge of Dinah: Urchatz
    • Karpas
  • Karpas
  • Karpas Image
    • Yachatz
  • Breaking the matzah - hunger
  • Emma on Freedom
  • Men of Quality Respect...
    • Maggid - Beginning
  • The Second Cup - I will deliver you
  • Hannah Szenes Quote
  • Women's Rights Are Human Rights
  • The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover
  • Carole King: One Small Voice, 2017 Release
    • Commentary / Readings
  • Women of the Wall
  • Miriam's Cup Ritual for the Family Seder
    • -- Four Questions
  • A Feminist Seder Ma Nishtana
  • Alternative Four Questions
    • -- Four Children
  • Four Daughters
  • The Four Daughters
  • Queer Latina Femmes Fight Back
  • Revenge of Dinah: Four Children
    • -- Exodus Story
  • Mi Chamocha - Awe and Wonder in the Sea
  • Gender Quiz for Passover
  • Gender Reflections on the Passover Story
  • Justice For All
  • The role of women in The Redemption from Egypt
  • Telling Our Story
  • Resist or Cease to Exist
    • -- Ten Plagues
  • Ten plagues that women today face
  • Ten Modern Plagues
  • A Seventeen-Year-Old Jewish Feminist's Ten Plagues
  • Hands Off My Uterus
  • Ten Plagues of Rape Culture
    • Rachtzah
  • Rachtza- Mandi Cohen
    • Maror
  • The Journey Towards Liberation - The complicated parts
  • Lamenting the Wounds of Mother Earth
  • Infertility and Apples
    • Koreich
  • Maybe She's Born With It...
  • Mixing the Bitter and the Sweet
  • Apples
    • Tzafun
  • Diversity Makes Us Who We Are
    • Bareich
  • The Third Cup - I will redeem you
  • Where Did All the Women Go?
    • Hallel
  • The Fourth Cup - I will gather you
  • Adrienne Rich on Freedom
  • Poem Of Miriam
    • Nirtzah
  • I Change Myself, I Change the World
  • won't you celebrate with me, by Lucille Clifton
    • Conclusion
  • Does Your Feminism Gentrify My Hood?
    • Songs
  • Snow
  • Inspired to create
    your own Haggadah?

    Make your own Haggadah and share with other Seder lovers around the world

    Have an idea
    for a clip?

    People like you bring their creativity to Haggadot.com when they share their ideas in a clip

    Support Us
    with your donation

    Help us build moments of meaning and connection through
    home-based Jewish rituals.

    OUR TOP CONTRIBUTORS

    Esther Kustanowitz
    4 Haggadahs38 Clips
    contributor image
    JQ International
    1 Haggadah40 Clips
    contributor image
    MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
    5 Haggadahs109 Clips
    contributor image
    18Doors
    1 Haggadah13 Clips
    contributor image
    JewishBoston
    1 Haggadah78 Clips
    contributor image
    Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
    1 Haggadah36 Clips
    contributor image
    American Jewish World Service
    1 Haggadah44 Clips
    contributor image
    JewBelong
    3 Haggadahs57 Clips
    contributor image
    Repair the World
    12 Clips
    contributor image
    HIAS
    5 Haggadahs48 Clips
    contributor image
    Be'chol Lashon
    2 Haggadahs27 Clips
    contributor image
    PJ Library
    1 Haggadah17 Clips
    contributor image
    Jewish World Watch
    3 Haggadahs42 Clips
    contributor image
    Secular Synagogue
    10 Clips
    contributor image
    SVIVAH
    1 Haggadah9 Clips
    contributor image
    The Blue Dove Foundation
    12 Clips
    contributor image
    ReformJudaism.org
    24 Clips
    contributor image
    Jewish Emergent Network
    1 Haggadah22 Clips

    Passover Guide

    Hosting your first Passover Seder? Not sure what food to serve? Curious to
    know more about the holiday? Explore our Passover 101 Guide for answers
    to all of your questions.

    Haggadot

    Haggadot.com by Recustom, is a free resource for all backgrounds and experiences. Consider making a donation to help support the continuation of this free platform.

    Copyright © 2024 Custom and Craft Jewish Rituals Inc, dba Recustom, dba Haggadot.com.
    All Rights Reserved. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. EIN: 82-4765805.