In the Name of All Women

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

On Shabbat I was thinking that we are living through a time in which almost everyone deserves a certificate of appreciation. Children and adults, married people and singles, those in isolation and those caring for them. Everyone is trying so hard, breaking down, but getting back up again. And then I saw words that Rebbitzin Yemima Mizrahi had written in the name of women everywhere. Of course, with all the challenges we face, this text could been written in the name of men as well:

“Here we are bereft of deeds standing before You to soften anger, to sweeten rage. To soften anger in the name of all women. Here and all over the earth. But if – alas! – we should not find favor before You we are asking favor in the merit of the righteous women who came before us. In the name of the little girls who do not understand what has changed and why they are suddenly responsible for their grandmothers. In the name of all the unmarried women who were already alone but now are doubly alone and pray under siege that Jerusalem will not forget them even as the Kotel is banned from their touch and it is forbidden that the tears of that ancient wall should meet theirs. In the name of the new patients whose faith remains. In the name of the earlier patients who before the virus came were radiant. In the name of all those let go from their jobs who suddenly feel nothing. In the name of all the wives who show no signs of collapse even while brought to their knees under worry about their future livelihood. In the name of the wives whose husbands learn all day, this wife in high tech, that one a teacher, but now continue even while at home to strengthen the world of Torah.
In the name of the mothers of special needs children who are already limited and afraid. In the name of the divorcees who console their children as a mother and have compassion on them as a father. In the name of the widows who hope for no more pain. In the name of every woman expecting a child, hoping for the joy that will come when she is no longer the top priority and that her treatment is no longer delayed. In the name of all the grandmothers left alone who just miss and want to hug their grandchildren. In the name of all the older women, mothers themselves, who run to leave life’s necessities outside the doors of their own aging mothers. In the name of all the teachers who teach at a distance and call their students on the phone. In the name of the nurses, the courageous nurses, the tired ones. In the name of the lab workers and the virus testers. In the name of the doctors and the midwives. In the name of Magen David Adom on-call technicians who take temperatures all day long. In the name of abused women in shelters who were already beaten enough. In the name of all the women who stubbornly laugh through everything and make others laugh too. In the name of the students who continue in their studies and take exams and submit assignments. In the name of all the women wanting to hold a Seder, we stand before You in tears, for how will we sing ‘kol dichpin’ (may every homeless soul come and eat) when the city is under siege and how will Eliyahu Hanavi come into our home when we recite ‘shfoch chamatcha’ (pour out Your wrath) when the door is closed?
So open a door for us, for Your good people, that we may be immunized. Open a gate for us as the new month of Nissan begins. We gladly promise to scrub, to clean, to prepare, G-d willing, and we ask in return only one thing. That everyone, absolutely everyone will be be-seder, perfectly alright and healthy, at the Seder”.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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