The special role of Jewish women 



Insight into: Parshat Pinchas 

Do you know the song "A Yiddishe Mameh"? The song and the culture that inspired it are an intrinsic part of Jewish life today, but appreciation for the wisdom of the Jewish woman began way back in biblical times! Throughout Jewish history, the Yiddishe Mama played a strong role, always guiding the nation on the correct path.

A glimpse into Torah will illustrate the great role that Jewish women have played throughout our history. The Midrash tells us how throughout our slavery in Egypt, despite hard labor and terrible decrees, Jewish women were optimistic about the future and kept the people's spirits alive. They reassured their husbands that the day would come when G‑d would liberate them from slavery.

Later, when G‑d offered the Torah to the children of Israel, He asked Moses to speak to the women first. G‑d showed us what we all know: Always convince the women first, for if the women say yes, the men will ultimately follow suit. 

Continue on to the sin of the Golden Calf. The Jews worried that Moses would never return from Mount Sinai and they would be left with no leader. This was what led to the creation of the Golden Calf. Interestingly, the women refused to participate in the Golden Calf. When their husbands asked them to donate their jewelry for this cause, they obstinately refused. 

Yet, just a few months later, when Moses began building the mini sanctuary and asked the nation for contributions of gold and jewelry, the women were the first to participate; they happily donated their rings, bracelets and necklaces. 

A year later, 12 Jewish spies scouted out the land of Israel. When they returned with a gloomy report, the men were quick to give up on their long-awaited dream of entering the land of milk and honey. The women, on the other hand, stood fast to their convictions that G‑d would lead them into the Promised Land. 

In this week's parsha, Parshat Pinchas, we learn once again of the love and passion Jewish women possessed for the land of Israel. We read about the daughters of Tzlafchad who demanded from Moses a share in the land. Moses brought their case before G‑d. "Tzlafchad's daughters speak well," G‑d said. "Give them a double portion of inheritance in the land." 

Once again the women were right! 

The Jewish woman is called the foundation and pillar of the Jewish home. The Lubavitcher Rebbe often pointed out that the survival of Judaism today depends on the Jewish mother. The atmosphere in the home, the upbringing of children, as well as the spiritual status of the husband, are all in the hands of the Jewish woman. As our Sages say, "It was because of Jewish women that we merited redemption from Egypt, and it will be because of the Jewish women (of today) that we will merit the final redemption."