Delivered to the Mothers of Yeshivas Orchos Chaim, Lakewood
Transcribed by Devorah Kaye
Chazal teach us, “B’zechus nashim tzidkoniyus nigalu avoseinu m’Mitzrayim u’b’zechus nashim tzidkoniyus asidin l’hegaal” – Our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt in the merit of righteous women and we will be redeemed in the future in the merit of righteous woman.”
This is not just a nice vort, it’s real and it’s unfolding in our times. The world has been thrown into massive shifts. We’re living through a global pandemic and major crises. Everything is changing. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see and know that Hashem has something in mind. It’s a time to contemplate the above mentioned chazal and think what can we do to bring the geulah closer. What are our strengths? What does the Torah teach us about the power of the Jewish woman?
I run a school for frum women called, The Nexus School of Transformational Torah for Woman. The main theme is, Rising into our Feminine Potential in the Footsteps of Mashiach. We study the lesson of the Imahos. Each one of our Imahos was a gem that perfected and refined a different aspect of Jewish femininity. Chava ate of the eitz hadaas and convinced Adam to do the same, thereby bringing klalos and death into the world. Through the three mitzvos of the Jewish women, the Imahos brought light and rectified the sin of Adam and Chava.
But the mission is obviously not complete and that’s where we come in. The Imahos are our teachers, our mothers. They are not far away, hidden somewhere in the Chumash or Parsha class. They are alive. Their legacy and essence lives on. When we learn about them, we connect with them and derive the energy to complete the final maka b’patish (hammer blow), the tikkun of Jewish femininity.
We say in Kabalas Shabbos, “Lecha dodi l’kras kallah pinei Shabbos nikabelah- Come my friend let us greet the Shabbos bride.” The Shabbos bride represents not only the taste of le’asad lovo but a taste of the seventh millennium, the cosmic Shabbos, the yom shekulo Shabbos, the time of geulah. Rav Moshe Shapiro teaches, and his student, Rav Shlanger, document it in his sefer, Ohel Rachel, that Shabbos is associated with oneg. The six days of creation represent amel which is associated with the man. He is involved in ameilus b’Torah or in working to bring parnasah. Whereas the woman is compared to the oneg (pleasure) of Shabbos. She is exempt from the mitzvos asei shel hazman grama because she is not time bound. A man represents doingness while a woman represent beingness. Throughout the week we’re busy working, cooking, and shopping. On Shabbos we enter the pristine reality of stopping and just being with Hashem, our families, our essence. This mirrors the qualities of a woman. She is modest, inner focused, and connection-relationship focused. So too Shabbos is a day of being, of penimiyus and connection.
The Midrash in Shir Hashirim says a fascinating thing. We often think of galus and geulah as starkly opposite. Galus is a time of night and darkness, of Hashem concealing himself. Geulah is a time of light and joy and perfection, the ultimate Shabbos. Yet the Midrash says that just like the sun doesn’t rise to its full pinnacle at once but slowly, slowly, (kima, kima) light fills the sky and a new day dawns. So too geulah will emerge gradually. As much as we’re plunged in darkness and nobody knows what will be and how it will all pan out, if we tap into our neshama we know we’re at the end of the six thousand years. We are approaching Shabbos. We’re in the final stages of a very busy Erev Shabbos and that is why the qualities of geulah are starting to become a little present even in the darkness. It takes sensitivity to feel it. Much like Shabbos, you have to be spiritually sensitive to be able to taste Olam Haba. As Jewish women living in these times, we have to tap into our emunah, what our neshama really knows, and sense that something is close.
Hashem should redeem us achishena. But even if it’s b’ito, we’re getting close. It’s time to contemplate about the tremendous power of the Jewish woman, the qualities of femininity that are becoming valued more and more as we come closer to the geulah, the ultimate Shabbos. I find it so appropriate to be sharing this message with you in the month of Kislev when we celebrate Chanuka. Even though it is so dark and the nights are so long, we light the Chanuka candles and thereby usher in the future light of the geulah, of l’asad lavo, of the Shabbos to come, into our reality which is still the darkness of exile.
It takes tremendous emunah to know this. The Zohar says that a man is emes and a woman is emunah. Our unshakeable faith in Hashem and His goodness is our strength all throughout history and our gift to the Jewish people. We need to keep up our spirits and realize what we can impart to our children, to our families, and to Klal Yisrael. It says in Tehilim, “Oorah kevodi oorah hanevel v’kinor -Wake up my soul from its spiritual slumber, let’s get out the musical instruments.” David Hemelech intimates that just as Miriam had her tambourine ready at Krias Yam Suf, we’re ready too. “A’ira shachar- I will awaken the dawn.” I won’t wait for the dawn to awaken me. We won’t wait for Mashiach to come. Rather we will be active participants in bringing him through the power of emunah, through ushering in the qualities of Shabbos, the light of the future into our hearts and our lives. It says in Eishes Chayil, “Va’takum b’od layla-She gets up while it’s still night.” She rises while it’s still exile. Such is the power of the Jewish woman.
May we all experience the coming of Mashiach speedily in our days and may it be an easy birth. If you would like to join my community to learn how to go in the ways of our Imahot b’siyatta dishmaya, you can sign up for my free shiurim at thenexus.org or take the learning deeper at my school at: school.thenexus.org.