29 marzo 2010

Miriam’s Cup - A Ritual for Women/A Ritual for Us All

The Passover haggadah is one of the most widely dispersed and read of all Jewish texts. Ironically, the story leading up to the Exodus from slavery contains one of the most femalerich narratives in the Bible, yet the haggadah is devoid of a single female personality; Joheved, Miriam, Shifra, Puah, and Pharaoh’s daughter never appear in its pages.

To provide women with a place in the Passover ritual, many households have begun to place kos Miryam, Miriam’s cup, on the seder table beside the cup of Elijah. It is a reminder of the midrashic tale of Miriam’s well, a miraculous source of water in the desert. As a symbol of women’s presence at the exodus, the kos Miryam reflects a contemporary desire for the inclusion of all Jews at the seder.

Miriam’s cup is an evolving ritual. Some fill it at the beginning of the seder, others after the 10 plagues are read before dayyenu. Others use it in conjunction with Elijah’s cup at the end of the evening. It may be passed around for everyone to take a sip, or pour its contents into individual glasses. Whatever your preference, Miriam’s cup provides a thoughtful ritual to enhance your celebration.

For ideas on crafting your own kos Miryam, creating a women’s seder, and other seder enhancements, go to the Women’s League website, www.wlcj.org.

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