IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH
March 30, 2015 11:14 AM   Subscribe

The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover, a short essay by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C.

On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.

(link to pdf of essay)
posted by poffin boffin (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ginsburg shows her Hebrew Bible chops, writing, “God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.”

And Ginsburg's phrasing of partnership with the divine has strong echoes in Jewish mysticism, such as the Shekhinah, a sort of female (but sometimes also embodied as male) element of the divine principle that is distinct from God in an analytic way but essentially united. Interesting post, thanks poffin boffin.
posted by clockzero at 11:38 AM on March 30, 2015


I must confess that my primary motive for this post was to earworm as many people as possible with dayenu but yeah, I really liked this essay and will subject my entire seder to it probably multiple times.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Multiple? Please don't say we have to seder more than twice. Excepting Maimuna. We should do that way more than twice.
posted by atomicstone at 11:51 AM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I want to eat good food and drink a lot of wine and recline all over the place and shout about plagues on TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW then I will do so and no one can stop me!
posted by poffin boffin at 11:53 AM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


That was lovely. My favorite Miriam / Haggadah story is how she and the other women broke out tambourines and danced and sang when they arrived safely on the other side of the Red Sea. The story is so clear that they had so little time to get out that their bread didn't rise, they could only leave with what they could carry -- and yet they still spared room to bring musical instruments, they were so sure that the story would end well.
posted by Mchelly at 12:16 PM on March 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


I must confess that my primary motive for this post was to earworm as many people as possible with dayenu

No! That shunted me over the edge into earworm territory. I hate singing dayenu.

Although really, had you only made the reference in the title, it would have been enough.
posted by teponaztli at 12:23 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


But how much did your father spend on goats?
posted by ChuraChura at 12:47 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


2 zuzim.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:58 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm in charge of matzah ball soup this year. For nearly 3 decades, I've been in charge of charoset. I've made Egyptian, Yemeni, Spanish, Persian, Turkish, Moroccan and Ashkenazi with and without nuts, pulverized, and chopped old-style. I think my family is getting tired of being subjected to my charoset stylings.

Wait until they see what I have in store for the soup...
posted by Sophie1 at 1:31 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


But how much did your father spend on goats?
posted by ChuraChura at 3:47 PM

2 zuzim.
posted by Sophie1 at 3:58 PM


Same as in town.
posted by Mchelly at 2:30 PM on March 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Try making your own horseradish this year if you don't already. It's super simple in a cuisinart (although watch out for the fumes). Just horseradish root, vinegar, and maybe a little sugar. There are recipes online. You will blow both peoples minds and brains -- or the area of the sinuses that feels like it's in your brain, anyway.
posted by haricotvert at 2:30 PM on March 30, 2015


As I say to Mrs.Wallflower, you guys have the worst holidays.

Christianity: "Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane!"
Judaism: "Then came the Angel of Death..."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:30 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Try making your own horseradish this year if you don't already.

The hardcore option is to eat slices of the raw horseradish root. I had a competition with a friend's father one year to see who could eat more, and it was, in a word, thrilling.
posted by teponaztli at 5:07 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


The hardcore option is to eat slices of the raw horseradish root.


Yes, please. I mean, the shreds don't really stay on the Hillel sandwich; you need the nice, thick slice of root.

My dad and I usually gleefully eat up all of the horseradish, in slice form, while the rest of the family looks on in horror.
posted by damayanti at 5:20 PM on March 30, 2015


Praising those five great women Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya is a little like praising those five great men Clark Kent, Superman, Batman, Bruce Wayne, and Hal Jordan.
posted by reuvenc at 5:51 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, horseradish chips are easy to eat bcse it takes grinding to release the mustard gas that's the powerful flavor. I once ate a horseradish root like a raw carrot to prove it. But don't chew too much!
posted by Dreidl at 8:07 PM on March 30, 2015


But, Man, Puah is name loser in that group.
posted by atomicstone at 8:10 PM on March 30, 2015


Johnny Wallflower, does YOUR religion have a holiday where it is your solemn religious obligation to dress up in costumes, get as drunk as possible, and yell at your rabbi? And you are also required to bake and exchange cookies?

And Purim's not even our only mandatory drinking holiday!
posted by nonasuch at 8:41 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Heh, yeah, I hadn't learned about Simchat Torah either when I first heard that joke.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:58 PM on March 30, 2015


Try making your own horseradish this year if you don't already. It's super simple in a cuisinart (although watch out for the fumes). Just horseradish root, vinegar, and maybe a little sugar. There are recipes online. You will blow both peoples minds and brains -- or the area of the sinuses that feels like it's in your brain, anyway.

From what I hear there's something about the timing/grinding that affects the strength of the resulting stuff. All I know is I had some once that a relative had made and, well, I used to think people were exaggerating when they said strong spice made them feel like their head was floating.
posted by traveler_ at 2:09 AM on March 31, 2015


Also we do all our atoning in one day. As Jon Stewart said regarding Lent, "even in sin, you guys are paying retail."
posted by dry white toast at 6:12 AM on March 31, 2015


And you are also required to bake and exchange cookies?

also the burning of effigies which is of course my favourite
posted by poffin boffin at 6:56 AM on March 31, 2015


As I say to Mrs.Wallflower, you guys have the worst holidays.

Christianity: "Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane!"
Judaism: "Then came the Angel of Death..."


Eh, Purim is way better than anything the Christians have. They don't have a holiday where it is a religious obligation to get drunk and make noise. For Purim, there's no decorating the house, no shopping for presents, and no obligation to get together with family who you might not get along with, either. It's more fun than Christmas, and a lot less work.

We don't have to give up anything for Lent. We have extra dietary restrictions at Passover, but that's only for eight days. Plus you're supposed to drink four cups of wine at each seder. I don't think Lent has anything to soften the blow like that.
posted by Anne Neville at 7:00 AM on March 31, 2015


I'm going to my first seder ever on Saturday night, and just posted this to the Facebook page. It's beautifully written, and making me that much more excited for Saturday...
posted by kalimac at 7:52 AM on March 31, 2015


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