Midreshet Amit


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The Strength of the Women

By: Rebecca Ciment

On International Women's Day, I looked toward the Parsha for inspiration from the women of Bnei Yisrael during the construction of the mishkan.

When Moshe called the people to bring gifts to build the mishkan the women came forward with their golden jewelry even while the men were still deliberating.  In contrast during the construction of the golden calf the men were quick to bring gold and the women refused. As a reward for their refusal they were given rosh chodesh as a special day for women to not work.

The Shemen Tov offers a different interpretation on the connection between women and the mishkan. He uses midrash Shir Hashirim as a source for the history of the copper mirrors that the women brought to the mishkan. In Egypt the women used the mirrors to entice their husbands to have more children even when the men didn't want to bring children into the dark world of slavery. The mirrors became a symbol of the survival of the Jewish people. Rosh Chodesh is also a symbol of that survival, even when we can barely see the moon we know that it will be full once again. 

This year I had the opportunity to volunteer at Shalva for my external chesed. Despite the difficulties that the children face the volunteers and paid workers of Shalva create a place of hope and light and Jewish survival. These are skills that are passed down through the generations from the women of the mishkan until today. I have been lucky to be a part of this experience.