So much of Passover has to do with Moses. Moses this and Moses that. Moses was a hero, Moses saved the Jews. Enough! Fran Manushkin wrote about the story of Passover with some discussion of Moses, certainly, but with our beloved Miriam in mind as a central part of the story. Miriam was Moses’ sister, and as the story goes, if it weren’t for her, Moses would not have even been around to tell a story. Here are some facts about Miriam, in case you are interested:
1. Miriam knew ahead of time that her parents would conceive Moses.
2. Miriam kept an eye on Moses as he floated down the Nile in that famous basket. She even suggested to the princess who found Moses that their own mother, Jocheved, should serve as his nursemaid. Amazing how that worked out!
3. As the Jews were fleeing Egypt, Miriam led the women in a song of gratitude. Why shouldn’t she, after all? I’d be grateful too if my brother parted the sea to save the Jews. Okay, this is the weakest part of the story as far as I’m concerned (leading women in song is nothing compared to carving out the Ten Commandments, let’s face it) but this detail is included so let’s go with it.
The book also mentions that God created a well of clean water in Miriam’s honor for the Israelites to drink whenever they got parched during their long walk in the desert en route to the promised land. Basically, whenever they got thirsty, Miriam’s well water would bubble up and everyone had a drink. So that’s something.
At the back of this book, the author writes, “I hope this book will pass along to readers a joyous new ritual for the Seder, and that it will add to our collective appreciation of the many biblical women who have enriched the Jewish tradition.”
Ray’s world if full of male heroes — Hans Solo, Perseus, various Ninjago warriors. It was good to find a book during this very high holiday that told the story of Moses and Passover, but also reminded us that girls can be heroes too. ABZ