January 17, 2020, Israel
Throughout history we find endless cases of hatred, persecution, massacres. The vast majority of this pathetic group called humanity sits on the side and takes care of themselves. Now and then someone emerges, A Schindler, a Sugihara, an Irena Sendler, a Manuel Quezon, who risks their own life and future for the benefit of others.
As I was preparing this weeks Torah reading, reading words I have reads hundreds of times before, it suddenly occurred to me that I was reading of two such heroines from years gone by, two simple girls, midwives, in the ancient land of Egypt.
They could have gone along with the plan and saved their own lives. But they chose to defy the powerful Pharaoh King of Egypt. They risked death but they feared God more, they did what was right.
15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shifrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” (Exodus chapter1)
19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
When I look back at these two simple young midwives, 3,700 years later, I am in awe of their courage to stand up against injustice. They were truly Warriors for Social Justice.
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