The Messiah's Women's Club
Rabbi David Katz
Parashas Shemot is the formal introduction to Moses after a successful build up throughout the entire Book of Genesis. Yet the most compelling part of Moses' character and subsequent development, might strike one as the most elusive secret has ever told –it may even begin to decipher as to why he in fact did hit the infamous rock, on his way to Israeli – expulsion, keeping resonance with the Torah's narrative and theme in repairing Adam, who suffered a similar fate. So what is it that Adam and Moses share in a most profound way? If we look to Adam's fateful day, we can remember that he looked to call Eve [his better half] "The Mother of all Life" (חוה) and that is just it – for as much as Eve defines Adam and all of Life, it is the women within the Life of Moses, that shape his destiny as the paradigm redeemer. Moses' greatness in historic proportion, and his ability to attain to the highest heights of Understanding [symbolized his ascension of the Mt. to gaze upon the Land, along with the rabbinic tradition that Moses gained the elusive 50th Gate of Understanding, expressing that he actually existed in the Land of Israel already, that which is on High] was a direct result of his surroundings – that of the Joy [Hedva] of Torah, or in other words, the "Mother of the Messiah [as the Zohar states] - "The Ger Tzedek [non-Jewish convert] Women." There may not be a greater secret within the Torah as this, for as much as the women ushered in the first Redemption from slavery, the Women of the entire World [Gerim and Jewish] shall conspire again against tyranny in the End of Days, and secure eternal Liberation and Salvation.
In a short span of "page time" in Shemot, we quickly find ourselves familiar with Moses, and his four most essential [Ger -] women in Miriam [sister], Yocheved [mother], Batyah [daughter of Pharaoh – surrogate mother], and Tzipporah [wife, daughter of Jethro, and as the Midrash states, a spiritual twin sister to Batyah]. To make the linear progression clear, Moses was born to Yocheved, and was hid and nursed with the help of his sister Miriam until three months of age in seclusion had passed. The women of the House of Levi [Moses was a Levite, and his father, mother, and sister each established a house, in Priest, Levite, and Kingship] placed Moses in the Nile to see what would become of him, due to the oppression of Pharaoh, which led to his discovery by Batyah [Pharaoh's daughter]. Batyah desired to raise Moses in royalty, and commenced as such with full cooperation with Moses' family. At this point Moses would grow up under these terms, live a life of a Man discovering God, which properly found him contemplating God's ways upon a well in Midian. From there Moses arose to the challenge vested within his future wife and family in Tzippora, the daughter of the Midianite Priest / Pharaoh's advisor – Jethro.
Jethro and Moses would quickly become the best of mates, developing "Ger Theory" [and Torah revelation, for Jethro was a great inspiration to Moses, and vice versa] while at the same time Moses' love for Tzippora would erupt and culminate with the birth of their two young men Eliezer and Gershom. From the House of Jethro, Moses would be called to meet God at Sinai, and receive command to redeem Israel from Egyptian bondage. All would go moderately well [aside form Moses' shock to happen upon God, where he refused to gaze at the intensity of God – for better or worse] for Moses and his new task; soon he would find himself put into motion, and he sought to bring his wife and children along for the Divine Mission that he was now in charge of. Yet before we meet up with Moses and his wife Tzippora on their journey into exile's land, it is most appropriate to reveal the first part of the saga of Moses, one dominated by women. Women will become a sort of definition for Moses, and a key to the future final redemption, one that his soul is heavily involved in, to which Messiah is called "Nishmat Moshe / Moshe Moshiach." [The soul of Moses / Moses – Messiah]
If Moses found God in the burning bush, then this was certainly a message for Moses' soul!
Just as the fire burned yet did not consume the material, Moses' life was the proverbial matter amidst the flames [Moses' allusion in the Torah (Genesis 6:3) suggests this point – Rashi]; the reality of this was seen that Moses could handle the wrath of God and the wrath of Israel and Gerim. Moses was able to withstand the pressures of Life and Torah through his upbringing and association with women; more specifically Ger Tzedek women…and dare I say Ger Tzedek, God Fearing – Levite women. [Levites are historically known to contain the passion for God; and God Servant according to the Rambam is called a Levite] Moses was destined to stand in the fire and not be consumed, and this could easily define his entire existence. For that which is termed "Nishmat Moshe" [soul of Moses] and is synonymous with the Tree of Life above, we now have an idea how to envision the Cherubim of which take hold of the flame of the sword that turns! …and when Moses was born, they saw that he was Good; Moses was born circumcised, and was thus thought to be the prophesied redeemer due to his radiance and apparent exalted stature.
Yocheved gave birth to Moses after her husband Amram returned to his wife, no longer in fear of Pharaoh's threat to slaughter new born males; this was a result of the piercing wisdom of Miriam, sister of Moses, who was herself a keen prophetess. The Hebrew women were different than the Egyptian women, for they performed miraculous pregnancy and delivery, took the risk of ritual bath [which became a custom in Egypt, to the dismay of the dignitaries of the land], and as we shall see with Moses, the women were versed in the art of circumcision. [A practice that was even among the Egyptians due to Joseph incorporating the act in his day as a tool to ease the pending exile] Moses would ultimately spend three sacred and holy months with his mother and sister in seclusion [for he was born three months ahead of schedule], and although knowledge of exact details are scant of the nature of his upbringing [even as a baby Moses had a profound awareness that was likened to a youth], the Midrash [along with Torah definition of the art of nursing, to which this was a mark of distinction by Moses, for his mouth would speak with The Creator – that which was pure from its inception] details that Moses' time with Yocheved was so profound on a soul level, Moses never lost his identity. Yocheved, the Levite, successfully lit the fire known as Moses, a fire that never found darkness; on the contrary, Moses' face would eventually glow with the fire of his youth.
Yocheved and Miriam kept their promise to Batyah, and after three months and Batyah's finding of Moses which led to the hire of Yocheved to raise Moses further, Batyah the Ger Tzedek [as evidenced by her Mikvah] received Moses, and brought him into the fires of Egypt. The Zohar proclaims that Batyah [on of the righteous who walked into the Garden of Eden while alive] represents harsh judgments of soul. This is the DNA of a righteous woman, and Batyah not only named Moses thus defining his existence and the Torah through her prophetic action, but she shaped Moses into the man that he was destined to become, both to God, and to his future wife; all the while sanctifying the opening efforts of the righteous Yocheved, wife of Amram the Levite. Moses would soon be ready to meet his match in his chance meeting with daughters of Jethro.
Moses quickly fell in love with Tzippora, Jethro's daughter, and her remaining role within the Torah comes across as largely irrelevant, and even to a point of gross disrespect, for Moses eventually and suddenly divorces her, upon which we will eventually meet Miriam in full detail over this matter, as she contests Moses in a most compelling fashion. Once the Torah moves towards its end game and Moses' exile / hitting the rock, the episodes known with Tzippora, his righteous Ger Tzedek – Levite – like bride, will provide the inside track as to who she was, and more importantly what he role was to Moses, the man who withstood the fire.
Quickly after Moses takes command of the journey ahead of him to Egypt to redeem Israel, Moses saddles up his youth and wife, and thinks to commence on his way. The Midrash informs us that he and Jethro had a Torah debate as to the nature of the circumcision needed [or not needed] for his two young men; the point of contention is what is perhaps the Torah's biggest conundrum that exists – "the status of a child born of a Jewish man and a Ger Tzedek woman" – for Moses was destined to stand at Sinai, while Tzippora sought to be strangely absent. All throughout the Torah's Messianic characters, this theme plays out accordingly with such luminaries as Moses, Joshua, Pinchas, David, etc. The relationship between Gerim and Jews has always baffled the mind, enticed souls, and even has served as the impetus of frustrated outburst of anti-Semitism [on both sides]; The Ger Tzedek is simply the greatest riddle ever told, and any offshoot of it has baffled every mind that has come upon it. This is the arena of Jethro and Moses concerning circumcision, and now there is an audience – Hashem Himself, and Moses was destined to meet up with his odd fate.
The Torah states that God sought to kill Moses over his delaying to circumcise his son; Moses was in doubt and confusion over the matter, and not surprisingly, his blunder put his life in danger with an attack of the evil inclination who overstepped his boundary as the angel of death by God's command. Moses and Tzippora would commence to argue in an out of character expression of anger, leading Moses halfway to his demise, before Tzippora would perform one of the greatest actions in history. She blazed over Moses, reducing him to ashes of a proverbial Red Heifer, for she understood the Mazal of her name: Tzippora contains the two words within it "rock" and Mouth"; she know knew her role of destiny, and acted as a savior to the soul of Moses.
Tzippora understood that this was a matter of circumcision as an action of representing the entire Torah, and that Hashem was judging Moses according to this principle. By Tzippora circumcising her son while Moses was overcome by a state of confused anger, she saved not only her son and Moses, but avoided a desecration of God, thereby saving the whole Torah in a way that Eve did before Adam, through the performance of tremendous "Binah" – the power of understanding within the soul of every woman. As soon as she knew and saw, she quickly grabbed a rock to perform not only the cut itself, for the salvation came within the awareness that she had to perform an entire and complete mini ritual to the Torah standard of the mitzvah as well.
One would think that this also was enough to satisfy God, yet the most daring leg of the micro journey was yet ahead, and due to the dangers of the action, the child [as with every child] would need sterilization to survive. It is precisely here that the mention of "mouth" within her name would manifest, and Tzippora completed one of the most profound actions in history, by orally sanitizing the young child, according to Torah law, and in accordance to the way the mitzvah has been done from the days of Abraham until this very day. In victory and salvation of Moses, Tzippora "reached the blood to his feet, and said, my husband's blood was because of circumcision." Tzippora withstood God, Moses, and the baby's blood, and sanctified herself in accordance with Yocheved and Batyah before her, entering her into a proper sisterhood of Righteous Ger Women in the Torah's illustrious motherhood.
Tzippora may have saved Moses, and merited to bring him to that final level of fire capacity to withstand the fire of Sinai, but it did not come without a paying a price. Moses received the Torah and Tzippora was not there to see it; he would achieve greatness and understanding, yet he would not merit containing the fire that became of Tzippora and the imposed definition within him of the state of the Ger tzedek. Later in the Torah, Moses divorced Tzippora, and he remained exiled from Israel and building the Temple due to his shortcomings. A opportunity arrived later to wed the daughters of Tzlafchad who had inherited land in Israel, but Moses chose to reveal the Torah of the women, this time from the side of the Get – the divorce contract. This is where Moses met the Messiah within him in Miriam.
Miriam and Aaron spoke poorly of Moses over the matter of the divorce, and although Miriam would receive "the spit in the face by God" [showing the severity of the matter, and reinforcing that Miriam was a prophet in her own right] by rebuking Moses, she did ignite the final flame in Moses. Miriam was right in that she knew that Moses wrong to divorce Tzippora over matters such as the status of the Ger Tzeddek in Am Yisrael. Yet Moses could only go so far at this time, he was reduced to ashes [even literally over the exile from the land] and the fiery sting of Miriam was all that Moses could take. He achieved his understanding, but he would have to wait for his prophetic return to enter the land, as the Torah states in regards to the soul of Moses, "then Moses will sing" [the Torah's hidden wisdom, i.e. Binah / understanding – Zohar]
Moses is said to be a part of the Messiah team, one that is invested as Messiah sons of Joseph and David, to which his soul is enjoyed within this task. It is on this point, that the Zohar says that Messiah rests in the Birds Nest Above [etymology is as Tzippora – Kan Tzippor] to which the Zohar says the souls of the Righteous Ger Tzedek Women Above nurture the Messiah in the location of the Soul of Moses, and this nurturing is called, "the mother of the Messiah."
Suffice it to say, the Temple and the Messianic redemption is slated to descend built from Above amidst the great fire that will wipe away evil. It shall be the presence of the "map" in place of the territory that held back the redemption; but the cooperation of the World's righteous women culminating in the End of Days that will provide the fire to destroy the way people thought in exile that led to our proverbial exiles and even demise of Moses over matters of the heart. When we begin to realize how the Torah thinks instead of baselessly asking why and what does the Torah think of things, then and only then will the territory of Hedvah – supreme joy "fun" of the Torah reveal itself, invested within the hearts and smiles of the world's redeemed women. The final showdown in history led by Moses Messiah and his song of wisdom, shall finally express the Mother of all Living, Eve as she was, expressed among the sacred Jewish women, …and with Gerim who hold with one hand, and like Miriam, contain the drum in the other, who simply did what Adam and Moses simply could not do: be themselves.
Like the fire of Tamar and the passion of Ruth, were they out of line, or just buring the fire of the Ger, "singing the song while understanding the lyrics."
Class Thurs. Dec. 26th 11 P.M. Tzfat Time