January 19 - 25
Morning Services (Shahrit)
Followed by Breakfast & Class
Monday - Friday: 7:15 AM
Saturday: 9:00 AM
Sunday: 8:30 AM
Afternoon & Evening Services (Minha/Arbit)
Sunday - Thursday: 4:40 PM
Friday Candle Lighting: 4:43 PM
Minha, Shir HaShirim, Kabbalat Shabbat, Arbit: 4:40 PM
Saturday Class with
Rabbi Mamane: 3:30 PM
Saturday Minha: 4:30 PM
Habdalah: 5:40 PM
Chapter 2 of the book of Shemot, more than anything else, It an outline of Torah's vision of good leadership. In describing Moshe's early years, until his appearance at the burning bush, it lays out the necessary characteristics of leadership and heroism. They are: selflessness, a drive toward activism, the fearlessness to defy social norm, and the ideology that the underprivileged deserve advocacy, even if doing so violates law and social order. Moshe demonstrates all of these things, and pays the price of exile for them, but is ultimately chosen to be the hero of the exodus because of them.
But for every celebrated hero like Moshe, there are countless unsung heroes, who live by the same principles, act with the same measure of defiance, and who are driven by the same force for good in the world, but aren't publicly celebrated. I believe that often, those unsung heroes act as the shoulders the public heroes can stand on, but aren't recognized for it. Parashat Shemot also sings for those unsung heroes. It identifies two of them: Shifra and Pou'ah. Other than that they were midwives who delivered Hebrew babies, we know nothing of their background. They may have been Israelite, but they may also have been Egyptian. As far as we know they did not receive public recognition, or roles of leadership for their heroism, but they were motivated by justice, to defy a genocidal order. Were it not for them, Moshe would never have even been born. And yet, they are unsung heroes in the biblical story. I believe that throughout history, the unsung heroes were more often women than men. But by telling their story, Torah teaches us an important lesson, that, while human being may not know of the heroism performed by these individuals, God always recognizes their good and rewards it. Torah says that God saw what those two women did, and rewarded them with households. According to Midrash, their reward was generations of Levitic dynasties.
For many years I entirely overlooked the celebration of these two women. I believe Torah phrased their story so that it appear in the shadows, to emphasize this point, that while some heroes don't get the human recognition they truly deserve, God will forever reward them.
Rabbi Mimon Mamane