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Reeds on the Seder Table: A Moving Traditions Passover Exploration

Three Insights from the Tale of a Young Egyptian Woman

reedsThis Passover, we suggest adding the story of a courageous woman to round out your seder – that of Bat Paro, the daughter of Pharaoh. Adding reeds to the table will recall Bat Paro’s spirit and remind us to stand up for what is right.

Sometimes You Need to Rebel against Authority

The Midrash states that when Bat Paro was in the reeds by the river and saw the basket containing an abandoned Hebrew baby, her guards warned her not to defy her father’s command and save the child.  Bat Paro refused to obey their orders, and the angel Gabriel struck down the guards before they were able to harm her.  (Sotah 12b)

Take Action and Go Beyond Your Expectations

The Midrash states that when Bat Paro was in the river and the basket floated by, she could not reach the baby through the reeds. Miraculously, her arms stretched out beyond their normal reach and she was able to draw Moses forth from the water.  (Megillah 15b)

Accept Help

Once Bat Paro held the baby, the Midrash tells us that Miriam, who was only five years old at the time, ran up through the reeds and offered her a midwife to help care for the child. Bat Paro agreed to have Yocheved, Moses’s and Miriam’s mother, nurse the child. (Sotah 12b)

Questions to Explore in Partners or Around the Table

Think about a time in your life when you saw a wrong being committed but you did not speak out or take action.

What prevented you from speaking out against injustice?

Now think about a time when you saw a wrong being committed and you spoke up or took action.

What inspired you to take the risk and advocate for what is right?

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