(Courtesy of SMGH) Every year March is designated Women’s History Month in the U.S. by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history. With Pesach, and the story of the Exodus, Hebrew women played a major role, and their actions are probably what saved Judaism.
The men were working in the fields as slaves to Pharaoh when he established the rule that the men would have to sleep in the fields. Combine that with the law that all Hebrew male babies were to be killed, and the men were dejected and had no desire to procreate, not wanting to subject their children to the hardships of slavery or death.
But the women were strong and followed Hashem’s guidance. They went to draw water, and Hashem provided that half of their jugs be filled with water, and half with small fish. They would return home and place two pots on the fire, one for hot water and the other for the fish, which they would bring to their husbands in the field. There they bathed their husbands, anointed them, fed them and lay with them, as it is said1, “even for those of you who lie among the sheepfolds” thus causing their husbands to procreate with them, despite the harsh treatment by Pharaoh.
The women gave birth under the apple tree as stated in Shiur ha-Shiurim (Song of Songs) 8.5: “under the apple tree I roused you; it was there your mother conceived you, there she who bore you conceived you.” The women expressed their spiritual freedom by conceiving their future. Their hope was that the next generation would serve Hashem and not Pharoah.
The Haggadah instructs that each of us is supposed to feel as though we had been slaves and made the transition to a new status. Maybe this past year, Hashem was giving us a taste of Mitzrayim, the place of constricted opportunities and tight control, where movement was severely limited. Yes, we are living with more luxuries than back then, but we are still restricted.
With Judaism, we honor our women every day, and especially on Shabbos when we start the evening with Eshet Chayil—a tribute to our wonderful wives and all they do.
“She rises while it is still nighttime, and gives food to her household… She senses that her enterprise is good, so her lamp is not extinguished at night. She puts her hand to the distaff, and her palms support the spindle2.” Translated: She rises early to feed her family, pack lunches, get kids and husband off to school/work, then she goes to work herself. He may be learning in yeshiva or Kollel3 and she is supporting him and their family. Then every Shabbos she prepares a feast for two meals that rivals that served by those who celebrate Thanksgiving (which is only one meal a year)!
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She anticipates the needs of her household, and the bread of idleness, she does not eat… False is grace, and vain is beauty; a God-fearing woman, she should be praised.” Translated: With all that she does, she still has time to help others and to speak kindly. She does not sit by idle—she is constantly moving, anticipating what needs to be done for her family. Her beauty comes from within.
We Praise You!
Maya Angelou once said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” At St. Mary’s General Hospital, we praise all women and are grateful for everything that you have done and continue to do for our patients and our staff. Women represent 76% of all healthcare workers in the U.S.4 and have driven 80% of the overall growth in the booming healthcare field since the turn of the century. This rapid increase is expected to continue, as many health care occupations are projected to grow even faster than average.
This does not mean that we won’t hire males! We usually have 120+ positions available, and whoever is qualified should apply at https://www.smh-nj.com/careers/ We are an equal opportunity employer and look for the most qualified candidate for the position.
St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety! A center of excellence for maternal-child, the hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about how St. Mary’s General Hospital visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.
For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison, at [email protected]
1 Psalms 68:14 https://www.sefaria.org/Psalms.68.14?lang=bi
2 Eshet Chayil translated. https://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/265772/jewish/Eshet-Chayil.htm
3 Eshet Chayil “Well-known at the gates is her husband as he sits with the elders of the land”