There is something I think about at least twice a year - once during the winter, when we read the Torah portions regarding the exodus from Egypt, and again in the spring when we read about the same topic at the Pesach (Passover) seder.
The Torah and Chazal (an acronymn for Our Sages of Blessed Memory) detail the hardships that the Jews suffered in Egypt. In addition to enslaving the Jews, the Pharoah decreed that the boys born to the Jews would be killed by throwing them into the Nile.
Those of us with children share a primal fear of losing a child, which most of us lock up in a dark basement. Unless we actually experience this type of tragedy (G-d forbid), most of us rarely approach the door to this basement, let alone screw up the courage to take one or two steps downward to confront this fear.
The Jews in Egypt lived in this basement.
For years one end.
Our sages write that the Jews were saved from Egypt because of the righteousness of the women. They used their femininity to attract the men, so that they would continue to have children. The women helped the men overcome their despair.
Every year at this time I take pride in being a Jewish woman, but I feel that there is still something missing, the answer to a very simple question.
Who helped the women overcome their despair?
In my more flippant moments I think that there must have been REALLY great chocolate back then.
When I am more serious, though, I remain mystified.
If a leader can be described as having an iron fist in a velvet glove, then Jewish women have soft hearts - covering a diamond-hard faith in G-d. This faith that G-d has a plan for the world, and that we have to keep going no matter what, has sustained the Jews for centuries.
I keep trying to read between the lines to see how they developed this faith, but I can't find it.
All I see is white space.