Rabbi Yirmi Co­hen

The Canadian Jewish News (Montreal) - - Parshah -

This Shab­bat we read about the giv­ing of the To­rah. The women at the time of the giv­ing of the To­rah played a spe­cial role. Our sages, com­ment­ing on the verse, “You shall say to the house of Ja­cob,” ex­plain that it refers to women. Women were ap­proached first, be­fore the men, when the To­rah was given. This em­pha­sizes the women’s pri­mary role in pre­serv­ing the To­rah and mitzvot in their homes and for the Jewish Peo­ple. The Jewish woman ful­fils her role of “spir­i­tual dec­o­ra­tor” through the three mitzvot God gave her: main­tain­ing a kosher kitchen, keep­ing fam­ily pu­rity, and light­ing can­dles on Shab­bat and Yom Tov.

Women have greater faith than men. It was the women who sang and pre­pared tam­bourines, ex­pect­ing big mir­a­cles. Af­ter Pharaoh’s de­cree to throw all Jewish males into the Nile, Moses’ fa­ther di­vorced his wife, so that no more chil­dren would be born and killed. But it was Miriam, a child of six, who per­suaded her fa­ther not to fear and to re­marry her mother and have Moses.

This Shab­bat is the yahrzeit of Reb­bet­zin Chaya Mushka Sch­neer­son, the wife of the Rebbe. She was a true queen. She was sen­si­tive to oth­ers. It was she who con­vinced her hus­band to be­come Rebbe af­ter he had re­fused.

Once she was be­ing driven through a Jewish neigh­bour­hood in New York and saw a fam­ily be­ing evicted from their home. She asked the driver to stop and ask how much they owed. When she heard the sum, she wrote a cheque for the en­tire amount on the spot. She ex­plained: “I don’t usu­ally pass through this area. If I did and I saw such a sight, it was ob­vi­ously a di­rec­tive for me to act.”

I’m proud that my daugh­ter Chaya car­ries her name and also at­tends the Beis Chaya Mushka School in Toronto. May we be re­united with her and all our loved ones with the com­ing of the Mashiach, now!

Rabbi Yirmi Co­hen is spir­i­tual leader at Ohalei Yoseph Yitzchak Con­gre­ga­tion in Toronto. yir­mi­co­hen@ sym­pa­tico.ca

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