October 7th, 2006

God met duif

Sukkot, Miriam


This week the Jewish holiday Sukkot is celebrated. 
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This week I invite seven foremothers in my blog, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Hulda and Esther, each on one day, to teach me something. 

Today Miriam is invited. She is associated with the virtue of strength, the sephira Gebura on the Tree of Life. What does Miriam have to teach me? 


I have pulled The Star from the Tarot of the 78 Doors for what Miriam has to teach me. The meaning of this card revolves around the themes of hope and regeneration. 


Miriam teaches strength. She is very brave in asking a Egyptian princess to take care of her baby-brother who is in danger of being killed -like all baby-boys of the Israelites- by an edict of the Pharaoh (Ex.2:1-10). She certainly is a symbol of strength and of hope in hopeless times. 

But, looking at this card I thought: “This woman pours out water, but it never, never helps. This soil will stay dry forever, it will never become fertile. It is an hopeless task." The Star, today, responds to a part of me that is feeling hopeless. 

Miriam is the prophetess who leads the women in a dance after the Israelites have crossed the Red Sea and are safe, having escaped the soldiers from Egypt who came after them. Miriam is an enthusiastic, charismatic prophetess. She radiates joy in leading the dance. By being joyful, or by having a joyful sort of emphatic attitude, one can lift people up. We all do that to each other. I do that too. Sometimes though, giving joy is needed a for a long time, or even always. These situations give me the feeling of hopelessness, symbolized in the image of pouring water on soil that will stay dry forever.

What does Miriam have to teach me about that? Miriam is associated with the sephira Strength, Gebura. In this sphere (among other things) boundaries are drawn, limits are set. The problem is that if I set limits to myself, when am not giving, I feel guilty, and I do not like that feeling. Here Miriam helps me. When Miriam leads her dance after the Crossing of the Red Sea and answers the dancing women, she praises God. (Ex.15:19-21) She sings: 

“Sing praises to the Lord 
for his great victory!
He has thrown the horses
and their riders into the sea.”

In this song Miriam gives God the honour of their rescue. It was not herself, nor the soldiers of the Isrealites, who had thrown the Egyptian soldiers and horses in the sea, it was God who had performed that miracle. This teaches me something important. It is not to me, but ultimately to God to make people happy, to help them to feel joy, and so to say, to make soil fertile. The responsibility is not mine. This awareness will help me to set boundaries without feeling guilty