Nisan, the first month of the lunar year, signifies rebirth. Despite Pharaoh’s resistance to allowing the Jews to leave the land that promulgated unimaginable cruelty and depravity, our nation was born. The astrological symbol of Aries is a ram. Our Shepherd on high gathered His tender flock of sheep and guided our unprecedented journey to freedom, redeeming us from years of oppressive bondage and slavery.
Tzaddikim of yore traditionally assumed the role of tending sheep – for this humble work of guiding their flock would take them far away from the midst of humankind and the ensuing temptation of yielding to the sins of envy, animosity, and speaking ill of others.
Moshe Rabbeinu demonstrated his mettle for leadership as a shepherd in Midian, while tending Yisro’s flock. God watched him hoist a little lamb on his shoulder after it had exhausted itself in its long distance pursuit of drinking water. In another instance, Moshe exhibited sensitivity toward a ewe that had given birth and wouldn’t leave its newborn behind. Moshe carried the little one in his arms so that its reassured mother could continue on with the rest of the herd. Hashem avowed then and there that Moshe would shepherd His children.
The characteristics of one born under the sign of Aries include leadership, assertiveness and self-reliance, tempered with kindness and generosity.
Though Moshe was indisputably the quintessential leader and teacher – and at the forefront of the events that shaped the future of our nation – it was the virtuosity of woman behind the good man that made us ultimately worthy of rescue and redemption. (Talmud, Sotah 11:b)
When Pharaoh ordered the Israelite slaves to be detained over the nights – as a means to separate the men from their wives – the indomitable Jewish women carried food and water to their mates. They uplifted their husbands’ spirits with soothing words of hope, instilling in them a resolute faith in their Creator. God witnessed this devotion and miraculously filled the buckets they had drawn from the wells with equal parts of fish and water. Each woman set out to the fields to dote on her spouse, to bathe him with the water she had warmed, to fortify him with the fish she had cooked – and by so doing defeated the Egyptian king’s efforts to stave off the propagation and furtherance of the Hebrew people.
Women of Valor – Where Are They Found?
Habitats of grandeur grace the southern corner of Gan Eden. These house the righteous women who have amassed many zechusim (merits) on their earthly sojourn through their devotion in steering their sons to Torah; raising orphans; in proffering fitting honor upon talmidei chachamim; and in dispensing charity in a discreet manner (Zohar).
In the first of the queenly abodes resides Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh. A myriad of women who have reaped the privilege bask in the radiance of the Shechina with Batya (literally “the daughter of God”). Three times daily a voice is heard to say, “(The image of) Moshe, the faithful prophet, approaches.” Batya makes her way to a curtained partition, through which she beholds the saintly appearance of the “son” she had retrieved and lovingly embraced as her own. She bows to him and affirms, “Fortunate is my lot for I have reared this luminary…”
This manifestation is the zenith of Batya’s existence. She then reassumes her place among the other venerable inhabitants who ceaselessly engage in the discussion of Torah topics. All the souls of this sublime afterlife have providentially bypassed the suffering of Gehinnom.
Miriam’s birth, eighty-seven years before the exodus from Mitzrayim, had stirred not a ripple among the masses, in pointed contrast to when she was taken at 127 years of age by God Himself – for the Well of Miriam, which yielded its life-force to sustain the B’nei Yisrael on their lengthy desert odyssey, ran dry with Miriam’s passing.