• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    Wise women – Sh’mot

    The first chapter of Sh’mot introduces us to the wives of the Israelite people in Egypt and calls them chayyot, “lively” or “energetic”.

    The midwives get there to find that the women have already given birth on their own (Ex. 1:19). This is said in order to explain why – in spite of Pharaoh’s orders – Israelite baby boys cannot be prevented from being born.

    The Targum Onkelos calls the mothers “wise women”, which denotes the expertise to handle childbirth. In the Mishnah (Rosh HaShanah 2:5) midwives are called wise women.

    The term wisdom eventually settled down to indicate intellectual capacity but in its earlier meaning it seems to mean the possession of practical skills.

    When we meet the wise son in the Haggadah the notion of wisdom has acquired an intellectual quality.

    Comments are closed.