Strong Jewish Women

Friday, February 28, 2014

Yocheved, Moses's Mother

Yocheved -- Midwife and Mother


Yocheved was the Mother of MiriamAharon (Aaron) and Moshe (Moses) making her the Mother of Priests and Kings.

Yocheved, Mother of Moshe

Yocheved protected her son and helped raise him in Pharaoh's palace

Yocheved was the daughter of Yaakov (Jacob)'s son Levi. She was married to Levi's grandson Amram.

The couple had two children, Miriam and Aharon (Aaron) when Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, decreed that all Jewish males born would be thrown into the Nile River. Yocheved and her husband separated because they didn't want to lose a child to Pharaoh's decree. But Miriam reminded her father that Pharaoh only decreed on the boys, by separating from Yocheved, he was decreeing on the girls also.

Despite Pharaoh's decree, Yocheved and Miriam, who were midwives known as Shifra and Pua, saved the Jewish boys. So when Yocheved found out she was pregnant and then gave birth to a boy, she knew that she had to do something to protect him.

She took the baby and put him in a basket made of river reeds and put tar on it to make it waterproof. Then she put him in the basket and put the basket in the river. Yocheved and Miriam then kept an eye on him.

One morning, while they watched, Pharaoh's daughter (whom the commentaries call Batya) was washing in the river when she saw the baby in the basket. She reached out her hand to take him and decided to adopt him, naming him "Moshe" (Moses) because "min hamayim mishitihu" (she drew him from the water). Miriam saw this happen and ran over to Batya and suggested her mother Yocheved as a wet nurse for the baby. In this way, Yocheved and Miriamsaved Moshe's life, they ensured that he was raised properly.

The commentaries say that Yocheved was born as Yaakov and his family entered the gate of Egypt in Yoseph(Joseph)'s time. (It says in the Tora that 70 souls came down to Egypt but it only lists 69 and the commentaries say thatYocheved is the 70th.) This would make her motherhood even more amazing than Sara's motherhood at the age of 90. This would mean that Yocheved was 124 when Miriam was born, 127 when Aharon was born and 130 when Moshe was born! (The math goes as follows: The Children of Israel were in Egypt, from the time the 70 souls came down to Egypt, 210 years. Moshe was 80 years old when the Children of Israel left Egypt, therefore Yocheved, who was born as they came into the gates, was 210-80 or 130 when Moshe was born.)

The Ten Plagues -- The List

These are the ten plagues that G-d send on Egypt so that Pharaoh would "Let My People Go"!
  1. Dahm -- דם -- Blood: The Nile River turned to blood for the Egyptians (but turned back to water for the Children of Israel)
  2. Tzefardea -- צפרדי -- Frog: The singular is used here. It all started with one frog, but every time someone would hit the frog (in an effort to get rid of it), one frog became two, so they multiplied and multiplied
  3. Kinim -- כינים -- Lice: The Egyptians were plagued with lice all over their bodies
  4. Arove -- ערוב -- Wild Animals: Wild Animals were loose in the streets of Egypt
  5. Dever -- דבר -- Cattle Disease: All the domesticated farm animals of the Egyptians started dying from this disease
  6. Sh'hin -- שכין -- Boils: The Egyptians' bodies were covered with boils
  7. Barad -- ברד -- Hail: To prove that this was miraculous hail, the large hailstones had fire coming out of the middle
  8. Arbeh -- ארבה -- Locust: A plague of Locust spread over the crops of the Egyptians
  9. Hoshekh -- חושך -- Darkness: This darkness, which worsened every three days, started as just visual darkness but, by the ninth day, was so thick that the Egyptians couldn't even move. But the Children of Israel were in light, just as any other day.
  10. Makat B'Khorot -- מקת בכורות -- The Plague of the First Born: The first born sons of Egyptian families died in this plague. Even Pharaoh's first born died. This plague freaked Pharaoh out so much, not just because he lost a son, but also because Pharaoh himself was a first born. It was during this plague that Pharaoh told the people to leave.

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