1. Her Father Was Levi

Right at the start of the narrative of Moses’ life, we read that a “man of the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi.”1 From later verses we learn that the man was Amram, grandson of Levi, and his wife was his Aunt Yocheved, daughter of Levi.2

Read: Who Were the Levites?

2. She Was Born on the Egyptian border

Scripture tells us that Yocheved was born in Egypt.3 But she is also counted among the 70 souls who traveled to Egypt with Jacob. How can this be? Her mother was pregnant with her at the time the family traveled to Egypt, and she was born “between the walls.”4

Read: The Seventieth Soul

3. Her Name Means “Glory of G‑d

Yo is a relatively common contraction of G‑d’s name that is used to begin many Biblical names, such as Yochanan and Yonathan. Cheved can be read as kavod, which means “honor” or “glory.” Thus Yocheved can be interpreted to mean “glory of G‑d.”

Indeed, the Midrash tells us that she was thus named because her visage was akin to G‑d’s own shining countenance.5

4. She Was the Mother of Three Prophets

Amram and Yocheved gave birth to three children, Miriam, Aaron, and Moses, all of whom were prophets..

In addition, they each provided for the people during their 40-year desert sojourn. G‑d sent the Manna in Moses’ merit, the Clouds of Glory in Aaron’s merit, and the well in Miriam’s merit.6

5. She Was Shifra, the Hebrew Midwife

We read of Shifra and Puah, the brave “Hebrew midwives” who resisted Pharaoh’s order to kill all males born to the People of Israel.

According to tradition, Shifra was none other than Yocheved, and Puah was either her daughter Miriam, or her daughter-in-law Elisheva.

Why, you may ask, was Yocheved referred to as Shifra? Some say that it connects to the word sh-p-r, which means “beauty” since she would beautify the babies, while others connect it to sh-p-r-u, “they multiplied,” since the Israelite population grew rapidly during her tenure.7

Read: Who Were Shifra and Puah, the Hebrew Midwives?

6. She Divorced and Remarried

In light of Pharaoh’s harsh decree, Yocheved and Amram, by then parents of Miriam and Aaron, decided to divorce, rather than bring children into an infanticidal world.

Miriam, however, saw that with others following their example, their well-intentioned decision would spell the end of G‑d’s chosen people, and convinced them to remarry.8

Read: 10 Facts About Miriam Everyone Should Know

7. She Gave Birth at 130

This remarriage (and Moses’ subsequent birth) took place when Yocheved was 130 years old, yet she is referred to as “daughter of Levi.” Rabbi Yehuda explains that at that point, she miraculously became like a young girl, with smooth skin, a young face, and renewed fertility.9

8. She Gave Birth Without Pain

Yocheved was among the righteous individuals who were untainted by the sin of Adam and Eve. As such she gave birth to Moses with ease.10

Read: 17 Facts About Moses Everyone Should Know

9. She Saved Baby Moses From Death

After Moses was born, Yocheved hid him at home for three months. When hiding him was no longer possible, she placed him in a waterproof basket and set him adrift among the reeds, hoping he would be saved from Pharaoh’s death squads.

The baby was discovered by Bithiah, Pharaoh's daughter. Due to Miriam’s quick thinking, the baby was given to Yocheved, who acted as his wetnurse.

Read: The Story of Batyah (Bithiah)

10. She Lived to Experience the Exodus

Yocheved and Amram lived exceptionally long lives. Yocheved had the rare distinction of both entering and leaving Egypt, a trait she shared with her famous cousin, Serach, daughter of Asher.11

Read: 8 Fascinating Facts About Serach, Daughter of Asher

11. She Has Her Own Heavenly Chamber

The Zohar describes four chambers, each of which is presided over by a righteous woman.

In Yocheved’s chamber, she leads tens of thousands of women in acknowledgement and praise three times every day. When she sings the Song of the Sea each day, the souls of the righteous listen to her sweet voice and the angels sing with her.12