The women at my Seder would like a representation of the importance of Miriam during the Exodus. Is a Miriam's Cup allowed?


As with any "new" custom, there is always the fear of what is behind the custom; who began it and what was their agenda. Judaism is a religion that is G‑d-given and that has been around for thousands of years. We do not take lightly to incorporating new customs or rituals, and all the more so, when the custom originates due to an agenda.

Even a "small" custom in Judaism has so many layers of meaning and importance on so many different levels – in our physical world, and what it accomplishes in the spiritual worlds – and laced with metaphorical meaning and kabbalistic insights.

That is not to say that we should not discuss, learn and explore the role of the great women in Egypt, and the many commentaries and theses that discuss this. In fact, according to one classical explanation, the reason why we drink four cups of wine is to remember the four Matriarchs and the tremendous role of women in the exodus from Egypt, due to whose merit the exodus occurred (for more on this, see Tambourines of Rebellion and Miriam's Song). This is already incorporated in the seder, and on every seder table.

Personally, I think it is demeaning to women to have to incorporate a new, man-made custom, just because some individuals may have a chip on their shoulder and feel that Judaism places inferior value on women.

This is of course, my personal view on the issue. To me this custom seems to demonstrate a lack of confidence in the Jewish view on the value of women.

I hope this helps you.

Chana Weisberg for