“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
“The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies . . . All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
Mark Twain, “Concerning the Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1898
In 1523 BCE Jacob descended to Egypt together with his children, as a group of seventy individual souls.

On the 15th of Nissan, 1313 BCE, two and a half million Jewish men, women and children left Egypt with their heads held high, as a free people.

During those interim years, the descendants of Jacob became an enslaved people and were subjected to the most terrible tyranny. The beatings were unimaginable, the tortures and cruelty unspeakable, and the despondency all-encompassing.

And yet this beaten nation emerged from their experience as a stronger people, prepared to become G‑d’s chosen nation. As they marched to Sinai to witness the greatest revelation ever experienced by mankind, they undertook the challenge and responsibility to spread a message of light and morality to all mankind.

This is the story of their oppression.

This is the miracle of their survival and renewal.

And these are their leaders—the people who infused them with the courage and faith to believe in a brighter future.

While Moses led the men, Miriam taught and inspired the women of her generation.

Related Video
A Widow’s Story

Selected Prose on Hardship
A Psychotherapist in Auschwitz
Will the real Superman please stand up?

Related Content
What was Miriam’s husband’s name?

Ideas for Discussion
In moments when we feel impoverished of our abilities and stripped of our strength, we need to access our hidden reservoirs of strength.