On Thursday, a good friend of mine called me for encouragement. She’s past her 41st week, and she’s waiting, waiting for the baby to be born.

Waiting. Don’t we all know what it’s like to be waiting for something?

I tell her not to worry. Everything is, thank G‑d, fine. She and the baby are healthy. There is no early or late, just the right time. I tell her that if she still hasn’t given birth by Sunday she should come to me for a massage. We’ll relax her body, we’ll relax her mind. It’s all she needs—and patience of course, for the waiting to end.

Don't we all know what it's like to wait?

What an incredible strength women have! Waiting is faith. You wait for the date, for the wedding day, for the pregnancy test to be positive. You wait nine months for the baby to be born. You wait and you wait. The child grows and you wait for her to eat, to walk, to talk, to come home from school, to come home at night. You wait, and you pray.

I’m surrounded, in my community and in my work in fertility and prenatal care, with Jewish women who wait. But their waiting should never be undervalued or underappreciated. Their waiting should never be looked down upon as passivity or resignation, for it is a sign of faith. Waiting is a sign of hope and belief. Waiting is a sign of patience and strength.

Where do we get this ability to wait?

First, there was our matriarch Sarah. Sarah waited 90 years before she gave birth to her son, Isaac. Then there was Rivka. She waited 20 years before giving birth to her twins. Then came Rachel. Rachel waited seven years to marry Jacob, and then she had to wait some more. She finally married Jacob, and the waiting started all over again for a child to be born. Our ancestors, the women in Egypt, they also waited, hoped and believed in the redemption that was to come.

The nature of men, reflected in their bodies, is to do. Believe me, it’s not that women are not active, but our doing is entirely different. A woman carries a child within her for nine months. That is a doing without having to “do” anything.

Moshe’s father said, “Let’s do something. The oppression of this slavery is too much. Let’s stop having children so that the Egyptians won’t kill the boys.”

Miriam, the leader of the women in Egypt said, “No! Patience, hope and faith.”

The awaited redemption came. The Midrash says that Miriam and the women had instruments ready, and with their tambourines they sang and danced. They knew that the redemption would come.

The nation left Egypt, we accepted the Torah on the sixth of the month of Sivan, and then what happened? Moses went back up Mt. Sinai for 40 days to receive the Tablets with the Ten Commandments, but there was confusion among the people about the count of those 40 days.

The men became impatient. Where was Moses? Why didn’t he come down already? The Satan came and showed the people an image a coffin, implying that Moses was dead. The men panicked. They went to Aaron and said, “We need another leader like Moses who can mediate between us and G‑d.” Aaron, to buy time, told them to give him their jewelry. The men quickly gave their gold jewelry to Aaron.

The women refused. They waited. They believed, they hoped. Women, by their very nature, also know that a person doesn’t need anything or anyone to have a connection with G‑d. The jewelry was thrown into a fire, and a golden calf emerged. The men started to dance and worship it. What did the women do?

They didn’t “do” anything. But they also did do something. They waited!

Moses came down and saw the men dancing in front of the golden calf and, in shock and dismay, he broke the Tablets. This day was the 17th of the month of Tammuz, a day destined to be a day of tragedy in Jewish history, and a day that is marked by fasting, prayer and repentance. The 17th of Tammuz also marks the three week period when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple. This is the beginning of a period when G‑d so to speak tells us, “You couldn’t wait? You had no patience and faith? Now, you will have to wait, and wait and wait. You will have to wait for the final redemption. You willIt's prayer, it's faith, it's patience have to wait for an end to all suffering. You will wait, and you will wait.”

Our sages tell us, “Just as the generation of Egypt was redeemed in the merit of the righteous Jewish women, so too, our generation will be redeemed in the merit of righteous Jewish women.” Why? Because we know how to wait. Even if you don’t believe me that you have this ability, you do! It’s your inheritance from our foremothers. It’s your heritage; it’s a strength that you have within you.

It’s prayer, it’s faith, it’s patience. It’s the strength and beauty of every single Jewish woman. It’s you.

Shabbat has just ended. My phone rings. It’s my friend. Mazal tov! She gave birth to a baby girl over Shabbat!

The redemption is drawing nearer. I actively wait for it. I know that it will come.