© 2019 by Rabbi Rachel Bearman.

  • Rachel K Bearman

I Used To Wonder, But Now I Know

Updated: Dec 12, 2019



I used to wonder how the Egyptians felt when they saw infants condemned as enemies and threats. I used to wonder what Shifra and Puah thought when they heard the cries of Israelite mothers struggling to keep their families whole. I used to wonder what made Batyah defy her ruler, reach into the void, and rescue a baby of a foreign people. I used to wonder how God could allow the Israelite families to be shattered and torn apart. I used to wonder, but I no longer do.

I am done wondering because now I know. Now I know what it feels like to watch as children are swept away from their families- carried off by waves of paranoia and prejudice. Now I know what it feels like to be frozen in terror as you try to figure out how to live in a new reality- a reality where parents have their children ripped from their arms in your country’s name- a reality where the most moral thing that you can do is to reject the idea that powerful people must subjugate and terrorize.

Now I know what it feels like to stand on the banks of the abyss and to think, “One life is a whole world, and though there are galaxies at risk, I will rejoice in every world that is saved.” Now I know that God does not tear families apart- humans do.

Now I know that these evils come not from God but instead from Pharaohs, from men and women who stop up their ears and refuse to hear the pain of families who are crying out for assistance. I used to wonder, but now I know. I pray to the God who protected a helpless Moses and who comforted Yocheved. I pray to the God who emboldened Shifra and Puah and filled the heart of Batyah with compassion and empathy. I pray that we will be the last generation to know what this impotence, fury, and heartache feel like. I pray that no other parents will ever have to experience the disbelief, hopelessness, and agony that comes from having their family torn apart by a heartless power. I pray that all of us will refuse to be silent as our government unleashes plagues of cruelty on vulnerable people. And I pray that when future generations tell stories about this moment, we will have done enough to be remembered as people who helped, who stood up, who refused to harden their hearts. May this be God’s will. May this be our will. Amen


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