Posted on March 9th, 2012 by Rabbi
There was once a great king, who had an only daughter who he loved very much. The princess was skilled with her hands and had a keen mind, she was also very beautiful. when she grew up, the king looked for a worthy young man to be his daughter’s husband. Many noblemen and princes came to seek the hand of the princess, but she turned them away. She could find no one worthy to be her husband. “this one has no feeling for anyone, but himself.” “That one is not charitable.” This one is unkind.” The king became impatient, and swore that the next young man that would come to the gates of the palace would be the princess’ husband.
It so happened that the next man to come to the palace gates was a simple peasant, so the king, true to his word married off his daughter to the peasant. The bridegroom took his bride to his village, where he set up his home. To the peasant, the princess was just a wife, and he treated her as he had always thought he would treat his wife. She worked hard, until her pretty face and hands became rough from work. The villagers often made fun of her and insulted her.
The poor princess was very unhappy. She began writing to her father every day telling him of her bitter lot. The king felt sorry for his beloved daughter, and sent word to her that on he would come soon to visit her. Before long, everyone in the village knew that the king was coming to visit his daughter, and grand preparations were made. Everybody came to the house of the king’s son-in-law to help scrub and clean up the place, and decorate it. The king’s daughter was now treated with great respect. No more hard back-breaking work for her She was given a beautiful clothes and her hair was made up. Everybody was very friendly and respectful to her.
The time came when the king’s messenger came into the village, announcing that the king was approaching the village. Everybody turned out to greet the king. “Long live the King!” “Long live the Princess!” they shouted, as they accompanied the king and his daughter into the decorated and colorful village. The king entered the home of his son-in-law and found it clean and spotless, and decorated with banners and flowers.
He saw the great honor and respect that his daughter enjoyed and he was pleased. He wondered why his daughter had been sending him such alarming letters. Father and daughter spent a happy day together, and the king then prepared to take his leave. The princess embraced her father and cried bitterly, “O’ father, dear father, don’t leave me here. Take me with you. Please, take me back home.”
“But my dear daughter,” the king replied, “you seem to be happy here; the way they seem to treat you here, I am sure no princess has enjoyed more honor and affection.”
“Father dear father, all Your commandments are faithful: They persecute me wrongfully; help me. (Ps. 119:86)” the princess cried, “all this honor and affection they showed me today is for your benefit. They heard you were coming, so they made a big fuss about me. But the moment you leave, they will begin to treat me as before, insult me, and make me very unhappy.”
The king called his son-in-law to his side, and asked him, “Is this the way to treat my daughter? Don’t you know that she is a princess?”
The husband’s eyes were filled with tears as he replied, “Your Majesty, I know she is a princess and she is very wise because it is written in Scripture, And the L-rd G-d built the rib (Gen. 2:22) which teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave the woman more understanding (va’yiben – binah) than the man. (Niddah 45b) What can I do? I am a poor man, I must work very hard for a living. I am unable to give her the kind of life she really deserves. Besides, I live in a village, among people full of wickedness and envy. They do not appreciate your daughter’s qualities, and take every opportunity to insult her.
“But you are a great king. Since you found it wise to take me for a son-in-law, take me away from here. Lift me up in position. Give me an estate worthy of your daughter and of the king’s son-in-law, and I will then be able to give your daughter the kind of life she really deserves…”
We are taught that “women have greater faith than men” (Sifre, Num. 133) and that “Israel’s deliverance was in reward for righteous women” (Sota 11b). Everyday blessings shower down upon the world from the Heavens due to the wisdom and faith of women.
It is hard to define the many aspects of Jewish faith and tradition—the feel of it, the smells of a Shabbos or yom tov meal, the warmth of a gentle touch, the part that cannot be captured in words, that remain unwritten but enduring —were for generations the domain of Jewish women. Their wisdom finely guided and molded the character of Jewish life.
Let us pray that every woman can draw inspiration from the great women of Scriptures;
From Eve the hope to choose life and nurture it;
From Sarah the faith to follow a dream into wilderness and to believe the impossible is possible;
From Rebecca the wisdom to preserve and protect the ways of righteousness;
From Leah endurance and perseverance in the face of loneliness;
From Rachel the compassion and love and protection from shame;
From Yocheved and Miriam the courage to defy death to rescue the next generation;
From Deborah the grace and self-esteem that enabled her to lead her generation;
And from Ruth the courage to to love the L-rd with all her heart, all her soul and all her might.
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)