Passover and Jewish Pro-Life

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The Passover story contains many messages about babies and polarizing attitudes about their birth.
The story begins by setting the scene for the inauspicious and miraculous birth of Moses. Circumstances at the time make his birth highly unlikely. Pharoah’s recent order to drown all Jewish male babies and raise all Jewish female babies as pagans causes great distress in the Jewish population.
Moses’ mother is 130 years old when he is conceived, a pregnancy that by today’s standards would be deemed high risk. She is under close scrutiny by the Egyptian baby police because as a Jewish midwife she has refused to comply with Pharoah’s order to drown newborn Jewish male babies. In addition, Pharaoh has great concerns that this family will produce a powerful heir and adversary because Moses’ father, Arram, leads the Jewish people in Egypt at this time, and Moses’ mother, Yocheved, comes from serious lineage, being the granddaughter of Issac.
Arram decides that all the Jewish married couples in Egypt should divorce rather than produce male babies intended for slaughter by drowning. His daughter, six year old Miriam, persuades him to rethink his decision, wisely pointing out that no babies being born guarantees no more Jews while Pharaoh’s orders wouldn’t necessarily have the same drastic result.
Arram’s decision to remarry Yocheved allows the Egyptian baby police to calculate a newborn baby nine months hence, when they will seize the infant and drown him in the Nile river.
24 Weeks Gestation
Miraculously, the murderous plot fails when Yocheved delivers her son three months prematurely! Born at 24 weeks gestation in the year 2368 from creation (1393 BCE), Moses’ viable status allows him to survive without lifesaving neonatal care. His mother nurses him for three months, at which time she must save him from imminent drowning by removing him from the household. The basket method, the rescue by Pharoah’s daughter, the coincident and fortuitous employment of Yachoved as wet nurse and nanny all conspire to provide Moses’ safe passage from infancy to adulthood. His willingness to act according to HaShem’s will saves the Jews from the bondage of slavery, making possible the Covenant at Sinai and the rest of Jewish history.
Passover annually celebrates the miraculous events that saved Moses’ life and Jewish life from annihilation. It reminds us that Jewish life is precious at every stage of growth and development. From conception, Hashem wills for us a life with a destiny expressive of His wise and wonderful vision for humankind. He cares for us from conception, through gestation, delivery, adulthood, aging and beyond this earthly plain into the next dimension.
Today, attitudes and forces outside of and within our community again seek to extinguish Jewish light, stripping significance and value from human life, reframing     G-d’s creation as disposable garbage. We must emulate Moses’ parents, acting to protect and secure Jewish lives in the womb at whatever cost, inconvenience or embarrassment. Whether just conceived or in the first, second or third trimester, only G-d knows the destiny of our children. Each has a special place among us, a special gift to give, a unique message of hope and salvation that naturally flows from living in the light and truth of G-d’s will for us.
Gevalt! It IS alive before It’s born!

 

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