Showing posts from January, 2014

Parashat Shemot

Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz  Parashat Shemot,  December 2013 
The Hebrew Midwives 
What’s the oldest profession in the book? The answer is: midwifery. One thing we know for sure is that babies have always been born and mothers have always needed guidance through this momentous process. We can only imagine what midwifery must have looked like during the shadowy beginnings of civilization: a case of trial-and-error, where experience weighed heavier than empiricism. Women simply helped, held, comforted and assisted labouring women, during a moment in their lives fraught with death and danger as well as joy and triumph. 
To be a midwife is to be a priestess of the body, guiding a process that is deeply mysterious and utterly mundane at once. Yet birth is never to be taken for granted as we search for words to speak about childbirth respectfully, sensitively and honestly. Like all existential matters, it is hard for a young rabbi like myself to find the words that do justice to the human conditi…