A twitter buddy of mine was clicking through Eichlers.com and came across this – a cup for the Passover Seder that initially looks like Elijah’s cup, but on further inspection it is actually a “Miriam’s Cup”. The site has one Elijah’s Cup for sale, but three different Miriam’s Cups. (*please note, since this post was put up Eichler’s has clarified that the three Miriam’s Cups vs one Elijah’s Cup is only in this specific “Emanuel” collection. For more Elijah’s and Miriam’s Cups go here)
I had never heard of Miriam’s Cup at the seder before and I set out to find out what it means, is it feminist, conservative, reform, or modern orthodox?
I came across this website (not sure which brand of Judaism the writer is from) which I think takes it a little to the extreme – what with dancing at the seder with tambourines and all. (Also there is a section for the feminization of some brachot….) But I do like that it encourages the celebration of women in our history. The cup is apparently filled with water, not wine, based on the Legend of Miriam’s Well and is not meant to replace Elijah’s cup during the seder. From what I understand the whole point of it is that women in our history, according to this website, have not been acknowledged enough – “their stories have been too sparingly told”. The whole Miriam’s cup idea started out as a Shabbat ritual and evolved to have a place at the seder.
I am still researching. I have to say there are parts of this that really sound interesting and different, and parts that just will not gel with our celebration of Passover. From the reading I have done so far it seems a liberal tradition. Perhaps if I would ever have a women only Seder I would include Miriam’s Cup. But then again, isn’t the seder long enough without it?
I have to read more – just read (on the same site) about some people putting an orange on the seder plate as a gesture of solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gays and others marginalized within the Jewish community…..An orange?!!
Please let me know your thoughts on Miriam’s Cup, if you know anything more, have been to a seder where there has been one, would you include it in your seder, and as usual, your thoughts on this subject.
PS I am a little surprised that Eichler’s carries them, in my mind they are a RW Orthodox store, but I guess they have to cater to everyone. But it’s a pleasant surprise nonetheless.