By Naftali Silberberg
Our sages tell us that "in the merit of the righteous women our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt" [Talmud, Sotah 11b]. It was the women who never despaired of G‑d's redemption. In fact, while the men had lost heart and were dejected and had no desire to procreate, not wanting to subject their children to the hardships of slavery, the women were upbeat—confident that a better day was soon to come. They seduced their husbands in the fields, and raised a generation of children who witnessed G‑d's miraculous salvation.
The souls of the final generation before Moshiach's arrival are reincarnations of the souls of the generation of the Exodus. After the sea split, both the men and the women sang songs of praise to G‑d. From the Torah's description of the episode it is clear, however, that only the women's song was accompanied by musical instruments. Why? The Midrash explains that the women, while still in Egypt, were so confident that they would be redeemed, that they prepared tambourines for the day when they would sing a song of thanks for their redemption! [Rashi on Exodus 15:20, from the Mechilta]
According to the master-kabbalist the Arizal, the souls of the final generation before Moshiach's arrival are reincarnations of the souls of the generation of the Exodus [Shaar Hagilgulim, Hakdamah 20]. Just as then it was in the merit of the women's faith that the Israelites were redeemed, so, too, it will be in the merit of the righteous women of our generation, and their unwavering belief in the Redemption, that we will be redeemed once again.