web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Miriam, The Sister of Aharon

I have always been overwhelmed by the sense of responsibility the message of Har Sinai has placed upon women. The Midrash teaches that the Almighty asked Israel: “What can you give as an assurance that you will keep my covenant?” They offered the Patriarchs and God did not accept. They offered the Prophets and they, too, were rejected. They offered the righteous leaders and G-d said no. Then they offered the children and the Almighty accepted them. Past generations can never vouch for the future, only the future generations can do that – and the children are the future. And they are in the hands of the women.

We can say that the burden on the shoulders of women at Har Sinai is nothing less than that of Judaism’s survival. A woman’s dual traits – her intuitive comprehension of the Torah’s basic principles and her zeal in carrying out the Divine commandments – has in Rabbinic opinion rendered her a natural choice to be the receiver and transmitter of the Torah to the next generation and to serve as a role model in Torah observance.

When the towering waves of the Yam Suf swept the mighty Egyptian cavalry into its depth, and Israel burst forth in a song of gratitude to the Almighty, “Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aharon, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances. And Miriam responded to them: ‘Sing to the Almighty for He is highly exalted; horse and his rider He cast into the sea!’” (Shemot 15:20-21).

Why is Miriam identified here as “the sister of Aharon” and not the daughter of Amram, as the norm?

When we first meet him, Aharon is introduced as a navi and, in contradistinction to Moshe, a fearless agent in facing Pharaoh and delivering the Divine messages. Here, by implication, Miriam is referred to as a fearless prophet.

Similarly, Elisheva, the wife of Aharon, is identified as “the sister of Nahshon” (Shemot 6:23). Nahshon the son of Aminadav, according to the Midrash, was the national hero who “fearlessly plunged into the sea, firmly believing that the Almighty would stand by Israel in their need,” thereby serving as a role model for the rest of the nation.

There seems to be an allusion to a similarity in character between Miriam “the sister of Aharon” and Nahshon the son of Aminadav, and by extension, Elisheba “the sister of Nahshon.” The parallel features of intrepid faith and a spiritual leadership quality are the obvious elements of comparison.

Resolute faith in the Almighty for Israel ’s eventual deliverance and the courage to act upon it seems to have been a common denominator of Jewish women throughout history. What greater indication of their preparedness for the coming miracle could the women have displayed than to bring along — above and beyond their basic necessities — their tambourines? In the Egyptian neighborhood one can imagine uproar and panic from the devastation wrought by the ten plagues. In the Jewish neighborhood one can imagine haste and tension in preparation for the mass exodus. And yet, in all this turmoil, the women of Israel remembered to bring along their musical instruments in order to add a touch of poetry to their expression of gratitude to the Almighty for the miraculous deliverance they fervently anticipated!

Several generations later Devorah HaNaviah displayed the same spirit, in contradistinction to Barak, courageously facing and defeating Israel’s enemy. And after the battle Devorah displayed the same poetic quality of faith when singing her triumphal ode, the Song of Deborah, celebrating Israel’s victory over the Sisrah’s army.

The pattern had been set. A long list of women prophets and poets were to follow Miriam the sister of Aharon’s lead in enhancing the leadership of faith within the Jewish world.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Miriam, The Sister of Aharon”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu to Release Frozen Palestinian Authority Tax Revenue
Latest Sections Stories
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

book-To-Fill-The-Sky-With-Stars

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Respler-032715

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

South-Florida-logo

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

“If you don’t stand straight, you’ll never get a husband.”

First, sit down with your helpers and a pen and paper and break the jobs down into small parts.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

LBJ-021315

This led to a shouting match between the judges and what could have been the end of the show.

In 1939, Chuchill challenged the common notion that Jewish immigration to Palestine uprooted Arabs

Her cherished plan to take the Hebrew theater group Habimah to Eretz Yisrael was not greeted with enthusiasm by the actors.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/miriam-the-sister-of-aharon/2013/02/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: