Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Miriam was an exceptional person. The Torah gives an amazing accolade to her when describing her as Miriam HaNeviah: the prophetess. Immediately thereafter, in Shemos 15:20, Rashi points out something amazing. The pasuk says that Miriam led the women in song and dance with drums, but where did they suddenly get the drums from? They had just left Egypt?!?

Rashi teaches us that they were so confident that they were destined to be redeemed that the righteous women of the generation left with their instruments in hand. Additionally, when comparing Moshe’s song to Miriam’s, we see a powerful distinction. Moshe said Ashira, while Miriam said Shiru. Moshe says “I will sing,” while. Miriam commands the women to sing. It seems that Moshe had to explain to the men what to do, and the women just joined along at Miriam’s command. Miriam thereby led the singing, dancing, and instrumentation. She was not only a prophetess; she was a dance instructor, choir leader, and orchestra conductor as well!

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Yitzy Spinner is the Chazzan at Great Neck Synagogue. He travels the world to teach about our prayer traditions, nusach, and history.