[31][32], Some Modern Orthodox Jews have revived an ancient custom[33] of adding a piece of fish to the Seder plate in honor of Miriam who is associated with water, based on the teaching in the Talmud[26] that God gave manna (on the ground) in the merit of Moses, clouds of glory (in the sky) in the merit of Aaron and a well (of water) in the merit of Miriam. Miriam was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed; she was the sister of Aaron and Moses, the leader of the Israelites in ancient Egypt. Cushites were of … Zipporah or Tzipora (/ ˈ z ɪ p ər ə, z ɪ ˈ p ɔːr ə /; Hebrew: צִפֹּרָה ‎, Tsippōrāh, "bird") is mentioned in the Book of Exodus as the wife of Moses, and the daughter of Reuel/Jethro, the priest and prince of Midian. Zipporah, Moses’ wife, was a Midianite woman. Both Miriam and Aaron criticize Moses for marrying a Cushite or Ethiopian woman, but Miriam is listed first (Numbers 12:1) so it is likely she instigated the complaint. This explains their claim that God spoke not only to Moses but also to them, yet they had not separated from their spouses. A Mosque in the area of Medina, possibly: This page was last edited on 27 December 2020, at 05:34. 24:9) Yet the Torah’s account of this event is rather obscure. [34] Similarly, the lamb, egg and fish also allude to the three mythical creatures in Jewish tradition—the land beast Behemoth,[35] the bird Ziz,[36] and the sea-creature Leviathan,[37] respectively. On the surface, they seem to take little or no time to grieve. Following this encounter, Miriam discovers that her skin is white and that she is afflicted with leprosy. Miriam first appears in the biblical book of Exodus not long after Pharaoh decrees that all newborn Hebrew boys will be drowned in the Nile river. Hebrew: kushiyth (Koo-sheeth’) a Cushite woman (Strongs Hebrew Dictionary). By Nathan Keller* Miriam’s criticism of Moses and the punishment given her is one of six events which the Torah commands us to remember: Remember what the Lord your G‑d did to Miriam on the journey after you left Egypt. [20] In fact, Josephus[21] himself later records Moses' marriage to Tzipora as separate and subsequent to his earlier marriage to Tharbis. The text reads: “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, because of … However, the identity of the Cushite woman referred to in this story is tangential to Friedman and his opinion remains inconclusive. We first learn of Miriam as she and her three-year-old brother, Aaron, are welcoming a new child into the family.Unfortunately for that time, the baby was a boy, and there is a decree that all Hebrew baby boys be killed. Because Without Miriam, Jewish Life Would Not Exist | The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California", "Defrosting Judaism: A Look at the Ritualwell Website", "Mo'ed l'Khol Chai, Izmir, 1861, Chapter 4, sec. (See "The Passover Story" for more information.). But as the child grows older Yocheved decides that it is no longer safe for him at home -- after all, it would only take one ill-timed cry for an Egyptian guard to discover the child. Miriam was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed, and the older sister of Moses and Aaron, all of whom were Levites. [7], Rashi says that this well was the same rock from which Moses brought forth water after Miriam's death. Surprisingly, Aaron is not afflicted or punished in any way, though he too spoke against Moses. However, Numbers 12:1 speaks of Moses’ wife not as a Midianite, but rather as a Cushite. According to the Hebrew Bible, Miriam was the older sister of Moses and Aaron. [5], The narrative of Moses' infancy in the Torah describes an unnamed sister of Moses observing him being placed in the Nile (Exodus 2:4); she is traditionally identified as Miriam. Moses’ prominence and influence with the people may have created in Miriam and Aaron a jealous desire for more authority, so that they kept saying: “Is it … [41][42], There is no mention of Moses' sister's name specifically. As you observed, we hear earlier of Moses marrying the daughter of Jethro the Midianite. Thus, in addition to the traditional cup of wine that is set for the Prophet Elijah, some feminist-inspired Seders set a cup of water for Miriam which is sometimes also accompanied by a ritual in her honor. Moses did not violate the principle of non-marriage with the heathen when he took her to wife, as they apparently claimed. The First Wife of Moses. [6]:79, Regarding the death of Miriam, the Torah states, "The entire congregation of the children of Israel arrived at the desert of Tzin in the first month, and the people settled in Kadesh. Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the surface of the earth. Numbers 12:1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. [23] However, Friedman's primary interest is not in the identity of the Cushite woman, but rather in the outcome of this story which establishes Moses' superiority over Aaron as an example of his claim that rival priesthoods created or publicized tales in order to legitimize their respective claims to privilege and power. Miriam and Aaron are instructed to step forward and God explains to them that Moses is different from other prophets: What God seems to be saying in this text is that whereas God appears to other prophets in visions, with Moses God speaks "face to face, clearly and not in riddles" (Numbers 12:6-9). ", In Jewish folk-religious tradition this abrupt transition between her passing and the lack of water was explained by postulating a "well of Miriam" that dried up when she died. [3] According to the Midrash,[4] just as Moses led the men out of Egypt and taught them Torah, so too Miriam led the women and taught them Torah. In the Quran, as in the Hebrew Bible, Miriam obeys her mother's request to follow the baby Moses as he floats down the river in a basket, their mother having set him afloat so he would not be killed by Pharaoh's servants and soldiers (28:11). [28], Miriam is a popular figure among some Jewish feminists. Zipporah was a worshiper of the true God. God thus demonstrated to them Moses' unique level of prophecy for which he had to be prepared at all times, thereby justifying his separation from Tzipora. 4:10–16; Deut. And they said, "Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? Chapter 1 to Chapter 3. Specifically, Miriam is deeply connected to the concept of redemption – from Egypt, initially, and then extending into the future, to the final redemption at the end of days. Rashi tells us that Moses had divorced his wife: How did she [Miriam] know that Moses had separated from his wife? In Numbers 12, Moses’ brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam, try to launch a revolt against his authority. Moses leads the Israelite people in a song of praise to God, after which Miriam appears again. Yet in the Book of Numbers Moses’s sister Miriam is upset about his having taken a “Cushite” wife. In any case, the story of Moses’s Cushite wife offers no support for racial mixing. "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you," Pharaoh's daughter says to Yocheved (Exodus 2:9). Elijah's Cup and Miriam's Cup During Passover Seder, Hebrew Names for Girls and Their Meanings, The Order and Meaning of the Passover Seder. Moses has commanded Pharaoh to let his people go and God has sent the ten plagues down upon Egypt. hath he not spoken also by us?" Richard E. Friedman writes that since Cush is generally understood to mean "Ethiopia", it is possible that the "Cushite woman" is not Tzipora. It is feminine -- ve'teddaber ("and she spoke") -- indicating that Miriam was the one who initiated the conversation against Moses (Telushkin, 130). However, this was after his time on Sinai, when he had become entirely holy, so it was too late to consummate the marriage. We can prove that by tracing their lineages in scripture. Therefore, God was specifically rebuking Miriam, in explaining the difference between her calling and Moses's calling. And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. Several chapters later, in Numbers 20, she dies and is buried at Kadesh. Telushkin, Joseph. This usage of the word Cushite is non-pejorative and is often used in Jewish sources as a term for someone unique and outstanding. Others have suggested that Aaron was not afflicted with leprosy because, as the High Priest, it would not have … [30] Miriam's cup is linked to the midrash of Miriam's Well, described as "a rabbinic legend that tells of a miraculous well that accompanied the Israelites during their forty years in the desert at the Exodus from Egypt". In a cryptic episode in the Torah, Miriam talked to Aaron about Moses "concerning the 'Cushite[1] wife' whom he married, for he married a 'Cushite wife'. The idea that Moses had a black wife apparently comes from Numbers 12:1 which says Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of his Cushite wife. Moses responds immediately, crying out to God in Numbers 12:13: "O Lord, please heal her" ("El nah, refah na lah"). At the beginning of Numbers 20, there is a brief notation that Miriam dies at the first new moon; unfortunately, neither the month nor the year is given. Zipporah may still be alive at this time, since it was common for high-status Hebrew men to have more than wife. Afterward, Miriam is left with bodily tzara'at, which according to Jewish sources is a divine punishment for slander. And there was no water for the congregation. Numbers 12:1. In other words, Moses has a closer relationship with God than other prophets. Your censure is directed to Me, rather than to him, for 'the receiver is no better than the thief,' and if Moses is not worthy of his calling, I, his Master, deserve censure."[13]. [29] Miriam's Cup originated in the 1980s in a Boston Rosh Chodesh group; it was invented by Stephanie Loo, who filled it with what she referred to as mayim chayim (living waters) and used it in a feminist ceremony of guided meditation. It has been suggested that since according to the Hebrew Bible anyone with tzara'at was tamei (Leviticus 13–14), Aaron was spared this punishment in order not to interrupt his duties as High Priest. The suggestion was Moses was somehow "tainted" by marrying a Cushite, and therefore not 'worthy' of the office he held; God specifically directed His rebuke towards her, reminding her of who He designates as approaching Him, and dare she presume herself to be more 'righteous' than Moses, who in the same passage was said to be, The judgment for her critical spirit was leprosy, which appeared on … Upon seeing Miriam's punishment Aaron asks Moses to speak to God on her behalf. Miriam would have been only about 5 years old when this baby, Moses was born. Afterwards, "God's wrath flared against them. I Myself ordered him to abstain from conjugal life, and the word he received was revealed to him clearly and not in dark speeches, he saw the Divine presence from behind when It passed by him. [citation needed] However, noting the wording of the verse, "God's wrath flared against them [i.e., both Aaron and Miriam]", the Talmud appears to conclude that Aaron was also smitten with tzara'at initially, but was then immediately cured.[16]. They appear to have a reasonable complaint. Their complaint, therefore, was not about the union between Moses and Tzipora, but about their separation. At this time Miriam emerges from her hiding place and approaches Pharaoh's daughter, offering to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. Answer: The Bible does not say much about Moses’ wife, Zipporah. When she returns, Miriam has been healed and the Israelites move on to the Desert of Paran. The Midianites lived in … When Miriam is re-introduced in this part of the story, the text refers to her as a "prophetess" (Exodus 15:20) and later in Numbers 12:2 she reveals that God has spoken to her. This is actually a topic that is debated often, but scripture is clear that Moses married two different women from two different lineages. I can’t imagine Miriam and Aaron giving Moses such a hard time if his wife were an “exceptional creature.” God was very upset with Miriam and Aaron for raining on Moses… Her … According to the Midrash, the Leviathan and Behemoth,[38] as well as the Ziz,[39] are to be served at the Seudat Techiyat HaMetim[40] (the feast for the righteous following the Resurrection of the Dead), to which the Passover Seder alludes, insofar as it commemorates the past Redemption together with the Cup of Elijah's heralding the future, Final Redemption. 23, p. 24b", Miriam's Cup: A New Ritual for the Passover Seder, ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim, Current Ummah of Islam (Ummah of Muhammad), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Miriam&oldid=996540113, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2016, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Mother Abiona or Amtelai the daughter of Karnebo, Slayers of Saleh's she-camel (Qaddar ibn Salif and Musda' ibn Dahr). It is feminine -- ve'teddaber ("and she spoke") -- indicating that Miriam was the one who initiated the conversation against Moses (Telushkin, 130). After which time, upon fleeing as a solitary fugitive from Egypt,[19] the only marriage of Moses that the Torah records is with Tzipora the daughter of Yitro the Midianite. The princess agrees and Miriam brings none other than her own mother to care for Moses. Mosos wife The Cushite reference to the wife of Moses occurs at Numbers 12. Moses teaches that Israelites are not to marry foreigners (Deut. [6]:71, In the biblical narrative of The Exodus, Miriam is described as a "prophetess" when she leads the Israelites in the Song of the Sea after Pharaoh's army is destroyed at the Sea of Reeds. Pharaoh's daughter sends one of her servants to fetch the basket from among the reeds and finds Moses when she opens it. [14] This was because she, not Aaron, was the one who initiated the complaint against Moses. Aaron pleads to Moses for her healing and Moses prays to the Lord, "O God, please heal her!" The waters of the well were drawn after the mark and thus supplied water for each of the Tribes. She leads the women in a dance while singing: "Sing to the Lord, for God is highly exalted. Immediately after Miriam’s death, the Israelites quarrel with her brothers Moses and Aaron for lack of water. While the Israelites were in the wilderness, Miriam and Aaron began to speak against Moses because of his Cushite wife. [2]" Many Rabbinic commentaries follow the understanding of the Midrash that Moses' "Cushite wife" was Zipporah. The Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah (Genesis 25:1-4). Both Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, but only Miriam contracted tzara'at. In their merit they received three great gifts: the Well [Miriam], the Clouds of Glory [Aaron] and the Manna [Moses]." The straight answer is ‘probably not’. Miriam (.mw-parser-output .script-hebrew,.mw-parser-output .script-Hebr{font-family:"SBL Hebrew","SBL BibLit","Frank Ruehl CLM","Taamey Frank CLM","Ezra SIL","Ezra SIL SR","Keter Aram Tsova","Taamey Ashkenaz","Taamey David CLM","Keter YG","Shofar","David CLM","Hadasim CLM","Simple CLM","Nachlieli",Cardo,Alef,"Noto Serif Hebrew","Noto Sans Hebrew","David Libre",David,"Times New Roman",Gisha,Arial,FreeSerif,FreeSans}מִרְיָם‎ Mīrəyām) was described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Amram and Jochebed, and the older sister of Moses and Aaron. It is from this part of her story that the relatively new tradition of Miriam's Cup at the Passover seder is derived. They disapproved of this separation because they considered her to be outstandingly righteous, much as a dark-skinned person stands out among light-skinned people—hence the reference to Tzipora as a "Cushite". 7:3), yet he himself has a foreign wife (Num. Miriam also appears in the biblical book of Numbers, when she and her brother Aaron speak unfavorably about the Cushite woman Moses is married to. Now the sister and brother challenge Moses about his wife. Moses meets Miriam and Aaron and was revealed that he was their younger brother.All rights reserved to DreamWorks (Deut. Some say this identifies her as a descendant of Noah’s grandson Cush. We know that she was the daughter of a man called Jethro (or Reuel), who was a priest in the land of Midian ( Exodus 3:1; cf. 12:1). “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman”. God overhears their conversation and calls the three siblings into the Tent of Meeting, where God appears as a cloud before them. Miriam asks Pharaoh's wife and her handmaidens to have his own mother act as nursemaid to Moses, the mother's identity not being known to Pharaoh's wife (28:12–13). The Bible does not explicitly say that Moses had more than one wife. Many people often assume that Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses because of his marriage with Zipporah: Numbers 12:1. [24][25]:217–228, The Talmud[26] says, "Three great leaders led Israel: Moses, Aaron and Miriam. Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite (Numbers 12:1, NIV). In the Book of Chronicles, two of her grandsons are mentioned: Shebuel, son of Gershom, and Rehabiah, son of Eliezer (1 Chronicles 23:16-17 Miriam, who judging by her punishment seems to have been the ringleader, is struck with leprosy. What isn’t immediately obvious in scripture is that Moses had two wives and Zipporah was the first. Miriam's mother, Yocheved, has been hiding Miriam's infant brother, Moses, for three months. … Hence, as a result of Miriam's boldness, Moses was raised by his mother until he was weaned, at which time he was adopted by the princes and became a member of the Egyptian royal family. Accordingly, the lamb (earth), egg (air) and fish (water) in the Seder symbolize the three prophets Moses, Aaron and Miriam, respectively, whom God chose to redeem the Jews from Egypt. R. Nathan says: Miriam was beside Zipporah when Moses was told that Eldad and Medad [newly appointed prophets] were prophesying in the camp. God eventually heals Miriam, but first insists that she be exiled from the Israelite camp for seven days. [11] In the story Aaron and Miriam harshly criticize Moses' marriage to a Cushite or Kushite woman after he returned to Egypt to set the children of Israel free. Miriam here claimed equality with Moses, ignoring the fact that God had placed Moses in a unique position of authority (Ex. The former Hebrew slaves have crossed the Red Sea and the waters have crashed down upon the Egyptian soldiers that were pursuing them. [6]:71, The Torah describes Miriam and Aaron as being rebuked by God for criticizing Moses on account of his "Cushite" wife, after which Miriam is punished for a week with tzara’at ("leprosy", Numbers 12). She was a prophetess and first appears in the Book of Exodus. The Cushite wife appears some years later in Moses’ story, during the wandering in the desert (you can read about the dispute between Miriam, Aaron and the Cushite wife at Miriam’s story.) Later, as the Israelites wander through the desert in search of the Promised Land, the midrash tells us that a well of water followed Miriam and quenched the people's thirst. Josephus states that Miriam marries Hur, Moses’ close companion. Furthermore, according to the conclusion of the Tharbis legend, Moses fashioned a miraculous ring which caused her to forget her love for him, and he then returned to Egypt alone. "Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible." When Miriam heard about this, she brought the complaint to Moses. Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against a man like Moses, who is, moreover, My servant? She is just referred to as "his sister" or "Moses's sister.". The most explicit statement relates to the marriage: "Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman." 12:1). Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil. It would show that while Miriam and Aaron were technically correct in denouncing Moses’s marriage, their motive in advancing this pretext was as malicious as their desire to remove Moses from power, namely, because that union was a marriage in name only. Attention is drawn to the … Miriam's death is described in Numbers 20:1 and in the next verse, the Israelites are described as complaining of the lack of water at Kadesh. Using interpretations from the documentary hypothesis, he notes that this story, which he calls "Snow-White Miriam", was authored by the Elohist who he claims was from, or supported, the Shiloh priesthood, and thus promoted this tale to assert Moses’ superiority over Aaron and thereby belittle the Aaronid priesthood in Judah. Aaron asks Moses to intercede for Miriam, Moses prays to God to heal her, and God concedes after requiring a quarantine of seven days. They also discuss how God has spoken to them too, implying that they are unhappy with the status quo between themselves and their younger brother. [15] Despite Miriam's intent to help Tzipora, she should have judged Moses favorably and approached Moses on Tzipora's behalf privately. The Hebrew word Cush means black, and Cush is said to be the father of the black African people. Numbers 12 tells the story of the opposition of his brother Aaron and sister Miriam to Moses on the grounds that he had married a Cushite wife. William Morrow: New York, 1997. We learn in Numbers that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman (Num. Other scholars point to this very passage as emphatically saying the opposite: Moses did have more than one wife, hence the narrative's emphasis at the end of vs 1: While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman) Miriam was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed; she was the sister of Aaron and Moses, the leader of the Israelites in ancient Egypt. 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