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10****Miriam the Prophetess (Sister of Moshe and Aharon.)

Miriam the Prophetess

Born: Egypt

Died: 1274 BCE

Three good leaders arose for Israel, Moshe(Moses), Aharon, and Miriam (Ta'anit 9a).

Who are the seven prophetesses? Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Channah, Abigail, Chuldah, and Esther (Megillah 14a).

Miriam lived eighty-six years till the redemption from Egypt (Meor Ayin). Why was she called Miriam? For the bitterness in Egypt (Seder Olam Rabbah 3).

She was called Miriam, for at the time of her birth the Egyptians began to embitter the lives of the Children Of Israel (Yalkut Shimoni, Shemot 165).

The Hebrew midwives (Exodus 1:15) were Yocheved and [her daughter] Miriam. Miriam, who was only five years old then, went with Yocheved to assist her. She was quick to honor her mother and to serve God (Eitz Yosef), for when a child is little, its traits are already evident. The name of the second (i.e., Miriam) was Puah (ibid.) for she gave the newborns wine and restored the babies to life when they appeared to be dead, she lit up Israel before God by teaching the women, she presented her face before Pharaoh, stuck up her nose at him, and said, "Woe is to the man (i.e., Pharaoh) when God punishes him!" Pharaoh was filled with wrath and would have killed her, but Yocheved appeased him, saying, "Will you pay attention to her? She is only a child, she has no understanding" (Shemot Rabbah 1:13).

Betzalel's wisdom was in Miriam's merit. It is written, God made them houses (Exodus 1:21), the priesthood and the monarchy. Miriam received wisdom. She produced Bezalel, and from her issued David (Shemot Rabbah 48:4).

Before Moshe was born she was a prophetess. After Moshe was born, prophecy was taken away from her and given to Moshe (Midrash Aggadah, Shemot 15:20).

She prophesied and said, "My mother is destined to bear a son who will redeem Israel" (Megillah 14a).

Miriam taught the women (Targum Michah 6:4).

Israel had a well in the desert in Miriam's merit (Ta'anit 9a).

Whenever the camps of Israel journeyed, they would not move until Miriam went before them thus they all stopped when Miriam was smitten with leprosy (Yalkut Shimoni, Ki Teitze 937).

Ephrath (I Chronicles 2:19) is Miriam. Why was she called Ephrath? Because the people of Israel multiplied because of her when she advised her parents to remarry in spite of Pharoah's decree (Shemot Rabbah 1:17).

Aharhel (I Chronicles 4:8) is Miriam. Why was she called thus? Because all multitudes the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances (Exodus 15:20) (Shemot Rabbah 1:17).

Calev son of Chetzron fathered children by Azubah his wife, and Jerioth 
(I Chronicles 2:18). Azubah (lit., forsaken) is Miriam, whom all the young men forsook at first and would not marry because she was sickly (Rashi). She is also called Jerioth (lit., Sheets) because her face was white as a sheet so sickly was she (Rashi). Two wives, Helah and Naarah (I Chronicles 4:5). Miriam was like two women, at first she was Helah (lit., sickly) and finally she became Naarah (lit., young girl). And the sons of Helah, Zohar (ibid. v. 7), her face became as radiant as the sun at noon (Sotah 12a).

Azubah died, and Calev married Ephrath (I Chronicles 2:18). Miriam, who is called both Azubah and Ephrath fell ill with leprosy and was treated as if dead. Calev, too, left her. After she was healed, he remarried her and seated her in a palanquin for the wedding procession in his great rejoicing over her. Then the Holy One, Blessed is He, restored her youth, and she bore him children (Shemot Rabbah 1:17).

"Her Family"

Amram acted on his daughter's advice. When Pharaoh decreed, "Every son who is born you shall cast into the Nile" (Exodus 1:22), he rose and divorced his wife and all of Israel followed his example. "Father", said his daughter, "your decree is harsher than Pharaoh's. Pharaohs decree is directed only against the males, whereas yours by preventing the birth of new children is directed against the males and the females" (Sotah 12a).

Miriam was six years old at the time. Yet when her father heard her words, he brought her before the Sanhedrin. They said to him, "Amram, it is you who forbids marriage, and it is you who must permit it." "What do you advise?" asked Amram. "Shall we remarry quietly?" They replied, "Then who will make it known to all Israel?" (Pesikta Rabbati 43:27).

Amram took back his wife and seated her in a palanquin for the wedding procession. Aaron and Miriam sang and danced before her happy that the savior of Israel would be born to their mother when married to their father (Maharsha) (Sotah 12a; Bava Kama 120a).

Why did Miriam stand from afar to see what would become of the baby Moshe? Because she prophesied, "My mother is destined to bear a son who will redeem Israel." When the baby was thrown into the Nile, her mother slapped her on the head and said, "My daughter, where is your prophecy?" (Shemot Rabbah 1:22).

Miriam married Calev (Sifri Beha'alotcha 78).

She produced Betzalel, from whom David issued (Shemot Rabbah 48:4).

When Moses was born, the whole house was filled with light. Her father kissed her on her head and said, "My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled." (Megillah 14a).

On the tenth of Nissan, Miriam the prophetess died (end of Megillat Ta'anit).

May the merit of the tzaddeket  Miriam  protect us all, Amen.

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