Image: Miriam, By Ephraim Moshe Lilien [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Reblogged from the blog of Rabbi Stephen Fuchs. Thank you, Rabbi Fuchs, for the insight that the Sages included so many midrashim on Miriam because they recognized that she was shortchanged in the text!
When the Children of Israel complain—yet again—because they have no water, Moses loses it completely (Numbers 20). Many think he lost control because he was grieving the loss of his sister Miriam.
Miriam had saved his life when he was a baby (Exodus 2) and was his confidante throughout his life.
The Sages taught (based on Numbers 21.17-18) that because of Miriam, a well accompanied Israel that disappeared when Miriam died. (Shir Ha-Shirim Rabbah 4 :12, section 3). Another Midrash suggests that Miriam’s well was one of ten sacred things God created at twilight, just before the first Shabbat (Pirke Avot 5 :8). Rav Hiyya taught that Miriam’s well became an eternal memorial to her, embedded in the sea of Galilee and visible from the top of Mt. Carmel. (B. Shabbat 3a ; Yerushalmi, Kilaim 9 :4, p. 32C)
These midrashim represent the Sages’ desire to give Miriam the credit…
View original post 143 more words