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Parshat Beshalach

In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Beshalach, Pharaoh chases the Jews to force them to return after he finally allowed them to leave Egypt. Hashem closes the splitting sea while the Egyptians are still inside in order to escort the Jews to safety. Once the Jews realize they are finally safe on the other side of the sea, Moshe and the people of Israel sing a song of praise and gratitude to Hashem.

The portion of Beshalach goes into depth about the songs hundreds of thousands of Jews chanted after crossing the Red Sea. The Torah unusually mentions: “And Miriam the prophetess, Aharon’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women came out after her with tambourines and with dances.” This verse raises a question. In all the five books of the Torah, none of the tzadikim are referred to as prophets. So why is Miriam described as a prophetess in this case?

Miriam is best described as a crucial leader in the march toward redemption. After Pharaoh decreed that all male babies were to be drowned in the Nile, many men under the leadership of Amram, the father of Miriam, separated from their wives to avoid future babies and their immediate death. They thought this was the appropriate reaction to Pharoah’s vile decree; to stop future suffering. It was Miriam who was then able to convince and encourage her father to remarry Yocheved and to continue to bring children into the world. She also inspired many other Jewish men to follow in her father’s footsteps. It was Miriam who informed her father that he would have a son who would redeem the entire Jewish people which is why Miriam was called a prophetess.

Shabbat Shalom!

By: Miriam Cohen (9th Grade)

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