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    What happened to Miriam? – Va’era

    miriamIn the genealogies preserved in Exodus chapter 6, verse 20 tells us that Amram and Yocheved had two sons, Aaron and Moses. We know from elsewhere in the Torah that they also had a daughter whose name was Miriam.

    In a whole series of important events, including the rejoicing at the crossing of the Red Sea, Miriam plays a highly important part, so why does the list in Chapter 6 leave her out? The Greek version, the Septuagint, inserts her name. But is there a reason why the Torah as we have it omits her?

    It can’t be because of the fact that she was female, because there were other famous females in Biblical history whom nobody wants to brush aside.

    It may be a sort of punishment, since in Numbers Chapter 12 she takes the lead in criticising Moses. In that chapter Aaron was her co-conspirator, but it was Miriam who got punished – according to Rashi and Ibn Ezra, because she was the instigator of the anti-Moses movement.

    That chapter makes it clear that Miriam and Aaron resented Moses’s pre-eminence, and it may be that the Torah wanted to reinforce Moses and prevent any revolt against him, so that Miriam’s place in history was minimised.

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