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The Systems of the Jewish Year

The Prophet That Sees the Present

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Miriam took her tambourine, took the women aside and led them in song. Today Moshe’s sister is introduced to us by name. Until now we didn’t know her name. She was called “Achos Moshe”, Moses’ sister. We also learn today about the new title she received: “Miriam the Prophetess.”

Where, by the sea, do we see the prophecy of Miriam?

There were two kinds of Prophets in Israel. There were those that saw the future, the coming of Moshiach and the future success of Israel in battle. But than there was a deeper form of prophecy, where one can see the present, that which is right in front of us but hidden. This was the Prophet that could see beneath the surface, they saw light where others could only see darkness, they saw joy where others could only feel pain. Miriam lived through a painful period for the Jewish people. Her parents Yocheved and Amram had decided to separate. Why bring another Jewish child to death and bondage? On the surface their logic was impeccable.

Pharaoh was throwing Jewish boys into the sea. Jewish blood was cheap! But Miriam saw deeper. She saw the possibility of a leader, of a future salvation for her people. When Moshe was born, there was a sigh: ‘another Jewish Neshama will be wasted’, but Miriam smiled, she saw the future of her people!

Perhaps Miriam realized that the way to deal with the total disregard for Jewish children is by making them the center of the world.

“Miriam stood by the bank of the river and watched from afar.” She waited quietly to see what would happen to her prophecy. It took a long time until her vision became real. Many years passed from that heart - wrenching moment of putting Moshe into the water until the splitting of the sea. But when the Jews were saved from the Egyptians, everyone gathered around Miriam. She acquired a name, an identity and a brand new title: Miriam HaNiviah. You were right. You saved us! You gave us Moshe! You did it! You are a true prophet in Israel: you saw what no one else could see. You saved the Jewish people.

Miriam was a heroine because she looked at a child, and instead of crying at its sorry future she saw a bracha. She countered the contagious Egyptian trend of cheapening the lives of Jewish children by seeing in them the future of our people. Her view turned out to be the correct one, the prophetic one. She saw the greatness of a neshama and saved the Jewish people. 

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