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Aaron and Miriam

Aaron and Miriam


There were two great brothers and a sister: Aaron, Moses and Miriam.

In the Sidrah Chukkas of this month, we read about the passing of Miriam and Aaron.

Miriam the Prophetess died at the age of 126 (or 127) years. She was the oldest of the three. She died on the tenth day of Nissan, in the year 2487, almost exactly one year before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land.

Throughout the many weary years of wandering in the desert, a well of fresh water followed the children of Israel. The water flowed from a rock which rolled on after the children of Israel and supplied them with water. When Miriam died, the Well dried up, and the children of Israel knew that it was because of the merits of Miriam that they had water.

Then G‑d ordered Moses to speak to the rock, and Moses hit it twice. The water came again, but Moses and Aaron who had not carried out G‑d's command exactly as they were expected to, were told that they would not live to see the Promised Land. However, as long as Moses lived (right up to the time before entering the Promised Land) the Well continued to give them water for Moses' sake.

In the same year that Miriam died, nearly five months later, Aaron the High Priest passed away. Aaron died on the first day of Av (in the year 2487). He was 123 years old when he died, being three years older than Moses.

Throughout the many weary years of wandering in the desert, Clouds of Glory surrounded the Israelite Camp and protected them from the desert sun and other discomforts. The Clouds of Glory also kept the enemies of the Israelites in fear, and they did not dare attack the children of Israel. When Aaron died, the Clouds of Glory disappeared, and the children of Israel were soon attacked by the Canaanite king of Arad: However, the Clouds of Glory later returned for the sake of Moses, and stayed with them as long as Moses lived.

The entire people of Israel, both men and women, mourned the death of Aaron for thirty days. Everybody knew Aaron as a great lover of peace, who brought love and harmony among people and in many a home. When two people quarreled, Aaron would speak to each one separately and tell him how much the other man is sorry for having lost his temper. When the two people met again, they became good friends again. Many newly born children were named 'Aaron' in his honor and memory.

Said our Sages: "Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and seeking after peace, loving all creatures and bringing them near unto the Torah," for "its (the Torah's) ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace."

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gary kukis Houston October 15, 2013

Miriam and Caleb I know that some of you put a lot of stock in your traditions, but Miriam would not just be a few years older than Caleb; she would have been nearly 50 years older than Caleb. Moses died at age 120; Caleb is spoken of as a contemporary with Joshua, not with Moses.

Secondly, it is common in the Bible that when the woman is known, for her to be named in the references to the children she bore. When a woman is unknown, then, quite obviously, she is not named.

Again, in the Bible, Caleb's wife is not named. The idea that he married Miriam is preposterous. Reply

Menachem Posner Montreal October 13, 2013

RE: Miriam and Caleb The Talmud (Sota 11b) cites a tradition that Caleb the son of Yefune and Caleb the son of Chetzron are the same person. With this background, the Talmud approaches I Chronicles 2:18 and understands that Azuva his daughter is actually Miriam his wife. Reply

gary kukis Houston October 12, 2013

Miriam and Caleb I don't see any reason to think that Caleb and Miriam were married. The lines of Caleb are found in 1Chron.4 (see, and I don't see here or anywhere else where Caleb's wife is named (and the Caleb of 1Chron2 is a different Caleb). Reply

Anonymous Nyc June 13, 2013

huh it doesn't make sense moses must be over 80 in the desert, he leaves Egypt at 40 returns around 80 and there is a 40 year exodus and he dies before they enter the land at 120. if moses is over 80 at exodus that makes miriam close to 90. Reply

Menachem Posner for December 23, 2009

RE: Miriam and Caleb Yes, Miriam was around six or seven years older than Moses (see Psikta Rabbati 43:27), and she did marry Caleb (see Sifri to Beha’alotecha 78). At the same time, I Chronicles 4:18 tells us that Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh married Mered, whom the Talmud (Megilla 13a) identifies as Caleb. Now these two women were clearly older than Moses. Caleb, on the other hand, was younger than Moses. In fact, the Talmud (Zevachim 118b) tells us that he was all of seventy-two years of age when he crossed the Jordan.

I am not clear, however, on what your question is. There is no law in the Torah forbidding a man to marry a woman—or women, in this case—older than himself. In addition, there was no prohibition against bigamy. While it may not have been all that common, it was practiced by Abraham, Jacob and many others.

Does that help shed some light? Reply

Anonymous washington, dc December 23, 2009

miriam and caleb It appears that Miriam is about 7years older than Moses; I gather Caleb (her husband) was about Moses' age (I read he was 40 on his first spy mission) - so I guess Miriam was 7 years older than her husband.
Of more concern that I gather Batya married Mered, who supposedly is Caleb (of course she could have married him after Miriam's death,) but that would make her about 18-20 years older than Caleb??
- also Batya supposedly has 3 children with Mered/Caleb and unless she married him while he was still married to Miriam-- or unless Mered is NOT Caleb, something doesn't make much sense here. Please help!! Reply

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