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This first class in the series introduces the historical context in which Miriam lived—the oppressive and bitter conditions of the Jewish people’s slavery in Egypt.

Miriam, Mother of Rebellion

Miriam, Mother of Rebellion

Lesson 1: Introduction


Miriam, Mother of Rebellion - Part 1: Lesson 1: Introduction

This first class in the series introduces the historical context in which Miriam lived—the oppressive and bitter conditions of the Jewish people’s slavery in Egypt.
I. Introduction--A Leader for Her People p.3, I. Introduction--Family Lineage p.2, I. Introduction--Historical Context p.1
Listen to Audio | Download this MP3
Beshalach, Shemot, Miriam, Struggle, Challenge & Adversity, Enslavement in Egypt

“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
“The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies . . . All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
Mark Twain, “Concerning the Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1898
In 1523 BCE Jacob descended to Egypt together with his children, as a group of seventy individual souls.

On the 15th of Nissan, 1313 BCE, two and a half million Jewish men, women and children left Egypt with their heads held high, as a free people.

During those interim years, the descendants of Jacob became an enslaved people and were subjected to the most terrible tyranny. The beatings were unimaginable, the tortures and cruelty unspeakable, and the despondency all-encompassing.

And yet this beaten nation emerged from their experience as a stronger people, prepared to become G‑d’s chosen nation. As they marched to Sinai to witness the greatest revelation ever experienced by mankind, they undertook the challenge and responsibility to spread a message of light and morality to all mankind.

This is the story of their oppression.

This is the miracle of their survival and renewal.

And these are their leaders—the people who infused them with the courage and faith to believe in a brighter future.

While Moses led the men, Miriam taught and inspired the women of her generation.

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Ideas for Discussion
In moments when we feel impoverished of our abilities and stripped of our strength, we need to access our hidden reservoirs of strength.
Chana Weisberg is the editor of She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Patti New Mexico April 4, 2016

Wonderful! I loved the perspective of how we can be changed through difficult situations as silver is refined in the fire! Reply

Anonymous sunny isles beach October 19, 2014

Because the Torah wasn't given yet??? First of all I LOVED this series. I listened to all 6 parts and learned so much, THANK YOU! I really enjoyed the presentation, content, and the way it was put together! Bravo! There was something I didn't understand though. In one of the sections it was mentioned that Yocheved was the aunt and wife of Amram. I assume this is because there were only 70 people who entered Egypt so there was probably not a lot of eligible bachelors? In the presentation the rationale for this relationship was because "the Torah wasn't given yet." However, we know that Yaakov said "Garti im Lavan," meaning, "even though I lived with an evil man I still kept the entire Torah" (613, gematria of Garti). So this explanation doesn't sit well with me because we learn that all the patriarchs kept the Torah before it was given. So my question is: Is an aunt-nephew relationship (or an uncle-niece) forbidden by Torah law? Where is it written? I thought 1st cousins could marry? Reply

Daniel Flagstaff, AZ June 3, 2014

1. Why did you call the time in Egypt an "exile"? The people had not even entered the Promised Land at all by then. How can you be "exiled" from something you were never in?
2. You say the purpose of the "exile" in Egypt was to "purify" the children of Israel in order to later receive the Torah.
Did it work?
G-d says [Ez 20:7-9] says He was provoked--to the point of pouring out His wrath on you--by the idolatry that "every" ("*None* of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.") person had stubbornly committed in Egypt. Reply

Anonymous odessa, fl October 18, 2011

Wonderful You have brought me back to torah study and listening on Reply

Carmen August 10, 2011

The key for not letting the silver melt ... ...before it turns into a limpid mirror, is not to give in in that turning point,resisting to the impulse to flee to vices,vices that are built as tricky shields in life.
Only when we do not give in,we win ,and only with Hashem's approval and help. Reply

Jamie Milford, MA August 3, 2011

Miriam part 1 Thank you Chana for what looks to be an awesome series! I asked for it to be a women's study group and our local Chabad is starting the series tonight. Keep you posted. I am so excited! Reply

Jan Jones Charlottesville, VA July 14, 2011

Miriam, part I Thank you, Chana for your teaching. You are quite gifted. Do you have a website? Thanks, Jan Reply

Kayo Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2011

Looking forward B"H

From the intro story of silver smith, I can sense this series will be a life changing experience! Reply