Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her in dance with timbrels.
And Miriam chanted for them:Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously;
Horse and driver He has hurled into the sea. (Exodus 15:20–21)
When Miriam leads the women of Israel at the parting of the sea in praising Hashem with song and dance, she is making her second appearance in the Exodus story. In her first scene, Miriam is instrumental in rescuing the baby Moses after his parents are forced to set him adrift on the waters of the Nile. She has the courage to watch over her brother’s journey in his tiny ark, and the chutzpah to approach the daughter of Pharaoh and suggest a plan that saves his life. Miriam’s act of saving Moses is essential to the entire drama that follows, but throughout this scene she’s just called “his sister” or “the girl” (Ex. 2:4, 7–9).
It’s hard to imagine a more enthusiastic response to God than the one commanded in the Shema: “You shall love Hashem your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
This week we embarked upon our annual reading of Bamidbar. The Fourth Book of the Torah is so named since it begins “Vay’daber Adonai el-Mosheh b’midbar Sinai (And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai).”
Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have sanctity, a day of complete rest to the Lord; whoever performs work thereon [on this day] shall be put to death. — Exodus 35:2
We see with our own eyes how often a person neglects his duty in spite of his awareness of it and in spite of his having come to recognize as a truth what is required for the salvation of his soul and what is incumbent upon him in respect to his Creator. This neglect is due not to an inadequate recognition of his duty nor to any other cause but the increasing weight of his laziness upon him; so that he says, "I will eat a little," or "I will sleep a little," or "It is hard for me to leave the house," or "I have taken off my shirt, how can I put it on again?" (Canticles 5:3). "It is very hot outside," "It is very cold," or "It is raining too hard" and all the other excuses and pretenses that the mouth of fools is full of. Either way, the Torah is neglected, Divine service dispensed with, and the Creator abandoned. — Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, The Path of the Just, Chapter 6, pages 38-40
Jacob settled in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father. And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat. And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak with him peacefully. – Genesis 37:1-4