Midreshet Amit


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Stand By

By: Mrs. Geula Twersky

In the darkest days of the servitude in Egypt, a six year old girl named Miriam was disturbed by her parents' actions. In despair over Pharaoh's decrees, they had separated. The Pesiktah Rabbati (§43) describes how she rebuked her parents, and convinced her parents to remarry. The result was the birth of a son, who was to become Moshe Rabeinu.

What could a six year old do against the armies of the mighty Pharaoh? She could hardly stand up to the great world power that was Egypt. Yet she ultimately triumphed over the forces of Pharaoh and brought redemption to her people. She did not solve the problem of the servitude in Egypt in a direct or immediate way. However, she planted the seeds that would bear fruit more than 8 decades later.

A few months later, Miriam stood by the reeds to observe what would become of the child that she had encouraged her parents to bring into the world. The Torah [Shemot (2:4)] describes the scene for us:
And his sister stood from afar to see what would happen to him.

The scene at the splitting of the Reed Sea is very reminiscent of this one. Once again it was at the Reeds. The words uttered by Moshe Rabeinu echoed those that described his sister 80 years earlier. He told the people [Shemot (14:13)]:
Stand and see

The relationship between these events is clear. Were it not for Miriam, as a young girl, doing the right thing, there would not have been a Moshe leading the Jewish people at the Reed Sea. She had planted the seeds of the redemption, by doing what was right in her small corner of the world. She could hardly have expected to thereby bring about the redemption, and yet that is exactly the result of her actions!

Sometimes we wonder whether our actions and decisions make any difference. At such times we would do well to remember a little girl named Miriam.