A Short Prayer Can Be More Powerful, Meaningful, and Successful Than Texts with Hundreds of Words
by Rabbi Daniela Szuster
At the end of Parashat Behaalotcha, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because he married a Cushite woman. Also, they criticized Moses by saying that God spoke to them and not only to Moses. (Bemidvar 12).
It is not clear what was the motivation behind Miriam and Aaron’s actions. Rashi imagines Miriam criticizing Moses for neglecting his wife in order to serve the people of Israel. In Rashi’s view, Miriam was motivated more by her concerns for the Moses’ wife than by feelings of jealousy and rivalry. In other words, we may say that Miriam wanted to advocate for women’s rights!
Consequently, I think that Miriam and Aaron’s mistake was not what they said but rather how they said it. They spoke against Moses in front of all of the people of Israel rather than confronting him directly. This is a behavior that a leader should avoid. In this way, they harmed Moses and also the people of Israel.