Audacity Accepted by Nachi Farkas


After Miriam’s “contracting” Tzaraat and Mosheh’s intervention with the disease, the reader should feel a sense of confusion; the story is clearly deeper than the text suggests. For example, the way Mosheh asks for Hashem to heal Miriam is strangely worded as it is seemingly grammatically incorrect, especially when understood as a request from servant to master. Mosheh’s words: “Kel Na Refa Na La” are repetitive because the word “Na,” which can be translated as “please” or “now,” is repeated twice. Additionally, the phrase “Refa La,” meaning “heal (to) her,” is written BeLashon Tzivui, a commanding language, which seems disrespectful towards God.

An alternative understanding of the relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem might clarify the strange episode. The Mabit writes that deeming Hashem as Gomel Chasadim states that people should expect kindness from Hashem, such as good health and a relatively pain-free existence. In reality, however, this ideal statement is false; it would be audacious to question the absence of “God’s kindness.” Therefore, if Mosheh were to complain in this way to Hashem, it would seem ungrateful. However, Mosheh had the ability to question the absence of God’s kindness because Mosheh understood that Hashem has created a relationship between himself and humanity.

Of course, deeming of Mosheh’s actions as proper is only understandable while understanding Mosheh’s relationship with his sister. Miriam is the only human reason for Mosheh’s existence. Chazal record that she pointed out that Amram’s decision of separating from Yocheved was even crueler than Pharaoh’s decrees because Amram was stopping the future existence of not only Jewish men but Jewish women as well. Miriam’s opposition caused Amram and Yocheved to reunite. Even later, Miriam watched Mosheh go down the river to ensure that he received the attention and nursing he needed. This was the second time she saved him. Her protective sisterly instincts are also apparent in the Midrashic interpretation of the Lashon Hara that she spoke about Mosheh. Miriam was worried that Mosheh was “flipping out,” separating himself from the Isha Kushit. Therefore, Miriam’s concern was justified, though Miriam failed to realize that Mosheh had grown to exceed everyone else’s spiritual level. [Mosheh was able to communicate directly with Hashem, so no one could reproach Mosheh]

When Mosheh audaciously told Hashem to heal Miriam, Mosheh was explaining that because Hashem had made himself indebted to the Jews, Mosheh would like Hashem to heal someone to whom the whole Jewish people are indebted [for example, Miriam’s well.] When presented with this reasoning and the scope of Miriam’s deeds, the speed of her recovery is unsurprising. She was healed within seconds, not the usual days that it takes for a Metzora to recover.

Hopefully we can understand that Hashem does not owe us anything. As a result of God’s magnanimity in giving us a sense of entitlement, He has made it easy to approach Him to ask for needs in this world. As a result, we should be able to earn incredible Zechuyot, while deserving the benefaction that Hashem has already provided.

Thanks to Rav Yitzchak Cohen for helping me achieve the understanding of the text formulated this Dvar Torah.

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Appreciating God’s Gifts by Yitzchak Richmond