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The Birth of Moses

by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales

  

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I.

THE LITTLE PROPHETESS

Life had become very difficult for the children of Israel in Egypt. Every day brought with it a new and more cruel decree from King Pharaoh, making life very miserable for the poor and, enslaved Hebrews. But there was at least one family which kept up its spirit and brought hope and courage to the others. That was the family of Amram, the son of Kehot great grandson of Jacob. He and his wife Jocheved, had two small children called Miriam, and Aaron.

One day Miriam went around in the house clapping her hands and saying, "I am going to have a little brother who will save our people from the hands of the Egyptians!"

And Miriam's words soon came true.

On the seventh day of Adar a baby boy was born to Amram and Jocheved, and immediately, the house became full of light. The clouds cleared and the sun shone more brightly than ever before. Amram came to his little daughter and kissed her, saying, "My darling daughter, I see now that you were right. Your new brother is not an ordinary baby. He will be the salvation of us all."

For three months the happy parents hid the newly-born baby from Pharaoh's officers who were going around from house to house, searching for Jewish babies, in order to throw them into the river, on orders from the king. At the end of three months, the officers began to search Amram's house very carefully, and Amram and Jocheved knew that they could not hide the little baby any longer. And so, Jocheved said, "I cannot protect my baby any longer, only G-d can. I will entrust my baby into His hands."

The princess noticed a little basket in the reeds by the river's brink
Saying this, Jocheved made a little basket of light weed, and covered it with pitch from without to make it watertight. "Let my baby not suffer from the smell of the pitch," she said, and that is why she did not pitch the basket from within. She then placed the baby into the water-tight basket, and took it down to the River Nile. She hid the basket among the papyrus reeds growing on the bank of the river.

II.

THE FATEFUL DAY

With tears in her eyes, she came back home. But little Miriam remained by the river's brink to see what would happen to her little brother.

At that very time, the Angels assembled before G-d and pleaded for the little baby. "Oh G-d," they said, "Thou hast promised that the day would come when the children of Israel would be delivered from Egypt and given Thy sacred Torah on the sixth day of Sivan. Today is the sixth of Sivan, wilt Thou let this child succumb to starvation and exposure in the waters of the Nile?"

Immediately, G-d ordered the sun to blaze away with might and main and cause all the Egyptian women and children to flock to the river to bathe and refresh themselves in the cool waters of the Nile.

Princess Bithiah, King Pharoah's daughter, called her maids and also went down to bathe in the river.

Suddenly, the princess noticed a little basket in the reeds by the river's brink. She sent one of her maids to fetch it, but her wicked maid said, "Why bother, princess, with a little basket where surely a Hebrew baby is hidden? Has not our mighty king ordered all the children to be thrown into the river without pity?"

Now the princess had lost the use of her arms through illness, and thought: "If only I could use my hands, I would fetch the little basket myself." No sooner did that kind thought flash through her mind than a wonderful thing happened to her. She suddenly felt that her hands were well and strong again. The princess went down among the reeds and picked up the little basket with her own hands.


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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Adar
The twelfth month on the Jewish calendar. This month (which falls out approx. February-March), is the most joyous month on the calendar due to the holiday of Purim which is on the 14th and 15th of this month.
Sivan
The third month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to May-June. This month features the holiday of Shavuot.
Jacob
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Aaron
Brother of Moses. First High Priest of Israel and progenitor of all Kohanim (priests) until this very day. Died in the year 1272 b.c.e.
Miriam
Older sister of Moses and Aaron, and a prophetess in her own right.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.