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Moses and Aaron

by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales


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There were two great brothers and a sister: Aaron, Moses and Miriam.

In the Sidrah Chukkat of this month, we read about the passing of Miriam and Aaron.

Miriam the Prophetess died at the age of 126 (or 127) years. She was the oldest of the three. She died on the tenth day of Nissan, in the year 2487, almost exactly one year before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land.

Throughout the many weary years of wandering in the desert, a well of fresh water followed the children of Israel. The water flowed from a rock which rolled on after the children of Israel and supplied them with water. When Miriam died, the Well dried up, and the children of Israel knew that it was because of the merits of Miriam that they had water.

Then G-d ordered Moses to speak to the rock, and Moses hit it twice. The water came again, but Moses and Aaron who had not carried out G-d's command exactly as they were expected to, were told that they would not live to see the Promised Land. However, as long as Moses lived (right up to the time before entering the Promised Land) the Well continued to give them water for Moses' sake.

When two people quarreled, Aaron would speak to each one separately and tell him how much the other man is sorry for having lost his temper
In the same year that Miriam died, nearly five months later, Aaron the High Priest passed away. Aaron died on the first day of Av (in the year 2487). He was 123 years old when he died, being three years older than Moses.

Throughout the many weary years of wandering in the desert, Clouds of Glory surrounded the Israelite Camp and protected them from the desert sun and other discomforts. The Clouds of Glory also kept the enemies of the Israelites in fear, and they did not dare attack the children of Israel. When Aaron died, the Clouds of Glory disappeared, and the children of Israel were soon attacked by the Canaanite king of Arad: However, the Clouds of Glory later returned for the sake of Moses, and stayed with them as long as Moses lived.

The entire people of Israel, both men and women, mourned the death of Aaron for thirty days. Everybody knew Aaron as a great lover of peace, who brought love and harmony among people and in many a home. When two people quarreled, Aaron would speak to each one separately and tell him how much the other man is sorry for having lost his temper. When the two people met again, they became good friends again. Many newly born children were named 'Aaron' in his honor and memory.

Said our Sages: "Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and seeking after peace, loving all creatures and bringing them near unto the Torah," for "its (the Torah's) ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace."

Fom Talks and Tales, by Kehot Publication Society. Available at


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History » Desert Sojourn

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.
[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.
The first month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which falls out in early spring, is known for the holiday of Passover which starts on the 15th of Nissan.
The fifth month of the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to July-August. The saddest month of the year due to the destruction of the Temples, and the many other tragedies which befell the Jews in this month.
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.
Older sister of Moses and Aaron, and a prophetess in her own right.
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.