Miriams Song

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Miriam’s Song

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About The Book. It's very hot and stuffy inside the small classroom, which has few windows and no air-conditioning, and is packed with over one hundred six- and seven-year-olds. Many are bawling and sniffling after being whipped. Others are screaming and want to go home to their mothers. Still others are chanting at the top of their small lungs a song about fingernails.

My heart is thumping against my ribs and my tongue is stuck to the roof of my dry mouth.

Miriam's Song () - IMDb

Tears prick the corners of my bulging eyes as I stare at my Sub-A instructor. She's a tall, lean woman with a harried look on her dark face. We are required to address her as Mistress. Male instructors are addressed as Teacher.

The mistress is wielding a thick ruler and giving us a tongue-lashing about the importance of trimming our fingernails. It's about eight-thirty. We've just entered the classroom following morning assembly. I long to flee the classroom, but my bare feet are stuck to the corner where I'm cowering with my friends -- Cynthia, Janice, Margaret, Becky, and Dlayani. They too are terrified. Everyone in the classroom is terrified of the mistress when she's armed with the thick ruler. There's a larger group of pupils cowering in the opposite corner.

Song of the Sea

We are like cattle afraid of being branded. I anxiously watch the mistress when she barks each frightened pupil's name, and that pupil has to come forward and have his or her fingernails inspected to see if they are too long or have any dirt under them. Uri uri D'vorah, uri uri dabri-shir! Someone would pick up a drum, another a tambourine, and they would begin to sway and dance and clap to the beat.

The story would become their story, and the song, their song. Our Torah text tells of the Israelites' miraculous crossing of the Red Sea and the defeat of their Egyptian pursuers. What was their reaction? We read:.

Additional information

The phrases are spaced to stand out, and the short clusters make the phrases look like waves upon the sea. It is a song of victory that glorifies the defeat and death of the Egyptians. These are not peaceful waves lapping upon the shore; these are mighty waves that engulf and destroy the enemy. Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, picked up a hand-drum, and all the women went out after her in dance with hand-drums.

And Miriam chanted for them:. That is all that the Torah gives us of Miriam's song. We do not know if the rest was lost or if the chant continued wordlessly or if that is all that there was. Miriam's song was missing until our own day. It took a modern Miriam, Debbie Friedman, of blessed memory, to re-create the song with words and melody and rhythm, and to let the women and men of our day dance and celebrate the ancient story. Debbie's words have even found their way into our prayer book, Mishkan T'filah on page My favorite line is the last one: "We've just lived through a miracle, we're going to dance tonight!

Miriam answers: My name is an amalgam of two Hebrew words— mar , meaning "bitter," and yam , meaning "sea. It was they who faced Pharaoh, who invoked the deadly plagues on Egypt, who met with God and inspired the people. And I was consigned to silence. And when at last I rose up with Aaron to demand that my youngest brother share the leadership with us, it was I alone who was stricken with leprosy.

My name, like me, arose out of Egypt. Miriam is derived from the Egyptian word mer , meaning "beloved. Frankel's modern midrash provides the details of Miriam's story that are missing from the Torah.