KJ Hannah Greenberg


Rashi notes that Miriam advised her parents, Amram and Yocheved, to remarry and to continue to bring children into the world (Genauer). Accordingly, she not only helped to restore that generation’s redeemer but also to keep alive, for perpetuity, Am Yisrael.

It’s not incomprehensible why Amram divorced Yocheved; they lived in desperate times. Pharoh had commanded that all Jewish baby boys be killed. Further, the couple already had a son, Aaron, and a daughter, Miriam, hence, Amram  had already fulfilled the minimum requirement of the commandment to be fruitful and multiply.

As it were, Amram hadn’t anticipated that Am Yisrael would follow his, their leader’s, example. He hadn’t considered that by divorcing their wives, Jewish men would, additionally, discount their possibility of raising daughters. As well, he hadn’t weighed that Hashem, Himself, eternally, guarantees the continuity of His people. In Egypt, for example, Hashem endowed the midwives, Shiphrah (Yocheved), and Puah (Miriam), with mazel. What’s more, G-d insured that an Egyptian princess, Batya, would adopt Moshe.

Essentially, Miriam inspired her parents with more than the idea that they should preserve the family unit and with more than the idea that they should encourage other Jewish couples to emulate them. Specifically, she reinforced her parents’ faith, prophesizing not only that Am Yisrael would have a future but that that future would be wondrous.

BH, faith overcame despair. As Miriam foresaw, we entered Eretz Yisrael. We continued the supernal legacy. As a result, we will, once more, celebrate our Exodos this Pesach.

Am Yisrael’s journey through time remains eventful. Thousands of years after Hashem cast the Ten Plagues on Egypt, the entire world suffered from a single plague, COVID.

COVID was a difficult test. Many people died. Numerous others were stricken with disabilities or diseases, which, for some individuals, have had lasting impacts on their lives. Beyond corporeal issues, people also experienced a decline in mental health. “As many as 2 out of 3 people with long COVID also have mental health challenges, including high rates of depression and anxiety” (Novak).

Yet, during the pandemic, Am Yisrael held fast to our belief that there would be a tomorrow and that it would be wondrous. For example, one of my daughters gave birth to two more children during COVID. Moreover, new Torah schools, i.e. yeshivot and seminaries, were founded during this span. Likewise, we still use many of the electronic, medical platforms built during COVID.

As per the current period, a time of Israel’s war with Iran’s proxies, during this existential fight, we are, again, faced with a strong need to actualize our faith. It’s not an army astride chariots or a globe locked in by pathogens that threatens our well-being. Rather, it’s unmasked hostility. “Alongside the military battle in Azza, our enemies are waging a war of hatred and historical denial, protesting our right to live in our homeland” (Taragin). Whereas Purim might be a time of masquerade, this year, it’s also a time of defending against nations that, has v’shalom, wish to annihilate us and against international antisemitism that, has v’shalom, similarly wishes to obliterate us.

Nonetheless, Am Yisrael is doing everything but cowering. We are opposing external attempts at intervention. Our defenses and our internal governance are ours, alone. We fight with guns and words to protect them. Equally, we are not tolerating the bloody massacre nor recurrent sexual assaults. We’ve never been okay with our people being taken hostage; we driven to destroy the perpetrators of these crimes against us, specifically, and humanity, more generally.

What’s special, what reveals our faith, is that during our eradication of evil, we’re hosting countless weddings. Too, we’re evidencing the birth of many babies, opening new businesses, and otherwise remaining an enterprising nation. Although present day sma’achot tend to be relatively simple affairs featuring religious essentials, not gashmius-type embellishments, we’re witnessing many new Jewish homes being established. Furthermore, despite that fact that the fathers’ of newborns often must return to the front lines following their children’s birth and despite the fact that some businesses are utilizing volunteers or have had to reformulate themselves to keep open, we’re flourishing. Yes, it’s true, when the war began that most universities cancelled an entire semester, and it’s true that many families, whose dwellings are near a front, remain displaced. Nonetheless, we’ve returned to teaching and taking classes. We’ve resettled some of our displaced dear ones and are proving a great array of care for the others.

Our emunah enables us to ascend! There is a hereafter for Am Yisrael. Our destiny is blessed.

There are many “Miriams” in our midst, many members of the Klal, who, like my older daughter and her husband, appreciate, deeply, that any difficulty is just a passing test.

Sometimes, Hashem bestows tough nasahim upon us. Even so, He remains with us. His tests benefit us whether we grasp their purpose or not. Passing through these assays while reaching toward Him always brings us closer to Him and allows us to continue believing and trusting. Ani Ma’amim!


Genauer, Eli. “Shemot 2:1 – Did Rashi Include Miriam’s Advice to Her Father?” The Seforim Blog. 11 Jan. 2023. Accessed 15 Mar. 2024.

Novak, Sara. 10 Oct. 2023. “People With Long COVID Face Alarming Rates of Depression, Anxiety: Expert Q&A.”” Accessed 15 Mar. 2024.

Taragin, Rabbi Moshe. “The Three Wars.” The Marcos and Adina Katz YUTorah Online. 12 Feb. 2024. Accessed 17 Mar. 2024.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.
Related Topics
Related Posts