My dvar Torah from the Galil Shabbaton:
I also am going to talk about lashon ha-rah, specifically the consequences of it. I believe that the most telling understandings of a relationship come from watching the arguments, and that likewise the most penetrating insights into a personality come from the moments of deepest stress. For example, take our favorite “power trio” of Moses, Miriam, and Aaron. For the majority of the time that we see it, this relationship runs like a well-oiled machine: strong, united, and in synch. Moses and Aaron present a united front against Pharaoh and the rebellious among the Bnei Israel, and Miriam stands as both a protective guardian and an emissary to the women of the camp.
And yet, as is often true with siblings, when there is a falling out, it is vicious. “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses” (Bamidbar 12, 1), and it is serious enough that God, acting almost as a parental figure, responds. Only, the manner in which God chooses to respond is puzzling — unfair. “As the cloud withdrew from the Tent, behold Miriam was stricken with tzarat like snow” (Bamidbar 12, 10). Continue reading