(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 13:10:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Rashi On Miriam's Death

Jonathan Chipman in Bais-Medrash Volume 2 Number 25 asks about what he
terms the strange Rashi in Hukat, Nu20-01 which states that Miriam also
died  >  by the mouth of the G-d<    the same way Aaron and Moses died but, as
Rashi says, >  The Torah refrains from saying so explicitly by Miriam (even
though it explicitly says so by Moses and Aaron) out of RESPECT toward the
One on high<  .

The reason Jonathan has a problem with this Rashi is because he interprets
Rashi's statement that >  it is DISRESPECTFUL to say Miriam died by the Mouth
of G-d<   as an anthropomorphism which would suggest Male (G-d) - female
(Miriam) intimacy. Jonathan correctly points out that if anything the G-d -
Miriam relationship should be modelled as a father (G-d) - daughter
(Miriam) relationship.

The answer to Jonathan's problem is simple: It is not the bi-gender kiss
that is disrespectful! Rather the reason it is disrespectful is explicitly
stated at the end of Nu Chapter 12 where it discusses the leprosy that G-d
had punished Miriam with for speaking slander on the Jews >  If her father
had spit in her face wouldn't she be embarrassed 7 days<

In other words, what is disrespectful is for G-d to first publicly >  spit<
in Miriam's face by giving her leprosy and ostracizing her and then giving
her a death by Divine Kiss. By contrast Moses and Aaron's sin and
punishment was not >  humiliating<  ---Moses sin was simply that he was not on
the level of the Patriarchs (cf Rashi on Ex06-01)--hence it is not
disrespectful to say he died by Divine Kiss.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Moderator Rashi is SImple