The Torah In Haiku: Sh'mot

January 1, 2016Ed Nickow


The infant Moses
Placed in a basket by mom
Sent down the river
Miriam watches
Gets Yocheved some "mom time"
With her quick thinking
Exodus 2:2-3
"The woman (Yocheved) conceived, and bore a son [and] ... hid him for three months. When she could no longer hide him, she got a wicker basket ... put the child into it and placed it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. His sister (Miriam) stationed herself at a distance, to learn what would befall him"
Moses must be hidden because Pharaoh - the new one, who "did not know Joseph" (Exodus 1:8) - had ordered the killing of all first born male Hebrews (Exodus 1:16, 22). Miriam not only watches to see what happens to her new brother, but takes action after Pharoah's daughter finds him.
Exodus 2:7-9
His sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get you a Hebrew nurse to suckle the child for you?" And Pharaoh's daughter answered, "Yes". So the girl went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will pay your wages."
Thanks to Miriam's quick thinking, in a plot twist the JPS Commentary calls ironic, "the evil designs of Pharaoh are unwittingly thwarted by his own daughter." Not only will Yocheved be able to nurse her own son, but she will be paid for the privilege.

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