ותדבר מרים ואהרן במשה מנין היתה יודעת שפירש משה מן האשה אלא ראתה את צפורה שלא היתה מתקשטת בתכשיטי נשים, אמרה לה אין אחיך מקפיד בדבר ע״י כך ידעה מרים ואמרה לאחיה ושניהם דברו בו. ותדבר מרים ואהרן במשה, “Miriam and Aaron spoke out critically against Moses;” how did either of them know that Moses had separated from his wife? They had both noted that Tzipporah no longer wore the jewelry she had been in the habit of wearing. Miriam asked Tzipporah why she no longer wore that jewelry. Tzipporah replied that it was because Miriam’s brother (Moses) did not pay any attention to her jewelry. This was a hint that he had separated from her. She told Aaron about this and they talked about that situation criticizing him.
על אדות האשה הכשית. אמרו למה פירש עכשיו מאשתו אלא אם לו ע״י שהיא כושית והלא אשה כושית לקח משעת הנשואין כלומר כעורה היתה משעת הנשואין ולא הניחה בשביל כיעור שבה ולמה הניחה עכשיו בשביל כיעור שבה. דבר אחר על אדות האשה הכשית מלכה כושית כמו שכתוב בדברי הימים דמשה והוא לא נזקק לה. ואין לפרשו על צפורה דאם כן מאי דכתיב כי אשה כשית לקח וכי עד עתה לא היינו יודעים שלקח הוא את צפורה ועוד הרי צפורה לא היתה כושית, כי כוש מבני חם ומדין מבני קטורה אשר ילדה לאברהם. על אודות האשה הכושית, they wondered why Moses had chosen this point in time to separate from Tzipporah and concluded that it was because she was a Negress (ugly), and they could not understand that he had married her in the first place seeing that she had always been a Negress. A different interpretation of this line: She had been a queen in her land, the land of Kush. This would fit with what we have read in Chronicles that Moses had been a King in that land. At the time, he had to marry a local woman. Now there was no need for him to remain married to a Kushite woman. If this were correct, our verse would not refer to Tzipporah, for the line: “for he had married a Kushite woman,” would not make any sense as Tzipporah was a Midianite woman as we know from Exodus 2,21. The Kushites were descended from Cham, the third son of Noach, and as such were a cursed people, and a Jew would not have married a woman from a cursed nation [although, Keturah, Avraham’s second and last wife, was an Egyptian and therefore also from a cursed nation, as Mitzrayim was the second son of Cham, Kush having been his firstborn (Genesis 10,6) Midian himself was a son of Keturah an Egyptian (Genesis 25,2), and therefore descendant of a cursed nation. Ed.]