12:1י״ב:א׳
1 א

ותדבר. אֵין דִּבּוּר בְּכָל מָקוֹם אֶלָּא לָשׁוֹן קָשָׁה, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "דִּבֶּר הָאִישׁ אֲדֹנֵי הָאָרֶץ אִתָּנוּ קָשׁוֹת" (בראשית מ"ב), וְאֵין אֲמִירָה בְּכָל מָקוֹם אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן תַּחֲנוּנִים, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "וַיֹּאמַר אַל נָא אַחַי תָּרֵעוּ" (בראשית י"ט), "וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְעוּ נָא דְבָרָי" (פסוק ו), כָּל נָא לְשׁוֹן בַּקָּשָׁה (ספרי):

ותדבר AND [MIRIAM AND AARON] SPAKE — The term דבר in every passage where it is used implies harsh language, for so it stales, (Genesis 42:30) “The man, the lord of the land spake (דבר) roughly to us”. The term אמר, however, is always an expression denoting supplication, for so it states, (Genesis 19:7) “And he said (ויאמר) ‘I beg of you (נא), my brethren, do not so wickedly” ; (verse 6 of this chapter) “And He said (ויאמר), Hear, I pray you (נא), My words’ — for the word נא always expresses supplication (Sifrei Bamidbar 99).

2 ב

ותדבר מרים ואהרן. הִיא פָתְחָה בְדִּבּוּר תְּחִלָּה, לְפִיכָךְ הִקְדִּימָהּ הַכָּתוּב, וּמִנַּיִן הָיְתָה יוֹדַעַת מִרְיָם שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ מֹשֶׁה מִן הָאִשָּׁה? רַבִּי נָתָן אוֹמֵר מִרְיָם הָיְתָה בְצַד צִפּוֹרָה בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לְמֹשֶׁה אֶלְדָּד וּמֵידָד מִתְנַבְּאִים בַּמַּחֲנֶה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמְעָה צִפּוֹרָה, אָמְרָה אוֹי לְנְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן שֶׁל אֵלּוּ אִם הֵם נִזְקָקִים לִנְבוּאָה, שֶׁיִּהְיוּ פוֹרְשִׁין מִנְּשׁוֹתֵיהֶן כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ בַּעְלִי מִמֶּנִּי, וּמִשָּׁם יָדְעָה מִרְיָם וְהִגִּידָה לְאַהֲרֹן; וּמַה מִּרְיָם שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוְּנָה לִגְנוּתוֹ כָּךְ נֶעֶנְשָׁה, קַל וָחֹמֶר לִמְסַפֵּר בִּגְנוּתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ (ספרי):

ותדבר מרים ואהרן AND MIRIAM AND AARON SPAKE — She opened the conversation, therefore Scripture mentions her first. And whence did Miriam know that Moses had separated himself from his wife (for this was the statement she made; cf. Rashi below)? R. Nathan answered: “Miriam was beside Zipporah When it was told to Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp’ (Numbers 11:27). When Zipporah heard this, she exclaimed, Woe to the wives of these if they have anything to do with prophecy, for they will separate from their wives just has my husband has separated from me!” It was from this that Miriam knew about it, and she told it to Aaron. Now what was the case with Miriam who had no intention to disparage him? She was punished thus severely! How much the more will this be so in the case of one who intentionally speaks in disparagement of this fellow”! (Sifrei Bamidbar 99).

3 ג

האשה הכשית. מַגִּיד שֶׁהַכֹּל מוֹדִים בְּיָפְיָהּ כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהַכֹּל מוֹדִים בְּשַׁחֲרוּתוֹ שֶׁל כּוּשִׁי (שם):

האשה הכשית THE CUSHITE WOMAN — This tells us that all agreed as to her beauty just as all agree as to the blackness of an Aethopian (cf. Sifrei Bamidbar 99).

4 ד

כושית. בְּגִימַטְרִיָּא יְפַת מַרְאֶה:

כושית — The numerical value of this word (736) is the same as that of יפת מראה, a woman of beautiful appearance.

5 ה

על אדות האשה. עַל אוֹדוֹת גֵּרוּשֶׁיהָ:

על אדות האשה BECAUSE OF THE [CUSHITE] WOMAN — because of her having been divorced by Moses (cf. Note on previous passage).

6 ו

כי אשה כשית לקח. מַה תַּ"ל? אֶלָּא יֵשׁ לְךְ אִשָּׁה נָאָה בְּיָפְיָהּ וְאֵין נָאָה בְמַעֲשֶׂיהָ, בְּמַעֲשֶׂיהָ וְלֹא בְיָפְיָהּ, אֲבָל זֹאת נָאָה בַכֹּל:

כי אשה כשית לקח FOR HE HAD MARRIED A CUSHITE WOMAN — What is the force of this statement? (It appears superfluous; since על אדות וכו has been explained to refer to Moses having divorced his Cushite wife, it is unnecessary to state afterwards that he had married her)! But it is made to suggest the following: You may find a woman who is pleasant an account of her beauty but who is not pleasant by reason of her deeds (conduct); or one pleasant because of her conduct but not because of her beauty. This woman, however, was pleasant in every respect (Sifrei Bamidbar 99).

7 ז

האשה הכשית. עַל שֵׁם נוֹיָהּ נִקְרֵאת כּוּשִׁית, כְּאָדָם הַקּוֹרֵא אֶת בְּנוֹ נָאֶה כּוּשִׁי, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּשְׁלֹט בּוֹ עַיִן רָעָה:

האשה הכשית THE CUSHITE WOMAN — Because of her beauty-she was called, “the Aethiopian” just as a man calls his handsome son “Moor”, in order that the evil eye should have no power over him (Midrash Tanchuma, Tzav 13).

8 ח

כי אשה כשית לקח. וְעַתָּה גֵּרְשָׁהּ:

כי אשה כשית לקח THAT HE HAD MARRIED A CUSHITE (a beautiful) WOMAN, and had now divorced her.