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Brothers and Sisters. We grow up in the same universe of childhood, and share so much. If you’re lucky, (as I am! shout out bro!) this is a relationship you keep, as a compass and a connection in your life. I hope my own children always look out for one another, and keep each other in their hearts as an anchor, a lifeline. In this week’s Torah portion Moses loses his brother and his sister. How must Moses feel, losing siblings that have shared leadership with him? Strangely Aaron is mourned but not Miriam: Miriam, who followed Moses along the Nile, who led us in freedom, birthed from the sea, whose very name has the sea “yam” within it, draws no tears. This always reminds me of siblings who’ve shared leadership in my own memory, the Kennedy brothers, and whose passing brought tears.  The date of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination was June 6th, so it’s also on my mind. He might have won that race for the presidency, if not for the violence, and then how would our world be different today? For me, his most memorable words were

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?   but he’s got many memorable words

Back to MIriam: a woman who is  water in the desert. The legend surrounding Miriam speaks of a miracle: a well of fresh water which followed the Israelites through their desert wanderings. For a great song on the well, check out Debbie Friedman’s Water in the Well at 2:50 in this clip

Water: It’s just been pouring in New Jersey, again.  Yet, recently  I was reminded of the terrible drought that plagued so much of the nation this past year.. It is summer on the Jersey shore, and the crashing of the waves draws people and commands them to look toward the horizon. Water is life, Or flooding and storms bring death and destruction.  Miriam is  Mayim Chayim, living waters to her brothers and to the spirit of this rogue people. And when she dies the people cry out for water, and Moses strikes a rock, in defiance of God’s command to speak to it. And for his loss of words, he will never enter the promised land. Or is it his loss of Miriam, or loss of tears for her? In any case, when he strikes the rock, Great waters gush forth for the people, Mayim Rabim. This phrase reminds me of Song of Songs: Great waters cannot quench this love of ours.  Although love between siblings is not something you hear about much in songs on the radio, they moved a nation through the wilderness, drove our nation in the 1960’s and powerfully drive our lives each day.  Here’s to brothers and sisters. I offer this song about great water from psalm 93, whose melody rises and falls as water waves: Mikolot Mayim Rabim:


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