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untold stories of the bible

Have you ever wondered about the parts of the Bible that are not explained? So did the rabbis! And they filled in the gaps in the text with their own writing and understanding of what happened in a literary art form called midrash. Rabbi Miller recently hosted a workshop where members of the Keeping It Sacred (KITS) Community shared great insights through the practice of midrash in the form of writings, visual arts, and even song! Please enjoy them below.

With your help, more workshops will be coming soon! Please sign up for the newsletter for more opportunities to create together! (sign up below with your name and email address). And to support our work, please consider a financial contribution at: Together, we're #keepingitsacred...

The Power of Miriam’s Song by Randi Stein:


Miriam’s Call!         

by Marilyn Bronstein 04/23 ( work in progress)


They say I'm a slave, they say I must act meek 

They say I'm a child , a girl, they see me as weak 

They say don't make a sound not even a peep 

But I listen only to the One who tells me to speak 



A baby’s coming that will save us all! 

A baby's coming! Soon the tyrant will fall!  

A  baby's coming! Heed the call! 

But how will they listen to one so small? 


She speaks to me, She speaks through me,

She's made it very clear

I have faith I believe it's Her voice  I hear  

But how can I  possibly gain my parents' ear  

Convince them not to be afraid of fear


We cannot succumb to tyranny!

 Papa! Mama! We must draw the line!

But  how do I get you to listen to me?

I vow I'll never give up tryin


Like water we can  go through , we can go around  

Like water we can go deep, go underground

Water, bubbling up, hear the sound 

Whispering sacred secrets other ways can be found 

Papa! if you separate from your wife 

Know that you are saying NO to all life! 

As if you yourself have picked up the knife! 


Zachor! Zachor!  your ancestor !



God told Abraham don't kill your son 

So don't listen to pharaoh heed the holy One!


‘Cause! A baby’s coming that will save us all! 

A baby's coming! Soon the tyrant will fall!  

A baby's coming! Heed the call! 

Bring us together! You’re the leader, lead us all! 


Like water we can go through , we can go around  

Like water we can go deep, go underground

Water, bubbling up, hear the sound 

Whispering sacred secrets other ways can be found 


Mama, I know what you are keeping Inside 

So deep in your belly a secret you hide 

The future’s yours,win him back, swallow your pride!


Zachor! Zachor! Your ancestors! 


Like Sarah, Rivkah,Leah,Rachel, Eve, you take the lead!  

Remember it's now up to you to plant the seed  

Use your looks, your mirrors , arouse desire, spark his need 

For the sake of all our babies you must succeed 


For a baby’s coming that will save us all! 

A baby's coming! Soon the tyrant will fall!  

A baby's coming! Heed the call!  

The women will follow you, you must stand tall 


Your children are the promise,  your hope, your dream 

Things might turn out differently than what they now seem 

We can change the future , redirect the stream 

 Change the plan! Take back your man ! Forget pharaoh's scheme !


For a baby's coming heed my prophesy!

A baby's coming! Help our people go free! 

A baby's coming! Don't stop destiny!  

Get together  and together topple tyranny!


Like water we can  go through , we can go around  

Like water we can go deep, go underground

Water, bubbling up, hear the sound 

Whispering sacred secrets other ways can be found


Have faith!  Believe! Miracles abound!

Have faith!  Believe! Miracles abound!

MyriamMarilyn Bronstein
00:00 / 06:05

Were women at Sinai?

by Esther Yosef

(Miriam answers)

I was there. Of course I was there.


I sang at the parting of the Sea of Reeds.

I am a prophetess.

Of course I was there.

Why, then, did Moses say "Do not go near a woman?"


How many women were among those at Sinai?

600,000 men over 20 and able to fight = at least 600,000 women.

In Exodus 19:3, Adonai told Moses to talk to the House of Jacob and declare the Children of Israel, and Moses gathers the elders?


In Exodus 19:10, Adonai tells Moses to tell the people to stay pure, wash their clothes, don't go up (or near) the mountain cause they'll die. But when the shofar gives a long blast they can go up the mountain.

In Exodus 19:14, Moses tells the people to stay pure. (Does this mean the elders again?) So they wash their clothes. Moses tells them not to go near a woman.

In 19:20, Adonai reminds Moses to tell the people not to touch the mountain. In excluding the women, he forgot to warn them of instant death! So Adonai sends Moses back down the mountain, and Moses stands among the mixed multitudes to receive the Commandments. What else, then, did Adonai correct Moses on? Perhaps, omitted, Adonai reminds Moses to include the women.

And in Exodus 20, Adonai delivers the Ten Commandments directly to the people.


What does it mean to be pure? Adonai hasn't told us yet. We haven't even received the 10 Commandments yet! How can we be pure if we don't know what it means?


by Cody Butler:

Be off now to your work! No straw shall be issued to you, but you must produce your quota of bricks!” Now the overseers of the Israelites found themselves in trouble because of the order, “You must not reduce your daily quantity of bricks.” (Shemot 5:18-19)


Rav Baracuda discoursed: And we know on the first day after Pharaoh rejected Moses our Teacher that the Israelites were unable to gather straw and achieve the same quota of bricks that pharaoh demanded but we know the same was not true the second day. How did our ancestors both gather straw and make bricks? Listen to what happened. On the second day as the sun rose and our pious ancestors sang the shema even in the deepest darkness of their bondage, behold, grass sprung up from the desert beneath their feet. As it is written: “In every place where I cause my name to be mentioned I will come unto you and bless you” (Shemot 20:21). And how did this grass become straw on the same day? When the Egyptians saw the miracle taking place they ran to the place where the Jews were standing but as their feet touched the ground the grass withered and became straw for the bricks. As it is stated: The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. (Yeshayahu 40:8)

MI ANOCHI— WHO AM I… Who am I? By Rabbi Miller


MI ANOCHI— WHO AM I… Who am I? Echo…. Who am I….?

“Who am I?” Moses thought. “I don’t even know.”


Moses begins a flashback in his mind’s eye. 

To that day when he first asked that question— he was in the palace museum. 

Looking to speak with that beautiful woman, Patitia, in his “Life of the Early Monotheists” class at the University of Cairo.

She was also looking to get a PhD in Cultural Geography, but on their first date, she pointed at an early statue of Asherah, cult leader of the earliest idol worshippers. And as she marveled at its beauty, he marveled at hers. 


“Don’t you just feel a connection, Moses?” She looked at him in the eye, hands on her heart.


“Uh… yes?” Moses replied, thinking finally, she feels the spark between us, too.


“It is just so beautiful, this piece of wood, the earliest relic of our great Egyptian Empire. This idol of Asherah is here, but it is not much different than my father’s golden statue to Ra.”


That was when Moses realized she was speaking about her love of the sun God, but not him. His heart sank.


Moses replied, not meaning to say it out loud, “Well, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing.”


“Into that sort of thing?!?” Patitia said defensively, “Don’t you see its beauty? Aren’t you comforted to know that our worship of these statues goes back thousands of years? That our  ancestors sacrificed all their time and energy on crafting these statues and buildings and altars dedicated to thousands of Gods? Their variety! Their commitment!”


“Yeah, but,” Moses offered an alternate opinion, "at the expense of their family life. No time to attend the boat races of their sons, no sense of duty to their daughter’s education, just work and idol fashioning, idol worship, and idol cleaning.” 


“But they’re so beautiful…” Patitia continued, as if she rested her case. 


And Moses’ heart sunk. Right then and there, he knew he could not build a family with Patitia. He wanted to prioritize a family. Time with the kids. He wanted to rejoice in rest and give thanks for what he had. Not spend his days on acquiring new “things” that he didn’t believe held the sanctity that she insisted were embedded in them. 

But that was the whole world he was immersed in. Egypt was his whole world. Who WAS he if all of this felt so foreign? And would he ever find a suitable partner to build a life with? 


“Who am I?” He thought.


And now some voice calming to be God of the Israelites was calling out to him. He didn’t want to be anyone’s savior. He didn’t want to risk anything. He just wanted to settle down. But of course all the women in Egypt were like Patitia. Concerned with building an empire and acquiring more idols. Weren’t there any partners of substance? He was so lonely. 


Why did this God want him to leave all that he knew to advocate for this people, the Israelites? THEY were supposed to be foreign to him, but he admitted, he had seem their truth and light.  Their wisdom. They didn’t have idols. Every spare minute they had, and they rarely had any, they spent devoting to their children. They spent it in gratitude for what they had. Why did this people feel so familiar?


Who was he? And who was in in relationship to this people, the Israelites?


Pharaoh's Demise

by Marisa Baggett

After the age of Joseph, his brothers, and all his generation, the Israelites multiplied and filled the land of Egypt. And a new king arose that did not know Joseph (Exodus 1:8) Indeed, this king was a new kind of king. This king did not inherit the throne after the death of the father. This king served as regent for an infant step child. This king was a woman.

The beginning of Pharaoh’s rule was not an easy one. Toleration of her position did little to appease her desires to be exalted, worshiped, and revered like the ages of Pharaohs before her. The fear of being conquered from within and without the land of Egypt disturbed her dreams. It was particularly troublesome that the Israelites would not worship Egypt’s gods and by extension Pharaoh. Even some of the Egyptians had become less interested in the temples - a thought which Pharaoh assumed was against her rule.This would not do, and Pharaoh crafted a plan to set an example for all of Egypt. And Pharaoh declared of the Israelites, “Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.” (Exodus 1:10)

It is said that Pharaoh never intended to relinquish Egypt when the boy came of age, for His Majesty, Herself had finally achieved successful births - one son and one daughter. It was these heirs that Pharaoh preferred over the kingship of her stepson. Nonetheless, a quiet, albeit growing, sentiment suggested he should now assume it.

To Pharaoh’s dismay, the Israelites continued to be prolific and multiplied greatly under the harsh oppression. Even after the Hebrew midwives defied to do as commanded and kill all Hebrew boys born, Pharaoh remained suspicious that both Israelites and Egyptians alike would conspire to end her reign. It was time for action. So Pharaoh charged all the people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” (Exodus (1:22)

The Eternal One knew the first plagues brought against Egypt would not sway Pharaoh's heart. Even as the plagues became more severe, the courtiers most loyal to Pharaoh's rule and inheritance of her progeny agreed the Israelites must not be freed. However, Pharaoh’s stepson, concerned for the future of Egypt, wanted to release the Israelites and avoid any further decimation. He appealed and found favor with the magicians whose efforts at last could not match the plagues brought upon Egypt. But Pharaoh knew that to release the Israelites would admit defeat and bring forth questions of her legitimacy to rule. So she ignored them and remained unmoved and stiff of heart.

And when it came to pass that The Eternal One fulfilled the last plague and "struck down all the [male] first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on the throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of the cattle" (Exodus 12:29), Pharaoh was distraught and broken in spirit for the loss of her own child. She summoned Moses and Aaron in the middle of the night, bid them leave Egypt, and asked them bring upon her a blessing.

While Pharaoh bemoaned the great personal and collective losses of Egypt, Pharaoh's step son began to gain support for his rule over Egypt. And thus Pharaoh's heart was once again hardened. Pharaoh rallied the Egyptians against the Israelites and ordered the chariots of Egypt to give chase. And the Israelites watched as Pharaoh and Pharaoh's army finally ceased when the walls of the sea closed and swallowed them mid pursuit.

Yocheved hands Miriam the Baby:

by Shari Pratt. My painting shows the moment that Yocheved entrusts her infant son to Miriam in order to save his life. Reminded me of so many Jews during WWII who gave their children to strangers to save them from Nazi persecution. 



by Sheryl Aronson

Miriam stood in the tall reeds where she could watch the basket that held her baby brother. She could hear him crying, but could do nothing to comfort him. She sniffled. What if a cruel Egyptian found him? What if nobody found him?

Laughter interrupted Miriam’s worried thoughts. Pharaoh's daughter, Batya, was approaching the river with some of her handmaidens. Batya stepped into the water. “Shh… listen… it sounds like kittens mewling. Look! There’s a basket over there. How cruel of someone to put kittens in a basket and send them down the river! Sama, please fetch the basket for me.”

Miriam stopped sniffling and stood as stiff as the reeds that surrounded her. “Kittens?!?” she thought. What will happen once they see what it really is?” “Adonai, please keep my brother safe!”

Sama floated the basket to Batya, who lifted off the lid. “Oh, my! You aren’t kittens! You’re a baby! A Hebrew baby boy, to be exact. I will adopt you, and raise you as my own child!”

Sama stared at her. “Excuse me , Miss Batya, for being so bold, but bringing a Hebrew baby boy into your father’s house is not a good idea.”

Batya chuckled. “When does my father ever come to the  women’s pavilion? This child will blend in with all the other children there, and no one will know the difference.  

Sama said “ This baby is very young, and could not be weaned yet. We need to find a wet nurse for him.”

Miriam let out the breath she had been holding, and popped out of the reeds. Before she could lose her courage, she called out, “Shall I call a Hebrew woman to care for and nurse this child for you?”

Batya jumped at the voice, and turned to look at Miriam. “I’m going to guess that you are his sister, and it is your mother and the mother of this baby you are going to call.”

Miriam looked down, and said, “Yes ma’am.”

Batya said, “What a kind and caring sister you are. Come here. Help me comfort your brother.

Miriam gladly went to her brother, and held him until he fell asleep.

Batya took the baby and rocked him gently. “I will call this baby Moses, which means Drawn from the Water. Go, get your mother. She can take Moses home with her to nurse and care for until he is weaned, and I will pay her wages. After that, he will come live with me in the palace, and we will plan for you to come visit him and me regularly.

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