This past Shabbat we discussed, in the Midrash, the Torah Portion Chukat (Numbers 19:1 - 21:1). Within this portion we learn of the Red Heifer, the death of Aaron and the death of Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron.
One of the remarkable lessons is what happened when Miriam died. The Torah tells us, starkly, (Numbers 20:1) "...Miriam died there and she was buried there." What? That's it? Done? Finished? Move on?
Later we read (Numbers 20:29) about the death of Aaron, "When the entire assembly saw that Aaron had perished, they wept for Aaron thirty days, the entire House of Israel."
Truly, Aaron deserved to be mourned. He was the Kohan Gadol, the peacemaker, the older brother that deferred to his younger sibling, Moses.
But, what of Miriam? The sister of Moses and Aaron? Her greatness is expressed in so many deeds from encouraging the women of Israel to remain alluring to their husbands, even while in slavery, to leading the song and prayer at the Sea. Yet there was no mention of mourning in the Torah.
If we read the very next verse (Numbers 20:2) we get an idea of how disappointed G-d might have been with the Jewish people and their lack of sympathy. "There was no water for the assembly, and they gathered against Moses and Aaron."
What does this tell us? Perhaps that we must, as a people, respond with thoughts and actions that are in sympathy to those who are hurting. That as a community, it is our obligation to reach out in times of despair and in times of joy.
Today, our people are hurting. There are three innocent young men who were recently kidnapped and are being held by Arabs. Their crime? They are Jews. As a people we should respond in sympathy to their families and attempt to shake the Gates of Heaven with acts of kindness, prayer, study and charity. The attempt should be a call to let our children go.
It makes sense to be one with our brothers and sisters. No?