In our Torah portion this week, Parashat Chukat, we read about the passing of Miriam and Aaron, two biblical heroes who were important leaders in the ancient Israelite community. Miriam was a prophetess who inspired the Israelites with her song and dance. According to the Talmud, it was through her merits that the Israelites found water in the desert. Aaron went with Moses before Pharaoh to ask for the Israelites freedom from Egypt and was appointed to be the high priest. According to the same passage in the Talmud, the cloud of Glory which accompanied the Israelites, protected the Israelites, and encouraged them in the desert on their journey, was due to his merit. According to a Midrash, when Aaron and Miriam passed away, the cloud and water disappeared as well, yet the Israelites endured. That is because what made both Miriam and Aaron such exceptional and inspirational leaders, was that they left an inspiring legacy, empowered the Israelites to sustain themselves, empowering them to guide and stand up for themselves, in their absence.
May we all continue to be inspired by Moses and Miriam's leadership. It is my hope and prayer that like the Israelites, we can all experience leadership in our lifetime that inspires us, and empowers us, enabling us to stand up for ourselves, and our values, ensuring that we continue to grow and thrive for generations to come.