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We are told why Moshe and Aharon passed away in the desert (Bamidbar 20:12), but we are not told why Miriam died.

According to Rashi (Bamidbar 1:49, 26:64), only the men who were counted in the primary census died in the desert. Does this not indicate that no women died in the desert? If that's the case, Miriam was the only one. Why?

[See here where it is suggested that Miriam died through no fault of her own, rather to teach us that death is beyond human understanding]

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Wouldn't it just indicate that no women died because of the sin of the spies? (Did you get that link right?) – Double AA Jun 16 '13 at 21:30
@DoubleAA: It was the link I intended, but I added another one that says it more explicitly (I also changed the question a bit). Although, like you said, it may be that they still died. -- I always learned that none of the women died, but I'd have to find a source that says it explicitly. – Menachem Jun 16 '13 at 22:38
@DoubleAA: I found a source, and it also has the answer to my question – Menachem Jun 16 '13 at 23:19
@Menachem That's doubly good news then! – Double AA Jun 16 '13 at 23:23
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Chumash Torah Sheleima (Bamidbar 20:1) brings the Midrash Esfah that says as follows (Free translation):

And Miriam Died There: She alone died from all the women that left Egypt, since the women did not die in the desert. As it is stated (Yehoshua 5:4) "All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, all the men of war, had died", but not the women.

And why did she (i.e. Miriam) die? Because of the well that was given because of her. It was not possible that the she should still be around and the well that was in her honor would depart.

Another answer, because she was equal in greatness to Moshe and Aharon, as all 3 were the "good providers of the Jews" (Talmud Taanit 9A), and it was not just (proper) that they (Moshe and Aharon) should pass away while Miriam remained. Therefore she passed away first.

The Kli Yakar (Bamidbar 20:4), while not addressing the question, says that Miriam dies so that the well that was in her merit would stop flowing. This is because there were people in Kadesh who didn't want to enter the land and once they water stopped they realized they couldn't stay there.

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