In Bamidbar 12:1 the pasuk says

ותדבר מרים ואהרן במשה על־אדות האשה הכשית אשר לקח כי־אשה כשית לקח

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married: “He married a Cushite woman!”

Rashi, citing the Sifri says (in part)

וּמִנַּיִן הָיְתָה יוֹדַעַת מִרְיָם שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ מֹשֶׁה מִן הָאִשָּׁה? רַבִּי נָתָן אוֹמֵר מִרְיָם הָיְתָה בְצַד צִפּוֹרָה בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לְמֹשֶׁה אֶלְדָּד וּמֵידָד מִתְנַבְּאִים בַּמַּחֲנֶה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמְעָה צִפּוֹרָה, אָמְרָה אוֹי לְנְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן שֶׁל אֵלּוּ אִם הֵם נִזְקָקִים לִנְבוּאָה, שֶׁיִּהְיוּ פוֹרְשִׁין מִנְּשׁוֹתֵיהֶן כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ בַּעְלִי מִמֶּנִּי,

And whence did Miriam know that Moses had separated himself from his wife? R. Nathan answered: “Miriam was beside Zipporah When it was told to Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp’. When Zipporah heard this, she exclaimed, Woe to the wives of these if they have anything to do with prophecy, for they will separate from their wives just has my husband has separated from me!

This information clearly cast Moshe in a negative light in the eyes of Miriam (and perhaps Aron as well). I would like to know if Tziporah transgressed any of the laws related to lashon hora or other forms of forbidden speech by saying what she said. And, if so was she punished?

  • I was unsure if the last sentence should be its own standalone question or not Jun 17, 2019 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


We see from her statement that Tzippora assumed that all neviim had to separate from her spouses. She probably considered her situation analogous to a baal teshuva and a convert where the baal teshuva turns out to be a Kohen at the last minute - intensely painful for everyone involved, but with no negative reflections on anyone.

In reality it turned out that it was a specific mitzvah for Moshe, and for whatever reason he chose not to share it. If she had known that, she she probably wouldn't have said anything. She definitely wouldn't have made her comment about Eldad and Meidad's wives because it wasn't actually true.

  • 1
    Wouldn't this just make it an accidental sin?
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2019 at 23:16
  • IINM, one could still violate Lashon Hora even if the listener already knew the information. Jun 17, 2019 at 23:18
  • @Salmononius2 see edit
    – Heshy
    Jun 18, 2019 at 18:40
  • @DoubleAA I guess? But is that punished with tzaraas?
    – Heshy
    Jun 18, 2019 at 18:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .