See Why does Rashi cite the Midrash of Pharaoh's daughter stretching out her arm? for sources, the midrash says she stretched out her arm to reach for Moshe, and it miraculously grew.

The (admittedly not the biggest klutz) kashe is, why would she bother putting her hand out if it was too far away? Was she expecting a miracle? Was it just a random, instinctive motion of a desperate person? What's the lesson?

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    Idk about the lesson but you can simply say she reached out because she thought she could reach the Teivah. In reality her arm was not long enough and so it got “stretched out.” Maybe a possible interpretation of the Mideast is that if you put in the effort, something that seems impossible will become possible through G-D’s help, because if He sees that you’re trying He’ll help you along the way Dec 4, 2022 at 11:16
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    @CuriousYid I like that, I'm tempted to retort that this lesson loses its impact because the result was a miracle.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 4, 2022 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


For those that choose not to take the Midrash literally, Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz in his Sichos Mussar states that her hand did not actually stretch all those Amos. Rather it means that for the daughter of Pharaoh to save a Hebrew baby it was as if she needed to stretch herself beyond her capabilities.

  • Thank you, great answer. I don't mean to imply in the question that it is to be taken literally or not.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 4, 2022 at 16:49

You ask:

Was she expecting a miracle? Was it just a random, instinctive motion of a desperate person? What's the lesson?

According to the Midrash HaGadol (Bereishis 23:1) (see bottom of the right column) you can possibly suggest that she was fully aware that she had an important role in raising the redeemer of the Jewish people and so this was her feasibly her ensuring that this came to fruition.

It reads there:

ותקם בעוד לילה - זו בתיה בת פרעה שראתה ברוח הקודש שעתיד מושיען שלישראל להתגדל על ידיה והיתה משכמת ומערבת היא ונערותיה להטייל על היאור וכיון שבא משה לידה נתן לה הקב"ה מה שביקשה ושמחה הרבה

"She rises while it is still night" - This is Bisya the daughter of Pharoah that saw with Divine Inspiration that the future redeemer of Israel would be raised by her, and so her and her maidservants would walk by the River (Nile) every morning and evening. And when Moshe came her way, Hashem gave her what she sought, and she rejoiced greatly.

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