We all know how in Parshas Vayeira the miracle of Sarah giving birth @ 90 takes place. In Mitzrayim Yocheved gave birth @ 130 yet there is no mention of this. Was it not a bigger miracle? Then why is it not mentioned?

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    "In Mitzrayim Yocheved gave birth @ 130" Source? – Double AA Mar 30 '15 at 5:43
  • IIRC correctly, Ralbag says that the only reason that Chazal made up the Midrash about Yocheved eing born on the way down to Egypt, was that the implication would be that she had Moshe at 130, and they wanted to give people chizzuk in miracles... – mevaqesh Jan 5 '16 at 19:25
  • All of the pashtanim, including Rav Saadya Gaon reject that Midrash. – mevaqesh Jan 5 '16 at 19:26

Indeed, because of this Ibn Ezra (to Gen. 46:27) argues that Yocheved was not in fact born when they entered Egypt, but some time later, so that she bore Moshe at a normal age.

However, Ramban (ibid. v. 15) sharply disagrees with him (he goes so far as to use the semi-derogatory expression יוצק זהב רותח בפי החכם הזה!), and points out that since (a) Yocheved was the literal daughter of Levi (as per Num. 26:59), (b) 130 years passed from when they came to Egypt until Moshe was born, and (c) Levi was a grown man (in his forties) when they came down to Egypt - then there had to have been some kind of miracle here: either Levi fathered Yocheved, or Yocheved bore Moshe, at a very advanced age.

So he goes on to distinguish between miracles that Hashem performs (as sort of "standard operating procedure") to help righteous people or to destroy the wicked, which are not generally described explicitly in Tanach, versus those that are foretold by a prophet or an angel sent by G-d. Sarah's being able to bear children at 90 - and this, after decades of infertility - is a miracle of the latter type; Yocheved's bearing Moshe at 130 is of the former, and so it needn't be described in the Torah.

  • Wait, so you are saying the Ramban held that Miriam was not Yocheved's first child? The Ramban held that names could not be reused before Yetzias Mitzrayim? Giving birth after 130 seems to me to a mircale extrodinaire and worthy of mention regardless if predicted. Guess I'm firmly in the Ibn Ezra's camp on this one :) – inSeattle Dec 20 '10 at 2:39
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    (a) He doesn't talk about Miriam (or Aharon - they were both definitely older than Moshe), but I guess the same logic would apply. (b) Not sure what you mean about reusing names. Do you mean that when the Torah says יוכבד... אשר ילדה אותה ללוי, it might be a later Levi, descendant of the first one? Interesting possibility, although לא בא הכתוב לסתום אלא לפרש - if that were the case there'd be no reason to mention that she was born to Levi. Plus, the fact is that we don't find any other person in Tanach with this name. (There are indeed other names that were reused, e.g., יוסף in Num. 13:7.) – Alex Dec 20 '10 at 19:26
  • Not a different Levi, a different Yocheved! – inSeattle Dec 21 '10 at 6:01
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    Won't work. Num. 26:59 clearly identifies Yocheved the daughter of Levi as the mother of Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam. – Alex Dec 21 '10 at 11:09

When Yocheved gave birth at 130, it was an et ratzon (time of favor) for such childbearing from Hashem. Women around Yocheved were giving birth to children at a rate of 6 at a time (according to one midrash, 60 or more at a time according to others). And there's another midrash about how the women gave birth in the fields, and the children were swallowed up in the ground to protect them from the Egyptians (who then tried to plow the soil to kill them), and finally they sprouted like grass and returned home when they had grown up.

If you take all of these midrashim literally, then Moshe's birth at 130 was not unusual compared to the other miracles going on at the same time.

  • You have only compounded the question! Why aren't those miracles mentioned either! – mevaqesh Jul 7 '16 at 1:53

A bit ago I gave a talk about this issue. I also addressed two additional questions. I think they are related to this issue. Please excuse the format I don't have time right now to change it to be more of a written voice. The following are the questions I raised:

1) What is the function of the count found in Vayigash, 46;8? 2) Why is it that the deceased sons of Yehudah (Er and Onan), although not counted as part of the seventy, are included in the list of people going down to Egypt and furthermore not only are they included but informs us that they died in Canaan? Is this not a list of the 70 that went down to Egypt? 3) There is also much discussion about the final count, the Torah says that 70 people went down to Egypt…yet it only list 69 people. No problem, chazal pull one out of the hat and say that the mysterious 70th person was Yocheved, whom was in the womb. Many Rishonim have difficulty with this, one reason is because she would then have been 130 when Moshe was born and this is a miraculous event that the Torah should have mentioned, like by Sara conceiving to Yitzchak.

Either way, why was chazal so hard pressed to choose this approach…why Yocheved? Why didn’t the Torah just say it openly?

Possible approach: From the fact that Er and Onan were mentioned, and we were informed that they were killed, perhaps we can deduce some things. Er and Onan were unfortunately not on a high level, they had some issues for which they were punished, it always struck me as strange why they were killed for what they did. Perhaps the reason they were killed was the very point of the list, Hashem saw fit that they should not be part of the group going down to Egypt. There could not be people of lower standards, only high level individuals were part of the group. All 70 were people of great stature. (See Seforno in Shemot) Perhaps the reason is that Hashem orchestrated that the children of Israel should have the highest level individuals as role models and leaders for the succeeding generations. Hashem provided them with the greatest opportunity and the best situation for them to follow in the ways of there forefathers and not to be corrupted by the ways of the Egyptians. Hashem was through providence ensuring that the children of Israel have a real Bechirah choice to follow in the ways of their impeccable leaders or follow in the ways of the Egyptians. I believe this is the reason for the listing of all 70 to show the caliber of each and every one who went down.
The last question we asked regarding why chazal force the pshat of Yocheved being the 70th unmentioned member of the group, perhaps is because just like through providence hashem set into motion a way for the Children of Israel to take the high road, he also set into motion a plan if the Children of Israel take the low road. Yocheved was the mother of Moshe Rabeinu our leader who took the Jews out of Egypt. Hashem set into motion already from the time of their descent how they would be redeemed if they opted to take the low road and deviate from the ways of their parents and grandparents.

I don't know that you need to take it literally that Yocheved was actually born then in order to convey the message that Hashem set into motion the patterns of providence. It was Chazal's way of pointing to the idea. Just some thoughts to consider.

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    This looks good at first run through. A couple of notes: not so much that Yocheved would be 130 when Moshe born but over 120 when Miriam (who is supposedly the first born) is born! And when you type this up nicely, clarify that Er and Onan are not included in the 70 count. And a point which might help strengthen your idea - if Yocheved is counted as part of the 70, then Yaakov is not. – inSeattle Dec 20 '10 at 16:34
  • Thank you for your feedback. I stuck with Yocheved being 130 when Moshe is born because that is the way the Ibn Ezra raises the question. Thank you for the clarification regarding Er and Onan being included in the 70 count. How does the exclusion of Yaakov strengthen the point? – RCW Dec 22 '10 at 1:21
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    Yochved would be pointing to the possibilities of the future, Yaakov a place holder for the past. oh, and hopefully it was a typo but Yehudas oldest are -not- counted. – inSeattle Dec 22 '10 at 2:03

Torah makes a deal only from a miracles we should learn something from. There are huge number of miracles that has no any hint in Torah. I don't know what specifically we should learn from the miracle of Sarah.

For example the Torah also doesn't tells us about the miracle of Avraam in Ur Kasdim, but Daniel book describes in details the miracle of Hannan'ya Mishael and Azar'ya, despite the fact that the miracle of Avraam was a "bigger" one. Because we shouldn't learn from the behavior of Avraam but we should do learn from the behavior of Hannan'ya Mishael and Azar'ya

  • Maybe reason that the Torah does not mention them is that they did not happen... – mevaqesh Jan 5 '16 at 19:27

One was predicted. One was not. The Torah only makes a big deal about predicted miracles.

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