Re: Query: Miriam's drum, singing, dancing

I recently published the first complete annotated translation of the Ze'enah U-Re'enah into English. Having checked my edition I found that I was not able to find an earlier source for this comment. There are a number of interpretations in the text that that have no earlier source. In these cases, I have assumed that these are original interpretations by the author, Rabbi Jacob ben Isaac of Yanov. The language and reference to contemporary practice also lead to this possible conclusion.
My new edition is:

Re: Query: Miriam's drum, singing, dancing

It would surprise me if there is a source earlier than 16th century. This was the time when women were excluded from many rituals. See for example, Lawrence A. Hoffman "The Role of Women at Rituals of Their Infant Children," in Judaism in Practice, ed. Lawrence Fine, 2001, 99-114, and the other articles in the book which show active participation by women in early Ashkenaz.

Re: Query: Miriam's drum, singing, dancing

In the Tsena Urena, there is a remarkable midrash (in Yiddish) about Miriam, her drum, and the dancing women singing and drumming. It asks, why a drum and not a different instrument? The answer: because Miriam calculated that a drum would obscure the sound of the kol isha, so men would not be exposed to it. What is the source for this explanation? Can anyone point to an earlier rabbinic authority upon whom the Tsena Urena relied? It is not from the Mekhilta or from Exodus Rabbah. Nor is it from Rashi, who drew on the Mekhilta.

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