Project Genesis

Moses’ Cushite Wife

Does it say somewhere in the Torah that Moses’ wife was black?

The answer to your question is found in Bamidbar (Numbers) 12:1, which tells us of the “Cushite” woman that Moses married. Cush is the area we call Ethiopia today, so someone from Cush would be black. Despite the fact that the Torah speaks of this Cushite wife, the fact that this wife is mentioned nowhere else in the Bible led many commentators, with Rashi at their head, to conclude that this “Cushite” wife is none other than Moses’ wife Tzippora, who is called a Cushite euphemistically for different reasons. Rashi’s take on it is that she was called a Cushite to make the point that the contrast of her incredible beauty to others was as obvious as the darkness of a Cushite. Other commentators, however, basing themselves on a work called “Moses’ chronicles” cited by a Midrash, explain that the Torah is referring to a woman Moses married (presumably after converting her to Monotheism) when he spent forty years in Cush after escaping Egypt the first time, before he ended up in Median with Tzipporah.

Raffy Davidovich

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