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Torah Reading for Yitro

Torah Reading for Yitro

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Parshat Yitro
Shabbat, 18 Shevat, 5778
3 February, 2018
Select a portion:
Complete: (Exodus 18:1 - 20:23; Isaiah 6:1-13)
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First Portion

Exodus Chapter 18

1Now Moses' father in law, Jethro, the chieftain of Midian, heard all that God had done for Moses and for Israel, His people that the Lord had taken Israel out of Egypt.   אוַיִּשְׁמַ֞ע יִתְר֨וֹ כֹהֵ֤ן מִדְיָן֙ חֹתֵ֣ן משֶׁ֔ה אֵת֩ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ לְמשֶׁ֔ה וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַמּ֑וֹ כִּֽי־הוֹצִ֧יא יְהוָֹ֛ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם:
Now…Jethro…heard: What news did he hear that [made such an impression that] he came? The splitting of the Red Sea and the war with Amalek. — [from Zev. 116a, and Mechilta, combining the views of Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Eliezer]   וישמע יתרו: מה שמועה שמע ובא, קריעת ים סוף ומלחמת עמלק:
Jethro: He was called by seven names: Reuel, Jether, Jethro [i.e., Yithro], Hobab, Heber, Keni, [and] Putiel (Mechilta). [He was called] Jether (יֶתֶר) because he [caused] a section to be added (יִתֵּר) to the Torah [namely]: “But you shall choose” (below verse 21). [He was called] Jethro (יִתְרוֹ) [to indicate that] when he converted and fulfilled the commandments, a letter was added to his name. [He was called] Hobab (חוֹבָב) [which means lover] because he loved (חִבָּב) the Torah. Hobab was indeed Jethro, as it is said: “of the children of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law” (Jud. 4:11). Others say that Reuel was Jethro’s father. [If so,] what [is the meaning of] what it [Scripture] says [referring to the daughters of Jethro]: “They came to their father Reuel” (Exod. 2:18)? Because [young] children call their grandfather “Father.” [This appears] in Sifrei (Beha’alothecha 10:29).   יתרו: שבע שמות נקראו לו רעואל, יתר, יתרו, חובב, חבר, קיני, פוטיאל. יתר, על שם שיתר פרשה אחת בתורה (להלן פסוק כא) ואתה תחזה. יתרו לכשנתגייר וקיים המצות הוסיפו לו אות אחת על שמו. חובב שחבב את התורה. וחובב הוא יתרו, שנאמר (שופטים ד יא) מבני חובב חותן משה. ויש אומרים רעואל אביו של יתרו היה, ומה הוא אומר (שמות ב יח) ותבאנה אל רעואל אביהן, שהתינוקות קורין לאבי אביהן אבא. בספרי:
Moses’ father-in-law: Here Jethro prides himself on [his relationship to] Moses, [saying,] “I am the king’s father-in-law.” In the past, Moses attributed the greatness to his father-in-law, as it is said: “Moses went and returned to Jether, his father-in-law” (Exod. 4:18). [from Mechilta]   חתן משה: כאן היה יתרו מתכבד במשה, אני חותן המלך ולשעבר היה משה תולה הגדולה בחמיו, שנאמר (שמות ד יח) וישב אל יתר חותנו:
for Moses and for Israel: Moses was equal to all of Israel. [Mechilta]   למשה ולישראל: שקול משה כנגד כל ישראל:
all that…had done: for them with the descent of the manna, with the well, and with Amalek.   את כל אשר עשה: להם בירידת המן ובבאר ובעמלק:
that the Lord had taken Israel out…: This was the greatest of them all. — [from Mechilta]   כי הוציא ה' וגו': זו גדולה על כולם:
2So Moses' father in law, Jethro, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after she had been sent away,   בוַיִּקַּ֗ח יִתְרוֹ֙ חֹתֵ֣ן משֶׁ֔ה אֶת־צִפֹּרָ֖ה אֵ֣שֶׁת משֶׁ֑ה אַחַ֖ר שִׁלּוּחֶֽיהָ:
after she had been sent away: When the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt” (Exod. 4: 19), “and Moses took his wife and his sons, etc.” (Exod. 4:20), and Aaron went forth “and met him on the mount of God” (Exod. 4:27), he [Aaron] said to him [Moses], “Who are these?” He [Moses] replied, “This is my wife, whom I married in Midian, and these are my sons.” "And where are you taking them?" he [Aaron] asked. “To Egypt,” he replied. He [Aaron] retorted, “We are suffering with the first ones, and you come to add to them?” He [Moses] said to her [Zipporah], “Go home to your father.” She took her two sons and went away. — [from Mechilta]   אחר שלוחיה: כשאמר לו הקב"ה במדין (שמות ד יט) לך שוב מצרימה, (שם כ) ויקח משה את אשתו ואת בניו גו' ויצא אהרן לקראתו, (שם כז) ויפגשהו בהר הא-להים. אמר לו מי הם הללו. אמר לו זו היא אשתי שנשאתי במדין ואלו בני. אמר לו והיכן אתה מוליכן. אמר לו למצרים. אמר לו על הראשונים אנו מצטערים ואתה בא להוסיף עליהם. אמר לה לכי אל בית אביך, נטלה שני בניה והלכה לה:
3and her two sons, one of whom was named Gershom, because he [Moses] said, "I was a stranger in a foreign land,"   גוְאֵ֖ת שְׁנֵ֣י בָנֶ֑יהָ אֲשֶׁ֨ר שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאֶחָד֙ גֵּֽרְשֹׁ֔ם כִּ֣י אָמַ֔ר גֵּ֣ר הָיִ֔יתִי בְּאֶ֖רֶץ נָכְרִיָּֽה:
4and one who was named Eliezer, because [Moses said,] "The God of my father came to my aid and rescued me from Pharaoh's sword."   דוְשֵׁ֥ם הָֽאֶחָ֖ד אֱלִיעֶ֑זֶר כִּֽי־אֱלֹהֵ֤י אָבִי֙ בְּעֶזְרִ֔י וַיַּצִּלֵ֖נִי מֵחֶ֥רֶב פַּרְעֹֽה:
and rescued me from Pharaoh’s sword: When Dathan and Abiram informed [Pharaoh] about the incident of the Egyptian [whom Moses had slain], and he [Pharaoh] sought to slay Moses, his [Moses’] neck became [as hard] as a marble pillar. — [from Exod. Rabbah 1:31, Deut. Rabbah 2:27]   ויצלני מחרב פרעה: כשגילו דתן ואבירם על דבר המצרי ובקש להרוג את משה, נעשה צוארו כעמוד של שיש:
5Now Moses' father in law, Jethro, and his [Moses'] sons and his wife came to Moses, to the desert where he was encamped, to the mountain of God.   הוַיָּבֹ֞א יִתְר֨וֹ חֹתֵ֥ן משֶׁ֛ה וּבָנָ֥יו וְאִשְׁתּ֖וֹ אֶל־משֶׁ֑ה אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּ֕ר אֲשֶׁר־ה֛וּא חֹנֶ֥ה שָׁ֖ם הַ֥ר הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים:
to the desert: [We too know that he was in the desert [without the text stating it explicitly], but the text is speaking of Jethro’s praise, that he lived amidst the greatest honor of the world, but his heart prompted him to go forth to the desert wasteland to hear words of Torah. — [from Mechilta]   אל המדבר: אף אנו יודעין שבמדבר היו, אלא בשבחו של יתרו דבר הכתוב, שהיה יושב בכבודו של עולם ונדבו לבו לצאת אל המדבר, מקום תהו, לשמוע דברי תורה:
6And he said to Moses, "I, Jethro, your father in law, am coming to you, and [so is] your wife and her two sons with her. "   ווַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה אֲנִ֛י חֹֽתֶנְךָ֥ יִתְר֖וֹ בָּ֣א אֵלֶ֑יךָ וְאִ֨שְׁתְּךָ֔ וּשְׁנֵ֥י בָנֶ֖יהָ עִמָּֽהּ:
And he said to Moses: through a messenger. — [from Mechilta, view of Rabbi Eleazar the Modite]   ויאמר אל משה: על ידי שליח:
I, Jethro, your father-in-law…: If you will not come out for my sake, come out for your wife’s sake, and if you will not come out for your wife’s sake, come out for the sake of her two sons. — [from Mechilta]   אני חתנך יתרו וגו': אם אין אתה יוצא בגיני צא בגין אשתך, ואם אין אתה יוצא בגין אשתך צא בגין שני בניה:
7So Moses went out toward Jethro, prostrated himself and kissed him, and they greeted one another, and they entered the tent.   זוַיֵּצֵ֨א משֶׁ֜ה לִקְרַ֣את חֹֽתְנ֗וֹ וַיִּשְׁתַּ֨חוּ֙ וַיִּשַּׁק־ל֔וֹ וַיִּשְׁאֲל֥וּ אִֽישׁ־לְרֵעֵ֖הוּ לְשָׁל֑וֹם וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ הָאֹֽהֱלָה:
So Moses went out: Jethro was afforded great honor at that time. Since Moses went out, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu also went out, and who [was it who] saw these [men] going out and did not go out? [Thus, everyone went out to greet Jethro.]-[from unknown midrashic source similar to Mechilta and Tanchuma Yithro 6]   ויצא משה: כבוד גדול נתכבד יתרו באותה שעה, כיון שיצא משה יצא אהרן נדב ואביהוא, ומי הוא שראה את אלו יוצאין ולא יצא:
prostrated himself and kissed him: I do not know who prostrated himself to whom. [But] when it says, “one another (אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ),” [lit., a man to his friend,] who is called "a man"? This is Moses, as it is said: “But the man (וְהָאִישׁ) Moses” (Num. 12:3). [from Mechilta]   וישתחו וישק לו: איני יודע מי השתחוה למי, כשהוא אומר איש לרעהו, מי הקרוי איש, זה משה, שנאמר (במדבר יב ג) והאיש משה:
8Moses told his father in law [about] all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians on account of Israel, [and about] all the hardships that had befallen them on the way, and [that] the Lord had saved them.   חוַיְסַפֵּ֤ר משֶׁה֙ לְחֹ֣תְנ֔וֹ אֵת֩ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה יְהוָֹה֙ לְפַרְעֹ֣ה וּלְמִצְרַ֔יִם עַ֖ל אוֹדֹ֣ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֵ֤ת כָּל־הַתְּלָאָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר מְצָאָ֣תַם בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ וַיַּצִּלֵ֖ם יְהוָֹֽה:
Moses told his father-in-law: to attract his heart, to draw him near to the Torah. — [from Mechilta]   ויספר משה לחתנו: למשוך את לבו לקרבו לתורה:
all the hardships: By the sea and [the hardship] of Amalek. — [from Mechilta]   את כל התלאה: שעל הים ושל עמלק:
the hardships: Heb. הַתְּלָאָה. “Lammed aleph” comprise the root of the word. The “tav” is both formative and basic and sometimes is omitted from it. Similarly, separation (תְּרוּמָה), waving (תְּנוּפָה), rising (תְּקוּמָה), removing (תְּנוּאָה).‭   התלאה: למ"ד אל"ף מן היסוד של התיבה והתי"ו הוא תיקון ויסוד הנופל ממנו לפרקים, וכן תרומה, תנופה, תקומה, תנואה:
9Jethro was happy about all the good that the Lord had done for Israel, that He had rescued them from the hands of the Egyptians.   טוַיִּ֣חַדְּ יִתְר֔וֹ עַ֚ל כָּל־הַטּוֹבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֥ה יְהוָֹ֖ה לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִצִּיל֖וֹ מִיַּ֥ד מִצְרָֽיִם:
Jethro was happy: Heb. וַיִחַדּ, and Jethro rejoiced. This is its simple meaning. The Aggadic midrash, however, [explains that] his flesh became prickly [i.e., gooseflesh (חִדּוּדִין חִדּוּדִּין)] [because] he was upset about the destruction of the Egyptians. This is [the source of] the popular saying: Do not disgrace a gentile in the presence of a convert, [even] up to the tenth generation [after the conversion]. — [from Sanh. 94a]   ויחד יתרו: וישמח יתרו, זהו פשוטו ומדרשו נעשה בשרו חדודין חדודין, מיצר על איבוד מצרים, היינו דאמרי אינשי גיורא עד עשרה דרי לא תבזי ארמאה באפיה:
about all the good: The good of the manna, the well [of water that went with them], and the Torah, and above all, that He rescued them from the hands of the Egyptians. Until now, no slave had been able to escape from Egypt because the [border of the] land was locked, but these [people] fled six hundred thousand strong. — [from Mechilta]   על כל הטובה: טובת המן והבאר והתורה. ועל כולן אשר הצילו מיד מצרים, עד עכשיו לא היה עבד יכול לברוח ממצרים, שהיתה הארץ מסוגרת, ואלו יצאו ששים רבוא:
10[Thereupon,] Jethro said, "Blessed is the Lord, Who has rescued you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, Who has rescued the people from beneath the hand of the Egyptians.   יוַיֹּ֘אמֶר֘ יִתְרוֹ֒ בָּר֣וּךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִצִּ֥יל אֶתְכֶ֛ם מִיַּ֥ד מִצְרַ֖יִם וּמִיַּ֣ד פַּרְעֹ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר הִצִּיל֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם מִתַּ֖חַת יַד־מִצְרָֽיִם:
Who has rescued you from the hands of the Egyptians: A strong nation.   אשר הציל אתכם מיד מצרים: אומה קשה:
and from the hand of Pharaoh: A strong king.   ומיד פרעה: מלך קשה:
from beneath the hand of the Egyptians: As the Targum [Onkelos] renders: [from beneath the control of the Egyptians,] an expression of tyrannization and domination. [The verse is referring to] the hand, which they [the Egyptians] laid heavily upon you [the Israelites]; the slavery.   מתחת יד מצרים: כתרגומו לשון רידוי ומרות היד שהיו מכבידים עליהם, היא העבודה:
11Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the deities, for with the thing that they plotted, [He came] upon them."   יאעַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֔עְתִּי כִּֽי־גָד֥וֹל יְהוָֹ֖ה מִכָּל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים כִּ֣י בַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר זָד֖וּ עֲלֵיהֶֽם:
Now I know: I recognized Him in the past, but now [I recognize Him] even more. — [from Mechilta]   עתה ידעתי: מכירו הייתי לשעבר ועכשיו ביותר:
than all the deities: This teaches us that he [Jethro] was knowledgeable about every type of idolatry in the world, and there was no pagan deity that he did not worship. — [from Mechilta]   מכל הא-להים: מלמד שהיה מכיר בכל עבודה זרה שבעולם שלא הניח עבודה זרה שלא עבדה:
for with the thing that they plotted, [He came] upon them: Heb. זָדוּ. [To be explained] according to its [Aramaic] translation. [Onkelos renders: For with the thing that the Egyptians plotted to judge Israel, with that He judged them.] With water, they planned to destroy them, and they [themselves] were destroyed with water.   כי בדבר אשר זדו עליהם: כתרגומו במים דמו לאבדם והם נאבדו במים:
that they plotted: That they planned wickedly. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted it [זָדוּ] as an expression related to “Now Jacob cooked (וַיָזֶר)” (Gen. 25:29) [and thus to infer that] in the very pot in which they cooked, they themselves were cooked. [from Sotah 11a]   אשר זדו: אשר הרשיעו. ורבותינו דרשוהו לשון (בראשית כה כט) ויזד יעקב נזיד, בקדרה אשר בשלו בה, נתבשלו:
12Then Moses' father in law, Jethro, sacrificed burnt offering[s] and [peace] offerings to God, and Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to dine with Moses' father in law before God.   יבוַיִּקַּ֞ח יִתְר֨וֹ חֹתֵ֥ן משֶׁ֛ה עֹלָ֥ה וּזְבָחִ֖ים לֵֽאלֹהִ֑ים וַיָּבֹ֨א אַֽהֲרֹ֜ן וְכֹ֣ל | זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לֶֽאֱכָל־לֶ֛חֶם עִם־חֹתֵ֥ן משֶׁ֖ה לִפְנֵ֥י הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים:
burnt offering[s]: Heb. עֹלָה. As its apparent meaning, because it [the offering] was completely (כֻּלָּה) burned [on the altar].   עלה: כמשמעה שהיא עולה כליל:
and [peace] offerings: Peace offerings.   וזבחים: שלמים:
And Aaron came: And where did Moses go? [Why is he not mentioned here as partaking of the feast?] He was standing and serving them. — [from Mechilta, Jonathan]   ויבא אהרן וגו': ומשה היכן הלך, והלא הוא שיצא לקראתו וגרם לו את כל הכבוד, אלא שהיה עומד ומשמש לפניהם:
before God: From here [we learn] that if one derives pleasure from a feast at which Torah scholars are seated, it is as if he has derived pleasure from the splendor of the Shechinah. — [from Ber. 64a, Mechilta]   לפני הא-להים: מכאן שהנהנה מסעודה שתלמידי חכמים מסובין בה כאלו נהנה מזיו השכינה:

Second Portion

Exodus Chapter 18

13It came about on the next day that Moses sat down to judge the people, and the people stood before Moses from the morning until the evening.   יגוַֽיְהִי֙ מִמָּ֣חֳרָ֔ת וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב משֶׁ֖ה לִשְׁפֹּ֣ט אֶת־הָעָ֑ם וַיַּֽעֲמֹ֤ד הָעָם֙ עַל־משֶׁ֔ה מִן־הַבֹּ֖קֶר עַד־הָעָֽרֶב:
It came about on the next day: This was the day after Yom Kippur. This is what we learned in Sifrei [actually in the Mechilta]. Now what is meant by "on the next day"? On the day after his [Moses’] descent from the mountain [which took place on Yom Kippur]. You must admit that it is impossible to say [that the next day means] anything but that [Moses sat down to judge the people] on the day after Yom Kippur. Before the giving of the Torah it was impossible to say (verse 15), “and I make known the statutes, etc.,” [since the statutes had not yet been given]. And from the time that the Torah was given, until Yom Kippur, Moses did not [have the chance to] sit down to judge the people, for on the seventeenth of Tammuz he descended [Mount Sinai] and broke the tablets. On the next day he ascended early in the morning and stayed for eighty days and descended on Yom Kippur. Hence, this section is not written in [chronological] order, for “It came about on the next day,” was not said until the second year. Even according to the one [Tanna] who says that Jethro arrived before the giving of the Torah, he was not sent away to his land until the second year, for it says here (verse 27), “Moses saw his father-in-law off,” and we find in the journey of the divisions [of the tribes, which took place in the second year,] that Moses said to him [Jethro], “We are journeying to the place…Please, do not leave us” (Num. 10:29-31). Now if this [incident] had taken place before the giving of the Torah, where do we find [i.e., where is it mentioned] that he returned? If you say that there [Num. 10:29] Jethro is not mentioned, but Hobab [is mentioned], and he was Jethro’s son, [that is not so since] Hobab is identical with Jethro, for so it is written: “of the children of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law” (Jud. 4:11). -[based on Mechilta]   ויהי ממחרת: מוצאי יום הכיפורים היה, כך שנינו בספרי, ומהו ממחרת, למחרת רדתו מן ההר. ועל כרחך אי אפשר לומר אלא ממחרת יום הכיפורים, שהרי קודם מתן תורה אי אפשר לומר (פסוק טז) והודעתי את חקי וגו', ומשנתנה תורה עד יום הכיפורים לא ישב משה לשפוט את העם, שהרי בשבעה עשר בתמוז ירד ושבר את הלוחות, ולמחר עלה בהשכמה ושהה שמונים יום וירד ביום הכיפורים. ואין פרשה זו כתובה כסדר, שלא נאמר ויהי ממחרת עד שנה שניה, אף לדברי האומר יתרו קודם מתן תורה בא, שילוחו אל ארצו לא היה אלא עד שנה שניה, שהרי נאמר כאן (פסוק כז) וישלח משה את חותנו ומצינו במסע הדגלים שאמר לו משה (במדבר י כט) נוסעים אנחנו אל המקום וגו', (שם לא) אל נא תעזוב אותנו, ואם זו קודם מתן תורה, מששלחו והלך היכן מצינו שחזר ואם תאמר שם לא נאמר יתרו אלא חובב, ובנו של יתרו היה, הוא חובב הוא יתרו, שהרי כתיב (שופטים ד יא) מבני חובב חותן משה:
that Moses sat down…, and the people stood: He sat like a king, and they [everyone who came to be judged] all stood. The matter displeased Jethro, that he [Moses] belittled the respect due [the people of] Israel, and he reproved him about it, as it is said: “Why do you sit by yourself, and they are all standing?” [from Mechilta]   וישב משה וגו' ויעמד העם: יושב כמלך וכולן עומדים, והוקשה הדבר ליתרו שהיה מזלזל בכבודן של ישראל והוכיחו על כך, שנאמר (פסוק יד) מדוע אתה יושב לבדך וכלם נצבים:
from the morning until the evening: Is it possible to say this [that Moses actually sat in judgment from morning until evening]? But this [teaches us that] any judge who issues a true verdict-as truth demands it-even [if he spends only] one hour [reaching his judgment], Scripture deems it as if he had engaged in [the study of] the Torah for the entire day, and as if he were a partner with the Holy One, blessed is He, in the [act of] Creation, in which it says: “and it was evening, [and it was morning…]” (Gen. 1:5). [from Mechilta, Shab. 10a]   מן הבקר עד הערב: אפשר לומר כן, אלא כל דיין שדן דין אמת לאמיתו אפילו שעה אחת, מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו עוסק בתורה כל היום, וכאלו נעשה שותף להקב"ה במעשה בראשית, שנאמר בו (בראשית א ה) ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד:
14When Moses' father in law saw what he was doing to the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing to the people? Why do you sit by yourself, while all the people stand before you from morning till evening?"   ידוַיַּרְא֙ חֹתֵ֣ן משֶׁ֔ה אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־ה֥וּא עֹשֶׂ֖ה לָעָ֑ם וַיֹּ֗אמֶר מָֽה־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתָּ֤ה עֹשֶׂה֙ לָעָ֔ם מַדּ֗וּעַ אַתָּ֤ה יוֹשֵׁב֙ לְבַדֶּ֔ךָ וְכָל־הָעָ֛ם נִצָּ֥ב עָלֶ֖יךָ מִן־בֹּ֥קֶר עַד־עָֽרֶב:
15Moses said to his father in law, "For the people come to me to seek God.   טווַיֹּ֥אמֶר משֶׁ֖ה לְחֹֽתְנ֑וֹ כִּֽי־יָבֹ֥א אֵלַ֛י הָעָ֖ם לִדְר֥שׁ אֱלֹהִֽים:
For…come: Heb. כִּי-יָבֹא, the present tense. [Although, strictly speaking, יָבֹא is the future tense, in this case it is used as the present, i.e., the people of Israel had already come to be judged.]   כי יבא: כמו כי בא, לשון הווה:
to seek God: [To be understood] as its Aramaic translation (Onkelos): לְמִתְבַָּע אוּלְפַן, to seek teaching from before the Lord.   לדרש א-להים: כתרגומו למתבע אולפן, לשאול תלמוד מפי הגבורה:
16If any of them has a case, he comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make known the statutes of God and His teachings."   טזכִּי־יִֽהְיֶ֨ה לָהֶ֤ם דָּבָר֙ בָּ֣א אֵלַ֔י וְשָׁ֣פַטְתִּ֔י בֵּ֥ין אִ֖ישׁ וּבֵ֣ין רֵעֵ֑הוּ וְהֽוֹדַעְתִּ֛י אֶת־חֻקֵּ֥י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים וְאֶת־תּֽוֹרֹתָֽיו:
If any of them has a case, he comes to me: The one who has the case comes to me.   כי יהיה להם דבר בא: מי שיהיה לו דבר בא אלי:
17Moses' father in law said to him, "The thing you are doing is not good.   יזוַיֹּ֛אמֶר חֹתֵ֥ן משֶׁ֖ה אֵלָ֑יו לֹא־טוֹב֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתָּ֖ה עֹשֶֽׂה:
Moses’ father-in-law said: As a token of honor, Scripture refers to him as the king’s father-in-law [and not by his name].   ויאמר חתן משה: דרך כבוד קוראו הכתוב חותנו של מלך:
18You will surely wear yourself out both you and these people who are with you for the matter is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.   יחנָבֹ֣ל תִּבֹּ֔ל גַּם־אַתָּ֕ה גַּם־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמָּ֑ךְ כִּֽי־כָבֵ֤ד מִמְּךָ֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר לֹֽא־תוּכַ֥ל עֲשׂ֖הוּ לְבַדֶּֽךָ:
You will surely wear yourself out: Heb. נָבֹל ךְתִּבָֹּל. As the Targum renders: [You will surely wear yourself out,] but the expression is an expression of withering, fleistre in Old French, like [these examples:] “even the leaves will be withered (נָבֵל)” (Jer. 8:13); “as a leaf withers (כִּנְבֵל עָלֶה) from a vine, etc.” (Isa. 34:4), which withers both from the heat and from the cold, and its strength weakens, and it is worn out.   נבל תבל: כתרגומו. ולשונו לשון כמישה פליישטרי"ר בלעז [לכמוש]. כמו (ירמיה ח יג) והעלה נבל, (ישעיה לד ד) כנבול עלה מגפן וגו', שהוא כמוש על ידי חמה ועל ידי קרח, וכחו תש ונלאה:
both you: גַּם-אַךְתָּה lit., also you. [This comes] to include Aaron, Hur, and the 70 elders.   גם אתה: לרבות אהרן וחור ושבעים זקנים:
is too heavy for you: Its weight is greater than your strength.   כי כבד ממך: כובדו רב יותר מכחך:
19Now listen to me. I will advise you, and may the Lord be with you. [You] represent the people before God, and you shall bring the matters to God.   יטעַתָּ֞ה שְׁמַ֤ע בְּקֹלִי֙ אִיעָ֣צְךָ֔ וִיהִ֥י אֱלֹהִ֖ים עִמָּ֑ךְ הֱיֵ֧ה אַתָּ֣ה לָעָ֗ם מ֚וּל הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְהֵֽבֵאתָ֥ אַתָּ֛ה אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים:
I will advise you, and may the Lord be with you: in [this] counsel. He [Jethro] said to him [Moses], “Go, consult the Lord [as to whether my advice is sound].” -[from Mechilta]   איעצך ויהי א-להים עמך: בעצה, אמר לו צא המלך בגבורה:
[You] represent the people before God: [as a] messenger and an intermediary between them and the Omnipresent, and one who inquires of Him concerning the ordinances. — [from Onkelos]   היה אתה לעם מול הא-להים: שליח ומליץ בינותם למקום, ושואל משפטים מאתו:
the matters: The matters of their quarrels. — [from Jonathan]   את הדברים: דברי ריבותם:
20And you shall admonish them concerning the statutes and the teachings, and you shall make known to them the way they shall go and the deed[s] they shall do.   כוְהִזְהַרְתָּ֣ה אֶתְהֶ֔ם אֶת־הַֽחֻקִּ֖ים וְאֶת־הַתּוֹרֹ֑ת וְהֽוֹדַעְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֗ם אֶת־הַדֶּ֨רֶךְ֙ יֵ֣לְכוּ בָ֔הּ וְאֶת־הַמַּֽעֲשֶׂ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר יַֽעֲשֽׂוּן:
21But you shall choose out of the entire nation men of substance, God fearers, men of truth, who hate monetary gain, and you shall appoint over them [Israel] leaders over thousands, leaders over hundreds, leaders over fifties, and leaders over tens.   כאוְאַתָּ֣ה תֶֽחֱזֶ֣ה מִכָּל־הָ֠עָ֠ם אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֜יִל יִרְאֵ֧י אֱלֹהִ֛ים אַנְשֵׁ֥י אֱמֶ֖ת שׂ֣נְאֵי בָ֑צַע וְשַׂמְתָּ֣ עֲלֵהֶ֗ם שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת:
But you shall choose: with the holy spirit that is upon you. — [from Mechilta]   ואתה תחזה: ברוח הקודש שעליך:
men of substance: Heb. אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל, wealthy men, who do not have to flatter or show favoritism. — [from Mechilta] [   אנשי חיל: עשירים, שאין צריכין להחניף ולהכיר פנים:
men of truth: These are people who keep their promises, upon whose words one may rely, and thereby, their commands will be obeyed. — [from Mechilta]   אנשי אמת: אלו בעלי הבטחה, שהם כדאי לסמוך על דבריהם, שעל ידי כן יהיו דבריהם נשמעין:
who hate monetary gain: Who hate [to have] their own property in litigation, like [the Talmudic adage] that we say: Any judge from whom money is exacted through litigation is not [fit to be] a judge. — [based on Mechilta and B.B. 58b]   שנאי בצע: ששונאין את ממונם בדין כההיא דאמרינן כל דיינא דמפקין ממונא מיניה בדינא לאו דיינא הוא:
leaders over thousands: They were six hundred officers for six hundred thousand [men]. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a]   שרי אלפים: הם היו שש מאות שרים לשש מאות אלף:
leaders over hundreds: They were six thousand. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a]   שרי מאות: ששת אלפים היו:
leaders over fifties: Twelve thousand. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a]   שרי חמשים: שנים עשר אלף:
and leaders over tens: Sixty thousand. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a] [Rashi lists the number of each category of judges, which appears to be superfluous, because the Torah should start with the lowest denomination and ascend to the highest instead of starting with the highest and descending to the lowest. Rashi answers that it starts with the highest officers because they are the lowest number.]   שרי עשרת: ששים אלף:
22And they shall judge the people at all times, and it shall be that any major matter they shall bring to you, and they themselves shall judge every minor matter, thereby making it easier for you, and they shall bear [the burden] with you.   כבוְשָֽׁפְט֣וּ אֶת־הָעָם֘ בְּכָל־עֵת֒ וְהָיָ֞ה כָּל־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַגָּדֹל֙ יָבִ֣יאוּ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְכָל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפְּטוּ־הֵ֑ם וְהָקֵל֙ מֵֽעָלֶ֔יךָ וְנָֽשְׂא֖וּ אִתָּֽךְ:
And they shall judge: Heb. וְשָׁפְטוּ. [Onkelos renders:] וִִידוּנוּן, an imperative expression.]   ושפטו: וידונון, לשון צווי:
thereby making it easier for you: Heb. וְהָקֵל. This thing [i.e., this arrangement will serve] to make it easier for you. וְהָקֵל is like הַכְבֵָּד in “he hardened (וְהַכְבֵָּד) his heart” (Exod. 8: 11) [lit., making heavy his heart]; “and slew (וְהַכּוֹת) the Moabites” (II Kings 3:24) [lit., and slaying the Moabites], a present tense.   והקל מעליך: דבר זה להקל מעליך. והקל, כמו (שמות ח יא) והכבד את לבו, (מלכים ב ג כד) והכות את מואב, לשון הווה:
23If you do this thing, and the Lord commands you, you will be able to survive, and also, all this people will come upon their place in peace."   כגאִ֣ם אֶת־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְצִוְּךָ֣ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְיָֽכָלְתָּ֖ עֲמֹ֑ד וְגַם֙ כָּל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה עַל־מְקֹמ֖וֹ יָבֹ֥א בְשָׁלֽוֹם:
and the Lord commands you, you will be able to survive: Consult God; if He commands you to do this, you will be able to endure, but if He prevents you [from doing it], you will be unable to endure. — [from Mechilta]   וצוך א-להים ויכלת עמד: המלך בגבורה אם יצוה אותך לעשות כך תוכל עמוד, ואם יעכב על ידך לא תוכל לעמוד:
and also, all this people: Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the 70 elders who now accompany you. — [from Mechilta]   וגם כל העם הזה: אהרן נדב ואביהוא ושבעים זקנים הנלוים עתה עמך:

Third Portion

Exodus Chapter 18

24Moses obeyed his father in law, and he did all that he said.   כדוַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע משֶׁ֖ה לְק֣וֹל חֹֽתְנ֑וֹ וַיַּ֕עַשׂ כֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָמָֽר:
25Moses chose men of substance out of all Israel and appointed them as heads of the people, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens.   כהוַיִּבְחַ֨ר משֶׁ֤ה אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֨יִל֙ מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם רָאשִׁ֖ים עַל־הָעָ֑ם שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת:
26And they would judge the people at all times; the difficult case they would bring to Moses, but any minor case they themselves would judge.   כווְשָֽׁפְט֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם בְּכָל־עֵ֑ת אֶת־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַקָּשֶׁה֙ יְבִיא֣וּן אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה וְכָל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפּוּט֥וּ הֵֽם:
And they would judge: וְֹשָפְטוּ. [Onkelos renders:], וְדַייְנִין יַתעַמָּא, And they judge the people. [Unlike this word in verse 22, which denotes the imperative, this denotes the present.]   ושפטו: ודיינין ית עמא:
they would bring: Heb. יְבִיאוּן. [Onkelos renders:] מַייְתִין, they bring [in the present tense and not in the future tense].   יביאון: מייתין:
they themselves would judge: Heb. יִשְׁפּוּטוּ, same as יִשְׁפֹּטוּ, and similarly [we find the verb תעבורי,], “neither shall you go away (לֹא תַעִבוּרִי)” (Ruth 2:8), like לֹא תַעֲבוֹרִי. The Targum [Onkelos] renders: דַּייְנִין אִינוּן, they judge. The earlier passages(verse 22) were in the imperative form. Therefore, they are rendered: וִִידוּנוּן, יַיְתוּן, יְדוּנוּן, but these passages [here in verse 26] are expressions of doing [and are not imperative].   ישפוטו הם: כמו ישפוטו וכן (רות ב ח) לא תעבורי, כמו לא תעברי ותרגומו דיינין אינון. מקראות העליונים הם לשון צווי, לכך מתורגמין וידונון ייתון, ידונון, ומקראות הללו לשון עשייה:
27Moses saw his father in law off, and he went away to his land.   כזוַיְשַׁלַּ֥ח משֶׁ֖ה אֶת־חֹֽתְנ֑וֹ וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ ל֖וֹ אֶל־אַרְצֽוֹ:
and he went away to his land: to convert the members of his family. — [from Mechilta]   וילך לו אל ארצו: לגייר בני משפחתו:

Fourth Portion

Exodus Chapter 19

1In the third month of the children of Israel's departure from Egypt, on this day they arrived in the desert of Sinai.   אבַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ֙ הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לְצֵ֥את בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה בָּ֖אוּ מִדְבַּ֥ר סִינָֽי:
on this day: On the New Moon (Mechilta, Shab. 86b). It could have said only, “on that day.” What is the meaning of "on this day"? That the words of the Torah shall be new to you, as if they were given just today. — [from Tanchuma Buber, p. 73]   ביום הזה: בראש חודש. לא היה צריך לכתוב אלא ביום ההוא, מהו ביום הזה, שיהיו דברי תורה חדשים עליך כאלו היום נתנו:
2They journeyed from Rephidim, and they arrived in the desert of Sinai, and they encamped in the desert, and Israel encamped there opposite the mountain.   בוַיִּסְע֣וּ מֵֽרְפִידִ֗ים וַיָּבֹ֨אוּ֙ מִדְבַּ֣ר סִינַ֔י וַיַּֽחֲנ֖וּ בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר וַיִּֽחַן־שָׁ֥ם יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נֶ֥גֶד הָהָֽר:
They journeyed from Rephidim: Why did [Scripture] have to repeat and explain from where they had journeyed? Did it not already state (Exod. 17:1) that they were encamped in Rephidim? It is known that they journeyed from there. But [it is repeated] to compare their journey from Rephidim to their arrival in the Sinai desert. Just as their arrival in the Sinai desert was with repentance, so was their journey from Rephidim with repentance. — [from Mechilta]   ויסעו מרפידים: למה הוצרך לחזור ולפרש מהיכן נסעו, והלא כבר כתב שברפידים היו חונים, בידוע שמשם נסעו, אלא להקיש נסיעתן מרפידים לביאתן למדבר סיני, מה ביאתן למדבר סיני בתשובה, אף נסיעתן מרפידים בתשובה:
and Israel encamped there: Heb. וַיִחַן, [the singular form, denoting that they encamped there] as one man with one heart, but all the other encampments were [divided] with complaints and with strife. — [from Mechilta]   ויחן שם ישראל: כאיש אחד בלב אחד, אבל שאר כל החניות בתרעומת ובמחלוקת:
opposite the mountain: [This means] to its east. And wherever you find [the word] “opposite (נֶגֶד),” it means facing the eastern side. — [from Mechilta] [This signifies that they were facing west, toward the eastern side of Mount Sinai.]   נגד ההר: למזרחו, וכל מקום שאתה מוצא נגד, פנים למזרח:
3Moses ascended to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "So shall you say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel,   גוּמשֶׁ֥ה עָלָ֖ה אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֵלָ֤יו יְהוָֹה֙ מִן־הָהָ֣ר לֵאמֹ֔ר כֹּ֤ה תֹאמַר֙ לְבֵ֣ית יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וְתַגֵּ֖יד לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
Moses ascended: on the second day (Shab. 86a), and all his ascents were early in the morning, as it is said: “And Moses arose early in the morning” (Exod. 34:4).   ומשה עלה: ביום השני. וכל עליותיו בהשכמה היו, שנאמר (שמות לד ד) וישכם משה בבקר:
So shall you say: With this language and in this order. — [from Mechilta]   כה תאמר: בלשון הזה וכסדר הזה:
to the house of Jacob: These are the women. Say it to them in a gentle language. — [from Mechilta]   לבית יעקב: אלו הנשים, תאמר להן בלשון רכה:
and tell the sons of Israel: The punishments and the details [of the laws] explain to the males, things that are as harsh as wormwood. -[Mechilta, Shab. 87a]   ותגיד לבני ישראל: עונשין ודקדוקין פרש לזכרים. דברים הקשין כגידין:
4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles' wings, and I brought you to Me.   דאַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִׂ֖יתִי לְמִצְרָ֑יִם וָֽאֶשָּׂ֤א אֶתְכֶם֙ עַל־כַּנְפֵ֣י נְשָׁרִ֔ים וָֽאָבִ֥א אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֵלָֽי:
You have seen: This is not a tradition that you have. I am not sending you this [message] with words; I am not calling witnesses to testify before you, but you [yourselves] have seen what I did to the Egyptians. They were liable to Me for many sins before they attacked you, but I did not exact retribution from them except through you. — [from Mechilta]   אתם ראיתם: לא מסורת היא בידכם, ולא בדברים אני משגר לכם, לא בעדים אני מעיד עליכם, אלא אתם ראיתם אשר עשיתי למצרים, על כמה עבירות היו חייבין לי קודם שנזדווגו לכם, ולא נפרעתי מהם אלא על ידכם:
and [how] I bore you: Heb. וָאֶשָׂא. This is [alluding to] the day that the Israelites came to Rameses-because the Israelites were scattered throughout the land of Goshen. And in a short time, when they came to start on their journey and leave, they all gathered in Rameses (Mechilta). Onkelos, however, rendered וָאֶשָׂא as וְאַטָלִיתיַתְכוֹן, and I caused you to travel, like וָאַסִּיעַ אֶתְכֶם He [Onkelos] amended [the translation of] the passage in a way respectful to the One above.   ואשא אתכם: זה יום שבאו ישראל לרעמסס, שהיו ישראל מפוזרין בכל ארץ גושן, ולשעה קלה כשבאו ליסע ולצאת נקבצו כלם לרעמסס. ואונקלוס תרגם ואשא, ונטלית יתכון, כמו ואסיע אתכם, תיקן את הדבר דרך כבוד למעלה:
on eagles’ wings: Like an eagle, which carries its young on its wings, for all other birds place their young between their feet since they fear another bird flying above them. The eagle, however, fears only man, lest he shoot an arrow at it, because no other bird flies above it. Therefore, it places them [its young] on its wings. It says, “Rather the arrow pierce me and not my children.” I [God] too did that: “Then the angel of God…moved, …And he came between the camp of Egypt, etc.” (Exod. 14:19, 20), and the Egyptians shot arrows and catapult stones, and the cloud absorbed them. — [from Mechilta]   על כנפי נשרים: כנשר הנושא גוזליו על כנפיו, שכל שאר העופות נותנים את בניהם בין רגליהם, לפי שמתיראין מעוף אחר שפורח על גביהם, אבל הנשר הזה אינו מתירא אלא מן האדם, שמא יזרוק בו חץ, לפי שאין עוף אחר פורח על גביו, לכך נותנן על כנפיו, אומר מוטב יכנס החץ בי, ולא בבני. אף אני עשיתי כן, (שמות יד יט) ויסע מלאך הא-להים וגו' (שם כ) ויבא בין מחנה מצרים וגו', והיו מצרים זורקים חצים ואבני בליסטראות והענן מקבלם:
and I brought you to Me: As the Targum [Onkelos renders: and I brought you near to My service]. [This is to avoid ascribing corporeality to God.]   ואבא אתכם אלי: כתרגומו:
5And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth.   הוְעַתָּ֗ה אִם־שָׁמ֤וֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ בְּקֹלִ֔י וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֑י וִֽהְיִ֨יתֶם לִ֤י סְגֻלָּה֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים כִּי־לִ֖י כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ:
And now: If now you accept upon yourselves [the yoke of the commandments], it will be pleasant for you in the future, since all beginnings are difficult. — [from Mechilta]   ועתה: אם עתה תקבלו עליכם יערב לכם מכאן ואילך, שכל התחלות קשות:
and keep My covenant: which I will make with you concerning the observance of the Torah.   ושמרתם את בריתי: שאכרות עמכם על שמירת התורה:
a treasure: Heb. סְגֻלִֵֶַָָָּה, a beloved treasure, like “and the treasures (וּסְגְלִֵּת) of the kings” (Eccl. 2:8), [i.e., like] costly vessels and precious stones, which kings store away. So will you be [more of] a treasure to Me than the other nations (Mechilta). Now don’t think (lit., and do not say) that you alone are Mine, and [that] I have no others besides you. So what else do I have, that [My] love for you should be made evident? For the whole earth is Mine, but they [the other nations] mean nothing to Me.   סגלה: אוצר חביב, כמו (קהלת ב ח) וסגלת מלכים, כלי יקר ואבנים טובות שהמלכים גונזים אותם. כך אתם תהיו לי סגולה משאר אומות, ולא תאמרו אתם לבדכם שלי ואין לי אחרים עמכם, ומה יש לי עוד שתהא חבתכם נכרת:
For the whole earth is Mine: but they [the other nations] mean nothing to Me.   כי לי כל הארץ: והם בעיני ולפני לכלום:
6And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel."   ווְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּֽהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּֽהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ אֵ֚לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes: Heb., מַמְלֶכֶתכֹּהִנִים, princes, as it is said: “and David’s sons were chief officers (כֹּהִנִים)” (II Sam. 8:18). -[from Mechilta]   ואתם תהיו לי ממלכת כהנים: שרים כמה דאת אמר (שמואל ב' ח יח) ובני דוד כהנים היו:
These are the words: No less and no more. — [from Mechilta]   אלה הדברים: לא פחות ולא יותר:

Fifth Portion

Exodus Chapter 19

7Moses came and summoned the elders of Israel and placed before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him.   זוַיָּבֹ֣א משֶׁ֔ה וַיִּקְרָ֖א לְזִקְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם וַיָּ֣שֶׂם לִפְנֵיהֶ֗ם אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּ֖הוּ יְהוָֹֽה:
8And all the people replied in unison and said, "All that the Lord has spoken we shall do!" and Moses took the words of the people back to the Lord.   חוַיַּֽעֲנ֨וּ כָל־הָעָ֤ם יַחְדָּו֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ כֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהוָֹ֖ה נַֽעֲשֶׂ֑ה וַיָּ֧שֶׁב משֶׁ֛ה אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הָעָ֖ם אֶל־יְהוָֹֽה:
and Moses took the words of the people back…: on the next day, which was the third day, for he ascended early in the morning (Shab. 86a). Did Moses [really] have to [bring back to God an] answer? Rather, the text comes to teach you etiquette from Moses-he did not say, “Since He Who sent me knows, I do not have to reply.” -[from Mechilta]   וישב משה את דברי העם וגו': ביום המחרת, שהוא יום שלישי, שהרי בהשכמה עלה. וכי צריך היה משה להשיב, אלא בא הכתוב ללמדך דרך ארץ ממשה שלא אמר, הואיל ויודע מי ששלחני, איני צריך להשיב:
9And the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I am coming to you in the thickness of the cloud, in order that the people hear when I speak to you, and they will also believe in you forever." And Moses relayed the words of the people to the Lord.   טוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶל־משֶׁ֗ה הִנֵּ֨ה אָֽנֹכִ֜י בָּ֣א אֵלֶ֘יךָ֘ בְּעַ֣ב הֶֽעָנָן֒ בַּֽעֲב֞וּר יִשְׁמַ֤ע הָעָם֙ בְּדַבְּרִ֣י עִמָּ֔ךְ וְגַם־בְּךָ֖ יַֽאֲמִ֣ינוּ לְעוֹלָ֑ם וַיַּגֵּ֥ד משֶׁ֛ה אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הָעָ֖ם אֶל־יְהוָֹֽה:
in the thickness of the cloud: Heb. בְּעַב הֶעָנָן, in the thickness of the cloud, and that is the opaque darkness (עִרָפֶל) [mentioned in Exod. 20:18]. — [from Mechilta]   בעב הענן: במעבה הענן וזהו ערפל:
and…in you forever: Also in the prophets who will follow you. — [from Mechilta]   וגם בך: גם בנביאים הבאים אחריך:
And Moses relayed, etc: on the following day, which was the fourth day of the month. — [from Jonathan]   ויגד משה וגו': ביום המחרת שהוא רביעי לחודש:
the words of the people, etc.: [Namely] a response to this statement I have heard from them [the Israelites], that they want to hear [directly] from You. [They maintain that] there is no comparison between one who hears [a message] from the mouth of the messenger and one who hears [it] from the mouth of the king [himself]. [They say,] “We want to see our King!” -[from Mechilta]   את דברי העם וגו': תשובה על דבר זה שמעתי מהם שרצונם לשמוע ממך אינו דומה השומע מפי השליח לשומע מפי המלך, רצוננו לראות את מלכנו:
10And the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the people and prepare them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their garments.   יוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָֹ֤ה אֶל־משֶׁה֙ לֵ֣ךְ אֶל־הָעָ֔ם וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ֥ם הַיּ֖וֹם וּמָחָ֑ר וְכִבְּס֖וּ שִׂמְלֹתָֽם:
And the Lord said to Moses: If [it is] true that they compel [Me] to speak with them, go to the people.   ויאמר ה' אל משה: אם כן, שמזקיקין לדבר עמם, לך אל העם:
and prepare them: Heb. וְקִדַָּשְׁךְתָּם, and you shall prepare them (Mechilta), that they should prepare themselves today and tomorrow.   וקדשתם: וזימנתם, שיכינו עצמם היום ומחר:
11And they shall be prepared for the third day, for on the third day, the Lord will descend before the eyes of all the people upon Mount Sinai.   יאוְהָי֥וּ נְכֹנִ֖ים לַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֑י כִּ֣י | בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִשִׁ֗י יֵרֵ֧ד יְהוָֹ֛ה לְעֵינֵ֥י כָל־הָעָ֖ם עַל־הַ֥ר סִינָֽי:
And they shall be prepared: Separated from women. — [from Mechilta]   והיו נכנים: מובדלים מאשה:
for on the third day: which is the sixth of the month, and on the fifth [of the month], Moses built the altar at the foot of the mountain, and the twelve monuments, the entire episode stated in the section of וְאֵלֶה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים (Exod. 24), but there is no sequence of earlier and later incidents in the Torah. — from Mechilta]   ליום השלישי: שהוא ששה בחדש. ובחמישי בנה משה את המזבח תחת ההר ושתים עשרה מצבה, כל הענין האמור בפרשת ואלה המשפטים, (שמות כד ד) ואין מוקדם ומאוחר בתורה:
before the eyes of all the people: [This] teaches [us] that there were no blind [persons] among them, for they were all cured. — [from Mechilta]   לעיני כל העם: מלמד שלא היה בהם סומא, שנתרפאו כולם:
12And you shall set boundaries for the people around, saying, Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.'   יבוְהִגְבַּלְתָּ֤ אֶת־הָעָם֙ סָבִ֣יב לֵאמֹ֔ר הִשָּֽׁמְר֥וּ לָכֶ֛ם עֲל֥וֹת בָּהָ֖ר וּנְגֹ֣עַ בְּקָצֵ֑הוּ כָּל־הַנֹּגֵ֥עַ בָּהָ֖ר מ֥וֹת יוּמָֽת:
And you shall set boundaries: Set boundaries for them as a sign that they should not come nearer [to the mountain] than the boundary.   והגבלת: קבע להם תחומין לסימן, שלא יקרבו מן הגבול והלאה:
saying: The boundary says to them, “Beware of going up from here on,” and you shall warn them about it.   לאמר: הגבול אומר להם, השמרו מעלות מכאן והלאה, ואתה תזהירם על כך:
or touching its edge: Even the edge of it.   ונגע בקצהו: אפילו בקצהו:
13No hand shall touch it, for he shall be stoned or cast down; whether man or beast, he shall not live. When the ram's horn sounds a long, drawn out blast, they may ascend the mountain."   יגלֹֽא־תִגַּ֨ע בּ֜וֹ יָ֗ד כִּֽי־סָק֤וֹל יִסָּקֵל֙ אֽוֹ־יָרֹ֣ה יִיָּרֶ֔ה אִם־בְּהֵמָ֥ה אִם־אִ֖ישׁ לֹ֣א יִֽחְיֶ֑ה בִּמְשֹׁךְ֙ הַיֹּבֵ֔ל הֵ֖מָּה יַֽעֲל֥וּ בָהָֽר:
or cast down: From here [it is derived] that those liable to death by stoning are [first] cast down from the stoning place, which was as high as two heights [of a man]. — [from Sanh. 45a] cast down-Heb. יִיָרֶה, shall be   ירה יירה: מכאן לנסקלין שהם נדחין למטה מבית הסקילה, שהיה גבוה שתי קומות:
cast down: to the earth, like “He cast (יָרָה) into the sea” (Exod. 15:4).   יירה: יושלך למטה לארץ, כמו (שמות טו ד) ירה בים:
When the ram’s horn sounds a long, drawn-out blast: When the ram’s horn sounds a long, drawn-out blast,this is the sign of the Shechinah’s withdrawal and the cessation of the voice [of God]. As soon as the Shechinah withdraws, they are permitted to ascend [the mountain]. — [from Mechilta]   במשך היבל: כשימשוך היובל קול ארוך הוא סימן סלוק שכינה והפסקת הקול, וכיון שנסתלק הם רשאין לעלות:
the ram’s horn: Heb. הַיוֹבֵל. That is a shofar of a ram, for in Arabia, they call a ram “yuvla.” And this shofar was from Isaac’s ram [the ram that Abraham sacrificed instead of Isaac]. (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 31).   היבל: הוא שופר של איל, שכן בערביא קורין לדכרא יובלא, ושופר של אילו של יצחק היה:
14So Moses descended from the mountain to the people, and he prepared the people, and they washed their garments.   ידוַיֵּ֧רֶד משֶׁ֛ה מִן־הָהָ֖ר אֶל־הָעָ֑ם וַיְקַדֵּשׁ֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם וַיְכַבְּס֖וּ שִׂמְלֹתָֽם:
from the mountain to the people: [This] teaches [us] that Moses did not turn to his [own] affairs, but [went directly] from the mountain to the people. — [from Mechilta]   מן ההר אל העם: מלמד שלא היה משה פונה לעסקיו אלא מן ההר אל העם:
15He said to the people, "Be ready for three days; do not go near a woman."   טווַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ אֶל־הָעָ֔ם הֱי֥וּ נְכֹנִ֖ים לִשְׁל֣שֶׁת יָמִ֑ים אַל־תִּגְּשׁ֖וּ אֶל־אִשָּֽׁה:
Be ready for three days: For the end of three days. That is the fourth day, for Moses added one day of his own volition. This is the view of Rabbi Jose [who says that the Torah was given on the seventh of Sivan]. According to the one who says that the Ten Commandments were given on the sixth of the month, however, Moses did not add anything, and “for three days” has the same meaning as “for the third day.” [from Shab. 87a]   היו נכנים לשלשת ימים: לסוף שלושה ימים, הוא יום רביעי שהוסיף משה יום אחד מדעתו, כדברי רבי יוסי, ולדברי האומר בששה בחדש ניתנו עשרת הדברות לא הוסיף משה כלום. לשלשת ימים, כמו (פסוק יא) ליום השלישי:
do not go near a woman: [to have intimacy with her] for all these three days [of preparation], in order that the women may immerse themselves on the third day and be pure to receive the Torah. If they have intercourse within the three days, the woman could [involuntarily] emit semen after her immersion and become unclean again. After three days have elapsed [since intercourse], however, the semen has already become putrid and is no longer capable of fertilization, so it is pure from contaminating the [woman] who emits it. — [from Shab. 86a]   אל תגשו אל אשה: כל שלושת ימים הללו כדי שיהו הנשים טובלות ליום השלישי ותהיינה טהורות לקבל תורה שאם ישמשו תוך שלשת ימים, שמא תפלוט האשה שכבת זרע לאחר טבילתה ותחזור ותטמא, אבל מששהתה שלושה ימים כבר הזרע מסריח ואינו ראוי להזריע וטהור מלטמא את הפולטת:
16It came to pass on the third day when it was morning, that there were thunder claps and lightning flashes, and a thick cloud was upon the mountain, and a very powerful blast of a shofar, and the entire nation that was in the camp shuddered.   טזוַיְהִי֩ בַיּ֨וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֜י בִּֽהְיֹ֣ת הַבֹּ֗קֶר וַיְהִי֩ קֹלֹ֨ת וּבְרָקִ֜ים וְעָנָ֤ן כָּבֵד֙ עַל־הָהָ֔ר וְקֹ֥ל שֹׁפָ֖ר חָזָ֣ק מְאֹ֑ד וַיֶּֽחֱרַ֥ד כָּל־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּמַּֽחֲנֶֽה:
when it was morning: [This] teaches [us] that He preceded them [on Mount Sinai], which is unconventional for a flesh and blood person to do, [i.e.,] having the teacher wait for the pupil. And so we find in Ezekiel (3:22, 23), “‘Arise, go out to the plain, etc.’ So I arose and went out to the plain, and behold, there the glory of the Lord was standing.” -[from unknown Midrashic source]   בהית הבקר: מלמד שהקדים על ידם מה שאין דרך בשר ודם לעשות כן, שיהא הרב ממתין לתלמיד, וכן מצינו ביחזקאל (יחזקאל ג כב) קום צא אל הבקעה וגו', (שם כג) ואקום ואצא אל הבקעה והנה שם כבוד ה' עומד:
17Moses brought the people out toward God from the camp, and they stood at the bottom of the mountain.   יזוַיּוֹצֵ֨א משֶׁ֧ה אֶת־הָעָ֛ם לִקְרַ֥את הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים מִן־הַמַּֽחֲנֶ֑ה וַיִּתְיַצְּב֖וּ בְּתַחְתִּ֥ית הָהָֽר:
toward God: [This expression] tells [us] that the Shechinah came out toward them like a bridegroom going out toward a bride. This is [the meaning of] what is stated: “The Lord came from Sinai” (Deut. 33:2), and it does not say, “came to Sinai.” -[from Mechilta]   לקראת הא-להים: מגיד שהשכינה יצאה לקראתם, כחתן היוצא לקראת כלה, וזהו שנאמר (דברים לג ב) ה' מסיני בא, ולא נאמר לסיני בא:
at the bottom of the mountain: According to its simple meaning, at the foot of the mountain. Its midrashic interpretation is, however, that the mountain was uprooted from its place and turned over them like a vat. — [from Shab. 88a]   בתחתית ההר: לפי פשוטו ברגלי ההר. ומדרשו שנתלש ההר ממקומו ונכפה עליהם כגיגית:
18And the entire Mount Sinai smoked because the Lord had descended upon it in fire, and its smoke ascended like the smoke of the kiln, and the entire mountain quaked violently.   יחוְהַ֤ר סִינַי֙ עָשַׁ֣ן כֻּלּ֔וֹ מִ֠פְּנֵ֠י אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָרַ֥ד עָלָ֛יו יְהוָֹ֖ה בָּאֵ֑שׁ וַיַּ֤עַל עֲשָׁנוֹ֙ כְּעֶ֣שֶׁן הַכִּבְשָׁ֔ן וַיֶּֽחֱרַ֥ד כָּל־הָהָ֖ר מְאֹֽד:
the entire Mount Sinai smoked: Heb. עָשַׁן. This word עָשַׁן is not a noun, because the “shin” is vowelized with a “pattach.” But [it is] the past tense of a [singular] verb in the form פָּעַל, like אָמַר, said, שָׁמַר, watched, שָׁמַע, heard. Therefore, its targum is ךְתָּנַן כּוֹלֵית, and [Onkelos] did not translate ךְתְּנָנָא [which would mean: was all smoke]. All [instances of] עָשָׁן in Scriptures are vowelized with a “kamatz” because they are nouns.   עשן כלו: אין עשן זה שם דבר, שהרי נקוד השי"ן פת"ח, אלא לשון פעל, כמו אמר, שמר, שמע, לכך תרגומו תנן כוליה, ולא תרגם תננא, וכל עשן שבמקרא נקודים קמ"ץ מפני שהם שם דבר:
the kiln: [used for the baking] of lime. I could think that it means [Mount Sinai smoked] like the kiln and no more. Therefore, [to clarify this,] Scripture states: “[the mountain was] blazing with fire up to the heart of the heaven” (Deut. 4:11) [meaning that the fire was far greater than in a lime kiln]. Why then does the Torah say "kiln"? In order to explain to the [human] ear what it is able to hear, [i.e., to give the reader a picture that can be imagined]. He gives the creatures [humans] a sign familiar to them. Similar to this [is the description in reference to God:] “He shall roar like a lion” (Hos. 11:10). Who but Him gave strength to the lion? Yet the Scriptures compare Him to a lion? But we describe Him and compare Him to His creatures in order to explain to [humans] what the ear is able to hear. Similar to this [is], “And its sound [the voice of God] was like the sound of abundant waters” (Ezek. 43:2). Now who gave the water a sound but He? Yet you describe Him and compare Him to His creatures in order to explain to [humans] what the ear is able to hear. — [from Mechilta]   הכבשן: של סיד, יכול ככבשן זה ולא יותר, תלמוד לומר (דברים ד יא) בוער באש עד לב השמים. ומה תלמוד לומר כבשן, לשבר את האוזן, מה שהיא יכולה לשמוע, נותן לבריות סימן הניכר להם. כיוצא בו (הושע יא י) כאריה ישאג, וכי מי נתן כח בארי, אלא הוא, והכתוב מושלו כאריה, אלא אנו מכנין ומדמין אותו לבריותיו, כדי לשבר את האוזן מה שיכולה לשמוע. וכיוצא בו (יחזקאל מג ב) וקולו כקול מים רבים, וכי מי נתן קול למים, אלא הוא, ואתה מכנה אותו לדמותו לבריותיו, כדי לשבר את האוזן:
19The sound of the shofar grew increasingly stronger; Moses would speak and God would answer him with a voice.   יטוַֽיְהִי֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר הוֹלֵ֖ךְ וְחָזֵ֣ק מְאֹ֑ד משֶׁ֣ה יְדַבֵּ֔ר וְהָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים יַֽעֲנֶ֥נּוּ בְקֽוֹל:
grew increasingly stronger: It is customary for mortals that the longer one blows long notes [on a horn], the weaker and fainter its sound becomes. Here, however, it constantly grew stronger. Now why at the beginning was this so [i.e., a weak sound]? In order to let their ears hear what they were able to hear [and not shock them suddenly]. — [from Mechilta]   הולך וחזק מאד: מנהג הדיוט כל זמן שהוא מאריך לתקוע קולו מחליש וכוהה, אבל כאן הולך וחזק מאוד. ולמה כך מתחלה, לשבר אזניהם מה שיכולין לשמוע:
Moses would speak: When Moses would speak and make the Decalogue heard to Israel-for they heard from the mouth of God only “I am…” and “You shall not have” (Mak. 24a)-the Holy One, blessed be He, would assist him [Moses] by giving him strength so that his voice would be strong and audible. — [from Mechilta]   משה ידבר: כשהיה משה מדבר ומשמיע הדברות לישראל שהרי לא שמעו מפי הגבורה אלא (שמות כ ב) אנכי ולא יהיה לך והקב"ה מסייעו לתת בו כח להיות קולו מגביר ונשמע:
would answer him with a voice: [This means] He would answer him concerning the voice, [and not with a voice. The ב in בְקוֹל is used], similar to [the ב in בָאֵשׁ in the phrase:] “that will answer with fire” (I Kings 18:24). [בָאֵשׁ means] concerning the fire, [i.e., signifying] to bring it [the fire] down [from Heaven]. — [from Mechilta]   יעננו בקול: יעננו על דבר הקול, כמו (מלכים א' יח כד) אשר יענה באש, על דבר האש להורידו:

Sixth Portion

Exodus Chapter 19

20The Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the peak of the mountain, and the Lord summoned Moses to the peak of the mountain, and Moses ascended.   כוַיֵּ֧רֶד יְהוָֹ֛ה עַל־הַ֥ר סִינַ֖י אֶל־רֹ֣אשׁ הָהָ֑ר וַיִּקְרָ֨א יְהוָֹ֧ה לְמשֶׁ֛ה אֶל־רֹ֥אשׁ הָהָ֖ר וַיַּ֥עַל משֶֽׁה:
The Lord descended upon Mount Sinai: I may think that He actually descended upon it. Therefore, Scripture says: “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you” (Exod. 20:19). This teaches that [He did descend although still in the heavens,] He bent down the upper heavens and the lower heavens and spread them upon the mountain like a spread on a bed, and the Throne of Glory descended upon them [the upper heavens and the lower heavens]. — [from Mechilta]   וירד ה' על הר סיני: יכול ירד עליו ממש, תלמוד לומר (שמות כ יט) כי מן השמים דברתי עמכם. מלמד שהרכין שמים העליונים והתחתונים והציען על גבי ההר, כמצע על המטה, וירד כסא הכבוד עליהם:
21The Lord said to Moses, "Go down, warn the people lest they break [their formation to go nearer] to the Lord, and many of them will fall.   כאוַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָֹה֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה רֵ֖ד הָעֵ֣ד בָּעָ֑ם פֶּן־יֶֽהֶרְס֤וּ אֶל־יְהוָֹה֙ לִרְא֔וֹת וְנָפַ֥ל מִמֶּ֖נּוּ רָֽב:
warn the people: Heb. הָעֵד. Warn them not to go up the mountain.   העד בעם: התרה בהם שלא לעלות בהר:
lest they break: their position [i.e., their ranks] because of their longing for God, to see [Him], and they move too close to the side of the mountain.   פן יהרסו וגו': שלא יהרסו את מצבם על ידי שתאותם אל ה' לראות ויקרבו לצד ההר:
and many of them will fall: Heb. וְנָפַל. Whatever [number] falls from them, let it be even a single person, to Me it is considered [as if] many [have fallen]. — [from Mechilta]   ונפל ממנו רב: כל מה שיפול מהם ואפילו הוא יחידי חשוב לפני רב:
lest they break: Heb. יֶהֶרְסוּ. Every [expression of] הִרִיסָה [denotes] the separation of the collection of [the parts of] the building. Likewise, those who separate from the position of people break up that position.   יהרסו: כל הריסה מפרדת אסיפת הבנין, אף הנפרדין ממצב אנשים הורסים את המצב:
22And also, the priests who go near to the Lord shall prepare themselves, lest the Lord wreak destruction upon them."   כבוְגַ֧ם הַכֹּֽהֲנִ֛ים הַנִּגָּשִׁ֥ים אֶל־יְהוָֹ֖ה יִתְקַדָּ֑שׁוּ פֶּן־יִפְרֹ֥ץ בָּהֶ֖ם יְהוָֹֽה:
And also, the priests: [I.e.,] also the firstborn, who perform the [divine] service. — [from Zev. 115b]   וגם הכהנים: אף הבכורות שהעבודה בהם:
who go near to the Lord: to offer up sacrifices (targumim), they too shall not rely on their importance to ascend the mountain.   הנגשים אל ה': להקריב קרבנות, אף הם אל יסמכו על חשיבותם לעלות:
shall prepare themselves: They shall be ready to stand on their position.   יתקדשו: יהיו מזומנים להתיצב על עמדם:
lest the Lord wreak destruction: Heb. יִפְרֹץ, an expression of a breach. [This means] He will kill some of them and [thus] make a breach in them [their completeness].   פן יפרץ: לשון פרצה, יהרוג בהם ויעשה בהם פרצה:
23And Moses said to the Lord, "The people cannot ascend to Mount Sinai, for You warned us saying, Set boundaries for the mountain and sanctify it.' "   כגוַיֹּ֤אמֶר משֶׁה֙ אֶל־יְהֹוָ֔ה לֹֽא־יוּכַ֣ל הָעָ֔ם לַֽעֲלֹ֖ת אֶל־הַ֣ר סִינָ֑י כִּֽי־אַתָּ֞ה הַֽעֵדֹ֤תָה בָּ֨נוּ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר הַגְבֵּ֥ל אֶת־הָהָ֖ר וְקִדַּשְׁתּֽוֹ:
The people cannot: I do not have to warn them because today they have already been warned for three days, and they cannot ascend [the mountain] since they have no permission.   לא יוכל העם: איני צריך להעיד בהם שהרי מותרין ועומדין הם היום שלושת ימים, ולא יוכלו לעלות שאין להם רשות:
24But the Lord said to him, "Go, descend, and [then] you shall ascend, and Aaron with you, but the priests and the populace shall not break [their formation] to ascend to the Lord, lest He wreak destruction upon them."   כדוַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֤יו יְהוָֹה֙ לֶךְ־רֵ֔ד וְעָלִ֥יתָ אַתָּ֖ה וְאַֽהֲרֹ֣ן עִמָּ֑ךְ וְהַכֹּֽהֲנִ֣ים וְהָעָ֗ם אַל־יֶֽהֶרְס֛וּ לַֽעֲלֹ֥ת אֶל־יְהוָֹ֖ה פֶּן־יִפְרָץ־בָּֽם:
Go, descend: And warn them a second time. We admonish a person before the act [he is to perform], and we admonish him again at the time of the act [when it is to be performed]. [from Mechilta]   לך רד: והעד בהם שנית, שמזרזין את האדם קודם מעשה, וחוזרין ומזרזין אותו בשעת מעשה:
and [then] you shall ascend, and Aaron with you, but the priests: I might think that they too shall be with you, [that the verse should be rendered: and you shall ascend, and Aaron with you, and the priests, but the people…]. Therefore, the Torah states: “and you shall ascend” [the pronoun is meant for emphasis, in order to exclude the priests]. Consequently, you must say that you [shall have] a partition for yourself, Aaron [shall have] a partition for himself, and the priests [shall have] a partition for themselves. Moses went closer than Aaron, and Aaron closer than the priests, but the people shall altogether not break their position to ascend to the Lord. — [from Mechilta] \b lest He wreak destruction upon them-Heb. \b0יִפְרָץ Although יִפְרָץ is vowelized with a short “kamatz,” it has not changed from its grammatical construction. So is the way of every word vowelized with a “melupum” ("cholam"); when it comes next to a “makkaf,” its vowelization changes to a short “kamatz.” [Hence, the word יִפְרֹץ -which in this case appears with a “makkaf,” a hyphen, is changed to יִפְרָץ]   ועלית אתה ואהרן עמך והכהנים: יכול אף הם עמך, תלמוד לומר ועלית אתה. אמור מעתה, אתה מחיצה לעצמך ואהרן מחיצה לעצמו והם מחיצה לעצמם. משה נגש יותר מאהרן, ואהרן יותר מן הכהנים, והעם כל עיקר אל יהרסו את מצבם לעלות אל ה':
25So Moses went down to the people and said [this] to them.   כהוַיֵּ֥רֶד משֶׁ֖ה אֶל־הָעָ֑ם וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֲלֵהֶֽם:
and said [this] to them: this warning. [Apparently, Rashi understands “and said to them” to mean that Moses said something to them. Since the object is obscure, Rashi inserts “this warning,” to clarify that the verse means that Moses relayed to the Israelites God’s warning to keep their distance from the mountain.]   ויאמר אליהם: התראה זו:

Exodus Chapter 20

1God spoke all these words, to respond:   אוַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֵ֛ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה לֵאמֹֽר:
God spoke: Heb. אֱלֹהִים. [The word] אֱֱלֹהִים always means “a judge.” [This Divine Name is used here] because there are some sections in the Torah [that contain commandments] that if a person performs them, he receives a reward, but if not, he does not receive any punishment for them. I might think that so it is with the Ten Commandments. Therefore, Scripture says: “God (אֱלֹהִים) spoke,” [signifying God’s role as] a Judge, [Whose function is] to mete out punishment [when the Ten Commandments are not obeyed]. [from Mechilta]   וידבר א-להים: אין א-להים אלא דיין. לפי שיש פרשיות בתורה שאם עשאן אדם מקבל שכר, ואם לאו אינו מקבל עליהם פורענות, יכול אף עשרת הדברות כן, תלמוד לומר וידבר א-להים, דיין ליפרע:
all these words: [This] teaches [us] that the Holy One, blessed be He, said the Ten Commandments in one utterance, something that is impossible for a human being to say [in a similar way]. If so, why does the Torah say again, “I am [the Lord, your God (verse 2)]” and “You shall have no…” (verse 3)? Because He later explained each statement [of the Ten Commandments] individually. — [from Mechilta]   את כל הדברים האלה: מלמד שאמר הקב"ה עשרת הדברות בדבור אחד, מה שאי אפשר לאדם לומר כן. אם כן מה תלמוד לומר עוד אנכי ולא יהיה לך, שחזר ופירש על כל דבור ודבור בפני עצמו:
to respond: Heb. לֵאמֹר, lit., to say. [This] teaches [us] that they responded to the positive [commandments], “Yes,” and to the negative [commandments], “No.” -[from Mechilta]   לאמר: מלמד שהיו עונין על הן הן ועל לאו לאו:
2"I am the Lord, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.   באָֽנֹכִ֨י יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֽוֹצֵאתִ֩יךָ֩ מֵאֶ֨רֶץ מִצְרַ֜יִם מִבֵּ֣ית עֲבָדִ֗ים:
Who took you out of the land of Egypt: The taking [you] out [of Egypt] is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me. Alternatively, [God mentions the Exodus] since He revealed Himself on the sea as a valiant warrior, and here He revealed Himself as an old man full of mercy, as it is said: “and beneath His feet was like the form of a brick of sapphire” (Exod. 24:10). That [brick] was before Him at the time of the enslavement [to remember the Israelites’ suffering when they made bricks as slaves], “and like the appearance of the heavens” (Exod. 24:10), [i.e., there was joy before Him] when they were redeemed. Since I change in [My] appearances, do not say that they are two [Divine] domains, [but] I am He Who took you out of Egypt and [I am He Who performed the miracles] by the sea (Mechilta). Alternatively, [God mentions the Exodus] since they [the Israelites] heard many voices [during the revelation], as it is said: “And all the people saw the voices” (verse 15), [meaning that] voices came from four directions and from the heavens and from the earth, [so] do not say that there are many domains (Exod. Rabbah 5:9). And why did He say [this] in the singular [possessive], אֱלֹהֶי ? In order to give Moses an opening to offer a defense in the incident of the calf. This is [the meaning of] “Why, O Lord, should Your anger be kindled against Your people?” (Exod. 32:11). You did not command them, “You shall not have the gods of others before Me,” but [You commanded] me alone (Exod. Rabbah 43:5).   אשר הוצאתיך מארץ מצרים: כדאי היא ההוצאה שתהיו משועבדים לי. דבר אחר לפי שנגלה בים כגבור מלחמה, ונגלה כאן כזקן מלא רחמים, שנאמר (שמות כד י) ויראו את אלוהי ישראל ותחת רגליו כמעשה לבנת הספיר, זו היתה לפניו בשעת השעבוד, (שם) וכעצם השמים, משנגאלו, הואיל ואני משתנה במראות אל תאמרו שתי רשויות הן, אנכי הוא אשר הוצאתיך ממצרים ועל הים. דבר אחר לפי שהיו שומעין קולות הרבה, שנאמר, (להלן פסוק טו) את הקולות, קולות באין מארבע רוחות ומן השמים ומן הארץ, אל תאמרו רשויות הרבה הן. ולמה אמר לשון יחיד, אלהיך, ליתן פתחון פה למשה ללמד סניגוריא במעשה העגל, וזהו שאמר (שמות לב יא) למה ה' יחרה אפך בעמך, לא להם צוית, לא יהיה לכם א-להים אחרים, אלא לי לבדי:
out of the house of bondage: Literally, out of the house of slaves. [I.e.,] from Pharaoh’s house, where you were slaves to him. Or perhaps [Scripture] means only: from the house of slaves, that they were slaves to [other] slaves? Therefore, Scripture says: “and He redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt” (Deut. 7:8). Consequently, you must say that they were slaves to Pharaoh, but not slaves to [other] slaves. — [from Exod. Rabbah 43:5]   מבית עבדים: מבית פרעה שהייתם עבדים לו. או אינו אומר אלא מבית עבדים, שהיו עבדים לעבדים, תלמוד לומר (דברים ז ח) ויפדך מבית עבדים מיד פרעה מלך מצרים, אמור מעתה עבדים למלך היו, ולא עבדים לעבדים:
3You shall not have the gods of others in My presence.   גלֹ֣א יִֽהְיֶ֣ה־לְךָ֩ אֱלֹהִ֨ים אֲחֵרִ֜ים עַל־פָּנַ֗י:
You shall not have: Why was this said? Since it says, “You shall not make for yourself, etc.” I know only that one may not make [graven idols, etc.] How do I know that one may not keep what was already made? Therefore, Scripture states: “You shall not have.” -[Mechilta]   לא יהיה לך: למה נאמר, לפי שנאמר (פסוק ד) לא תעשה לך, אין לי אלא שלא יעשה, העשוי כבר מנין שלא יקיים, תלמוד לומר לא יהיה לך:
the gods of others: Heb. אֱלֹהִים אִחֵרִים, which are not gods, but that others have made them for gods over themselves. It is impossible to interpret this passage to mean: gods other than I, since it is a disgrace for Heaven to call them gods along with Him. Alternatively: strange gods, for they are strange to their worshippers. They cry out to them, but they do not answer them, and it appears as if it [the god] were a stranger, who never knew him [the worshipper]. — [from Mechilta]   א-להים אחרים: שאינן אלהות אלא אחרים עשאום א-להים עליהם, ולא יתכן לפרש א-להים אחרים זולתי, שגנאי הוא כלפי מעלה לקרותם אלהות אצלו. דבר אחר א-להים אחרים, שהם אחרים לעובדיהם, צועקים אליהם ואינן עונין אותם, ודומה כאלו הוא אחר שאינו מכירו מעולם:
in My presence: Heb. עַל-פָּנָּי [This means] as long as I exist [signifying forever. God states this so] that you should not say that only that generation was commanded [prohibited] concerning idolatry. — [from Mechilta]   על פני: כל זמן שאני קיים, שלא תאמר לא נצטוו על עבודה זרה אלא אותו הדור:
4You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness which is in the heavens above, which is on the earth below, or which is in the water beneath the earth.   דלֹ֣א תַֽעֲשֶׂה־לְּךָ֣ פֶ֣סֶל | וְכָל־תְּמוּנָ֡ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם | מִמַּ֡עַל וַֽאֲשֶׁר֩ בָּאָ֨רֶץ מִתַּ֜חַת וַֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּמַּ֣יִם | מִתַּ֣חַת לָאָ֗רֶץ:
a graven image: Heb. פֶּסֶל [It is called by this name] because it is sculpted (נִפְסָל).   פסל: על שם שנפסל:
or any likeness: The likeness of anything that is in the heavens.   וכל תמונה: תמונת כל דבר אשר בשמים:
5You shall neither prostrate yourself before them nor worship them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a zealous God, Who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, upon the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me,   הלֹֽא־תִשְׁתַּֽחֲוֶ֣ה לָהֶם֘ וְלֹ֣א תָֽעָבְדֵם֒ כִּ֣י אָֽנֹכִ֞י יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֨יךָ֙ אֵ֣ל קַנָּ֔א פֹּ֠קֵ֠ד עֲוֹ֨ן אָב֧וֹת עַל־בָּנִ֛ים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁ֥ים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִ֖ים לְשֽׂנְאָ֑י:
a zealous God: Heb. קַנָּא, zealous to mete out punishment. He does not forgo retaliating by forgiving the sin of idolatry. Every [expression of] קַנָּא means enprenemant in Old French, zealous anger. He directs His attention to mete out punishment.   אל קנא: מקנא ליפרע ואינו עובר על מדתו למחול על עון עבודה זרה, כל לשון קנא אינפרינמינ"ט בלעז [חרון אף] נותן לב ליפרע:
of those who hate Me: As the Targum [Onkelos paraphrases: when the sons continue to sin following their fathers, i.e.], when they cling to their fathers’ deeds. — [from Sanh. 27b]   לשנאי: כתרגומו, כשאוחזין מעשה אבותיהם בידיהם:
6and [I] perform loving kindness to thousands [of generations], to those who love Me and to those who keep My commandments.   ווְעֹ֤שֶׂה חֶ֨סֶד֙ לַֽאֲלָפִ֔ים לְאֹֽהֲבַ֖י וּלְשֹֽׁמְרֵ֥י מִצְוֹתָֽי:
perform loving-kindness: that a person does, to pay the reward until the two-thousandth generation. It is thus found that the measure of reward [from God] exceeds the measure of [His] retribution by [the ratio of] one to five hundred, for this one is for four generations, and that one is for two thousand [generations]. -[from Tosefta Sotah 4:1]   ועושה חסד: נוצר חסד שאדם עושה, לשלם שכר עד לאלפים דור, נמצאת מדה טובה יתירה על מדת פורענות אחת על חמש מאות, שזו לארבעה דורות וזו לאלפים:
7You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain, for the Lord will not hold blameless anyone who takes His name in vain.   זלֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֛א אֶת־שֵֽׁם־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לַשָּׁ֑וְא כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יְנַקֶּה֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־יִשָּׂ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ לַשָּֽׁוְא:
You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain: You shall not swear in vain by the name of the Lord, your God. — [Onkelos] לַֹשָוְא -[This word appears twice in this verse.] (The second [mention of לַֹשָוְא is an expression of falsehood, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders: לְֹשִיקְרָא, as it says [in Shavuos 21a]: "What constitutes a vain oath? If one swears contrary to what is known, [for example, saying] about a stone pillar that it is [made of] gold. (The first [mention of לַֹשָוְא is an expression of vanity, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders: [לְמַגָּנָא].) This [refers to] one who swears for no reason and in vain, [for example making an oath] concerning [a pillar] of wood, [saying] that it is wood, and concerning [a pillar] of stone, [saying] that it is stone. — [from Shevuoth 29a, Mechilta]   לשוא: (השני לשון שקר כתרגומו) כמא דתימר (שבועות כט א) אי זהו שבועת שוא, נשבע לשנות את הידוע, על עמוד של אבן שהוא של זהב. (הראשון לשון מגן, כתרגומו) זה הנשבע לחנם ולהבל, על של עץ עץ ועל אבן אבן:
8Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.   חזָכוֹר֩ אֶת־י֨וֹם הַשַּׁבָּ֜ת לְקַדְּשׁ֗וֹ:
Remember: Heb. זָכוֹר [The words] “remember (זָכוֹר)” and “keep (שָׁמוֹר)” (Deut. 5:12) were pronounced with one utterance. Similarly [the statements], “Those who profane it shall be put to death” (Exod. 31:14) and “And on the Sabbath day, two lambs” (Num. 28:9) [were said in one utterance], and similarly, “You shall not wear shaatnez,” and “You shall make tzitzith for yourself” (Deut. 22:11, 12). Similarly, [the phrases] “The nakedness of your brother’s wife [you shall not uncover]” (Lev. 18:16), [and] “Her brother-in-law shall come in to her” (Deut. 25:5) [were said in one utterance]. This [occurrence of God saying two phrases simultaneously in one utterance] is the meaning of what is said: “God spoke one thing, I heard two” (Ps. 62:12) (Mechilta). [The word] זָכוֹר is in the פָּעוֹל form, an expression of ongoing action, like “[Let us engage in] eating and drinking אָכוֹל וְשָׁתוֹ) )” (Isa. 22:13), [and] “walking and weeping הָלוֹ וָּבָכֹה) )” (II Sam. 3:16), and this is its interpretation: Pay attention to always remember the Sabbath day, so that if you chance upon a beautiful thing, you shall prepare it for the Sabbath (Mechilta).   זכור: זכור ושמור בדבור אחד נאמרו. וכן (שמות לא יד) מחלליה מות יומת, (במדבר כח ט) וביום השבת שני כבשים, וכן (דברים כב יא) לא תלבש שעטנז, (שם יב) גדילים תעשה לך, וכן (ויקרא יח טז) ערות אשת אחיך, (דברים כה ה) יבמה יבא עליה, הוא שנאמר (תהלים סב יב) אחת דבר א-להים שתים זו שמעתי. זכור לשון פעול הוא, כמו (ישעיה כב יג) אכול ושתו, (שמואל ב ג טז) הלוך ובכה, וכן פתרונו תנו לב לזכור תמיד את יום השבת, שאם נזדמן לך חפץ יפה תהא מזמינו לשבת:
9Six days may you work and perform all your labor,   טשֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֣ים תַּֽעֲבֹד֘ וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ כָל־מְלַאכְתֶּךָ֒:
and perform all your labor: When the Sabbath arrives, it shall seem to you as if all your work is done, that you shall not think about work.   ועשית כל מלאכתך: כשתבא שבת, יהא בעיניך כאלו מלאכתך עשויה, שלא תהרהר אחר מלאכה:
10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, your God; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities.   יוְי֨וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜י שַׁבָּ֣ת | לַֽיהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ לֹ֣א תַֽעֲשֶׂ֣ה כָל־מְלָאכָ֡ה אַתָּ֣ה | וּבִנְךָ֣־וּ֠בִתֶּךָ עַבְדְּךָ֨ וַֽאֲמָֽתְךָ֜ וּבְהֶמְתֶּ֗ךָ וְגֵֽרְךָ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בִּשְׁעָרֶ֔יךָ:
neither you, your son, your daughter: These are young children. Or perhaps it refers to adult children? You must admit that they have already been warned [to observe the Sabbath]. Rather, [this word] comes only to warn adults concerning young children resting [from work] (Mechilta). This is the meaning of what we learned [in the Mishnah]: If a young child comes to extinguish [a fire on the Sabbath], you may not allow him [to do so] since you are responsible for his resting [from work] (Shab. 121a).   אתה ובנך ובתך: אלו קטנים. או אינו אלא גדולים, אמרת הרי כבר מוזהרים הם, אלא לא בא אלא להזהיר גדולים על שביתת הקטנים, וזו ששנינו (שבת קכא א) קטן שבא לכבות אין שומעין לו, מפני ששביתתו עליך:
11For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.   יאכִּ֣י שֵֽׁשֶׁת־יָמִים֩ עָשָׂ֨ה יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֶת־הַיָּם֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֔ם וַיָּ֖נַח בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֑י עַל־כֵּ֗ן בֵּרַ֧ךְ יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶת־י֥וֹם הַשַּׁבָּ֖ת וַֽיְקַדְּשֵֽׁהוּ:
and He rested on the seventh day: As if [it were] possible, He ascribed rest [even] to Himself to teach (as an example) from Him of kal vachomer [a fortiori] reasoning for man, whose work is with toil and fatigue, that he must rest on the Sabbath. [I.e., although God does not and did not actually rest, He had His cessation of creating recorded as rest, so that humans would learn that if God, Whose work is accomplished without any toil or fatigue, rested on the Sabbath, surely people, whose work is accomplished only with hard work and fatigue, must rest on the Sabbath.]-[from Mechilta]   וינח ביום השביעי: כביכול הכתיב בעצמו מנוחה ללמד הימנו קל וחומר לאדם, שמלאכתו בעמל וביגיעה, שיהא נח בשבת:
blessed…and sanctified it: He blessed it with manna to double it on the sixth day-"double bread"-and He sanctified it with manna, that it did not fall then [on the Sabbath]. — [from Mechilta]   ברך, ויקדשהו: ברכו במן לכופלו בששי לחם משנה, וקדשו במן שלא היה יורד בו:
12Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you.   יבכַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ לְמַ֨עַן֙ יַֽאֲרִכ֣וּן יָמֶ֔יךָ עַ֚ל הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ:
in order that your days be lengthened: If you honor [your parents], your days will be lengthened, and if not, they will be shortened. The words of the Torah are written briefly; they are explained by deriving the negative from the affirmative and the affirmative from the negative. — [from Mechilta]   למען יאריכון ימיך: אם תכבד יאריכון, ואם לאו יקצרון, שדברי תורה נוטריקון הם נדרשין מכלל הן לאו ומכלל לאו הן:
13You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.   יגלֹ֖א תִּרְצָֽח: ס לֹ֖א תִּנְאָֽף: ס לֹ֖א תִּגְנֹֽב: ס לֹֽא־תַֽעֲנֶ֥ה בְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ עֵ֥ד שָֽׁקֶר:
You shall not commit adultery: Adultery applies only [to relations] with a married woman, as it is said: "[And a man who commits adultery with the wife of a[nother] man, who commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor,] [both] the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death" (Lev. 20:10); [and it says,] “[You are] the adulterous wife, who, instead of her husband, takes strangers” (Ezek. 16:32). [In both these verses, the term “adultery” is used in reference to the extramarital relations of a married woman.]   לא תנאף: אין ניאוף אלא באשת איש, שנאמר (ויקרא כ י) מות יומת הנואף והנואפת, ואומר (יחזקאל טז לב) האשה המנאפת תחת אישה תקח את זרים:
You shall not steal: The text refers to kidnapping. [The verse] “You shall not steal” (Lev. 19:11) refers to stealing money. Or perhaps this one [verse] refers only to stealing money and the one written further (in Lev.) refers to kidnapping? You must admit that [the meaning of] a statement is derived from its context. Just as [the former two commandments] “You shall not murder” [and] “You shall not commit adultery” refer to capital sins, “You shall not steal” also refers to a capital sin [i.e., a sin punishable by death]. — [from Sanh. 86a]   לא תגנב: בגונב נפשות הכתוב מדבר. לא תגנובו (ויקרא יט יא) בגונב ממון. או אינו אלא זה בגונב ממון, ולהלן בגונב נפשות, אמרת דבר הלמד מענינו, מה לא תרצח, לא תנאף, מדבר בדבר שחייבין עליהם מיתת בית דין, אף לא תגנוב דבר שחייב עליו מיתת בית דין:
14You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor."   ידלֹ֥א תַחְמֹ֖ד בֵּ֣ית רֵעֶ֑ך ס לֹֽא־תַחְמֹ֞ד אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֶ֗ךָ וְעַבְדּ֤וֹ וַֽאֲמָתוֹ֙ וְשׁוֹר֣וֹ וַֽחֲמֹר֔וֹ וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ:

Seventh Portion

Exodus Chapter 20

15And all the people saw the voices and the torches, the sound of the shofar, and the smoking mountain, and the people saw and trembled; so they stood from afar.   טווְכָל־הָעָם֩ רֹאִ֨ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִ֗ם וְאֵת֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר וְאֶת־הָהָ֖ר עָשֵׁ֑ן וַיַּ֤רְא הָעָם֙ וַיָּנֻ֔עוּ וַיַּֽעַמְד֖וּ מֵֽרָחֹֽק:
And all the people saw: [This] teaches [us] that there was not one blind person among them. From where do we know that [there was] no mute person among them? The Torah states: “And all the people replied” (Exod. 19:8). From where do we know that there was no deaf person among them? The Torah states: “We will do and hear” (Exod. 24:7). [from Mechilta]   וכל העם ראים: מלמד שלא היה בהם אחד סומא. ומנין שלא היה בהם אלם, תלמוד לומר (שמות יט ח) ויענו כל העם. ומנין שלא היה בהם חרש, תלמוד לומר נעשה ונשמע (שמות כד ז):
the voices: They saw what was audible, which is impossible to see elsewhere. — [from Mechilta d’Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai]   ראים את הקולות: רואין את הנשמע, שאי אפשר לראות במקום אחר:
the voices: Emanating from the mouth of the Almighty. Many voices, voices coming from every direction, and from the heavens, and from the earth. — [Rashi above, verse 2]   את הקולת: היוצאין מפי הגבורה:
and trembled: Heb. וַיָנֻעוּ נוֹעַ means only trembling. — [from Mechilta]   וינעו: (שם) אין נוע אלא זיע:
so they stood from afar: They were drawing backwards twelve mil, as far as the length of their camp. The ministering angels came and assisted them [in order] to bring them back, as it is said: “Kings of hosts wander; yea they wander” (Ps. 68:13). [from Shab. 88b]   ויעמדו מרחק: היו נרתעין לאחוריהם שנים עשר מיל כאורך מחניהם ומלאכי השרת באין ומסייעין אותן להחזירם, שנאמר (תהלים סח יג) מלכי צבאות ידודון ידודון:
16They said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear, but let God not speak with us lest we die."   טזוַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה דַּבֶּר־אַתָּ֥ה עִמָּ֖נוּ וְנִשְׁמָ֑עָה וְאַל־יְדַבֵּ֥ר עִמָּ֛נוּ אֱלֹהִ֖ים פֶּן־נָמֽוּת:
17But Moses said to the people, "Fear not, for God has come in order to exalt you, and in order that His awe shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin."   יזוַיֹּ֨אמֶר משֶׁ֣ה אֶל־הָעָם֘ אַל־תִּירָ֒אוּ֒ כִּ֗י לְבַֽעֲבוּר֙ נַסּ֣וֹת אֶתְכֶ֔ם בָּ֖א הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וּבַֽעֲב֗וּר תִּֽהְיֶ֧ה יִרְאָת֛וֹ עַל־פְּנֵיכֶ֖ם לְבִלְתִּ֥י תֶֽחֱטָֽאוּ:
in order to exalt you: To magnify you in the world, so that your name should circulate among the nations, that He in His glory revealed Himself to you. — [from Mechilta]   לבעבור נסות אתכם: לגדל אתכם בעולם שיצא לכם שם באומות שהוא בכבודו נגלה עליכם:
to exalt: נַסוֹת, an expression of exaltation and greatness, similar to “lift up a banner (נֵס)” (Isa. 62:10); “will I raise My standard (נִסִי)” (Isa. 49:22); “and like a flagpole (וְכַנֵּס) on a hill” (Isa. 30:17), which is upright. [Thus all these words signify “raising up.”]   נסות: לשון הרמה וגדולה, כמו (ישעיה סב י) הרימו נס, ארים נסי (ישעיהו מט כב), וכנס על הגבעה (ישעיהו ל, יז), שהוא זקוף:
and in order that His awe: By way of the fact that you saw that He is feared and dreaded, you will know that there is none beside Him and you will fear him.   ובעבור תהיה יראתו: על ידי שראיתם אותו יראוי ומאוים, תדעו כי אין זולתו ותיראו מפניו:
18The people remained far off, but Moses drew near to the opaque darkness, where God was.   יחוַיַּֽעֲמֹ֥ד הָעָ֖ם מֵֽרָחֹ֑ק וּמשֶׁה֙ נִגַּ֣שׁ אֶל־הָֽעֲרָפֶ֔ל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֖ם הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים:
drew near to the opaque darkness: Within three partitions: darkness, cloud, and opaque darkness, as it is said: “And the mountain was burning with fire unto the heart of the heavens, darkness, cloud, and opaque darkness” (Deut. 4:11). Opaque darkness is [synonymous with] “the thickness of the cloud,” [concerning] which He [God] had said to him [Moses], “Behold, I am coming to you in the thickness of the cloud” (Exod. 19:9). [from Mechilta]   נגש אל הערפל: לפנים משלש מחיצות, חשך ענן וערפל שנאמר (דברים ד יא) וההר בוער באש עד לב השמים חשך ענן וערפל, ערפל הוא עב הענן, שנאמר לו (שמות יט ט) הנה אנכי בא אליך בעב הענן:
19The Lord said to Moses, "So shall you say to the children of Israel, You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you.   יטוַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָֹה֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה כֹּ֥ה תֹאמַ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֔ם כִּ֚י מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם דִּבַּ֖רְתִּי עִמָּכֶֽם:
So shall you say: with this language. — [from Mechilta] I.e., with this exact wording and in Hebrew. — [Mechilta]   כה תאמר: בלשון הזה:
You have seen: There is a difference between what a person sees and what others tell him. [Concerning] what others tell him, sometimes his heart is divided whether to believe [it or not]. — [from Mechilta]   אתם ראיתם: יש הפרש בין מה שאדם רואה למה שאחרים משיחין לו, שמה שאחרים משיחין לו פעמים שלבו חלוק מלהאמין:
from the heavens I have spoken: But another verse states: “The Lord descended upon Mount Sinai” (Exod. 19:20). The third verse comes and harmonizes them: “From the heavens He let you hear His voice in order to discipline you, and on earth He showed you His great fire” (Deut. 4:36). His glory was in heaven, His fire and His power were on the earth. Alternatively, He bent down the [lower] heavens and the highest heavens and spread them out upon the mountain. So [Scripture] says: “And He bent the heavens, and He came down” (Ps. 18:10). [from Mechilta]   כי מן השמים דברתי: וכתוב אחד אומר וירד ה' על הר סיני, בא הכתוב השלישי והכריע ביניהם (דברים ד לו) מן השמים השמיעך את קולו ליסרך ועל הארץ הראך את אשו הגדולה, כבודו בשמים ואשו וגבורתו על הארץ. דבר אחר הרכין שמים ושמי השמים והציען על ההר, וכן הוא אומר (תהלים יח י) ויט שמים וירד:
20You shall not make [images of anything that is] with Me. Gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.   כלֹ֥א תַֽעֲשׂ֖וּן אִתִּ֑י אֱלֹ֤הֵי כֶ֨סֶף֙ וֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י זָהָ֔ב לֹ֥א תַֽעֲשׂ֖וּ לָכֶֽם:
You shall not make [images of anything that is] with Me: You shall not make a likeness of my servants who serve Me on high. — [from Mechilta, R.H. 24]   לא תעשון אתי: לא תעשון דמות שמשי המשמשים לפני במרום:
Gods of silver: This [statement] comes to warn about the cherubim, which you make to stand with Me [in the Temple], that they may not be [made] of silver, for if you deviate to make them of silver, they are to Me as gods. — [from Mechilta]   אלהי כסף: בא להזהיר על הכרובים, שאתה עושה לעמוד אתי, שלא יהיו של כסף, שאם שניתם לעשותם של כסף הרי הן לפני כאלהות:
or gods of gold: This [statement] comes to warn [us] that one shall not add [more cherubim] to [the two, which is the number God required]. For if you make four [cherubim], they are to Me as gods of gold. — [from Mechilta]   ואלהי זהב: בא להזהיר שלא יוסיף על שנים, שאם עשית ארבעה, הרי הן לפני כאלהי זהב:
you shall not make for yourselves: You shall not say, “I will make cherubim in the synagogues and in the study halls, in the manner that I make [them] in the Temple.” Therefore, it says: “you shall not make for yourselves.” -[from Mechilta]   לא תעשו לכם: לא תאמר הריני עושה כרובים בבתי כנסיות ובבתי מדרשות כדרך שאני עושה בבית עולמים, לכך נאמר לא תעשו לכם:
21An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall slaughter beside it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.   כאמִזְבַּ֣ח אֲדָמָה֘ תַּֽעֲשֶׂה־לִּי֒ וְזָֽבַחְתָּ֣ עָלָ֗יו אֶת־עֹֽלֹתֶ֨יךָ֙ וְאֶת־שְׁלָמֶ֔יךָ אֶת־צֹֽאנְךָ֖ וְאֶת־בְּקָרֶ֑ךָ בְּכָל־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַזְכִּ֣יר אֶת־שְׁמִ֔י אָב֥וֹא אֵלֶ֖יךָ וּבֵֽרַכְתִּֽיךָ:
An altar of earth: Attached to the ground, [meaning] that it should not be built on pillars or on a block of wood (another version: [on] a base). [According to the Mechilta and Rashi on Zev. 58a, the reading is “archways.”] Alternatively, [מִזְבַָּח אִדָמָה means] that he [Moses] would fill the hollow of the altar with earth when they [the Israelites] encamped. [from Mechilta]   מזבח אדמה: מחובר באדמה, שלא יבננו על גבי עמודים או על גבי כיפים. דבר אחר שהיה ממלא את חלל מזבח הנחשת אדמה בשעת חנייתן:
you shall make for Me: That from the beginning, it shall be made in My name. [I.e., it should not be made for another purpose and then later used as an altar.]-[from Mechilta]   תעשה לי: שתהא תחילת עשייתו לשמי:
and you shall slaughter beside it: Heb. עָלָיו, like “And beside it (וְעָלָיו) was the tribe of Manasseh” (Num. 2:20). Or perhaps עָלָיו means literally “upon it.” Therefore, Scripture says: “the flesh and the blood on the altar of the Lord, your God” (Deut. 12:27), [meaning that only the flesh and blood are to be put on the altar] but the slaughtering is not [to be performed] on top of the altar. — [from Mechilta]   וזבחת עליו: אצלו, כמו (במדבר ב כ) ועליו מטה מנשה. או אינו אלא עליו ממש, תלמוד לומר (דברים יב כז) הבשר והדם על מזבח ה' אלהיך, ואין שחיטה בראש המזבח:
your burnt offerings and your peace offerings: which are from your sheep and your cattle. “Your sheep and your cattle” is the explanation of “your burnt offerings and your peace offerings.”   את עלתיך ואת שלמיך: אשר מצאנך ומבקרך. את צאנך ואת בקרך, פירוש לאת עולתיך ואת שלמיך:
Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you: Heb. אַזְכִּיר, lit., I will mention. [This should apparently read ךְתַּזְכִּיר, you will mention. Therefore, Rashi explains that it means: whenever] I will permit you to mention My Explicit Name, there I will come to you and bless you. I will cause My Shechinah to rest upon you. From here you learn that permission was given to mention the Explicit Name only in the place to which the Shechinah comes, and that is in the Temple in Jerusalem. There permission was given to the priests to mention the Explicit Name when they raise their hands to bless the people. — [from Mechilta, Sifrei, Num. 6:23, Sotah 38a]   בכל המקום אשר אזכיר את שמי: אשר אתן לך רשות להזכיר שם המפורש שלי, שם אבוא אליך וברכתיך אשרה שכינתי עליך מכאן אתה למד שלא ניתן רשות להזכיר שם המפורש אלא במקום שהשכינה באה שם, וזהו בית הבחירה. שם נתן רשות לכהנים להזכיר שם המפורש בנשיאת כפים לברך את העם:
22And when you make for Me an altar of stones, you shall not build them of hewn stones, lest you wield your sword upon it and desecrate it.   כבוְאִם־מִזְבַּ֤ח אֲבָנִים֙ תַּֽעֲשֶׂה־לִּ֔י לֹֽא־תִבְנֶ֥ה אֶתְהֶ֖ן גָּזִ֑ית כִּ֧י חַרְבְּךָ֛ הֵנַ֥פְתָּ עָלֶ֖יהָ וַתְּחַֽלֲלֶֽהָ:
And when you make for Me an altar of stones: Heb. אִם. Rabbi Ishmael says: Every [mention of] אִם in the Torah is optional except [for] three. [One of them is in this verse:] “And when (אִם) you make Me an altar of stones.” Behold, this אִם serves as an expression of כַּאִשֶׁר, when, [meaning] and “when you make Me an altar of stones, you shall not build them of hewn stones.” [This אִם cannot mean “if,”] for it is incumbent upon you to build an altar of stones, for it is said: “[Of] whole stones shall you build” (Deut. 27:6). Similarly, “When (אִם) you lend money” (Exod. 22:24) is obligatory, for it is said: “and you shall lend him” (Deut. 15:8). This one, too, serves as an expression of כַּאִשֶׁר, when. Similarly, “And when (אִם) you offer up a first fruits offering” (Lev. 2:14). This is the omer offering, which is [also] obligatory. Thus [all] these instances of אִם are not conditional but are definite and serve as an expression of כַּאִשֶׁר, when. — [from Mechilta]   ואם מזבח אבנים: רבי ישמעאל אומר כל אם ואם שבתורה רשות, חוץ משלשה ואם מזבח אבנים תעשה לי, הרי אם זה משמש בלשון כאשר, כאשר תעשה לי מזבח אבנים לא תבנה אתהן גזית שהרי חובה עליך לבנות מזבח אבנים, שנאמר (דברים כז ו) אבנים שלמות תבנה, וכן (שמות כב כד) אם כסף תלוה, חובה הוא, שנאמר (דברים טו ח) והעבט תעביטנו. ואף זה משמש בלשון כאשר וכן (ויקרא ב יד) ואם תקריב מנחת בכורים זו מנחת העומר, שהיא חובה, ועל כרחך אין אם הללו תלוין, אלא ודאין, ובלשון כאשר הם משמשים:
hewn stones: Heb. גָזִית, an expression of shearing (גְּזִיזָה), [meaning] that [the stone-cutter] hews them and cuts them (וַּמְסַךְתְּתָן) with iron [tools].   גזית: לשון גזיזה שפוסלן ומסתתן בברזל:
lest you wield your sword upon it: Heb. כִּי. This [instance of] כִּי serves as an expression of פֶּן, lest, which is the same as “perhaps.” Perhaps you will wield your sword upon it.   כי חרבך הנפת עליה: הרי כי זה משמש בלשון פן, שהוא דילמא, פן תניף חרבך עליה:
and desecrate it: Thus you have learned that if you wield iron upon it, you have desecrated it, for the altar was created to lengthen man’s days, and iron was created to shorten man’s days [because it is used to make swords]. It is improper that the “shortener” be wielded over the “lengthener” (Middoth 3:4). Moreover, the altar makes peace between Israel and their Father in heaven. Therefore, the cutter and destroyer shall not come upon it. The matter is a kal vachomer [a fortiori] conclusion-if [concerning the] stones, which neither see, hear, nor speak, because [of the fact that] they make peace, the Torah said, “You shall not wield iron upon them” (Deut. 27:5), how much more [are we certain that] one who makes peace between husband and wife, between family and family, between man and his fellow, will have no troubles befall him!-[from Mechilta]   ותחללה: הא למדת, שאם הנפת עליה ברזל חללת, שהמזבח נברא להאריך ימיו של אדם, והברזל נברא לקצר ימיו של אדם, אין זה בדין, שיונף המקצר על המאריך. ועוד, שהמזבח מטיל שלום בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים, לפיכך לא יבא עליו כורת ומחבל. והרי דברים קל וחומר ומה אבנים שאינם רואות ולא שומעות ולא מדברות על ידי שמטילות שלום אמרה תורה לא תניף עליהם ברזל, המטיל שלום בין איש לאשתו, בין משפחה למשפחה, בין אדם לחבירו, על אחת כמה וכמה שלא תבואהו פורענות:
23And you shall not ascend with steps upon My altar, so that your nakedness shall not be exposed upon it.' "   כגוְלֹא־תַֽעֲלֶ֥ה בְמַֽעֲלֹ֖ת עַל־מִזְבְּחִ֑י אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹֽא־תִגָּלֶ֥ה עֶרְוָֽתְךָ֖ עָלָֽיו:
And you shall not ascend with steps: When you build a ramp for the altar, do not make it with steps, eschalons in Old French, but it must be smooth and slanting. — [from Mechilta].   ולא תעלה במעלות: כשאתה בונה כבש למזבח, לא תעשהו מעלות מעלות אישיקלונ"ש בלעז [מדרגות] אלא חלק יהא ומשופע:
so that your nakedness shall not be exposed: Because due to the steps, you must widen your stride, although it would not be an actual exposure of nakedness, for it is written: “And make them linen pants” (Exod. 28:42). Nevertheless, widening the strides is close to exposing the nakedness [of the one ascending the steps], and you behave toward them [the stones] in a humiliating manner. Now these matters are a kal vachomer [a fortiori] conclusion, that if [concerning] these stones-which have no intelligence to object to their humiliation-the Torah said that because they are necessary, you shall not behave toward them in a humiliating manner. [In contrast,] your friend, who is [created] in the likeness of your Creator and who does object to being humiliated, how much more [must you be careful not to embarrass him]!-[from Mechilta]   אשר לא תגלה ערותך: שעל ידי המעלות אתה צריך להרחיב פסיעותיך, ואף על פי שאינו גלוי ערוה ממש, שהרי כתיב (שמות כח מב) ועשה להם מכנסי בד, מכל מקום הרחבת הפסיעות קרוב לגלוי ערוה הוא, ואתה נוהג בהם מנהג בזיון. והרי דברים קל וחומר ומה אבנים הללו שאין בהם דעת להקפיד על בזיונן אמרה תורה הואיל ויש בהם צורך, לא תנהג בהם מנהג בזיון, חבירך שהוא בדמות יוצרך, ומקפיד על בזיונו, על אחת כמה וכמה:

Maftir Portion

Exodus Chapter 20

19The Lord said to Moses, "So shall you say to the children of Israel, You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you.   יטוַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָֹה֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה כֹּ֥ה תֹאמַ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֔ם כִּ֚י מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם דִּבַּ֖רְתִּי עִמָּכֶֽם:
So shall you say: with this language. — [from Mechilta] I.e., with this exact wording and in Hebrew. — [Mechilta]   כה תאמר: בלשון הזה:
You have seen: There is a difference between what a person sees and what others tell him. [Concerning] what others tell him, sometimes his heart is divided whether to believe [it or not]. — [from Mechilta]   אתם ראיתם: יש הפרש בין מה שאדם רואה למה שאחרים משיחין לו, שמה שאחרים משיחין לו פעמים שלבו חלוק מלהאמין:
from the heavens I have spoken: But another verse states: “The Lord descended upon Mount Sinai” (Exod. 19:20). The third verse comes and harmonizes them: “From the heavens He let you hear His voice in order to discipline you, and on earth He showed you His great fire” (Deut. 4:36). His glory was in heaven, His fire and His power were on the earth. Alternatively, He bent down the [lower] heavens and the highest heavens and spread them out upon the mountain. So [Scripture] says: “And He bent the heavens, and He came down” (Ps. 18:10). [from Mechilta]   כי מן השמים דברתי: וכתוב אחד אומר וירד ה' על הר סיני, בא הכתוב השלישי והכריע ביניהם (דברים ד לו) מן השמים השמיעך את קולו ליסרך ועל הארץ הראך את אשו הגדולה, כבודו בשמים ואשו וגבורתו על הארץ. דבר אחר הרכין שמים ושמי השמים והציען על ההר, וכן הוא אומר (תהלים יח י) ויט שמים וירד:
20You shall not make [images of anything that is] with Me. Gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.   כלֹ֥א תַֽעֲשׂ֖וּן אִתִּ֑י אֱלֹ֤הֵי כֶ֨סֶף֙ וֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י זָהָ֔ב לֹ֥א תַֽעֲשׂ֖וּ לָכֶֽם:
You shall not make [images of anything that is] with Me: You shall not make a likeness of my servants who serve Me on high. — [from Mechilta, R.H. 24]   לא תעשון אתי: לא תעשון דמות שמשי המשמשים לפני במרום:
Gods of silver: This [statement] comes to warn about the cherubim, which you make to stand with Me [in the Temple], that they may not be [made] of silver, for if you deviate to make them of silver, they are to Me as gods. — [from Mechilta]   אלהי כסף: בא להזהיר על הכרובים, שאתה עושה לעמוד אתי, שלא יהיו של כסף, שאם שניתם לעשותם של כסף הרי הן לפני כאלהות:
or gods of gold: This [statement] comes to warn [us] that one shall not add [more cherubim] to [the two, which is the number God required]. For if you make four [cherubim], they are to Me as gods of gold. — [from Mechilta]   ואלהי זהב: בא להזהיר שלא יוסיף על שנים, שאם עשית ארבעה, הרי הן לפני כאלהי זהב:
you shall not make for yourselves: You shall not say, “I will make cherubim in the synagogues and in the study halls, in the manner that I make [them] in the Temple.” Therefore, it says: “you shall not make for yourselves.” -[from Mechilta]   לא תעשו לכם: לא תאמר הריני עושה כרובים בבתי כנסיות ובבתי מדרשות כדרך שאני עושה בבית עולמים, לכך נאמר לא תעשו לכם:
21An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall slaughter beside it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.   כאמִזְבַּ֣ח אֲדָמָה֘ תַּֽעֲשֶׂה־לִּי֒ וְזָֽבַחְתָּ֣ עָלָ֗יו אֶת־עֹֽלֹתֶ֨יךָ֙ וְאֶת־שְׁלָמֶ֔יךָ אֶת־צֹֽאנְךָ֖ וְאֶת־בְּקָרֶ֑ךָ בְּכָל־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַזְכִּ֣יר אֶת־שְׁמִ֔י אָב֥וֹא אֵלֶ֖יךָ וּבֵֽרַכְתִּֽיךָ:
An altar of earth: Attached to the ground, [meaning] that it should not be built on pillars or on a block of wood (another version: [on] a base). [According to the Mechilta and Rashi on Zev. 58a, the reading is “archways.”] Alternatively, [מִזְבַָּח אִדָמָה means] that he [Moses] would fill the hollow of the altar with earth when they [the Israelites] encamped. [from Mechilta]   מזבח אדמה: מחובר באדמה, שלא יבננו על גבי עמודים או על גבי כיפים. דבר אחר שהיה ממלא את חלל מזבח הנחשת אדמה בשעת חנייתן:
you shall make for Me: That from the beginning, it shall be made in My name. [I.e., it should not be made for another purpose and then later used as an altar.]-[from Mechilta]   תעשה לי: שתהא תחילת עשייתו לשמי:
and you shall slaughter beside it: Heb. עָלָיו, like “And beside it (וְעָלָיו) was the tribe of Manasseh” (Num. 2:20). Or perhaps עָלָיו means literally “upon it.” Therefore, Scripture says: “the flesh and the blood on the altar of the Lord, your God” (Deut. 12:27), [meaning that only the flesh and blood are to be put on the altar] but the slaughtering is not [to be performed] on top of the altar. — [from Mechilta]   וזבחת עליו: אצלו, כמו (במדבר ב כ) ועליו מטה מנשה. או אינו אלא עליו ממש, תלמוד לומר (דברים יב כז) הבשר והדם על מזבח ה' אלהיך, ואין שחיטה בראש המזבח:
your burnt offerings and your peace offerings: which are from your sheep and your cattle. “Your sheep and your cattle” is the explanation of “your burnt offerings and your peace offerings.”   את עלתיך ואת שלמיך: אשר מצאנך ומבקרך. את צאנך ואת בקרך, פירוש לאת עולתיך ואת שלמיך:
Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you: Heb. אַזְכִּיר, lit., I will mention. [This should apparently read ךְתַּזְכִּיר, you will mention. Therefore, Rashi explains that it means: whenever] I will permit you to mention My Explicit Name, there I will come to you and bless you. I will cause My Shechinah to rest upon you. From here you learn that permission was given to mention the Explicit Name only in the place to which the Shechinah comes, and that is in the Temple in Jerusalem. There permission was given to the priests to mention the Explicit Name when they raise their hands to bless the people. — [from Mechilta, Sifrei, Num. 6:23, Sotah 38a]   בכל המקום אשר אזכיר את שמי: אשר אתן לך רשות להזכיר שם המפורש שלי, שם אבוא אליך וברכתיך אשרה שכינתי עליך מכאן אתה למד שלא ניתן רשות להזכיר שם המפורש אלא במקום שהשכינה באה שם, וזהו בית הבחירה. שם נתן רשות לכהנים להזכיר שם המפורש בנשיאת כפים לברך את העם:
22And when you make for Me an altar of stones, you shall not build them of hewn stones, lest you wield your sword upon it and desecrate it.   כבוְאִם־מִזְבַּ֤ח אֲבָנִים֙ תַּֽעֲשֶׂה־לִּ֔י לֹֽא־תִבְנֶ֥ה אֶתְהֶ֖ן גָּזִ֑ית כִּ֧י חַרְבְּךָ֛ הֵנַ֥פְתָּ עָלֶ֖יהָ וַתְּחַֽלֲלֶֽהָ:
And when you make for Me an altar of stones: Heb. אִם. Rabbi Ishmael says: Every [mention of] אִם in the Torah is optional except [for] three. [One of them is in this verse:] “And when (אִם) you make Me an altar of stones.” Behold, this אִם serves as an expression of כַּאִשֶׁר, when, [meaning] and “when you make Me an altar of stones, you shall not build them of hewn stones.” [This אִם cannot mean “if,”] for it is incumbent upon you to build an altar of stones, for it is said: “[Of] whole stones shall you build” (Deut. 27:6). Similarly, “When (אִם) you lend money” (Exod. 22:24) is obligatory, for it is said: “and you shall lend him” (Deut. 15:8). This one, too, serves as an expression of כַּאִשֶׁר, when. Similarly, “And when (אִם) you offer up a first fruits offering” (Lev. 2:14). This is the omer offering, which is [also] obligatory. Thus [all] these instances of אִם are not conditional but are definite and serve as an expression of כַּאִשֶׁר, when. — [from Mechilta]   ואם מזבח אבנים: רבי ישמעאל אומר כל אם ואם שבתורה רשות, חוץ משלשה ואם מזבח אבנים תעשה לי, הרי אם זה משמש בלשון כאשר, כאשר תעשה לי מזבח אבנים לא תבנה אתהן גזית שהרי חובה עליך לבנות מזבח אבנים, שנאמר (דברים כז ו) אבנים שלמות תבנה, וכן (שמות כב כד) אם כסף תלוה, חובה הוא, שנאמר (דברים טו ח) והעבט תעביטנו. ואף זה משמש בלשון כאשר וכן (ויקרא ב יד) ואם תקריב מנחת בכורים זו מנחת העומר, שהיא חובה, ועל כרחך אין אם הללו תלוין, אלא ודאין, ובלשון כאשר הם משמשים:
hewn stones: Heb. גָזִית, an expression of shearing (גְּזִיזָה), [meaning] that [the stone-cutter] hews them and cuts them (וַּמְסַךְתְּתָן) with iron [tools].   גזית: לשון גזיזה שפוסלן ומסתתן בברזל:
lest you wield your sword upon it: Heb. כִּי. This [instance of] כִּי serves as an expression of פֶּן, lest, which is the same as “perhaps.” Perhaps you will wield your sword upon it.   כי חרבך הנפת עליה: הרי כי זה משמש בלשון פן, שהוא דילמא, פן תניף חרבך עליה:
and desecrate it: Thus you have learned that if you wield iron upon it, you have desecrated it, for the altar was created to lengthen man’s days, and iron was created to shorten man’s days [because it is used to make swords]. It is improper that the “shortener” be wielded over the “lengthener” (Middoth 3:4). Moreover, the altar makes peace between Israel and their Father in heaven. Therefore, the cutter and destroyer shall not come upon it. The matter is a kal vachomer [a fortiori] conclusion-if [concerning the] stones, which neither see, hear, nor speak, because [of the fact that] they make peace, the Torah said, “You shall not wield iron upon them” (Deut. 27:5), how much more [are we certain that] one who makes peace between husband and wife, between family and family, between man and his fellow, will have no troubles befall him!-[from Mechilta]   ותחללה: הא למדת, שאם הנפת עליה ברזל חללת, שהמזבח נברא להאריך ימיו של אדם, והברזל נברא לקצר ימיו של אדם, אין זה בדין, שיונף המקצר על המאריך. ועוד, שהמזבח מטיל שלום בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים, לפיכך לא יבא עליו כורת ומחבל. והרי דברים קל וחומר ומה אבנים שאינם רואות ולא שומעות ולא מדברות על ידי שמטילות שלום אמרה תורה לא תניף עליהם ברזל, המטיל שלום בין איש לאשתו, בין משפחה למשפחה, בין אדם לחבירו, על אחת כמה וכמה שלא תבואהו פורענות:
23And you shall not ascend with steps upon My altar, so that your nakedness shall not be exposed upon it.' "   כגוְלֹא־תַֽעֲלֶ֥ה בְמַֽעֲלֹ֖ת עַל־מִזְבְּחִ֑י אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹֽא־תִגָּלֶ֥ה עֶרְוָֽתְךָ֖ עָלָֽיו:
And you shall not ascend with steps: When you build a ramp for the altar, do not make it with steps, eschalons in Old French, but it must be smooth and slanting. — [from Mechilta].   ולא תעלה במעלות: כשאתה בונה כבש למזבח, לא תעשהו מעלות מעלות אישיקלונ"ש בלעז [מדרגות] אלא חלק יהא ומשופע:
so that your nakedness shall not be exposed: Because due to the steps, you must widen your stride, although it would not be an actual exposure of nakedness, for it is written: “And make them linen pants” (Exod. 28:42). Nevertheless, widening the strides is close to exposing the nakedness [of the one ascending the steps], and you behave toward them [the stones] in a humiliating manner. Now these matters are a kal vachomer [a fortiori] conclusion, that if [concerning] these stones-which have no intelligence to object to their humiliation-the Torah said that because they are necessary, you shall not behave toward them in a humiliating manner. [In contrast,] your friend, who is [created] in the likeness of your Creator and who does object to being humiliated, how much more [must you be careful not to embarrass him]!-[from Mechilta]   אשר לא תגלה ערותך: שעל ידי המעלות אתה צריך להרחיב פסיעותיך, ואף על פי שאינו גלוי ערוה ממש, שהרי כתיב (שמות כח מב) ועשה להם מכנסי בד, מכל מקום הרחבת הפסיעות קרוב לגלוי ערוה הוא, ואתה נוהג בהם מנהג בזיון. והרי דברים קל וחומר ומה אבנים הללו שאין בהם דעת להקפיד על בזיונן אמרה תורה הואיל ויש בהם צורך, לא תנהג בהם מנהג בזיון, חבירך שהוא בדמות יוצרך, ומקפיד על בזיונו, על אחת כמה וכמה:

Haftarah

Isaiah Chapter 6

1In the year of the death of King Uzziah, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and His lower extremity filled the Temple.   אבִּשְׁנַת־מוֹת֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ עֻזִּיָּ֔הוּ וָֽאֶרְאֶ֧ה אֶת־אֲדֹנָ֛י ישֵׁ֥ב עַל־כִּסֵּ֖א רָ֣ם וְנִשָּׂ֑א וְשׁוּלָ֖יו מְלֵאִ֥ים אֶת־הַהֵיכָֽל:
In the year of the death: i.e., when he was smitten with zaraath.  
and His lower extremity: Heb. וְשׁוּלָיו, comp. (Exodus 28:34) “On the hem (שׁוּלֵי) of the robe,” meaning its lower extremity. I saw Him sitting on His throne in heaven with His feet in the Temple, His footstool in the Sanctuary, to pass judgment on Uzziah, who came to usurp the crown of the priesthood.  
2Seraphim stood above for Him, six wings, six wings to each one; with two he would cover his face, and with two he would cover his feet, and with two he would fly.   בשְׂרָפִ֨ים עֹֽמְדִ֚ים מִמַּ֙עַל֙ ל֔וֹ שֵׁ֧שׁ כְּנָפַ֛יִם שֵׁ֥שׁ כְּנָפַ֖יִם לְאֶחָ֑ד בִּשְׁתַּ֣יִם | יְכַסֶּ֣ה פָנָ֗יו וּבִשְׁתַּ֛יִם יְכַסֶּ֥ה רַגְלָ֖יו וּבִשְׁתַּ֥יִם יְעוֹפֵֽף:
Seraphim stood above: in heaven.  
for Him: i.e., to serve him, and so does Jonathan render: Holy servants are on high before Him.  
with two he would cover his face: so as not to look toward the Shechinah.  
and with two he would cover his feet: for modesty, so as not to bare his entire body before his Creator. And in Tanhuma (Emor 8), I saw that the feet were covered because they are like the sole of the foot of a calf, in order not to remind Israel of the sin of the golden calf.  
and with two he would fly: And with two he would serve [from Targum Jonathan].  
3And one called to the other and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory."   גוְקָרָא֨ זֶ֚ה אֶל־זֶה֙ וְאָמַ֔ר קָד֧וֹשׁ | קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת מְלֹ֥א כָל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ:
And one called to the other: They would take permission from one another so that one would not commence before [his fellows] and be guilty of [a sin punishable by] burning, unless they all commenced simultaneously. This is what was established in [the blessing commencing:] “… Who formed light”, “the declaration of holiness, they all respond as one…” This is a Midrash Aggadah of the account of the Merkavah. And so did Jonathan render this.  
Holy, holy, holy: Three times, as the Targum renders.  
4And the doorposts quaked from the voice of him who called, and the House became filled with smoke.   דוַיָּנֻ֙עוּ֙ אַמּ֣וֹת הַסִּפִּ֔ים מִקּ֖וֹל הַקּוֹרֵ֑א וְהַבַּ֖יִת יִמָּלֵ֥א עָשָֽׁן:
And the doorposts quaked: [Jonathan renders:] אֵילְוַתסִפֵּי, they are the doorposts of the entrance, which are measured with the measurements of cubits in the height and in the width, and they are the doorposts of the Temple.  
from the voice of him who called: [i.e.,] from the voice of the angels calling. This took place on the day of the earthquake, about which it is stated (Zechariah 14:5): “And you shall flee as you fled on the day of the earthquake in the days of Uzziah.” On the day that Uzziah stood, ready to burn incense in the Temple, the heavens quaked, [attempting] to burn him, as if to say that his punishment should be by burning, as it is said (Num. 16:35): “And it consumed the two hundred and fifty men.” For this reason, Scripture calls them seraphim, for they attempted to burn him. The earth quaked, attempting to swallow him up, thinking that his punishment should be that he be swallowed up like Korah, who contested the priesthood. Thereupon, a heavenly voice emanated and said (ibid. 17:5), “And there shall not be” another man contesting the priesthood “like Korah” to be swallowed up, “and like his assembly” to be burnt, but, “as the Lord spoke by the hand of Moses,” in the thornbush (Exodus 4:6), “Now bring your hand into your bosom,” and he took it out, stricken with zaraath like snow, here too, the zaraath shone on his forehead."  
and the House became filled with smoke: Was filled with smoke [i.e., even though the future tense is used, the past is meant].  
5And I said, "Woe is me for I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and amidst a people of unclean lips I dwell, for the King, the Lord of Hosts have my eyes seen.   הוָֽאֹמַ֞ר אֽוֹי־לִ֣י כִֽי־נִדְמֵ֗יתִי כִּ֣י אִ֚ישׁ טְמֵֽא־שְׂפָתַ֙יִם֙ אָנֹ֔כִי וּבְתוֹךְ֙ עַם־טְמֵ֣א שְׂפָתַ֔יִם אָנֹכִ֖י יֹשֵׁ֑ב כִּ֗י אֶת־הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת רָא֥וּ עֵינָֽי:
for I am lost: I will die, for I was not worthy of seeing the Countenance of the Shechinah. We find a similar statement made by Manoah (Judges 13:22): “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”  
I am lost: Heb. נִדְמֵיתִי, comp. (Zephaniah 1:11): “The entire people of Canaan is broken (נִדְמֶה).”  
people of unclean lips: that are defiled with sins [from Jonathan].  
6And one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal; with tongs he had taken it from upon the altar.   ווַיָּ֣עָף אֵלַ֗י אֶחָד֙ מִן־הַשְּׂרָפִ֔ים וּבְיָד֖וֹ רִצְפָּ֑ה בְּמֶ֨לְקָחַ֔יִם לָקַ֖ח מֵעַ֥ל הַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ:
a glowing coal: Heb. רִצְפָּה, a coal, and similarly, (I Kings 19:6) “a cake baked on hot coals (עֻגַּתרְצָפִים),” like עֻגַּתרְשָׁפִים. In regards to Isaiah and Elijah, however, it is written with a ‘zadi,’ רִצְפָּה, because they spoke ill of Israel. This one [Isaiah] called them a people of unclean lips, and this one [Elijah] said, (ibid. 10) “For… have forsaken Your covenant.” Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to the angel, “Break the mouth (רְצוֹץפֶּה) that spoke ill of My children.”  
with tongs: Heb. (בְּמֶלְקֳחַיִם) with tongs.  
he had taken it from upon the altar: that was in the forecourt.  
7And he caused it to touch my mouth, and he said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity shall be removed, and your sin shall be atoned for."   זוַיַּגַּ֣ע עַל־פִּ֔י וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֛ה נָגַ֥ע זֶ֖ה עַל־שְׂפָתֶ֑יךָ וְסָ֣ר עֲו‍ֹנֶ֔ךָ וְחַטָּֽאתְךָ֖ תְּכֻפָּֽר:
And he caused it to touch my mouth… “… and your iniquity shall be removed”: This is to cause pain, to atone for your iniquity that you degraded Israel. And his strength was great, for the angel was afraid to take it without tongs, yet he caused it to touch the prophet’s lip, and he [the prophet] was not injured. [This is found] in Tanhuma (ibid.) This is [the meaning] of what Scripture states (Joel 2:11): “For His camp is very great,” these are the angels; “and stronger” than they “are those who fulfill His word” these are the prophets (Tanhuma ibid.). Jonathan renders: “And in his hand was a glowing coal,” to mean, “And in his mouth was speech.” The expression רִצְפָּה : [means a thing refined in the mouth and with the tongue] (רָצוּף בְּפֶּה).“From upon the altar,” he received the speech from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be he, from His throne in Heaven, which was directed opposite the altar that was in the Temple.  
8And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am; send me."   חוָֽאֶשְׁמַ֞ע אֶת־ק֚וֹל אֲדֹנָי֙ אֹמֵ֔ר אֶת־מִֽי־אֶשְׁלַ֖ח וּמִ֣י יֵֽלֶךְ־לָ֑נוּ וָֽאֹמַ֖ר הִֽנְנִ֥י שְׁלָחֵֽנִי:
Whom shall I send: to admonish Israel? I sent Amos, and they called him, ‘Pesilus,’ because he was tongue tied, [’Pesilus’ being the Greek word for tongue-tied.] He prophesied two years before the earthquake, and the Israelites would say, The Holy One, blessed be He, left over the whole world and caused His Shechinah to rest on this tongue-tied one, as is stated in Pesikta.  
9And He said, "Go and say to this people, 'Indeed you hear, but you do not understand; indeed you see, but you do not know.'   טוַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֵ֥ךְ וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֖ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה שִׁמְע֚וּ שָׁמ֙וֹעַ֙ וְאַל־תָּבִ֔ינוּ וּרְא֥וּ רָא֖וֹ וְאַל־תֵּדָֽעוּ:
Indeed you hear: I say to you, Indeed you hear, but you do not strive to understand, and indeed you see miracles that I have performed for you, yet you do not strive to know Me.  
10This people's heart is becoming fat, and his ears are becoming heavy, and his eyes are becoming sealed, lest he see with his eyes, and hear with his ears, and his heart understand, and he repent and be healed."   יהַשְׁמֵן֙ לֵֽב־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְאָזְנָ֥יו הַכְבֵּ֖ד וְעֵינָ֣יו הָשַׁ֑ע פֶּן־יִרְאֶ֨ה בְעֵינָ֜יו וּבְאָזְנָ֣יו יִשְׁמָ֗ע וּלְבָב֥וֹ יָבִ֛ין וָשָׁ֖ב וְרָ֥פָא לֽוֹ:
This people’s heart is becoming fat: [This structure] הַשְׁמֵן resembles (Exodus 8:11), “And making his heart heavy (הַכְבֵּד) ,” an expression of a continuous action. Their heart continuously becomes fatter, angrajjsant in O.F., and his ears are becoming heavier and heavier, [i.e., harder and harder] of hearing.  
and his eyes are becoming sealed: Plastered, comp. (infra 44:18) “For their eyes are plastered from seeing.” הִטּוֹחַ (Leviticus 14:43) is translated into Aramaic as דְאִתְשַׁע. We, thereby, equate the two words הָשַׁע and טָח.  
lest he see with his eyes: They intended not to hearken to the words of the prophets, for they fear lest His words please them, and they will understand with their heart, and return to Me, and this will be their cure.  
11And I said, "Until when, O Lord?" And He said, "Until cities be desolate without inhabitant and houses without people, and the ground lies waste and desolate.   יאוָֽאֹמַ֕ר עַד־מָתַ֖י אֲדֹנָ֑י וַיֹּ֡אמֶר עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁר֩ אִם־שָׁא֨וּ עָרִ֜ים מֵאֵ֣ין יוֹשֵׁ֗ב וּבָתִּים֙ מֵאֵ֣ין אָדָ֔ם וְהָֽאֲדָמָ֖ה תִּשָּׁאֶ֥ה שְׁמָמָֽה:
Until when: will they make their heart heavy and not listen?  
And He said: I know that they will not repent until retribution comes upon them and they go into exile, and the cities will be desolate without inhabitants.  
lies waste and desolate: an expression of solitude, without an inhabitant.  
12And the Lord removes the people far away, and the deserted places be many in the midst of the land.   יבוְרִחַ֥ק יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וְרַבָּ֥ה הָֽעֲזוּבָ֖ה בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ:
and the deserted places be many: For the land will be abandoned by them, and this is the explanation of the language: Deserted places will increase in the midst of the land.  
13And when there is yet a tenth of it, it will again be purged, like the terebinth and like the oak, which in the fall have but a trunk, the holy seed is its trunk."   יגוְע֥וֹד בָּהּ֙ עֲשִׂ֣ירִיָּ֔ה וְשָׁ֖בָה וְהָֽיְתָ֣ה לְבָעֵ֑ר כָּֽאֵלָ֣ה וְכָֽאַלּ֗וֹן אֲשֶׁ֚ר בְּשַׁלֶּ֙כֶת֙ מַצֶּ֣בֶת בָּ֔ם זֶ֥רַע קֹ֖דֶשׁ מַצַּבְתָּֽהּ:
And when there is yet a tenth: And when they are diminished to one out of ten (Rashi ms.)] even upon this remnant will I return My hand as a purge after a purge, and it will be purged until only completely righteous men will remain, who will repent wholeheartedly.  
like the terebinth and like the oak: which, at the time of their casting, when they cast off their leaves during the fall, one casting after another casting, until nothing is left in it except the trunk, they too, the holy seed found in its midst, adhering to their holiness, they will be to Me as the trunk; another explanation of מַצַּבְתָּהּ is: its planting. Therefore, I will not destroy them, for I planted them as holy seed. Some explain that there was a Shallecheth Gate in Jerusalem, as it is stated in Ezra (I Chron. 26: 16, written by Ezra), and there, terebinths and oaks were planted.  
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