Deuteronomy Chapter 32

13He made them ride upon the high places of the earth, that they would eat the produce of the field. He let them suck honey from a rock, and oil from the mighty part of the crag.   יגיַרְכִּבֵ֨הוּ֙ עַל־בָּ֣מֳתֵי (כתיב על־במותי) אָ֔רֶץ וַיֹּאכַ֖ל תְּנוּבֹ֣ת שָׂדָ֑י וַיֵּֽנִקֵ֤הוּ דְבַשׁ֙ מִסֶּ֔לַע וְשֶׁ֖מֶן מֵֽחַלְמִ֥ישׁ צֽוּר:
He made them ride upon the high places of the earth: This entire verse is to be understood as rendered by the Targum [i.e., referring to the Land of Israel].   ירכבהו על במותי ארץ: כל המקרא כתרגומו:
He made them ride [upon the high places]: [referring to] the Land of Israel, because it is higher than all other countries. — [Sifrei 32:13]   ירכבהו וגו': על שם שארץ ישראל גבוה מכל הארצות:
that they would eat the produce of the field: These are the fruits of the Land of Israel which are quicker to bud (נוּב) and to ripen than any of the fruits of [other] countries.   ויאכל תנובת שדי: אלה פירות ארץ ישראל שקלים לנוב ולהתבשל מכל פירות הארצות:
He let them suck honey from a rock: It once happened in [a place in Israel called] Sichni, that a man said to his son, “Bring me pressed figs from that barrel.” The son went [to the barrel, but instead of finding pressed figs,] he found honey flowing over its brim. The son retorted, “But this is [a barrel] of honey [not figs]!” His father responded, “Dig your hand deep into the barrel, and you will bring up pressed figs from it!” [Pressed figs are as hard as a rock. Thus, we have an illustration in the Land of Israel of “sucking honey from a rock.”]- [Sifrei 32:13]   וינקהו דבש מסלע: מעשה באחד שאמר לבנו בסיכני הבא לי קציעות מן החביות. הלך ומצא הדבש צף על פיה. אמר לו זו של דבש הוא. אמר לו השקע ידך לתוכה ואתה מעלה קציעות מתוכה:
and oil from the mighty part of the crag: This refers to the olives of [the place in Galilee called] Giscala. — [Sifrei 32:13]   ושמן מחלמיש צור: אלו זיתים של גוש חלב:
upon the high places of the earth: Heb. בָּמֳתֵי. [This is] an expression denoting height.   במותי ארץ: לשון גבוה:
of the field: Heb. שָׂדָי, like שָׂדֶה, field.   שדי: לשון שדה:
from the mighty part of the crag: meaning: The hard and strong part of a rock. [Rashi now proves that the word חַלְמִישׁ is in the construct state, thus rendered as “the mighty part of.”] When חַלְמִישׁ is not connected with the word that follows it [i.e., in the absolute state], it is vowelized: “חַלָמִישׁ.” However, when it is connected to the word that follows it [i.e., in the construct state, as here], it is vowelized: חַלְמִישׁ.   חלמיש צור: תקפו וחזקו של סלע. כשאינו דבוק לתיבה שלאחריו נקוד חלמיש, (תהלים קיד, ח) וכשהוא דבוק נקוד חלמיש:
14The cream of cattle and the milk of sheep, with the fat of lambs and rams of Bashan and he goats, with kidneys of wheat, and it [the congregation of Israel] would drink the blood of grapes [which was] as the finest wine.   ידחֶמְאַ֨ת בָּקָ֜ר וַֽחֲלֵ֣ב צֹ֗אן עִם־חֵ֨לֶב כָּרִ֜ים וְאֵילִ֤ים בְּנֵֽי־בָשָׁן֙ וְעַתּוּדִ֔ים עִם־חֵ֖לֶב כִּלְי֣וֹת חִטָּ֑ה וְדַם־עֵנָ֖ב תִּשְׁתֶּה־חָֽמֶר:
The cream of cattle and the milk of sheep: This took place in the days of Solomon, as Scripture states:“[And Solomon’s provision for one day consisted of…] ten fat cattle (בָּקָר), and twenty cattle (בָּקָר) from the pasture, and one hundred sheep (צֹאן) ” (I Kings 5:2-3). - [Sifrei 32:14]   חמאת בקר וחלב צאן: זה היה בימי שלמה, שנאמר (מלכים א' ה, ג) עשרה בקר בריאים ועשרים בקר רעי ומאה צאן:
with the fat of lambs: This took place in the days of the Ten Tribes [i.e., the period of the Northern Kingdom in Israel], as Scripture states:“And who eat lambs (כָּרִים) from the flock” (Amos 6:4). - [Sifrei 32:14]   עם חלב כרים: זה היה בימי עשרת השבטים, שנאמר (עמוס ו, ד) ואוכלים כרים מצאן:
fat kidneys of wheat: This took place in the days of Solomon, as Scripture states: “And Solomon’s provision for one day consisted of [thirty kor of fine flour…]” (I Kings 5: 2). - [Sifrei 32:14]   חלב כליות חטה: זה היה בימי שלמה, שנאמר (מלכים א' ה, ב) ויהי לחם שלמה וגו':
and it […] would drink the blood of grapes […] as the finest wine: [This took place] in the days of the Ten Tribes [i.e., the period of the Northern Kingdom in Israel, as Scripture states]:“Who drink [wine] in wine-casks” (Amos 6:6). - [Sifrei 32:14]   ודם ענב תשתה חמר: בימי עשרת השבטים, (עמוס ו, ו) השותים במזרקי יין:
The cream of cattle: Heb. חֶמְאַת בָּקָר. This is the cream, which is scooped from the top of the milk.   חמאת בקר: הוא שומן הנקלט מעל גבי החלב:
and the milk of sheep: Heb. וַחִלֵב צֹאן, the milk of sheep . [The word for milk here is in the construct state. Accordingly,] when it is connected [to the word that follows it, as in our verse:“the milk of sheep,”] it is vowelized: חִלֵב, as in“in the milk of (בַּחֲלֵב) its mother” (Deut. 14:21).   וחלב צאן: חלב של צאן, וכשהוא דבוק נקוד חלב כמו (שמות כג, יט) בחלב אמו:
lambs: Heb. כָּרִים, lambs.   כרים: כבשים:
and rams: Heb. וְאֵילִים, [to be understood] according to its apparent meaning. [In certain contexts, the word אֵילִים refers to lambs, but since here the previous word (כָּרִים) means lambs, the word אֵילִים has its usual meaning, i.e., rams].   ואילים: כמשמעו:
rams of Bashan: [The rams bred in Bashan] were fat.   בני בשן: שמנים היו:
kidneys of wheat: Wheat as fat as the fat of kidneys (כְּלָיוֹת), and whose kernels are as large as kidneys. — [Sifrei 32:14]   כליות חטה: חטים שמנים כחלב כליות וגסין ככוליא:
the blood of grapes: They would drink good wine, the flavor would be that of a wine of high esteem.   ודם ענב: היה שותה יין טוב וטעם יין חשוב:
[which was] as the finest wine: Heb. חָמֶר, wine in Aramaic. This is not a noun, but rather [an adjective], meaning:“superlative in taste,” vinos in Old French, good, strong, foaming. [In addition to the explanation of these verses (13-14) above,] one may alternatively understand these two verses according to the Targum of Onkelos : אַשְׁרִנוּן עַל תּוּקְפֵי אַרְעָא וְגוֹ,“He made them dwell upon the strong places of the earth….” [See Onkelos for the full rendition.]   חמר: יין בלשון ארמי. חמר אין זה שם דבר, אלא לשון משובח בטעם אינו"ש בלע"ז [יין טוב]. ועוד יש לפרש שני מקראות הללו אחר תרגום של אונקלוס אשרינון על תוקפי ארעא וגו':
15And Jeshurun became fat and rebelled; you grew fat, thick and rotund; [Israel] forsook the God Who made them, and spurned the [Mighty] Rock of their salvation.   טווַיִּשְׁמַ֤ן יְשֻׁרוּן֙ וַיִּבְעָ֔ט שָׁמַ֖נְתָּ עָבִ֣יתָ כָּשִׂ֑יתָ וַיִּטּשׁ֙ אֱל֣וֹהַּ עָשָׂ֔הוּ וַיְנַבֵּ֖ל צ֥וּר יְשֻֽׁעָתֽוֹ:
you grew…thick: Heb. עָבִיתָ, an expression stemming from the word עוֹבִי,“thickness.”   עבית: לשון עובי:
you grew…rotund: Heb. כָּשִׂיתָ, similar to the word כָּסִיתָ [“cover,” since ס and שׂ are interchangeable]. This has the same meaning as in the verse,“For he has covered (כִסָּה) his face with his fat” (Job 15:27), like a person who is full of fat inside and whose flanks therefore have folds [of fat] outside. This is like [the continuation of that verse],“and he made folds of fat upon his flanks.” (Job 15:27). - [Sifrei 32:15]   כשית: כמו כסית, לשון (איוב טו, כז) כי כסה פניו בחלבו, כאדם ששמן מבפנים וכסליו נכפלים מבחוץ, וכן הוא אומר (שם) ויעש פימה עלי כסל:
you grew… rotund: [The root form כסה or כשׂה] can take on a simple conjugation meaning “to cover.” As [the verse],“But a prudent man covers (וְכֹסֶה) shame” (Prov. 12:16). However, if כָּשִׂיתָ had been written with a dagesh [in the “sin”], this would [represent the piel conjugation, i.e., making the verb transitive in form and thus] have the meaning: “You have covered someone [or something] else.” As in [the previously quoted verse], “For he has covered his face” (Job 15: 27) [where the word“covered” is written as כִסָּה, with a dagesh in the “samech.” Thus here, since there is no dagesh in the “sin,” the verb is intransitive, and literally means: “You are covered with fat folds.”]   כשית: יש לשון קל בלשון כסוי, כמו (משלי יב, טז) וכוסה קלון ערום ואם כתב כשית דגוש היה נשמע כסית את אחרים, כמו (איוב טו, כז) כי כסה פניו:
and spurned the [Mighty] rock of their salvation: They disgraced and despised Him, as Scripture states,“[about twenty-five men] with their backs towards the Heichal of the Lord…” (Ezek.8:16). [The prophet Ezekiel was shown these treacherous men, who had their backs to the Temple in the west, and were bowing down to the sun in the east. He was shown other abominable acts as well. However,] there can be no more despicable act than this. — [Sifrei 32:16]   וינבל צור ישעתו: גנהו וביזהו, כמו שנאמר (יחזקאל ח, טז) אחוריהם אל היכל ה' וגו', אין לך נבול גדול מזה:
16They provoked His zeal with alien worship; they made Him angry with abominations deeds.   טזיַקְנִאֻ֖הוּ בְּזָרִ֑ים בְּתֽוֹעֵבֹ֖ת יַכְעִיסֻֽהוּ:
They provoked his zeal: Heb. יַקְנִאֻהוּ, they provoked His anger and His zeal (קִנְאָה).   יקנאהו: הבעירו חמתו וקנאתו:
with abominations: With abominable deeds, such as homosexuality and sorcery, which are described [by Scripture] as תּוֹעֵבָה,“abominations.” - [Sifrei 32:16]   בתועבות: במעשים תעובים, כגון (ויקרא יח, כב) משכב זכור וכשפים (ויקרא יח, כב), שנאמר בהם תועבה:
17They sacrificed to demons, which have no power, deities they did not know, new things that only recently came, which your forefathers did not fear.   יזיִזְבְּח֗וּ לַשֵּׁדִים֙ לֹ֣א אֱלֹ֔הַּ אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֹ֣א יְדָע֑וּם חֲדָשִׁים֙ מִקָּרֹ֣ב בָּ֔אוּ לֹ֥א שְׂעָר֖וּם אֲבֹֽתֵיכֶֽם:
which have no power: Heb. לֹא אלֹהַּ. As the Targum renders it: “which have no power.” For if they had power, God’s jealousy would not have been doubled as it is now. — [see Sifrei 32:17]   לא אלה: כתרגומו דלית בהון צרוך, אלו היה בהם צורך לא היתה קנאה כפולה כמו עכשיו:
new things that only recently came: [These deities were so recent, that] even the heathen nations were not familiar with them. Indeed, if a heathen saw them, he would say,“This is a Jewish idol!” - [Sifrei 32:17]   חדשים מקרוב באו: אפילו האומות לא היו רגילים בהם. גוי שהיה רואה אותם, היה אומר זה צלם יהודי:
which your forefathers did not fear: Heb. לֹא שְׂעָרוּם. This means: Which your forefathers did not fear. [More literally, it means:]“Their hair (שֵׂעָר) did not stand up on end because of these deities.” It is the nature of a person’s hair to stand up out of of fear. Thus [the word שְׂעָרוּם] is explained in Sifrei (32:17). The word שְׂעָרוּם may also be explained as stemming from [the word שְׂעִירִים in the verse]:“And שְׂעִירִים will dance there” (Isa. 13:21), where שְׂעִירִים are demons. [Thus, our verse means:]“Your forefathers did not make such demons.”   לא שערום אבתיכם: לא יראו מהם לא עמדה שערתם מפניהם. דרך שערות האדם לעמוד מחמת יראה, כך נדרש בספרי. ויש לפרש עוד שערום לשון (ישעיה יג, כא) ושעירים ירקדו שם, שעירים הם שדים. לא עשו אבותיכם שעירים הללו:
18You forgot the [Mighty] Rock Who bore you; you forgot the God Who delivered you.   יחצ֥וּר יְלָֽדְךָ֖ תֶּ֑שִׁי וַתִּשְׁכַּ֖ח אֵ֥ל מְחֹֽלְלֶֽךָ:
You forgot: Heb. תֶּשִׁי, you have forgotten. However, our Rabbis explained this word homiletically to mean: When God comes to bestow good upon you, you provoke Him to anger, and weaken (מַתִּישִׁין) His power, as it were, to do you good."- [Sifrei 32:18]   תשי: תשכח. ורבותינו דרשו, כשבא להיטיב לכם אתם מכעיסין לפניו ומתישים כחו מלהיטיב לכם:
the God Who delivered you: Heb. מְחֹלְלֶךָ, God who brought you out of the womb. It has the same meaning as the verse, “[The voice of the Lord] makes hinds bring forth young (יְחוֹלֵל)” (Ps.29:9), and “pangs (חִיל) like those of a woman in confinement” (Ps. 48:7).   אל מחוללך: מוציאך מרחם, לשון (תהלים כט, ט) יחולל אילות, (שם מח, ז) חיל כיולדה: