Devarim (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].   יַרְכִּבֵהוּ על במתי אָרֶץ: כָּל הַמִּקְרָא כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
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]   יַרְכִּבֵהוּ וגו': עַל שֵׁם שֶׁאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל גָּבוֹהַּ מִכָּל הָאֲרָצוֹת:
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.   וַיֹּאכַל תְּנוּבֹת שָׂדָי: אֵלּוּ פֵרוֹת אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁקַּלִּים לָנוּב וּלְהִתְבַּשֵּׁל מִכָּל פֵּרוֹת הָאֲרָצוֹת:
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]   וַיֵּֽנִקֵהוּ דְבַשׁ מִסֶּלַע: מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁאָמַר לִבְנוֹ בְּסִיכְנִי הָבֵא לִי קְצִיעוֹת מִן הֶחָבִית, הָלַךְ וּמָצָא הַדְּבַשׁ צָף עַל פִּיהָ, אָמַר לוֹ זוֹ שֶׁל דְּבַשׁ הִיא אָמַר לוֹ הַשְׁקַע יָדְךָ לְתוֹכָהּ וְאַתָּה מַעֲלֶה קְצִיעוֹת מִתּוֹכָהּ (ספרי):
and oil from the mighty part of the crag: This refers to the olives of [the place in Galilee called] Giscala. — [Sifrei 32:13]   וְשֶׁמֶן מֵֽחַלְמִישׁ צֽוּר: אֵלּוּ זֵיתִים שֶׁל גּוּשׁ חָלָב (ספרי):
upon the high places of the earth: Heb. בָּמֳתֵי. [This is] an expression denoting height.   במתי אָרֶץ: לְשׁוֹן גֹּבַהּ:
of the field: Heb. שָׂדָי, like שָׂדֶה, field.   שָׂדָי: לְשׁוֹן שָׂדֶה:
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.   מֵֽחַלְמִישׁ צֽוּר: תָּקְפּוֹ וְחָזְקוֹ שֶׁל סֶלַע, כְּשֶׁאֵינוֹ דָּבוּק לַתֵּיבָה שֶׁלְּאַחֲרָיו נָקוּד חַלָּמִישׁ וּכְשֶׁהוּא דָבוּק נָקוּד חַלְמִישׁ:
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]   חֶמְאַת בָּקָר וַֽחֲלֵב צֹאן: זֶה הָיָה בִּימֵי שְׁלֹמֹה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ד') "עֲשָׂרָה בָקָר בְּרִאִים וְעֶשְׂרִים בָּקָר רְעִי וּמֵאָה צֹאן":
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]   עִם־חֵלֶב כָּרִים: זֶה הָיָה בִּימֵי עֲשֶׂרֶת הַשְּׁבָטִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (עמוס ו') "וְאֹכְלִים כָּרִים מִצֹּאן":
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]   חֵלֶב כִּלְיוֹת חִטָּה: זֶה הָיָה בִּימֵי שְׁלֹמֹה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ה') "וַיְהִי לֶחֶם שְׁלֹמֹה וְגוֹ'":
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]   וְדַם־עֵנָב תִּשְׁתֶּה־חָֽמֶר: בִּימֵי עֲשֶׂרֶת הַשְּׁבָטִים "הַשֹּׁתִים בְּמִזְרְקֵי יַיִן" (עמוס ו'):
The cream of cattle: Heb. חֶמְאַת בָּקָר. This is the cream, which is scooped from the top of the milk.   חֶמְאַת בָּקָר: הוּא שֻׁמָּן הַנִּקְלָט מֵעַל גַּבֵּי הֶחָלָב:
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).   וַֽחֲלֵב צֹאן: חָלָב שֶׁל צֹאן, וּכְשֶׁהוּא דָבוּק נָקוּד חֲלֵב, כְּמוֹ "בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ" (שמות כ"ג):
lambs: Heb. כָּרִים, lambs.   כָּרִים: כְּבָשִׂים:
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].   וְאֵילִים: כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹ:
rams of Bashan: [The rams bred in Bashan] were fat.   בְּנֵֽי־בָשָׁן: שְׁמֵנִים הָיוּ:
kidneys of wheat: Wheat as fat as the fat of kidneys (כְּלָיוֹת), and whose kernels are as large as kidneys. — [Sifrei 32:14]   כִּלְיוֹת חִטָּה: חִטִּים שְׁמֵנִים כְּחֵלֶב כְּלָיוֹת וְגַסִּין כְּכוּלְיָא:
the blood of grapes: They would drink good wine, the flavor would be that of a wine of high esteem.   וְדַם־עֵנָב: תִּהְיֶה שׁוֹתֶה יַיִן טוֹב וְטוֹעֵם יַיִן חָשׁוּב:
[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.]   חָֽמֶר: יַיִן בִּלְשׁוֹן אֲרַמִּי "חֲמַר", אֵין זֶה שֵׁם דָּבָר אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן מְשֻׁבָּח בְּטַעַם, ווי"נוש בְּלַעַז. וְעוֹד יֵשׁ לְפָרֵשׁ שְׁנֵי מִקְרָאוֹת הַלָּלוּ אַחַר תַּרְגּוּם שֶׁל אֻנְקְלוֹס "אַשְׁרִינוּן עַל תָּקְפֵּי אַרְעָא וְגוֹ'":
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.”   עָבִיתָ: לְשׁוֹן עֹבִי:
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]   כָּשִׂיתָ: כְּמוֹ כָּסִיתָ, לְשׁוֹן "כִּי כִסָּה פָנָיו בְּחֶלְבּוֹ" (איוב ט"ו), כְּאָדָם שֶׁשָּׁמֵן מִבִּפְנִים וּכְסָלָיו נִכְפָּלִים מִבַּחוּץ, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שם) "וַיַּעַשׂ פִּימָה עֲלֵי כָסֶל":
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.”]   כָּשִׂיתָ: יֵשׁ לָשׁוֹן קַל בִּלְשׁוֹן כִּסּוּי, כְּמוֹ "וְכֹסֶה קָלוֹן עָרוּם" (משלי י"ב), וְאִם כָּתַב כִּשִּׂיתָ, דָּגוּשׁ, הָיָה נִשְׁמָע כִּסִּיתָ אֶת אֲחֵרִים, כְּמוֹ "כִּי כִסָּה פָנָיו" (איוב ט"ו):
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]   וַיְנַבֵּל צוּר יְשֻֽׁעָתֽוֹ: גִּנָּהוּ וּבִזָּהוּ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יחזקאל ח') "אֲחוֹרֵיהֶם אֶל הֵיכַל ה' וְגוֹ'", אֵין לְךָ נִבּוּל גָּדוֹל מִזֶּה (ספרי):
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).   יַקְנִאֻהוּ: הִבְעִירוּ חֲמָתוֹ וְקִנְאָתוֹ:
with abominations: With abominable deeds, such as homosexuality and sorcery, which are described [by Scripture] as תּוֹעֵבָה, “abominations.” - [Sifrei 32:16]   בְּתֽוֹעֵבֹת: בְּמַעֲשִׂים תְּעוּבִים, כְּגוֹן מִשְׁכַּב זְכוּר וּכְשָׁפִים שֶׁנֶאֱמַר בָּהֶם תּוֹעֵבָה:
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]   לֹא אֱלֹהַּ: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ "דְּלֵית בְּהוֹן צְרוֹךְ", אִלּוּ הָיָה בָהֶם צְרוֹךְ לֹא הָיְתָה קִנְאָה כְפוּלָה כְּמוֹ עַכְשָׁו (ספרי):
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]   חֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרֹב בָּאוּ: אֲפִלּוּ הָאֻמּוֹת לֹא הָיוּ רְגִילִים בָּהֶם — גּוֹי שֶׁהָיָה רוֹאֶה אוֹתָם, הָיָה אוֹמֵר זֶה צֶלֶם יְהוּדִי:
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.”   לֹא שְׂעָרוּם אֲבֹֽתֵיכֶֽם: לֹא יָרְאוּ מֵהֶם — לֹא עָמְדָה שַׂעֲרָתָם מִפְּנֵיהֶם, דֶּרֶךְ שַׂעֲרוֹת הָאָדָם לַעֲמֹד מֵחֲמַת יִרְאָה, כָּךְ נִדְרַשׁ בְּסִפְרֵי. וְיֵשׁ לְפָרֵשׁ עוֹד שערום לְשׁוֹן (ישעיה יג, כא) "וּשְׂעִירִים יְרַקְּדוּ שָׁם", שְׂעִירִים הֵם שֵׁדִים, לֹא עָשׂוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם שְׂעִירִים הַלָּלוּ:
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]   תֶּשִׁי: תִּשְׁכַּח. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ דָרְשׁוּ כְּשֶׁבָּא לְהֵיטִיב לָכֶם אַתֶּם מַכְעִיסִין לְפָנָיו וּמַתִּישִׁים כֹּחוֹ מִלְּהֵיטִיב לָכֶם (ספרי):
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).   אֵל מְחֹֽלְלֶֽךָ: מוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵרֶחֶם, לְשׁוֹן (תהלים כט) "יְחוֹלֵל אַיָּלוֹת", (תהלים מ"ח) "חִיל כַּיּוֹלֵדָה":