Chapter 20

1The entire congregation of the children of Israel arrived at the desert of Zin in the first month, and the people settled in Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there.   אוַיָּבֹ֣אוּ בְנֵֽי־יִ֠שְׂרָאֵ֠ל כָּל־הָ֨עֵדָ֤ה מִדְבַּר־צִן֙ בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הָֽרִאשׁ֔וֹן וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב הָעָ֖ם בְּקָדֵ֑שׁ וַתָּ֤מָת שָׁם֙ מִרְיָ֔ם וַתִּקָּבֵ֖ר שָֽׁם:
The entire congregation: The complete congregation, for the ones destined to die in the desert had already died and these were assigned for life. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 14]   כָּל־הָעֵדָה: עֵדָה הַשְּׁלֵמָה, שֶׁכְּבָר מֵתוּ מֵתֵי מִדְבָּר וְאֵלּוּ פֵרְשׁוּ לַחַיִּים:
Miriam died there: Why is the passage relating Miriam’s death juxtaposed with the passage of the Red Cow? To teach you that just as sacrifices bring atonement, so the death of the righteous secure atonement. — [M.K. 28a].   וַתָּמָת שָׁם מִרְיָם: לָמָּה נִסְמְכָה פָרָשַׁת מִיתַת מִרְיָם לְפָרָשַׁת פָּרָה אֲדֻמָּה? לוֹמַר לְךָ, מַה קָּרְבָּנוֹת מְכַפְּרִין, אַף מִיתַת צַדִּיקִים מְכַפֶּרֶת (מועד קטן כ"ח):
Miriam died there: She too died through a kiss [from God’s mouth rather than by the angel of death]. Why does it not say “by God’s mouth” [as it does with Moses]? Because it is not respectful to speak of the Most High in this way (M.K. 28a). Concerning Aaron it does say “by God’s mouth” in [the portion beginning] “These are the Journeys” (33:38).   וַתָּמָת שָׁם מִרְיָם: אַף הִיא בִנְשִׁיקָה מֵתָה, וּמִפְּנֵי מָה לֹא נֶאֱמַר בָּהּ "עַל פִּי ה'"? שֶׁאֵינוֹ דֶּרֶךְ כָּבוֹד שֶׁל מַעְלָה, וּבְאַהֲרֹן נֶאֱמַר "עַל פִּי ה'" בְּאֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי (במדבר ל"ג):
2The congregation had no water; so they assembled against Moses and Aaron.   בוְלֹא־הָ֥יָה מַ֖יִם לָֽעֵדָ֑ה וַיִּקָּ֣הֲל֔וּ עַל־משֶׁ֖ה וְעַל־אַהֲרֹֽן:
had no water: From here [we learn that] all forty years they had the well in Miriam’s merit. — [Ta’anith 9a]   וְלֹא־הָיָה מַיִם לָֽעֵדָה: מִכָּאן שֶׁכָּל אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה הָיָה לָהֶם הַבְּאֵר בִּזְכוּת מִרְיָם (תענית ט'):
3The people quarreled with Moses, and they said, "If only we had died with the death of our brothers before the Lord.   גוַיָּ֥רֶב הָעָ֖ם עִם־משֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּֽאמְר֣וּ לֵאמֹ֔ר וְל֥וּ גָוַ֛עְנוּ בִּגְוַ֥ע אַחֵ֖ינוּ לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה:
If only we had died: We wish that we had died. — [Onkelos]   וְלוּ גָוַעְנוּ: הַלְוַאי שֶׁגָּוַעְנוּ:
with the death of our brothers: With the death of our brothers from plague. This teaches us that death from thirst is more dreadful than it [death by plague].   בִּגְוַע אַחֵינוּ: בְּמִיתַת אַחֵינוּ בַּדֶּבֶר, לִמֵּד שֶׁמִּיתַת צָמָא מְגֻנָּה מִמֶּנָּה:
with the death: Heb. בִּגְוַע אַחֵינוּ. This is a noun, like בְּמִיתַת אַחֵינוּ, with our brothers’ death [that is, in the way they died]. But it is incorrect to explain it as meaning, ‘ when our brothers died’ for in that case, Scripture would have punctuated it בִּגְוֹעַ.   בִּגְוַע: שֵׁם דָּבָר הוּא, כְּמוֹ בְּמִיתַת אַחֵינוּ, וְלֹא יִתָּכֵן לְפָרְשׁוֹ כְּשֶׁמֵּתוּ אַחֵינוּ, שֶׁאִם כֵּן הָיָה לוֹ לִנָּקֵד בִּגְוֹעַ:
4Why have you brought the congregation of the Lord to this desert so that we and our livestock should die there?   דוְלָמָ֤ה הֲבֵאתֶם֙ אֶת־קְהַ֣ל יְהֹוָ֔ה אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר הַזֶּ֑ה לָמ֣וּת שָׁ֔ם אֲנַ֖חְנוּ וּבְעִירֵֽנוּ:
5Why have you taken us out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place; it is not a place for seeds, or for fig trees, grapevines, or pomegranate trees, and there is no water to drink.   הוְלָמָ֤ה הֶֽעֱלִיתֻ֨נוּ֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם לְהָבִ֣יא אֹתָ֔נוּ אֶל־הַמָּק֥וֹם הָרָ֖ע הַזֶּ֑ה לֹ֣א | מְק֣וֹם זֶ֗רַע וּתְאֵנָ֤ה וְגֶ֨פֶן֙ וְרִמּ֔וֹן וּמַ֥יִם אַ֖יִן לִשְׁתּֽוֹת:
6Moses and Aaron moved away from the assembly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and they fell on their faces. [Then] the glory of the Lord appeared to them.   ווַיָּבֹא֩ משֶׁ֨ה וְאַֽהֲרֹ֜ן מִפְּנֵ֣י הַקָּהָ֗ל אֶל־פֶּ֨תַח֙ אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד וַיִּפְּל֖וּ עַל־פְּנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיֵּרָ֥א כְבוֹד־יְהֹוָ֖ה אֲלֵיהֶֽם:
7The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:   זוַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־משֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר:
8"Take the staff and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and speak to the rock in their presence so that it will give forth its water. You shall bring forth water for them from the rock and give the congregation and their livestock to drink."   חקַ֣ח אֶת־הַמַּטֶּ֗ה וְהַקְהֵ֤ל אֶת־הָֽעֵדָה֙ אַתָּה֙ וְאַֽהֲרֹ֣ן אָחִ֔יךָ וְדִבַּרְתֶּ֧ם אֶל־הַסֶּ֛לַע לְעֵֽינֵיהֶ֖ם וְנָתַ֣ן מֵימָ֑יו וְהֽוֹצֵאתָ֙ לָהֶ֥ם מַ֨יִם֙ מִן־הַסֶּ֔לַע וְהִשְׁקִיתָ֥ אֶת־הָֽעֵדָ֖ה וְאֶת־בְּעִירָֽם:
and their livestock: From here we learn that the Holy One, blessed is He, has regard for the property of Israel. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 9, Lev. Rabbah 10:9, Num. Rabbah 19:9]   וְאֶת־בְּעִירָֽם: מִכָּאן שֶׁחָס הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל מָמוֹנָם שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
9Moses took the staff from before the Lord as He had commanded him.   טוַיִּקַּ֥ח משֶׁ֛ה אֶת־הַמַּטֶּ֖ה מִלִּפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּֽהוּ:
10Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock, and he said to them, "Now listen, you rebels, can we draw water for you from this rock?"   יוַיַּקְהִ֜לוּ משֶׁ֧ה וְאַֽהֲרֹ֛ן אֶת־הַקָּהָ֖ל אֶל־פְּנֵ֣י הַסָּ֑לַע וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָהֶ֗ם שִׁמְעוּ־נָא֙ הַמֹּרִ֔ים הֲמִן־הַסֶּ֣לַע הַזֶּ֔ה נוֹצִ֥יא לָכֶ֖ם מָֽיִם:
assembled: This is one of the places where we find that a small area held a large number [of people]. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 9, Lev. Rabbah 10:9, Num. Rabbah 19:9]   וַיַּקְהִלוּ וגו': זֶה אֶחָד מִן הַמְּקוֹמוֹת שֶׁהֶחֱזִיק מוּעָט אֶת הַמְרֻבֶּה (בראשית רבה ה'):
Shall we draw water… from this rock?: Since they did not recognize it, for the rock had gone and settled among the other rocks when the well departed. The Israelites said to them, “What difference is it to you from which rock you draw water for us?” Therefore, he said to them, הַמּוֹרִים, obstinate ones; in Greek, ‘fools,’ those who teach (מוֹרִים) their teachers. [He said,] “Can we draw water from this rock regarding which we were not commanded?” - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 9, Num. Rabbah 19:9]   הֲמִן־הַסָּלַע הַזֶּה נוֹצִיא: לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ, לְפִי שֶׁהָלַךְ הַסֶּלַע וְיָשַׁב לוֹ בֵּין הַסְּלָעִים כְּשֶׁנִּסְתַּלֵּק הַבְּאֵר, וְהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹמְרִים לָהֶם מַה לָּכֶם מֵאֵי זֶה סֶלַע תּוֹצִיאוּ לָנוּ מַיִם? לְכָךְ אָמַר לָהֶם המרים — סַרְבָנִים, לְשׁוֹן יְוָנִי שׁוֹטִים, מוֹרִים אֶת מוֹרֵיהֶם, הֲמִן הַסֶּלַע הַזֶּה שֶׁלֹּא נִצְטַוִּינוּ עָלָיו נוֹצִיא לָכֶם מַיִם? (תנחומא):
11Moses raised his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, when an abundance of water gushed forth, and the congregation and their livestock drank.   יאוַיָּ֨רֶם משֶׁ֜ה אֶת־יָד֗וֹ וַיַּ֧ךְ אֶת־הַסֶּ֛לַע בְּמַטֵּ֖הוּ פַּֽעֲמָ֑יִם וַיֵּֽצְאוּ֙ מַ֣יִם רַבִּ֔ים וַתֵּ֥שְׁתְּ הָֽעֵדָ֖ה וּבְעִירָֽם:
twice: Because the first time he drew out only a few drops, since God had not commanded him to strike it, but, “you shall speak to the rock.” However, they spoke to a different rock, and nothing came out. They said, “Perhaps we ought to strike it as the first time,” as it says, “and strike the rock” (Exod. 17:6). They came upon that very rock and struck it. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 9, Num. Rabbah 19:9]   פַּֽעֲמָיִם: לְפִי שֶׁבָּרִאשׁוֹנָה לֹא הוֹצִיא אֶלָּא טִפִּין, לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא צִוָּה הַמָּקוֹם לְהַכּוֹתוֹ, אֶלָּא "וְדִבַּרְתֶּם אֶל הַסֶּלַע", וְהֵמָּה דִּבְּרוּ אֶל סֶלַע אַחֵר וְלֹא הוֹצִיא, אָמְרוּ, שֶׁמָּא צָרִיךְ לְהַכּוֹתוֹ כְּבָרִאשׁוֹנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וְהִכִּיתָ בַצּוּר" (שמות י"ז), וְנִזְדַּמֵּן לָהֶם אוֹתוֹ סֶלַע וְהִכָּהוּ (תנחומא):
12The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them.   יבוַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָה֘ אֶל־משֶׁ֣ה וְאֶל־אַֽהֲרֹן֒ יַ֚עַן לֹא־הֶֽאֱמַנְתֶּ֣ם בִּ֔י לְהַ֨קְדִּישֵׁ֔נִי לְעֵינֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לָכֵ֗ן לֹ֤א תָבִ֨יאוּ֙ אֶת־הַקָּהָ֣ל הַזֶּ֔ה אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נָתַ֥תִּי לָהֶֽם:
Since you did not have faith in Me: Scripture reveals that if it were not for this sin alone, they would have entered the Land, so that it should not be said of them, “The sin of Moses and Aaron was like the sin of the generation of the desert against whom it was decreed that they should not enter [the Land].” But was not [the question asked by Moses] “If sheep and cattle were slaughtered for them…” (11:22) [a] more grievous [sin] than this? However, there he [Moses] said it in private, so Scripture spares him [and refrains from punishing him]. Here, on the other hand, it was said in the presence of all Israel, so Scripture does not spare him because of the sanctification of the Name. — [Tanchuma Chukath 10, Num. Rabbah 19:10]   יַעַן לֹא־הֶֽאֱמַנְתֶּם בִּי: גִּלָּה הַכָּתוּב שֶׁאִלּוּלֵי חֵטְא זֶה בִּלְבַד הָיוּ נִכְנָסִין לָאָרֶץ, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם כַּעֲוֹן דּוֹר הַמִּדְבָּר שֶׁנִּגְזַר עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנְסוּ, כָּךְ הָיָה עֲוֹן מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן; וַהֲלֹא "הֲצֹאן וּבָקָר יִשָּׁחֵט" (במדבר יא, כב) קָשָׁה מִזּוֹ? אֶלָּא לְפִי שֶׁבַּסֵּתֶר, חִסֵּךְ עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב, וְכָאן שֶׁבְּמַעֲמַד כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא חִסֵּךְ עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב מִפְּנֵי קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵּׁם:
to sanctify Me: For had you spoken to the rock and it had given forth [water], I would have been sanctified in the eyes of the congregation. They would have said, "If this rock, which neither speaks nor hears, and does not require sustenance, fulfills the word of the Omnipresent, how much more should we!" - [Midrash Aggadah]   לְהַקְדִּישֵׁנִי: שֶׁאִלּוּ דִּבַּרְתֶּם אֶל הַסֶּלַע וְהוֹצִיא, הָיִיתִי מְקֻדָּשׁ לְעֵינֵי הָעֵדָה, וְאוֹמְרִים מַה סֶּלַע זֶה שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר וְאֵינוֹ שׁוֹמֵעַ וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְפַרְנָסָה מְקַיֵּם דִּבּוּרוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם, קַל וָחֹמֶר אָנוּ:
therefore, you shall not bring: Heb. לָכֵן, by an oath, as in, “Therefore (וְלָכֵן), I have sworn to the house of Eli” (I Sam. 3:14) [Tanchuma Va’era 2]. He hurried to take an oath so that they should not engage in lengthy prayer concerning it [i.e. to repeal the decree].   לָכֵן לֹא־תָבִיאוּ: בִּשְׁבוּעָה, כְּמוֹ "וְלָכֵן נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְבֵית עֵלִי" (שמואל א ג'), נִשְׁבַּע בִּקְפִיצָה שֶׁלֹּא יַרְבּוּ בִתְפִלָּה עַל כָּךְ:
13These are the waters of dispute [Mei Meribah] where the children of Israel contended with the Lord, and He was sanctified through them.   יגהֵ֚מָּה מֵ֣י מְרִיבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־רָב֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶת־יְהֹוָ֑ה וַיִּקָּדֵ֖שׁ בָּֽם:
These are the waters of dispute: These are the ones mentioned elsewhere. Pharaoh’s astrologers saw these [when they foresaw that] the savior of Israel would be smitten through water, and that is why they decreed: "Every son who is born you shall cast into the Nile." — [Sanh. 101b]   הֵמָּה מֵי מְרִיבָה: הֵם הַנִּזְכָּרִים בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר; אֶת אֵלּוּ רָאוּ אִצְטַגְנִינֵי פַרְעֹה, שֶׁמּוֹשִׁיעָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל לוֹקֶה בַמַּיִם, לְכָךְ גָּזְרוּ (שמות א') "כָּל הַבֵּן הַיִּלּוֹד הַיְאֹרָה תַּשְׁלִיכֻהוּ" (סנהדרין ק"א):
and He was sanctified through them: For Moses and Aaron died because of them. When God judges His holy ones, He is feared and sanctified by mankind. Similarly, it says, “You are awesome, O God, because of Your holy ones” (Ps. 68:36). And likewise it says, “I am sanctified by those close to Me” (Lev. 10:3) - [Zev. 115b]   וַיִּקָּדֵשׁ בָּֽם: שֶׁמֵּתוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן עַל יָדָם; כְּשֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עוֹשֶׂה דִּין בִּמְקֻדָּשָׁיו הוּא יָראוּי וּמִתְקַדֵּשׁ עַל הַבְּרִיּוֹת, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "נוֹרָא אֱלֹהִים מִמִּקְדָּשֶׁיךָ" (תהילים ס"ח), וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "בִּקְרֹבַי אֶקָּדֵשׁ" (ויקרא י'):
14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: "So says your brother, Israel, 'You know of all the hardship that has befallen us.   ידוַיִּשְׁלַ֨ח משֶׁ֧ה מַלְאָכִ֛ים מִקָּדֵ֖שׁ אֶל־מֶ֣לֶךְ אֱד֑וֹם כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ אָחִ֣יךָ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֔עְתָּ אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַתְּלָאָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר מְצָאָֽתְנוּ:
your brother Israel: Why did he see fit to mention brotherhood here? However, he said to him, “We are brothers, sons of Abraham, to whom it was said, 'your descendants will be strangers [in a land which is not theirs’]” (Gen. 15:13). And both of us are responsible for fulfilling that obligation. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 12, Num. Rabbah 19:15]   אָחִיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל: מָה רָאָה לְהַזְכִּיר כָּאן אַחֲוָה? אֶלָּא אָמַר לוֹ אַחִים אֲנַחְנוּ, בְּנֵי אַבְרָהָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לוֹ "כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ" (בראשית ט"ו), וְעַל שְׁנֵינוּ הָיָה אוֹתוֹ הַחוֹב לְפָרְעוֹ (תנחומא):
You know of all the hardship: Therefore, your father parted from our father, as it says, “He went to a land because of Jacob his brother” (Gen. 36:6), [that is] because of the debt that was imposed upon them, and he [Esau] cast it onto Jacob. — [Gen. Rabbah 82:13]   אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֵת כָּל־הַתְּלָאָה: לְפִיכָךְ פֵּרֵשׁ אֲבִיכֶם מֵעַל אָבִינוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל אֶרֶץ מִפְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב אָחִיו" (בראשית ל״ו:ו׳) — מִפְּנֵי הַשְּׁטָר חוֹב הַמֻּטָּל עֲלֵיהֶם, וְהִטִּילוֹ עַל יַעֲקֹב:
15Our fathers went down to Egypt, and we sojourned in Egypt for a long time. And the Egyptians mistreated us and our forefathers.   טווַיֵּֽרְד֤וּ אֲבֹתֵ֨ינוּ֙ מִצְרַ֔יְמָה וַנֵּ֥שֶׁב בְּמִצְרַ֖יִם יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֑ים וַיָּרֵ֥עוּ לָ֛נוּ מִצְרַ֖יִם וְלַֽאֲבֹתֵֽינוּ:
mistreated us: We endured many hardships.   וַיָּרֵעוּ לָנוּ: סָבַלְנוּ צָרוֹת רַבּוֹת:
and our forefathers: From here [we learn] that when Israel is afflicted with punishment, the Patriarchs grieve in the grave. - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 12, Num. Rabbah 19:15]   וְלַֽאֲבֹתֵֽינוּ: מִכָּאן שֶׁהָאָבוֹת מִצְטַעֲרִים בַּקֶּבֶר כְּשֶׁפֻּרְעָנוּת בָּאָה עַל יִשְֹרָאֵל (עי' תנחומא):
16We cried out to the Lord and He heard our voice. He sent an angel, and he took us out of Egypt, and now we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border.   טזוַנִּצְעַ֤ק אֶל־יְהֹוָה֙ וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע קֹלֵ֔נוּ וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח מַלְאָ֔ךְ וַיֹּֽצִאֵ֖נוּ מִמִּצְרָ֑יִם וְהִנֵּה֙ אֲנַ֣חְנוּ בְקָדֵ֔שׁ עִ֖יר קְצֵ֥ה גְבוּלֶֽךָ:
and He heard our voice: through the blessing that our father [Isaac] gave: “The voice is the voice of Jacob” (Gen. 27:22). When we cry out we are answered. — [Midrash Aggadah . See also Midrash Tanchuma Beshallach 9]   וַיִּשְׁמַע קֹלֵנוּ: בַּבְּרָכָה שֶׁבֵּרְכָנוּ אָבִינוּ "הַקֹּל קוֹל יַעֲקֹב", שֶׁאָנוּ צוֹעֲקִים וְנַעֲנִים (תנחומא בשלח):
an angel: This refers to Moses. From here [we derive] that the prophets are called “angels,” and it says, “They mocked the angels of God” (II Chron. 36:16). - [Midrash Tanchuma Vayikra 1, Lev. Rabbah 1:1]   מַלְאָךְ: זֶה מֹשֶׁה, מִכָּאן שֶׁהַנְּבִיאִים קְרוּאִים מַלְאָכִים, וְאוֹמֵר "וַיִּהְיוּ מַלְעִבִים בְּמַלְאֲכֵי הָאֱלֹהִים" (דברי הימים ב' ל"ו):
17Please let us pass through your land; we will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink well water. We will walk along the king's road, and we will turn neither to the right nor to the left until we have passed through your territory.'"   יזנַעְבְּרָה־נָּ֣א בְאַרְצֶ֗ךָ לֹ֤א נַֽעֲבֹר֙ בְּשָׂדֶ֣ה וּבְכֶ֔רֶם וְלֹ֥א נִשְׁתֶּ֖ה מֵ֣י בְאֵ֑ר דֶּ֧רֶךְ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ נֵלֵ֗ךְ לֹ֤א נִטֶּה֙ יָמִ֣ין וּשְׂמֹ֔אול עַ֥ד אֲשֶׁר־נַֽעֲבֹ֖ר גְּבֻלֶֽךָ:
Please let us pass through your land: You have no right to contest the inheritance of the Land of Israel, since you did not pay the debt. Help us a little, and let us pass through your land. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 12, Num. Rabbah 19:15]   נַעְבְּרָה־נָּא בְאַרְצֶךָ: אֵין לְךָ לְעוֹרֵר עַל הַיְרֻשָּׁה שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁלֹּא פָרַעְתָּ הַחוֹב, עֲשֵׂה לָנוּ עֵזֶר מְעַט לַעֲבֹר דֶּרֶךְ אַרְצְךָ:
nor will we drink well water: He should have said, “water from cisterns.” However, Moses said, “Though we have manna to eat and a well from which to drink, we will not drink from it, but we will buy food and drink from you, for your benefit.” From here [we learn] that even if a guest has his own provisions, he should buy from the shopkeeper [or householder] to benefit his host. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 12, Num. Rabbah 19:15]   וְלֹא נִשְׁתֶּה מֵי בְאֵר: מֵי בוֹרוֹת הָיָה צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר, אֶלָּא כָּךְ אָמַר מֹשֶׁה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדֵנוּ מָן לֶאֱכֹל וּבְאֵר לִשְׁתּוֹת, לֹא נִשְׁתֶּה מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶלָּא נִקְנֶה מִכֶּם אֹכֶל וּמַיִם לַהֲנָאַתְכֶם, מִכָּאן לְאַכְסְנַאי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לֶאֱכֹל יִקְנֶה מִן הַחֶנְוָנִי, כְּדֵי לְהַנּוֹת אֶת אֻשְׁפִּיזוֹ (תנחומא):
We will walk along the king’s road: We will muzzle our animals so they should not turn to either side to eat. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 12, Num. Rabbah 19:15]   דֶּרֶךְ הַמֶּלֶךְ נֵלֵךְ וגו': אָנוּ חוֹסְמִים אֶת בְּהֶמְתֵּנוּ וְלֹא יִטּוּ לְכָאן וּלְכָאן לֶאֱכֹל (שם):
18Edom replied to him, "You shall not pass through me, lest I go out towards you with the sword!"   יחוַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ אֱד֔וֹם לֹ֥א תַֽעֲבֹ֖ר בִּ֑י פֶּן־בַּחֶ֖רֶב אֵצֵ֥א לִקְרָאתֶֽךָ:
lest I go out towards you with the sword: You pride yourselves with the ‘voice’ your father bequeathed you, and declare, “We cried out to the Lord, and He heard our voice” (verse 16). But we will go out against you with what my father bequeathed me: “You shall live by the sword” (Gen. 27:40) - [Midrash Tanchuma Beshallach 9]   פֶּן־בַּחֶרֶב אֵצֵא לִקְרָאתֶֽךָ: אַתֶּם מִתְגָּאִים בְּקוֹל שֶׁהוֹרִישְׁכֶם אֲבִיכֶם וְאוֹמְרִים "וַנִּצְעַק אֶל ה' וַיִּשְׁמַע קֹלֵנוּ", וַאֲנִי אֵצֵא עֲלֵיכֶם בְּמַה שֶּׁהוֹרִישֵׁנִי אָבִי "וְעַל חַרְבְּךָ תִחְיֶה" (בראשית כ"ז):
19The children of Israel said to him, "We will keep to the highway, and if we drink your water, either I or my cattle, we will pay its price. It is really nothing; I will pass through on foot."   יטוַיֹּֽאמְר֨וּ אֵלָ֥יו בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֘ בַּֽמְסִלָּ֣ה נַֽעֲלֶה֒ וְאִם־מֵימֶ֤יךָ נִשְׁתֶּה֙ אֲנִ֣י וּמִקְנַ֔י וְנָֽתַתִּ֖י מִכְרָ֑ם רַ֥ק אֵין־דָּבָ֖ר בְּרַגְלַ֥י אֶֽעֱבֹֽרָה:
It is really nothing: There is nothing to harm you.   רַק אֵין־דָּבָר: אֵין שׁוּם דָּבָר מַזִּיקְךָ:
20But he said, "You shall not pass through!" and Edom came out toward them with a vast force and with a strong hand.   כוַיֹּ֖אמֶר לֹ֣א תַֽעֲבֹ֑ר וַיֵּצֵ֤א אֱדוֹם֙ לִקְרָאת֔וֹ בְּעַ֥ם כָּבֵ֖ד וּבְיָ֥ד חֲזָקָֽה:
and with a strong hand: With our grandfather’s promise: “the hands are the hands of Esau” (Gen. 27:22). - [Midrash Aggadah]   וּבְיָד חֲזָקָֽה: בְּהַבְטָחַת זְקֵנֵנוּ "וְהַיָּדַיִם יְדֵי עֵשָׂו" (שם):
21Edom refused to allow Israel to cross through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.   כאוַיְמָאֵ֣ן | אֱד֗וֹם נְתֹן֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עֲבֹ֖ר בִּגְבֻל֑וֹ וַיֵּ֥ט יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵֽעָלָֽיו:
22They traveled from Kadesh, and the entire congregation of the children of Israel arrived at Mount Hor.   כבוַיִּסְע֖וּ מִקָּדֵ֑שׁ וַיָּבֹ֧אוּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל כָּל־הָֽעֵדָ֖ה הֹ֥ר הָהָֽר:
the entire congregation: All were perfect, ready to enter the Land. There was not among them even one of those upon whom the decree had been pronounced, for all those destined to die in the desert had already perished, and these were of those about whom it is written, “you… are all alive this day” (Deut. 4:4). - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 14, Num. Rabbah 19:16]   כָּל־הָֽעֵדָה: כֻּלָּם שְׁלֵמִים וְעוֹמְדִים לִכָּנֵס לָאָרֶץ, שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בָּהֶן אֶחָד מֵאוֹתָם שֶׁנִּגְזְרָה גְזֵרָה עֲלֵיהֶם, שֶׁכְּבָר כָּלוּ מֵתֵי מִדְבָּר וְאֵלּוּ מֵאוֹתָן שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהֶן (דברים ד') "חַיִּים כֻּלְּכֶם הַיּוֹם" (תנחומא):
Mount Hor: A mountain atop a mountain, [appearing like] a small apple atop of big apple. Although the cloud went in front of them and leveled out mountains, three of them remained: Mount Sinai for [the giving of] the Torah, Mount Nebo for the burial of Moses, and Mount Hor, for the burial of Aaron. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 14, Num. Rabbah 19:16]   הֹר הָהָֽר: הַר עַל גַּבֵּי הַר, כְּתַפּוּחַ קָטָן עַל גַּבֵּי תַפּוּחַ גָּדוֹל, וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֶעָנָן הוֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם וּמַשְׁוֶה אֶת הֶהָרִים, שְׁלֹשָׁה נִשְׁאֲרוּ בָהֶן — הַר סִינַי לַתּוֹרָה וְהֹר הָהָר לִקְבוּרַת אַהֲרֹן וְהַר נְבוֹ לִקְבוּרַת מֹשֶׁה (תנחומא):
23The Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, saying,   כגוַיֹּ֧אמֶר יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶל־משֶׁ֥ה וְאֶל־אַֽהֲרֹ֖ן בְּהֹ֣ר הָהָ֑ר עַל־גְּב֥וּל אֶֽרֶץ־אֱד֖וֹם לֵאמֹֽר:
on the border of the land of Edom: This teaches that because they associated themselves in a close relationship with the wicked Esau, a breach was made in their accomplishments, and they lost this righteous man. Similarly, the prophet said to Jehoshaphat, “When you joined up with Ahaziahu, God has breached your accomplishments” (II Chron. 20: 37). - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 14, Num. Rabbah 19:16]   עַל־גְּבוּל אֶֽרֶץ־אֱדוֹם: מַגִּיד שֶׁמִּפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּתְחַבְּרוּ כָאן לְהִתְקָרֵב לְעֵשָׂו הָרָשָׁע, נִפְרְצוּ מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם וְחָסְרוּ הַצַּדִּיק הַזֶּה, וְכֵן הַנָּבִיא אוֹמֵר לִיהוֹשָׁפָט (דברי הימים ב' כ') "בְּהִתְחַבֶּרְךָ עִם אֲחַזְיָהוּ פָּרַץ ה' אֶת מַעֲשֶׂיךָ" (תנחומא):
24"Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not come to the Land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you defied My word at the waters of dispute [Mei Meribah].   כדיֵֽאָסֵ֤ף אַֽהֲרֹן֙ אֶל־עַמָּ֔יו כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָבֹא֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תִּי לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עַ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־מְרִיתֶ֥ם אֶת־פִּ֖י לְמֵ֥י מְרִיבָֽה:
25Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and ascend Mount Hor.   כהקַ֚ח אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹ֔ן וְאֶת־אֶלְעָזָ֖ר בְּנ֑וֹ וְהַ֥עַל אֹתָ֖ם הֹ֥ר הָהָֽר:
Take Aaron: with words of solace; say to him, “You are fortunate that you can see your crown given over to your son, something I do not merit.” - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 17, Num. Rabbah 19:19]   קַח אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן: בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁל נִחוּמִים — אֱמֹר לוֹ, אַשְׁרֶיךָ שֶׁתִּרְאֶה כִתְרְךָ נָתוּן לְבִנְךָ, מַה שֶּׁאֵין אֲנִי זַכַּאי לְכָךְ (שם):
26Strip Aaron of his garments and dress Eleazar his son with them. Then Aaron shall be gathered in [to his people] and die there.   כווְהַפְשֵׁ֤ט אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן֙ אֶת־בְּגָדָ֔יו וְהִלְבַּשְׁתָּ֖ם אֶת־אֶלְעָזָ֣ר בְּנ֑וֹ וְאַֽהֲרֹ֥ן יֵֽאָסֵ֖ף וּמֵ֥ת שָֽׁם:
his garments: He dressed him in the garments of kehunah gedolah and then stripped him of them, to give them to his son in his presence. He told him, “Enter the cave,” and he entered. He saw a ready made bed, and a lighted candle. He told him, “Get up onto the bed,” and he got up. “Stretch out your hands,” and he stretched them out. “Close your mouth,” and he closed it. “Shut your eyes,” and he shut them. At that moment Moses yearned for such a death. This is why it was said to him, “in the way Aaron your brother died” (Deut. 32:50)-a death that you desired. — [Tanchuma Buber p. 132, Sifrei Ha’azinu 49]   אֶת־בְּגָדָיו: אֶת בִּגְדֵי כְהֻנָּה גְדוֹלָה הִלְבִּישָׁהוּ וְהִפְשִׁיטָם מֵעָלָיו, לְתִתָּם עַל בְּנוֹ בְּפָנָיו; אָמַר לוֹ הִכָּנֵס לַמְּעָרָה וְנִכְנַס, רָאָה מִטָּה מֻצַּעַת וְנֵר דָּלוּק, אָמַר לוֹ עֲלֵה לַמִּטָּה וְעָלָה, פְּשֹׁט יָדֶיךָ וּפָשַׁט, קְמֹץ פִּיךָ וְקָמַץ, עֲצֹם עֵינֶיךָ וְעָצַם, מִיָּד חָמַד מֹשֶׁה לְאוֹתָהּ מִיתָה, וְזֶהוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לוֹ (דברים ל"ב) "כַּאֲשֶׁר מֵת אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ" — מִיתָה שֶׁנִתְאַוִּיתָ לָהּ (ספרי שם):
27Moses did as the Lord commanded him. They ascended Mount Hor in the presence of the entire congregation.   כזוַיַּ֣עַשׂ משֶׁ֔ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהֹוָ֑ה וַיַּֽעֲלוּ֙ אֶל־הֹ֣ר הָהָ֔ר לְעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־הָֽעֵדָֽה:
Moses did: Although it was difficult for him, he did not hesitate. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath, Num. Rabbah 19:19]   וַיַּעַשׂ משֶׁה: אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַדָּבָר קָשֶׁה לוֹ, לֹא עִכֵּב (תנחומא):
28Moses then stripped Aaron of his garments and dressed Eleazar his son in them, and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. [Then] Moses and Eleazar descended from the mountain.   כחוַיַּפְשֵׁט֩ משֶׁ֨ה אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹ֜ן אֶת־בְּגָדָ֗יו וַיַּלְבֵּ֤שׁ אֹתָם֙ אֶת־אֶלְעָזָ֣ר בְּנ֔וֹ וַיָּ֧מָת אַֽהֲרֹ֛ן שָׁ֖ם בְּרֹ֣אשׁ הָהָ֑ר וַיֵּ֧רֶד משֶׁ֛ה וְאֶלְעָזָ֖ר מִן־הָהָֽר:
29The whole congregation saw that Aaron had expired, and the entire house of Israel wept for Aaron for thirty days.   כטוַיִּרְאוּ֙ כָּל־הָ֣עֵדָ֔ה כִּ֥י גָוַ֖ע אַֽהֲרֹ֑ן וַיִּבְכּ֤וּ אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן֙ שְׁלשִׁ֣ים י֔וֹם כֹּ֖ל בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
The whole congregation saw: When they saw Moses and Eleazar coming down, and Aaron did not come down, they said, “Where is Aaron?” He said to them, “He died.” They said, “Is it possible that the one who stood up against the angel and stopped the plague can be overpowered by the angel of death?” Whereupon Moses asked for mercy, and the ministering angels showed him to them, lying in the bed. They saw [him] and believed. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukath 17, Num. Rabbah 19:20]   וַיִּרְאוּ כָּל־הָעֵדָה: כְּשֶׁרָאוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאֶלְעָזָר יוֹרְדִים וְאַהֲרֹן לֹא יָרַד, אָמְרוּ הֵיכָן הוּא אַהֲרֹן? אָמַר לָהֶם מֵת, אָמְרוּ אֶפְשָׁר מִי שֶׁעָמַד כְּנֶגֶד הַמַּלְאָךְ וְעָצַר אֶת הַמַּגֵּפָה יִשְׁלֹט בוֹ מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת? מִיָּד בִּקֵּשׁ מֹשֶׁה רַחֲמִים וְהֶרְאוּהוּ מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת לָהֶם מֻטָּל בַּמִּטָּה, רָאוּ וְהֶאֱמִינוּ (שם):
the entire house of Israel: [both] the men and the women, for Aaron had pursued peace; he promoted love between disputing parties and between man and wife. — [Avoth d’Rabbi Nathan 12:4, Mid. Aggadah]   כָּל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵֽל: הָאֲנָשִׁים וְהַנָּשִׁים, לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה אַהֲרֹן רוֹדֵף שָׁלוֹם וּמַטִּיל אַהֲבָה בֵּין בַּעֲלֵי מְרִיבָה וּבֵין אִישׁ לְאִשְׁתּוֹ (אדר"נ י"ב):
that [Aaron] had expired: Heb. כִּי גָוַע אַהִרֹן. I say that the one who renders דְּהָא מִית, because [Aaron] had died, is in error, unless he also renders, וַיִּרְאוּ as וְאִתְחֲזִיאוּ, “they [the congregation] were seen” [in the sense of exposed], for our Rabbis’ statement that the word Heb. כִּי is used here in the sense of ‘because’ applies only according to the Midrash [which states] that the clouds of glory departed, and as R. Abahu said, “Do not read וַיִּרְאוּ, they saw, but וַיֵּרָאוּ, they were seen [exposed].” According to this explanation, ‘because’ is appropriate, since it gives the reason for what precedes it: Why were they exposed? Because Aaron had died [and the clouds had departed]. But, according to the Targum’s rendering, וַחֲזוֹ כָּל כְּנִשְׁתָּא, and the whole congregation saw, [the rendering of the word כִּי as] ‘because’ is inapplicable, only it has the meaning of אֲשֶׁר, ‘that’ which is a usage of the word אִי, for we find that אִם [its Hebrew equivalent] can mean ‘that,’ as in, “so that (וְאִם) why should I not be short of breath?” (Job 21:4). And there are many other instances [of the word אִם] in this sense, [as in] “that (אִם) his days are limited” (ibid. 14:5).   כִּי גָוַע: אוֹמֵר אֲנִי שֶׁהַמְתַּרְגֵּם דְּהָא מִית טוֹעֶה הוּא, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן מְתַרְגֵּם וַיִּרְאוּ וְאִתְחֲזִיאוּ, שֶׁלֹּא אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ כִּי זֶה מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בִּלְשׁוֹן דְּהָא אֶלָּא עַל מִדְרָשׁ שֶׁנִּסְתַּלְּקוּ עַנְנֵי הַכָּבוֹד, וְכִדְאָמַר רַבִּי אַבָּהוּ (ראש השנה ג'), אַל תִּקְרֵי וַיִּרְאוּ, אֶלָּא וַיֵּרָאוּ, וְעַל לָשׁוֹן זֶה נוֹפֵל לְשׁוֹן דְּהָא, לְפִי שֶׁהִיא נְתִינַת טַעַם לְמַה שֶּׁלְּמַעְלָה הֵימֶנּוּ — לָמָּה וַיֵּרָאוּ? לְפִי שֶׁהֲרֵי מֵת אַהֲרֹן; אֲבָל עַל תַּרְגּוּם "וְחָזוּ כָל כְּנִשְׁתָּא" אֵין לְשׁוֹן דְּהָא נוֹפֵל אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר, שֶׁהוּא מִגִּזְרַת שִׁמּוּשׁ אִי, שֶׁמָּצִינוּ אִם מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בִּלְשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר, כְּמוֹ "וְאִם מַדּוּעַ לֹא תִקְצַר רוּחִי" (איוב כ"א), וְהַרְבֵּה מְפֹרָשִׁים מִזֶּה הַלָּשׁוֹן — "אִם חֲרוּצִים יָמָיו" (שם י"ד):