Chapter 32

1Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth!   אהַֽאֲזִ֥ינוּ הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וַֽאֲדַבֵּ֑רָה וְתִשְׁמַ֥ע הָאָ֖רֶץ אִמְרֵי־פִֽי:
Listen, O heavens: that I am warning Israel, and you shall be witnesses in this matter, for I have already told Israel that you will be witnesses. And so is [the clause] “And let the earth hear” [to be similarly understood]. Now why did [Moses] call upon heaven and earth to be witnesses [for warning Israel]? Moses said: “I am [just] flesh and blood. Tomorrow I will die. If Israel says, ‘We never accepted the covenant,’ who will come and refute them?” Therefore, he called upon heaven and earth as witnesses for Israel-witnesses that endure forever. Furthermore, if they [Israel] act meritoriously, the witnesses will come and reward them: “The vine will give its fruit, the earth will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew” (Zech. 8:12). And if [Israel] acts sinfully, the hand of the witnesses will be upon them first [to inflict punishment upon them]: “And He will close off the heaven that there will be no rain, and the soil will not give its produce” (Deut. 11:17), and then [the verse continues]: “and you will perish quickly”-through [the attacks of] the nations. — [Sifrei 32:1]   הַֽאֲזִינוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם: שֶׁאֲנִי מַתְרֶה בָהֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וְתִהְיוּ עֵדִים בַּדָּבָר, שֶׁכָּךְ אָמַרְתִּי לָהֶם שֶׁאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ עֵדִים, וְכֵן ותשמע הארץ. וְלָמָּה הֵעִיד בָּהֶם שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ? אָמַר מֹשֶׁה: אֲנִי בָּשָׂר וָדָם, לְמָחָר אֲנִי מֵת, אִם יֹאמְרוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא קִבַּלְנוּ עָלֵינוּ הַבְּרִית, מִי בָא וּמַכְחִישָׁם? לְפִיכָךְ הֵעִיד בָּהֶם שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ — עֵדִים שֶׁהֵן קַיָּמִים לְעוֹלָם. וְעוֹד, שֶׁאִם יִזְכּוּ יָבֹאוּ הָעֵדִים וְיִתְּנוּ שְׂכָרָם, הַגֶּפֶן תִּתֵּן פִּרְיָהּ וְהָאָרֶץ תִּתֵּן יְבוּלָהּ וְהַשָּׁמַיִם יִתְּנוּ טַלָּם, וְאִם יִתְחַיְּבוּ תִּהְיֶה בָהֶם יַד הָעֵדִים תְּחִלָּה — "וְעָצַר אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְלֹא יִהְיֶה מָטָר וְהָאֲדָמָה לֹא תִתֵּן אֶת יְבוּלָהּ" (דברים י"ז), וְאַחַר כָּךְ "וַאֲבַדְתֶּם מְהֵרָה" (שם י"א) עַל יְדֵי הָאֻמּוֹת:
2My lesson will drip like rain; my word will flow like dew; like storm winds on vegetation and like raindrops on grass.   ביַֽעֲרֹ֤ף כַּמָּטָר֙ לִקְחִ֔י תִּזַּ֥ל כַּטַּ֖ל אִמְרָתִ֑י כִּשְׂעִירִ֣ם עֲלֵי־דֶ֔שֶׁא וְכִרְבִיבִ֖ים עֲלֵי־עֵֽשֶׂב:
My lesson will drip like rain: This is the testimony that you shall testify, that in your presence, I declare, "The Torah (לִקְחִי), which I gave to Israel, which provides life to the world, is just like this rain, which provides life to the world, [i.e.,] when the heavens drip down dew and rain." — [Sifrei 32:2]   יַֽעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי: זוֹ הִיא הָעֵדוּת שֶׁתָּעִידוּ — שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר בִּפְנֵיכֶם תּוֹרָה שֶׁנָּתַתִּי לְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהִיא חַיִּים לָעוֹלָם כְּמָטָר זֶה שֶׁהוּא חַיִּים לָעוֹלָם (עי' ספרי); כַּאֲשֶׁר יַעַרְפוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם טַל וּמָטָר:
will drip: Heb. יַעִרֹף, meaning, “dripping.” Similar to this [are the verses]: “will drip (יִרְעֲפוּן) fatness” (Ps. 65:12), [where the root רעף is equivalent to ערף]; “will drip (יַעַרְפוּ) dew” (Deut. 33:28).   יַֽעֲרֹף: לְשׁוֹן יַטִּיף, וְכֵן (תהילים ס"ה) "יִרְעֲפוּן דָּשֶׁן", (דברים ל"ג) "יַעַרְפוּ טָל":
will flow like dew: with which everyone rejoices, [unlike] the rain [which occasionally] causes anguish to people, such as travelers, or one whose pit [into which he presses his grapes] is full of wine [which is spoiled by the rain]. — [Sifrei 32:2]   תִּזַּל כַּטַּל: שֶׁהַכֹּל שְׂמֵחִים בּוֹ, לְפִי שֶׁהַמָּטָר יֵשׁ בּוֹ עֲצָבִים לַבְּרִיּוֹת, כְּגוֹן הוֹלְכֵי דְרָכִים וּמִי שֶׁהָיָה בוֹרוֹ מָלֵא יַיִן (ספרי):
like storm winds: Heb. כִּשְׂעִירִם. This is an expression similar to “storm (סְעָרָה) wind” [since ס and שׂ are interchangeable. Accordingly,] the Targum renders [כִּשְׂעִירִם as]: כְּרוּחֵי מִטְרָא, “like winds [that bring] rain.” [The metaphor is explained as follows:] Just as these [stormy, rainy] winds maintain the plants and promote their growth, so too, the words of the Torah cause those who study them to grow.   כִּשְׂעִירִם: לְשׁוֹן רוּחַ סְעָרָה, כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ "כְּרוּחֵי מִטְרָא", מָה הָרוּחוֹת הַלָּלוּ מַחֲזִיקִים אֶת הָעֲשָׂבִים וּמְגַדְּלִין אוֹתָם, אַף דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה מְגַדְּלִין אֶת לוֹמְדֵיהֶן:
like raindrops: Heb. וְכִרְבִיבִים, drops of rain. It appears to me that [a raindrop] is called רְבִיב because it shoots (רוֹבֶה) down like an arrow, as Scripture states, “an archer רוֹבֶה קַשָּׁת” (Gen. 21:20).   וְכִרְבִיבִים: טִפֵּי מָטָר. נִרְאֶה לִי עַל שֵׁם שֶׁיּוֹרֶה כְּחֵץ נִקְרָא רְבִיב, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אוֹמֵר "רֹבֶה קַשָּׁת" (בראשית כ"א):
vegetation: Erbediz [in Old French, like the English: herbage]. This is [the general term for] the mantle of the earth covered with vegetation.   דֶשֶׁא: ארברי"ץ, עֲטִיפַת הָאָרֶץ מְכֻסָּה בְיֶרֶק:
grass: Heb. עֵשֶׂב. A single stalk is called עֵשֶׂב and each species is called עֵשֶׂב [while דֶּשֶׁא denotes vegetation in general].   עֵֽשֶׂב: קֶלַח אֶחָד קָרוּי עֵשֶׂב, וְכָל מִין וָמִין לְעַצְמוֹ קָרוּי עֵשֶׂב:
3When I call out the name of the Lord, ascribe greatness to our God.   גכִּ֛י שֵׁ֥ם יְהֹוָה֖ אֶקְרָ֑א הָב֥וּ גֹ֖דֶל לֵֽאלֹהֵֽינוּ:
When I call out the name of the Lord: Here the word כִּי means “when”, just as [it also means “when” in the verse]: “When (כִּי) you come to the land…” (Lev. 23:10). [The meaning of our verse is therefore:] When I call out and make mention of the Lord’s name, you shall ascribe greatness to our God, and bless His name. From here, our Rabbis derived [the rule] that [the listeners] should respond: “Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom [forever and ever]!” after [every] blessing [recited] in the Temple [instead of “Amen,” which is the response outside the Temple]. — [Ta’anith 16b]   כִּי שֵׁם ה' אֶקְרָא: הֲרֵי כִּי מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בִּלְשׁוֹן כַּאֲשֶׁר, כְּמוֹ (ויקרא כ"ג) "כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ", כְּשֶׁאֶקְרָא וְאַזְכִּיר שֵׁם ה', אַתֶּם הבו גדל לאלהינו וּבָרְכוּ שְׁמוֹ, מִכָּאן אָמְרוּ שֶׁעוֹנִין בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ אַחַר בְּרָכָה שֶׁבַּמִּקְדָּשׁ (עי' ספרי; מכילתא שמות י"ג; ברכות כ"א; תענית ט"ז):
4The deeds of the [Mighty] Rock are perfect, for all His ways are just; a faithful God, without injustice He is righteous and upright.   דהַצּוּר֙ תָּמִ֣ים פָּֽעֳל֔וֹ כִּ֥י כָל־דְּרָכָ֖יו מִשְׁפָּ֑ט אֵ֤ל אֱמוּנָה֙ וְאֵ֣ין עָ֔וֶל צַדִּ֥יק וְיָשָׁ֖ר הֽוּא:
The deeds of the [Mighty] Rock are perfect: Even though God is strong [like a rock], when He brings retribution upon those who transgress His will, He does not bring it in a flood [of anger], but [rather] with justice because “His deeds are perfect.”   הַצּוּר תָּמִים פָּֽעֳלוֹ: אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא חָזָק, כְּשֶׁמֵּבִיא פֻּרְעָנוּת עַל עוֹבְרֵי רְצוֹנוֹ, לֹא בְּשֶׁטֶף הוּא מֵבִיא כִּי אִם בְּדִין, כִּי תמים פעלו:
a faithful God: [Faithful] to reward the righteous their due in the world-to-come. And even though He defers their reward, in the end He will fulfill (לְאַמֵּן) His words.   אֵל אֱמוּנָה: לְשַׁלֵּם לַצַּדִּיקִים צִדְקָתָם לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּאַחֵר אֶת תַּגְמוּלָם, סוֹפוֹ לְאַמֵּן אֶת דְּבָרָיו:
without injustice: Even to the wicked; God rewards them in this world for [any] meritorious deeds [they might have performed]. — [Sifrei 32:4]   וְאֵין עָוֶל: אַף לָרְשָׁעִים מְשַׁלֵּם שְׂכַר צִדְקָתָם בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה (עי' ספרי):
He is righteous and upright: All acknowledge God’s judgment meted out to them to be just (צַדִּיק), and therefore fitting and upright (יָשָׁר) for them. [That is, God is declared] just (צַדִּיק) by people, and He is upright (יָשָׁר), and it is fitting to declare God as righteous.   צַדִּיק וְיָשָׁר הֽוּא: הַכֹּל מַצְדִּיקִים עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת דִּינוֹ, וְכָךְ רָאוּי וְיָשָׁר לָהֶם, צדיק מִפִּי הַבְּרִיּוֹת וישר הוא וְרָאוּי לְהַצְדִּיקוֹ:
5Destruction is not His; it is His children's defect you crooked and twisted generation.   השִׁחֵ֥ת ל֛וֹ לֹּ֖א בָּנָ֣יו מוּמָ֑ם דּ֥וֹר עִקֵּ֖שׁ וּפְתַלְתֹּֽל:
Destruction is not His: Heb. שִׁחֵת לוֹ לֹא, [to be understood] as the Targum renders it: חַבִּילוּ לְהוֹן לָא לֵהּ, “Destruction is theirs, not His!”   שִׁחֵת לוֹ וגו': כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, "חַבִּילוּ לְהוֹן לָא לֵהּ":
it is His children’s defect: They were God’s children, and the destruction they wrought is their blemish.   בָּנָיו מוּמָם: בָּנָיו הָיוּ וְהַשְׁחָתָה שֶׁהִשְׁחִיתוּ הִיא מוּמָם:
it is His children’s defect: The destruction was His children’s blemish, not His blemish.   בָּנָיו מוּמָם: מוּמָם שֶׁל בָּנָיו הָיָה וְלֹא מוּמוֹ:
crooked generation: Heb. דּוֹר עִקֵּשׁ וּפְתַלְתֹּל, a crooked and perverted [generation]. [The word עִקֵּשׁ is] similar [in meaning] to [the verse], “and pervert (יְעַקְשׁוּ) all honesty” (Micah 3:9). We find [a similar expression] in the language of the Mishnah: "a weasel… because its teeth are bent (עִקוּמוּת) and crooked (עִקוּשׁוּת") . - [Chul. 56a]   דּוֹר עִקֵּשׁ: עָקֹם וּמְעֻקָּל, כְּמוֹ "וְאֵת כָּל הַיְשָׁרָה יְעַקֵּשׁוּ" (מיכה ג'). וּבִלְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה "חֻלְדָּה שֶׁשִּׁנֶּיהָ עֲקֻמּוֹת וַעֲקוּשׁוֹת":
and twisted: antortiliyez [in Old French, like the English “tortuous”], just as [in the manufacture of a candle,] the wick (פְּתִיל) is braided and [then it] is “twisted” around a [central] strand. The word פְתַלְתֹּל falls under the category of word stems that contain doubled letters [i.e., where the two last letters of the root are doubled], such as: “dark green (יְרַקְרַק) … dark red (אֲדַמְדָם)” (Lev. 13:49), “engulfed (סְחַרְחַר)” (Psalms 38:11), and “round (סְגַלְגַל)” (Targum Jonathan on I Kings 7:23, Ned. 66b).   וּפְתַלְתֹּֽל: אנטורט"ילייש, כַּפְּתִיל הַזֶּה שֶׁגּוֹדְלִין אוֹתוֹ וּמַקִּיפִין אוֹתוֹ סְבִיבוֹת הַגְּדִיל; פְּתַלְתֹּל מִן הַתֵּבוֹת הַכְּפוּלוֹת כְּמוֹ "יְרַקְרַק" "אֲדַמְדָּם" (ויקרא י"ג) "סְחַרְחַר" (תהילים ל"ח), "סְגַלְגַּל" (תרגום יונתן מלכים א ז'):
6Is this how you repay the Lord, you disgraceful, unwise people?! Is He not your Father, your Master? He has made you and established you.   והַ לְיהֹוָה֙ תִּגְמְלוּ־זֹ֔את עַ֥ם נָבָ֖ל וְלֹ֣א חָכָ֑ם הֲלוֹא־הוּא֙ אָבִ֣יךָ קָּנֶ֔ךָ ה֥וּא עָֽשְׂךָ֖ וַֽיְכֹֽנְנֶֽךָ:
Is this how you repay the Lord: This should be read as a question: “[Why] are you doing such saddening things before God? He has the power to punish you, [nevertheless] He has bestowed all these favors upon you. [Is this the way you repay Him for those favors?]”- [Sifrei 32:6]   הלה' תִּגְמְלוּ־זֹאת: לְשׁוֹן תֵּמָהּ, וְכִי לְפָנָיו אַתֶּם מַעֲצִיבִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לִפָּרַע מִכֶּם וְשֶׁהֵיטִיב לָכֶם בְּכָל הַטּוֹבוֹת?
you disgraceful… people: who have forgotten all that has been done for them.   עַם נָבָל: שֶׁשָּׁכְחוּ אֶת הֶעָשׂוּי לָהֶם:
unwise: [because you do not] understand the outcome, since it is in God’s power to do them good or evil [according to their actions]. — [Sifrei 32:6]   וְלֹא חָכָם: לְהָבִין אֶת הַנּוֹלָדוֹת, שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לְהֵיטִיב וּלְהָרַע:
Is He not your father, your Master?: [The word קָּנֶךָ means:] Who acquired (קָנָה) you; [alternatively it means:] Who nested you (קִנְּנֶךָ) in a nest (קַן) of rocks and in a strong land; [alternatively it means:] Who has rectified you (תִּקְּנֶךָ) with every type of reparation (תַּקָּנָה).   הֲלוֹא־הוּא אָבִיךָ קָּנֶךָ: שֶׁקְּנָאֲךָ, שֶׁקִּנֶּנְךָ בְּקַן הַסְּלָעִים וּבְאֶרֶץ חֲזָקָה, שֶׁתִּקֶּנְךָ בְּכָל מִינֵי תַקָּנָה:
He made you: A [special] nation among nations,   הוּא עָֽשְׂךָ: אֻמָּה בָּאֻמּוֹת:
and established you: After [making you a special nation, God established you] upon every kind of firm base and foundation (כַּן) [i.e., made you self-contained]: your kohanim are from among yourselves; your prophets are from among yourselves, and your kings are from among yourselves. [Indeed, you are like] a city from which all [resources] are [drawn]. — [Sifrei 32:6]   וַֽיְכֹֽנְנֶֽךָ: אַחֲרֵי כֵן בְּכָל מִינֵי בָסִיס וְכַן — מִכֶּם כֹּהֲנִים, מִכֶּם נְבִיאִים וּמִכֶּם מְלָכִים, כְּרַךְ שֶׁהַכֹּל בּוֹ (ספרי; חולין נ"ו):
7Remember the days of old; reflect upon the years of [other] generations. Ask your father, and he will tell you; your elders, and they will inform you.   זזְכֹר֙ יְמ֣וֹת עוֹלָ֔ם בִּ֖ינוּ שְׁנ֣וֹת דֹּֽר וָדֹ֑ר שְׁאַ֤ל אָבִ֨יךָ֙ וְיַגֵּ֔דְךָ זְקֵנֶ֖יךָ וְיֹֽאמְרוּ־לָֽךְ:
Remember the days of old: what God did to past generations who provoked Him to anger.   זְכֹר יְמוֹת עוֹלָם: מֶה עָשָׂה בָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁהִכְעִיסוּ לְפָנָיו:
reflect upon the years of [other] generations: [I.e.,] the generation of Enosh, whom [God] inundated with the waters of the ocean, and the generation of the Flood, whom [God] washed away. Another explanation is: [If] you have not set your attention to the past, then “reflect upon the years of generations,” i.e., to recognize the future, that He has the power to bestow good upon you and to give you as an inheritance the days of the Messiah and the world-to-come. — [Sifrei 32:6]   בִּינוּ שְׁנוֹת דֹּֽר וָדֹר: דּוֹר אֱנוֹשׁ שֶׁהֵצִיף עֲלֵיהֶם מֵי אוֹקְיָנוּס וְדוֹר הַמַּבּוּל שֶׁשְּׁטָפָם. דָּבָר אַחֵר — לֹא נְתַתֶּם לְבַבְכֶם עַל שֶׁעָבַר, בינו שנות דר ודר — לְהַכִּיר לְהַבָּא, שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לְהֵיטִיב לָכֶם וּלְהַנְחִיל לָכֶם יְמוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ וְהָעוֹלָם הַבָּא (עי' ספרי):
Ask your father: These are the prophets, who are called “fathers,” as Scripture states regarding [Elisha’s crying out to] Elijah, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel!” (II Kings 2:12).   שְׁאַל אָבִיךָ: אֵלּוּ הַנְּבִיאִים שֶׁנִּקְרָאִים אָבוֹת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב ב') בְּאֵלִיָּהוּ "אָבִי אָבִי רֶכֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל" (ספרי):
your elders: These are the Sages. — [Sifrei 32:7]   זְקֵנֶיךָ: אֵלּוּ הַחֲכָמִים:
and they will inform you: the events of the former times.   וְיֹֽאמְרוּ־לָֽךְ: הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת:
8When the Most High gave nations their lot, when He separated the sons of man, He set up the boundaries of peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.   חבְּהַנְחֵ֤ל עֶלְיוֹן֙ גּוֹיִ֔ם בְּהַפְרִיד֖וֹ בְּנֵ֣י אָדָ֑ם יַצֵּב֙ גְּבֻלֹ֣ת עַמִּ֔ים לְמִסְפַּ֖ר בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
When the Most High gave nations their lot: When the Holy One, Blessed is He, gave those who provoked Him to anger their portion, He flooded them and drowned them [i.e., that was their lot].   בְּהַנְחֵל עֶלְיוֹן גּוֹיִם: כְּשֶׁהִנְחִיל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמַכְעִיסָיו אֶת חֵלֶק נַחֲלָתָן הֱצִיפָן וּשְׁטָפָם:
when He separated the sons of man: When [God] scattered the Generation of the Dispersion [which built the tower of Babel], He had the power to remove them from the world [altogether], but He did not do so. Rather, “He set up the boundaries of peoples,” [i.e.,] He let them remain in existence and did not destroy them.   בְּהַפְרִידוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם: כְּשֶׁהֵפִיץ דּוֹר הַפַּלָּגָה הָיָה בְיָדוֹ לְהַעֲבִירָם מִן הָעוֹלָם, לֹא עָשָׂה כֵן אֶלָּא יצב גבלת עמים, קִיְּמָם וְלֹא אִבְּדָם:
according to the number of the children of Israel: [God let man remain in existence] for the sake of a [small] number of the children of Israel who were destined to descend from the children of Shem, and [the sake of] the number of the seventy souls of the children of Israel who went down to Egypt, He “set up the boundaries of peoples,” [i.e., He separated man into seventy nations with] seventy languages.   לְמִסְפַּר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל: בִּשְׁבִיל מִסְפַּר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁעֲתִידִין לָצֵאת מִבְּנֵי שֵׁם, וּלְמִסְפַּר שִׁבְעִים נֶפֶשׁ שֶׁל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיָּרְדוּ לְמִצְרַיִם הִצִּיב גבלת עמים — שִׁבְעִים לָשׁוֹן:
9Because the Lord's portion is His people Jacob, the lot of His inheritance.   טכִּ֛י חֵ֥לֶק יְהֹוָ֖ה עַמּ֑וֹ יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב חֶ֥בֶל נַֽחֲלָתֽוֹ:
Because the Lord’s portion is His people: And why did God go to all this effort [to save mankind]? “Because the Lord’s portion” was hidden within them [i.e., mankind] and was destined to come forth. And who is God’s portion? “His people.” And who is His people? “Jacob, the lot of His inheritance” - and he is the third among the Patriarchs. He is endowed with a threefold [parcel] of merits: The merit of his grandfather, the merit of his father, and his own merit-thus, totaling three, like a rope (חֶבֶל) composed of three strands [twined together for added strength (Sifrei 32:9)]. Thus, it was [only] Jacob and his sons who became God’s inheritance, not Ishmael, the son of Abraham, and not Esau, the son of Isaac.   כִּי חֵלֶק ה' עַמּוֹ: לָמָּה כָּל זֹאת? לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה חֶלְקוֹ כָּבוּשׁ בֵּינֵיהֶם וְעָתִיד לָצֵאת, וּמִי הוּא חֶלְקוֹ? עמו. וּמִי הוּא עַמּוֹ? יַֽעֲקֹב חֶבֶל נַֽחֲלָתֽוֹ וְהוּא הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בָּאָבוֹת, הַמְשֻׁלָּשׁ בְּשָׁלוֹשׁ זְכֻיּוֹת, זְכוּת אֲבִי אָבִיו וּזְכוּת אָבִיו וּזְכוּתוֹ, הֲרֵי ג', כַּחֶבֶל הַזֶּה שֶׁהוּא עָשׂוּי בְּג' גְּדִילִים, וְהוּא וּבָנָיו הָיוּ לוֹ לְנַחֲלָה, וְלֹא יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן אַבְרָהָם, וְלֹא עֵשָׂו בְּנוֹ שֶׁל יִצְחָק (עי' ספרי):
10He found them in a desert land, and in a desolate, howling wasteland. He encompassed them and bestowed understanding upon them; He protected them as the pupil of His eye.   ייִמְצָאֵ֨הוּ֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִדְבָּ֔ר וּבְתֹ֖הוּ יְלֵ֣ל יְשִׁמֹ֑ן יְסֹֽבְבֶ֨נְהוּ֙ יְב֣וֹנְנֵ֔הוּ יִצְּרֶ֖נְהוּ כְּאִישׁ֥וֹן עֵינֽוֹ:
He found them in a desert land: God found them [i.e., Jacob’s sons] faithful to Him in a desert land, for they accepted His Torah, His sovereignty, and His yoke upon themselves-something that Ishmael and Esau did not do, as Scripture states, “The Lord… shone forth from Seir to them, and appeared from Mount Paran” (Deut. 33:2). [The Sages (Sifrei Deut. 33:2, Tanchuma Beracha 4) explain this to mean: God first went to the children of Esau (Seir) and offered them the Torah, but they refused to accept it; then He went and offered it to the children of Ishmael (Paran), and they also refused. See Rashi on that verse.]   יִמְצָאֵהוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִדְבָּר: אוֹתָם מָצָא לוֹ נֶאֱמָנִים בְּאֶרֶץ הַמִּדְבָּר, שֶׁקִּבְּלוּ עֲלֵיהֶם תּוֹרָתוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ וְעֻלּוֹ, מַה שֶּׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ יִשְׁמָעֵאל וְעֵשָׂו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ל"ג) "וְזָרַח מִשֵּׂעִיר לָמוֹ הוֹפִיעַ מֵהַר פָּארָן":
and in a desolate, howling wasteland: An arid, desolate land, a place of howling (יְלֵל) jackals and ostriches. Yet even there, Israel followed their faith. They did not say to Moses, “How can we go out into the deserts, a place of drought and desolation?” The verse attests to this: “When you went after Me in the desert” (Jer. 2: 2).   וּבְתֹהוּ יְלֵל יְשִׁמֹן: אֶרֶץ צִיָּה וּשְׁמָמָה, מְקוֹם יִלְלַת תַּנִּינִים וּבְנוֹת יַעֲנָה, אַף שָׁם נִמְשְׁכוּ אַחַר הָאֱמוּנָה, וְלֹא אָמְרוּ לְמֹשֶׁה הֵיאַךְ נֵצֵא לַמִּדְבָּרוֹת מְקוֹם צִיָּה וְשִׁמָּמוֹן? כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיהו ב'), "לֶכְתֵּךְ אַחֲרַי בַּמִּדְבָּר":
He encompassed them: There [in the desert], [God] encompassed [Israel], surrounding them by [protective] clouds; He surrounded them with divisions in four directions, and He surrounded them with the underside of the mountain [Sinai], which He overturned [i.e., suspending it] over them like a tub [see Rashi on Exod. 19:17]. — [Sifrei 32:10]   יְסֹֽבְבֶנְהוּ: שָׁם סִבְּבָם וְהִקִּיפָם בַּעֲנָנִים וְסִבְּבָם בִּדְגָלִים לְאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹת וְסִבְּבָן בְּתַחְתִּית הָהָר שֶׁכָּפָהוּ עֲלֵיהֶם כְּגִיגִית (עי' ספרי):
and bestowed understanding upon them: There [God bestowed upon them] Torah and understanding.   יְבוֹנְנֵהוּ: שָׁם בְּתוֹרָה וּבִינָה:
He protected them: from snakes, serpents, and scorpions, and from [hostile] nations.   יִצְּרֶנְהוּ: מִנָּחָשׁ שָׂרָף וְעַקְרָב וּמִן הָאֻמּוֹת:
as the pupil of his eye: This refers to the black part of the eye, from which the light is reflected outward. Now, Onkelos renders יִמְצָאֵהוּ as: “He provided their needs,” that is, God provided Israel with all their needs in the desert. [The use of the word מָצָא is] similar to [its use in the verses], “[Will flock and cattle be slaughtered for them] to provide (וּמָצָא) them?” (Num. 11:22), and “The mountain is not enough (יִמָּצֵא) for us” (Josh. 17:16).   כְּאִישׁוֹן עֵינֽוֹ: הוּא הַשָּׁחֹר שֶׁבָּעַיִן שֶׁהַמָּאוֹר יוֹצֵא הֵימֶנּוּ. וְאֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם יִמְצָאֵהוּ — "יַסְפִּיקֵהוּ כָּל צָרְכּוֹ בַמִּדְבָּר", כְּמוֹ (במדבר י"א) "מָצָא לָהֶם", (יהושע י"ז) "לֹא יִמָּצֵא לָנוּ הָהָר":
He encompassed them: [Rendered by Onkelos :] “He made them encamp round about His Divine Presence”-the Tent of Meeting [where the Divine Presence rested] was in the middle [of the camp] and the four divisions [i.e., the tribal camps, surrounded it] from all four directions.   יְסֹֽבְבֶנְהוּ: "אַשְׁרִינוּן סְחוֹר סְחוֹר לִשְׁכִנְתֵּיהּ", אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד בָּאֶמְצָע וְאַרְבָּעָה דְגָלִים לְאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹת:
11As an eagle awakens its nest, hovering over its fledglings, it spreads its wings, taking them and carrying them on its pinions.   יאכְּנֶ֨שֶׁר֙ יָעִ֣יר קִנּ֔וֹ עַל־גּֽוֹזָלָ֖יו יְרַחֵ֑ף יִפְרֹ֤שׂ כְּנָפָיו֙ יִקָּחֵ֔הוּ יִשָּׂאֵ֖הוּ עַל־אֶבְרָתֽוֹ:
As an eagle awakens its nest: He guided them [Israel] with mercy and compassion like an eagle, which is merciful towards its own fledglings and does not enter its nest suddenly. [Rather,] it beats and flaps its wings above its young between one tree and another, between one branch and another, in order that its young should awaken and have the strength to receive it.   כְּנֶשֶׁר יָעִיר קִנּוֹ: נִהֲגָם בְּרַחֲמִים וּבְחֶמְלָה, כַּנֶּשֶׁר הַזֶּה רַחְמָנִי עַל בָּנָיו, וְאֵינוֹ נִכְנָס לְקִנּוֹ פִּתְאֹם עַד שֶׁהוּא מְקַשְׁקֵשׁ וּמְטָרֵף עַל בָּנָיו בִּכְנָפָיו בֵּין אִילָן לְאִילָן, בֵּין שׂוֹכָה לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּעוֹרוּ בָּנָיו וִיהֵא בָהֶם כֹּחַ לְקַבְּלוֹ (ספרי):
awakens its nest: [I.e.,] it awakens its fledglings.   יָעִיר קִנּוֹ: יְעוֹרֵר בָּנָיו:
hovering over its fledglings: [The eagle] does not impose its [whole] body upon them. Rather, it hovers above them, touching them and yet not quite touching them. So too, is the Holy One, Blessed is He. [As in the verse:] “We did not find the Almighty great in power” (Job 37:23). When He came to give the Torah to Israel, He did not reveal Himself to them from one direction [thus concentrating His power at one point, as it were], but rather, from four directions, as Scripture states, “The Lord came from Sinai, and shone forth from Seir to them, and appeared from Mount Paran” (Deut. 33:2). [This accounts for three directions.] The fourth direction is referred to in [the verse], “God comes from Teman” (Hab. 3:3). - [Sifrei 32:11]   עַל־גּֽוֹזָלָיו יְרַחֵף: אֵינוֹ מַכְבִּיד עַצְמוֹ עֲלֵיהֶם אֶלָּא מְחוֹפֵף — נוֹגֵעַ וְאֵינוֹ נוֹגֵעַ (תלמוד ירושלמי חגיגה ב') — אַף הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּאּ, "שַׁדַּי לֹא מְצָאנֻהוּ שַׂגִּיא כֹחַ" (איוב ל"ז) כְּשֶׁבָּא לִתֵּן תּוֹרָה לֹא נִגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֵרוּחַ אַחַת אֶלָּא מֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "ה' מִסִּינַי בָּא וְזָרַח מִשֵּׂעִיר לָמוֹ הוֹפִיעַ מֵהַר פָּארָן" (דברים ל"ג), "אֱלוֹהַּ מִתֵּימָן יָבוֹא" (חבקוק ג') — זוֹ רוּחַ רְבִיעִית (ספרי):
spreading its wings, taking them: When it [the eagle] comes to move [its fledglings] from place to place, it does not pick them up with its feet, as do other birds. Other birds are afraid of the eagle, which soars very high and flies above them. For this reason, it [the other bird] carries them with its feet because of the eagle [above them]. The eagle, however, is afraid only of an arrow. Therefore, it carries its young on its wings, saying, “It is better that an arrow pierce me, rather than pierce my young.” So too, the Holy One, Blessed is He, [says]: “I carried you on eagles’ wings” (Exod. 19:4). [I.e.,] when the Egyptians pursued [the children of Israel] and overtook them at the [Red] Sea, they cast arrows and catapulted rocks [at Israel]. Immediately, “The angel of God moved… [behind them… and the pillar of cloud] came between the camp of Egypt [and the camp of Israel]” (Exod. 14:19-20) [for Israel’s protection]. — [Mechilta 19:4]   יִפְרֹשׂ כְּנָפָיו יִקָּחֵהוּ: כְּשֶׁבָּא לִטְּלָם מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם אֵינוֹ נוֹטְלָן בְּרַגְלָיו כִּשְׁאָר עוֹפוֹת, לְפִי שֶׁשְּׁאָר עוֹפוֹת יְרֵאִים מִן הַנֶּשֶׁר שֶׁהוּא מַגְבִּיהַּ לָעוּף וּפוֹרֵחַ עֲלֵיהֶם, לְפִיכָךְ נוֹשְׂאָן בְּרַגְלָיו, מִפְּנֵי הַנֶּשֶׁר, אֲבָל הַנֶּשֶׁר אֵינוֹ יָרֵא אֶלָּא מִן הַחֵץ, לְפִיכָךְ נוֹשְׂאָן עַל כְּנָפָיו, אוֹמֵר מוּטָב שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס הַחֵץ בִּי וְלֹא יִכָּנֵס בְּבָנַי, אַף הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא (שמות י"ט) "וָאֶשָּׂא אֶתְכֶם עַל כַּנְפֵי נְשָׁרִים" — כְּשֶׁנָּסְעוּ מִצְרַיִם אַחֲרֵיהֶם וְהִשִּׂיגוּם עַל הַיָּם הָיוּ זוֹרְקִים בָּהֶם חִצִּים וְאַבְנֵי בָּלִיסְטְרָאוֹת, מִיָּד "וַיִּסַּע מַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים וְגוֹ' וַיָּבֹא בֵּין מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם וְגוֹ'" (שמות י"ד):
12[So] the Lord guided them alone, and there was no alien deity with Him.   יביְהֹוָ֖ה בָּדָ֣ד יַנְחֶ֑נּוּ וְאֵ֥ין עִמּ֖וֹ אֵ֥ל נֵכָֽר:
[So] the Lord guided them alone: God guided them safely and alone in the desert.   ה' בָּדָד יַנְחֶנּוּ: נִהֲגָם בַּמִּדְבָּר בָּדָד וּבֶטַח:
and there was no alien deity with him: Not one of the deities of the nations had the power to display its might and to wage war with them [i.e., with Israel]. Our Rabbis, however, explained [this whole verse] as referring to the future [i.e., “(So) the Lord will guide them….”] (Sifrei 32:12), and Onkelos renders [this verse] likewise. But I say that these are words of reproof. [Moses] called upon heaven and earth as witnesses, and this song [i.e., parashath Ha’azinu] would [also] be a witness, that eventually [Israel] would betray [God], and they would neither remember what God did for them in the past [generations], nor [would they bear in mind] what He was destined to do to them. Hence, this [verse] should be understood to refer to both [the past and the future]. And [therefore] this whole passage is apropos of [the phrase]: “Remember the days of old; reflect upon the years of [other] generations” (verse 7)-thus [God] did for them, and thus will He do for them in the future. [The passage is admonishing Israel:] They should have remembered all this.   וְאֵין עִמּוֹ אֵל נֵכָֽר: לֹא הָיָה כֹחַ בְּאֶחָד מִכָּל אֱלֹהֵי הַגּוֹיִם לְהַרְאוֹת כֹּחוֹ וּלְהִלָּחֵם עִמָּהֶם. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ דְרָשׁוּהוּ עַל הֶעָתִיד וְכֵן תִּרְגֵּם אֻנְקְלוֹס, וַאֲנִי אוֹמֵר דִּבְרֵי תּוֹכֵחָה הֵם לְהָעִיד הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וּתְהֵא הַשִּׁירָה לָהֶם לְעֵד שֶׁסּוֹפָן לִבְגֹּד וְלֹא יִזְכְּרוּ לֹא הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת שֶׁעָשָׂה לָהֶם וְלֹא הַנּוֹלָדוֹת שֶׁהוּא עָתִיד לַעֲשׂוֹת לָהֶם, לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ לְיַשֵּׁב הַדָּבָר לְכָאן וּלְכָאן. וְכָל הָעִנְיָן מוּסָב עַל זכר ימות עולם בינו שנות דר ודר, כֵּן עָשָׂה לָהֶם וְכֵן עָתִיד לַעֲשׂוֹת, כָּל זֶה הָיָה לָהֶם לִזְכֹּר:
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":
19And the Lord saw this and became angry, provoked by His sons and daughters.   יטוַיַּ֥רְא יְהֹוָ֖ה וַיִּנְאָ֑ץ מִכַּ֥עַס בָּנָ֖יו וּבְנֹתָֽיו:
20And He said, "I will hide My face from them. I will see what their end will be, for they are a generation of changes; they are not [recognizable] as My children whom I have reared.   כוַיֹּ֗אמֶר אַסְתִּ֤ירָה פָנַי֙ מֵהֶ֔ם אֶרְאֶ֖ה מָ֣ה אַֽחֲרִיתָ֑ם כִּ֣י ד֤וֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת֙ הֵ֔מָּה בָּנִ֖ים לֹֽא־אֵמֻ֥ן בָּֽם:
I will see what their end will be: [i.e., I will see] what will befall them in the end.   מָה אַֽחֲרִיתָם: מַה תַּעֲלֶה בָהֶם בְּסוֹפָם:
for they are a generation of changes: i.e., they change My good will into anger.   כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה: מְהַפְּכִין רְצוֹנִי לְכַעַס:
they are not [recognizable]… whom I have reared: Heb. אֵמֻן. My rearing [them] is not recognizable in them, for I taught them a good way, but they deviated from it.   לֹֽא־אֵמֻן בָּֽם: אֵין גִדּוּלַי נִכָּרִים בָּהֶם, כִּי הוֹרֵיתִים דֶּרֶךְ טוֹבָה וְסָרוּ מִמֶּנָּה:
reared: אֵמֻן is an expression related to “And he reared (אֹמֵן) [Hadassah]” (Esther 2:7), nourriture in French. Another explanation of אֵמֻן: It is an expression of אֱמוּנָה, faithfulness, which is how the Targum renders it [literally, “children who have no faithfulness”]. At Sinai, they said, “We will do and we will hear,” and a short while later, they broke their promise and made the golden calf!"- [Sifrei 32:20]   אֵמֻן: לְשׁוֹן "וַיְהִי אֹמֵן" (אסתר ב'), נורריטור"ה בְּלַעַז; דָּבָר אַחֵר — אמן לְשׁוֹן אֱמוּנָה, כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, אָמְרוּ בְסִינַי נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע וּלְשָׁעָה קַלָּה בִטְּלוּ הַבְטָחָתָם וְעָשׂוּ הָעֵגֶל (ספרי):
21They have provoked My jealousy with a non god, provoked My anger with their vanities. Thus, I will provoke their jealousy with a non people, provoke their anger with a foolish nation.   כאהֵ֚ם קִנְא֣וּנִי בְלֹא־אֵ֔ל כִּֽעֲס֖וּנִי בְּהַבְלֵיהֶ֑ם וַֽאֲנִי֙ אַקְנִיאֵ֣ם בְּלֹא־עָ֔ם בְּג֥וֹי נָבָ֖ל אַכְעִיסֵֽם:
have provoked my jealousy: They kindled My anger.   קִנְאוּנִי: הִבְעִירוּ חֲמָתִי:
with a non-god: With something that is not a god.   בְלֹא־אֵל: בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֱלוֹהַּ:
with a non-people: With a nation that has no name, as Scripture states, “This land of the Chaldeans-this people was not” (Isa. 23:13). And regarding Esau, Scripture states, “You are very despised” (Obad. 1:2).   בְלֹא־עָם: בְּאֻמָּה שֶׁאֵין לָהּ שֵׁם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיהו כ"ג) הֵן אֶרֶץ כַּשְׂדִים זֶה הָעָם לֹא הָיָה, בְּעֵשָׂו הוּא אוֹמֵר (עובדיה א') בָּזוּי אַתָּה מְאֹד:
I will… provoke their anger with a foolish nation: These are the heretics. So Scripture states, “The fool (נָבָל) said in his heart, There is no God!” (Ps. 14:1). - [Sifrei 32: 21]   בְּגוֹי נָבָל אַכְעִיסֵֽם: אֵלּוּ הַמִּינִים, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (תהילים י"ד) אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים (ספרי; יבמות ס"ג):
22For a fire blazed in My wrath, and burned to the lowest depths. It consumed the land and its produce, setting aflame the foundations of mountains.   כבכִּֽי־אֵשׁ֙ קָֽדְחָ֣ה בְאַפִּ֔י וַתִּיקַ֖ד עַד־שְׁא֣וֹל תַּחְתִּ֑ית וַתֹּ֤אכַל אֶ֨רֶץ֙ וִֽיבֻלָ֔הּ וַתְּלַהֵ֖ט מֽוֹסְדֵ֥י הָרִֽים:
blazed: Heb. קָדְחָה, burned.   קָֽדְחָה: בָּעֲרָה:
and burned: within you, to the very foundation.   וַתִּיקַד: בָּכֶם עַד הַיְסוֹד:
It consumed the land and its produce: i.e., your land and its produce.   וַתֹּאכַל אֶרֶץ וִֽיבֻלָהּ: אַרְצְכֶם וִיבוּלָהּ (ספרי):
setting aflame: Jerusalem, which has her foundations set upon the mountains, as Scripture states: “Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains” (Ps. 125:2). - [Sifrei 32: 22]   וַתְּלַהֵט: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הַמְיֻסֶּדֶת עַל הֶהָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים קכ"ה) יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הָרִים סָבִיב לָהּ:
23I will link evils upon them. I will use up My arrows on them.   כגאַסְפֶּ֥ה עָלֵ֖ימוֹ רָע֑וֹת חִצַּ֖י אֲכַלֶּה־בָּֽם:
will link evils upon them: Heb. אַסְפֶּה, I will link evil upon evil. [This expression is] similar to the verse, “join (סְפוּ) year upon year,” (Isa. 29:1) and, “add (סְפוֹת) the punishment of the unintentional sins,” (Deut. 29:18) and, “Add (סְפוּ) your burnt-offerings to your sacrifices.” (Jer. 7:21). Another explanation: אַסְפֶּה means, I will consume. This is similar to the verse, “lest you be consumed (תִּסָּפֶּה)” (Gen. 19:15) [thus, our verse here would mean: “I will use up all evils on them”].   אַסְפֶּה עָלֵימוֹ רָעוֹת: אַחְבִּיר רָעָה עַל רָעָה, לְשׁוֹן "סְפוּ שָׁנָה עַל שָׁנָה" (ישעיהו כ"ט), "סְפוֹת הָרָוָה" (דברים כ"ט), "עֹלוֹתֵיכֶם סְפוּ עַל זִבְחֵיכֶם" (ירמיהו ז'). דָּבָר אַחֵר — אספה אֲכַלֶּה, כְּמוֹ "פֶּן תִּסָּפֶה" (בראשית י"ט):
I will use up my arrows on them: I will finish up all My arrows on them [i.e., until there are no arrows left, as it were]. This curse, according to [the usual way] retribution [is expressed], is really a[n implied] blessing, namely: [God says,] "My arrows may come to an end, but Israel will not come to an end [i.e., they will never be annihilated].   חִצַּי אֲכַלֶּה־בָּֽם: כָּל חִצַּי אַשְׁלִים בָּהֶם, וּקְלָלָה זוֹ לְפִי הַפֻּרְעָנוּת לִבְרָכָה הִיא — חִצַּי כָּלִים וְהֵם אֵינָם כָּלִים (ספרי; סוטה ט'):
24They will sprout hair from famine, attacked by demons, excised by Meriri. I will incite the teeth of livestock upon them, with the venom of creatures that slither in the dust.   כדמְזֵ֥י רָעָ֛ב וּלְחֻ֥מֵי רֶ֖שֶׁף וְקֶ֣טֶב מְרִירִ֑י וְשֶׁן־בְּהֵמֹת֙ אֲשַׁלַּח־בָּ֔ם עִם־חֲמַ֖ת זֹֽחֲלֵ֥י עָפָֽר:
They will sprout hair from famine: Heb. מְזֵי רָעָב. Onkelos renders this as: “swollen from famine,” but I have no evidence from Scripture for this [translation]. In the name of Rabbi Moses Hadarshan of Toulouse, however, I heard that the expression מְזֵי רָעָב is equivalent to שְׂעִירֵי רָעָב, “hairy from famine,” for an emaciated person grows hair on his skin.   מְזֵי רָעָב: אֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם "נְפִיחֵי כָפָן", וְאֵין לִי עֵד מוֹכִיחַ עָלָיו, וּמִשְּׁמוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי מֹשֶׁה הַדַּרְשָׁן מִטּוּלוּשָׂא שָׁמַעְתִּי שְׂעִירֵי רָעָב — אָדָם כָּחוּשׁ מְגַדֵּל שֵׂעָר עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ:
hair: מְזֵי is Aramaic for hair, as the term מַזְיָא [in the clause]: דַּהֲוָה מְהַפֵּךְ בְּמַזְיָא, meaning “turning over his hair.” - [Meg. 18a]   מְזֵי: לְשׁוֹן אֲרַמִּי שֵׂעָר — מִזַיָּא, "דַּהֲוָה מְהַפֵּךְ בְּמִזַיָּא" (מגילה י"ח):
attacked by demons: Heb. וּלְחֻמֵי רֶשֶׁף. Demons fought (לחם) against them, as Scripture states: “and flying creatures (בְּנֵי רֶשֶׁף) fly upwards” (Job 5:7). These are demons.   וּלְחֻמֵי רֶשֶׁף: הַשֵּׁדִים נִלְחֲמוּ בָהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וּבְנֵי רֶשֶׁף יַגְבִּיהוּ עוּף" (איוב ה'), וְהֵם שֵׁדִים:
excised by Meriri: Heb. וְקֶטֶב מְרִירִי, and excision caused by a demon named מְרִירִי. Heb. קֶטֶב means excision, similar to, “I will decree the grave upon you (קָטָבְךָ)!” (Hos. 13:14) [In Hebrew, the word for decree is גְּזֵרָה, the root of which is גזר, to cut. Hence, its primary meaning is “to cut.” There are many such roots in Hebrew, in the Bible, the Mishnah, and the Targum. They all bear the first meaning of cutting, and the second meaning of a final, permanent decision or ruling. Among them are the following: פסק, חקק, גזר, צמת, חרץ, כרת, חלט.]   וְקֶטֶב מְרִירִי: וּכְרִיתוּת שֵׁד שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ מְרִירִי, קטב כְּרִיתָה, כְּמוֹ "אֱהִי קָטָבְךָ שְׁאוֹל" (הושע י"ג):
the teeth of livestock: It indeed once happened that sheep were biting people to death. — [Sifrei 32:24]   וְשֶׁן־בְּהֵמֹת: מַעֲשֶׂה הָיָה וְהָיוּ הָרְחֵלִים נוֹשְׁכִין וּמְמִיתִין (ספרי):
with the venom of creatures that slither in the dust: Heb. זֹחִלֵי עָפָר, the venom of snakes, which crawl on their bellies on the dust. — [Sifrei 32:24] [They crawl] just as the water flows (זחל) upon the ground. The word זְחִילָה denotes the slithering action of water upon the dust [of the ground], and similarly, the way anything slithers and shuffles across the ground to move along [is described as זְחִילָה].   חֲמַת זֹֽחֲלֵי עָפָֽר: אֶרֶס נְחָשִׁים הַמְהַלְּכִים עַל גְּחוֹנָם עַל הֶעָפָר כַּמַּיִם הַזּוֹחֲלִים עַל הָאָרֶץ; זְחִילָה לְשׁוֹן מְרוּצַת הַמַּיִם עַל הֶעָפָר וְכֵן כָּל מְרוּצַת דָּבָר הַמְשַׁפְשֵׁף עַל הֶעָפָר וְהוֹלֵךְ:
25From outside, the sword will bereave, and terror from within; young men and maidens, suckling babes with venerable elders.   כהמִחוּץ֙ תְּשַׁכֶּל־חֶ֔רֶב וּמֵֽחֲדָרִ֖ים אֵימָ֑ה גַּם־בָּחוּר֙ גַּם־בְּתוּלָ֔ה יוֹנֵ֖ק עִם־אִ֥ישׁ שֵׂיבָֽה:
From outside, the sword will bereave: Outside the city, the sword of hostile troops will bereave them.   מִחוּץ תְּשַׁכֶּל־חֶרֶב: מִחוּץ לָעִיר תְּשַׁכְּלֵם חֶרֶב גְּיָסוֹת.
and terror from within: When you flee, escaping from the sword, the inner recesses (חֲדָרִים) of your heart will pound within you out of terror, and you will gradually die from this. — [Sifrei 32:25] Another explanation [וּמֵחֲדָרִים אֵימָה]: Within your house, there will be the terror of [impending] fear of plague, as Scripture states, “For death has come up into our windows” (Jer. 9:20). Onkelos renders this in this way. Another explanation of “Outside, the sword will bereave”- [They will be killed by the sword] on account of what they did in the streets (חוּצוֹת), as Scripture states, “Corresponding to the number of streets in Jerusalem, you set up altars to the shameful thing.” (Jer. 11:13) [And along the same lines,] וּמֵחֲדָרִים אֵימָה means: On account of that which they did in the innermost chambers of their houses, as Scripture states, “[Have you seen] what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each one in his paved chambers?” (Ezek. 8:12) - [Sifrei 32:25]   וּמֵֽחֲדָרִים אֵימָה: כְּשֶׁבּוֹרֵחַ וְנִמְלָט חַדְרֵי לִבּוֹ נְקוּפִים עָלָיו מֵחֲמַת אֵימָה, וְהוּא מֵת וְהוֹלֵךְ בָּה (ספרי); דָּבָר אַחֵר, ומחדרים אימה — בַּבַּיִת תִּהְיֶה אֵימַת דֶּבֶר, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיהו ט') "כִּי עָלָה מָוֶת בְּחַלּוֹנֵינוּ", וְכֵן תִּרְגֵּם אֻנְקְלוֹס; דָּבָר אַחֵר, מחוץ תשכל חרב — עַל מַה שֶּׁעָשׂוּ בַחוּצוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וּמִסְפַּר חוּצוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שַׂמְתֶּם מִזְבְּחוֹת לַבֹּשֶׁת" (שם י"א); ומחדרים אימה, עַל מַה שֶּׁעָשׂוּ בְחַדְרֵי חֲדָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "אֲשֶׁר זִקְנֵי בֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹשִׂים בַּחֹשֶׁךְ אִישׁ בְּחַדְרֵי מַשְׂכִּיתוֹ" (יחזקאל ח'):
26I said that I would make an end of them, eradicate their remembrance from mankind.   כואָמַ֖רְתִּי אַפְאֵיהֶ֑ם אַשְׁבִּ֥יתָה מֵֽאֱנ֖וֹשׁ זִכְרָֽם:
I said that I would make an end of them: Heb. אַפְאֵיהֶם. I said in My heart, “I will make an end (אַפְאֶה) of them.” One may also explain אַפְאֵיהֶם to mean: I would make them as פֵּאָה [the corners of one’s field which are left as ownerless for the poor to collect]; i.e., I will cast them away as ownerless. We find a similarity to this [expression] in Ezra (Neh. 9:22), “And You gave them kingdoms and peoples, and You separated them as ownerless things (לְפֵאָה).” Menachem [ben Saruk] (Machbereth pp. 29, 140) also classified it in this way. [Note that Nehemiah is officially part of the book of Ezra, as in San. 93b. Note also that Menachem’s interpretation is not identical with Rashi’s.] Others, however, explain the expression according to the rendition of the Targum: My wrath (אַף) will fall upon them [thereby assuming that the word אַפְאֵיהֶם stems from the root אף, anger]. But this is incorrect, for if this were so, our verse should have been written: אֲאַפְאֵיהֶם [with two alephs], one aleph to serve [as the pronominal prefix for “I will,”] and the other aleph as a root letter, like, “I will strengthen you (אֲאַזֶּרְךָ)” (Isa. 45:5); and, “I would encourage you (אֲאַמִּצְכֶם) with my mouth” (Job 16:5). Moreover, the aleph in the middle of the word אַפְאֵיהֶם is completely inappropriate there. [Thus, we can see that Onkelos, in rendering his translation here, could not have meant that the word is simply a form of the stem אף. So how does he justify this translation?] Onkelos rendered this expression in accordance with the explanation of the Baraitha [a talmudic source not included in the canon of the Mishnah], which is taught in Sifrei (32:26). This Baraitha divides the word אַפְאֵיהֶם into three separate words, to read: אַף אֵי הֶם, which has the meaning, “I said in My anger (אַף) that I would make them as if they were naught,” so that those who behold them would say about them, “Where are they אַיֵּה הֵם?”   אָמַרְתִּי אַפְאֵיהֶם: אָמַרְתִּי בְלִבִּי אַפְאֶה אוֹתָם, וְיֵשׁ לְפָרֵשׁ אפאיהם אֲשִׁיתֵם פֵּאָה, לְהַשְׁלִיכָם מֵעָלַי הֶפְקֵר, וְדֻגְמָתוֹ מָצִינוּ בְעֶזְרָא (נחמיה ט') "וַתִּתֵּן לָהֶם מַמְלָכוֹת וַעֲמָמִים וַתַּחְלְקֵם לְפֵאָה" — לְהֶפְקֵר, וְכֵן חִבְּרוֹ מְנַחֵם. וְיֵשׁ פּוֹתְרִים אוֹתוֹ כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ "יָחוּל רוּגְזִי עֲלֵיהוֹן", וְלֹא יִתָּכֵן, שֶׁאִם כֵּן הָיָה לוֹ לִכְתֹּב אֲאַפְאֵיהֶם, אַחַת לְשִׁמּוּשׁ וְאַחַת לִיסוֹד, כְּמוֹ "אֲאַזֶּרְךָ" (ישעיהו מ"ה), "אֲאַמִּצְכֶם בְּמוֹ פִי" (איוב ט"ו), וְהָאָלֶ"ף הַתִּיכוֹנָה אֵינָהּ רְאוּיָה בוֹ כְלָל. וְאֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם אַחַר לְשׁוֹן הַבָּרַיְתָא הַשְּׁנוּיָה בְסִפְרֵי הַחוֹלֶקֶת תֵּבָה זוֹ לְשָׁלוֹשׁ תֵּבוֹת, אָמַרְתִּי אַף אֵי הֵם — אָמַרְתִּי בְאַפִּי אֶתְּנֵם כְּאִלּוּ אֵינָם שֶׁיֹּאמְרוּ רוֹאֵיהֶם עֲלֵיהֶם אַיֵּה הֵם:
27Were it not that the enemy's wrath was heaped up, lest their adversaries distort; lest they claim, "Our hand was triumphant! The Lord did none of this!"   כזלוּלֵ֗י כַּ֤עַס אוֹיֵב֙ אָג֔וּר פֶּן־יְנַכְּר֖וּ צָרֵ֑ימוֹ פֶּן־יֹֽאמְרוּ֙ יָדֵ֣נוּ רָ֔מָה וְלֹ֥א יְהֹוָ֖ה פָּעַ֥ל כָּל־זֹֽאת:
Were it not that the enemy’s wrath was heaped up: Heb. אָגוּר. Were it not that the enemy’s wrath was heaped up (אָגוּר) against them to destroy them, and if the enemy would succeed in overtaking them and destroying them, he would attribute the greatness to himself and to his deity, but he would not attribute the greatness to Me [says God]. This, then, is the meaning of “lest their adversaries distort” (Heb. פֶּן יְנַכְּרוּ צָרֵימוֹ): lest they misconstrue the matter by attributing their might to an alien (נָכְרִי), to whom the greatness does not belong.   לוּלֵי כַּעַס אוֹיֵב אָגוּר: אִם לֹא שֶׁכַּעַס הָאוֹיֵב כָּנוּס עֲלֵיהֶם לְהַשְׁחִית, וְאִם יוּכַל לָהֶם וְיַשְׁחִיתֵם יִתְלֶה הַגְּדֻלָּה בּוֹ וּבֵאלֹהָיו וְלֹא יִתְלֶה הַגְּדֻלָּה בִּי, וְזֶהוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר פן ינכרו צרימו — יְנַכְּרוּ הַדָּבָר לִתְלוֹת גְּבוּרָתָם בְּנָכְרִי שֶׁאֵין הַגְּדֻלָּה שֶׁלּוֹ — פן יאמרו ידנו רמה וגו':
lest they claim, Our hand was triumphant…!: For that nation is one “devoid of counsel.”   פן יאמרו ידנו רמה וגו': כי אותו גוי אובד עצות המה:
28For they are a nation devoid of counsel, and they have no understanding.   כחכִּי־ג֛וֹי אֹבַ֥ד עֵצ֖וֹת הֵ֑מָּה וְאֵ֥ין בָּהֶ֖ם תְּבוּנָֽה:
and they have no understanding: For if they were wise people, they would understand this, namely: “How could one [person] pursue [a thousand…]?” (verse 30).   כִּי־: אוֹתוֹ גוי אבד עצות המה ואין בהם תבונה. שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיוּ חֲכָמִים ישכילו זאת איכה ירדף וגו':
29If they were wise, they would understand this; they would reflect upon their fate.   כטל֥וּ חָֽכְמ֖וּ יַשְׂכִּ֣ילוּ זֹ֑את יָבִ֖ינוּ לְאַֽחֲרִיתָֽם:
they would reflect upon their fate: They would turn their attention towards thinking carefully about the end of Israel’s troubles [that the whole cause is God’s punishing Israel, rather than attributing Israel’s defeat to their own power].   יָבִינוּ לְאַֽחֲרִיתָֽם: יִתְּנוּ לֵב לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן לְסוֹף פֻּרְעֲנוּתָם שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
30How can one [person] pursue a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their [Mighty] Rock has sold them out, and the Lord has given them over?   לאֵיכָ֞ה יִרְדֹּ֤ף אֶחָד֙ אֶ֔לֶף וּשְׁנַ֖יִם יָנִ֣יסוּ רְבָבָ֑ה אִם־לֹא֙ כִּֽי־צוּרָ֣ם מְכָרָ֔ם וַֽיהֹוָ֖ה הִסְגִּירָֽם:
How could one [person]: of us pursue a thousand of Israel?!   אֵיכָה יִרְדֹּף אֶחָד: מִמֶּנּוּ אלף מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל:
unless their [Mighty] Rock has sold them out, and the Lord has given them over: i.e., has sold them out, and given them over into our hands, delivrer in Old French [like the English: to deliver].   אִם־לֹא כִּֽי־צוּרָם מְכָרָם וה' הִסְגִּירָֽם: מְכָרָם וּמְסָרָם בְּיָדֵנוּ, דליב"ר בְּלַעַז:
31For their rock is not like our [Mighty] Rock. Nevertheless, our enemies sit in judgment.   לאכִּ֛י לֹ֥א כְצוּרֵ֖נוּ צוּרָ֑ם וְאֹֽיְבֵ֖ינוּ פְּלִילִֽים:
For their rock is not like our [Mighty] Rock: The enemies should have understood all the above, that the Lord gave Israel over [to them], and that victory must not be attributed to them or to their deities. For until now, their deities have achieved nothing against our Rock. Because their rock is not like our Rock. The word צוּר in Scripture is always an expression meaning סֶלַע, rock .   כִּי לֹא כְצוּרֵנוּ צוּרָם: כָּל זֶה הָיָה לָהֶם לָאוֹיְבִים לְהָבִין שֶׁהַשֵּׁם הִסְגִּירָם וְלֹא לָהֶם וְלֵאלֹהֵיהֶם הַנִּצָּחוֹן, שֶׁהֲרֵי עַד הֵנָּה לֹא יָכְלוּ כְּלוּם אֱלֹהֵיהֶם כְּנֶגֶד צוּרֵנוּ, כִּי לֹא כְסַלְעֵנוּ סַלְעָם; כָּל צוּר שֶׁבַּמִּקְרָא לְשׁוֹן סֶלַע:
nevertheless, our enemies sit in judgment: Nevertheless, now our enemies are judging us. It must be then, that our Rock has given us over to them.   וְאֹֽיְבֵינוּ פְּלִילִֽים: וְעַכְשָׁו אוֹיְבֵינוּ שׁוֹפְטִים אוֹתָנוּ, הֲרֵי שֶׁצוּרֵנוּ מְכָרָנוּ לָהֶם:
32For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the field of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of rosh, and they have bitter clusters.   לבכִּֽי־מִגֶּ֤פֶן סְדֹם֙ גַּפְנָ֔ם וּמִשַּׁדְמֹ֖ת עֲמֹרָ֑ה עֲנָבֵ֨מוֹ֙ עִנְּבֵי־ר֔וֹשׁ אַשְׁכְּלֹ֥ת מְרֹרֹ֖ת לָֽמוֹ:
For their vine is the vine of Sodom: [This verse is] connected to the above [verse 26. The continuity of these verses thus reads as follows:] “I said to Myself that I would make an end of them, eradicate their remembrance from mankind-because their deeds are those of Sodom and Amorah…”.   כִּֽי־מִגֶּפֶן סְדֹם גַּפְנָם: מוּסָב לְמַעְלָה — אָמַרְתִּי בְּלִבִּי אַפְאֵיהֶם וְאַשְׁבִּית זִכְרָם לְפִי שֶׁמַּעֲשֵׂיהֶם מַעֲשֵׂי סְדוֹם וַעֲמוֹרָה:
and the field of: Heb. וּמִשַּׁדְמוֹת, grain field. It is similar to the verse, “and the field (וּשְׁדֵמוֹת) will yield no food” (Hab. 3:17); and, “in the field (בְּשַׁדְמוֹת) of Kidron” (II Kings 23:4).   שדמת: שְׂדֵה תְּבוּאָה, כְּמוֹ "וּשְׁדֵמוֹת לֹא עָשָׂה אֹכֶל" (חבקוק ג'), "בְּשַׁדְמוֹת קִדְרוֹן" (מלכים ב כ"ג):
grapes of rosh: [The word רוֹשׁ] means: A bitter herb. [This has been variantly translated as the cultured poppy, from which opium is extracted, colocynth, and hemlock. See Nature & Man in the Bible , by Yehuda Feliks.]   עִנְּבֵי־רוֹשׁ: עֵשֶׂב מַר:
and they have bitter clusters: A bitter drink, which is appropriate for them; their punishment corresponds to their deeds. Onkelos also renders this phrase likewise: “And the punishment of their deeds is like their bitterness.”   אַשְׁכְּלֹת מְרֹרֹת לָֽמוֹ: מַשְׁקֶה מַר רָאוּי לָהֶם, לְפִי מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם פֻּרְעֲנוּתָם, וְכֵן תִּרְגֵּם אֻנְקְלוֹס "וְתוּשְׁלָמַת עוֹבָדֵיהוֹן כִּמְרָרוּתְהוֹן":
33Their wine is the bitterness of serpents, and the bitterness of the ruthless cobras.   לגחֲמַ֥ת תַּנִּינִ֖ם יֵינָ֑ם וְרֹ֥אשׁ פְּתָנִ֖ים אַכְזָֽר:
Their wine is the bitterness of serpents: [Understand this] as the Targum renders it: הָא כְמָרַת תַּנִּינַיָא כָּס פּוּרְעֲנוּתְהוֹן, which means, “Indeed the cup of their drink of punishment is like the bitterness of serpents.”   חֲמַת תַּנִּינִם יֵינָם: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ "הָא כְמָרַת תַּנִּינַיָּא כֹּס פּוּרְעֲנוּתְהוֹן", הִנֵּה כִמְרִירַת נְחָשִׁים כּוֹס מִשְׁתֵּה פֻּרְעֲנוּתָם:
and the bitterness of [ruthless] cobras: is their cup. [The cobra] is ruthless when it bites; [thus, this verse is referring to] a ruthless enemy, who will come and seek out their retribution.   וְרֹאשׁ פְּתָנִים: כּוֹסָם שֶׁהוּא אכזר לַנָּשׁוּךְ, אוֹיֵב אַכְזָרִי יָבֹא וְיִפָּרַע מֵהֶם:
34Is it not stored up with Me, sealed up in My treasuries?   לדהֲלֹא־ה֖וּא כָּמֻ֣ס עִמָּדִ֑י חָת֖וּם בְּאֽוֹצְרֹתָֽי:
Is it not stored up with Me: As the Targum renders it, “They think that I have forgotten their [evil] deeds, but these deeds are all locked away and preserved before Me.”   הֲלֹא־הוּא כָּמֻס עִמָּדִי: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, כִּסְבוּרִים הֵם שֶׁשָּׁכַחְתִּי מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם, כֻּלָּם גְּנוּזִים וּשְׁמוּרִים לְפָנַי:
Is it not [stored]: The fruit of their [bitter] vine and the [bitter] produce of their field are stored up with Me.   הֲלֹא־הוּא: פְּרִי גַפְנָם וּתְבוּאַת שַׁדְמוֹתָם — כמס עמדי:
35Vengeance is poised with Me, and it will pay at the time their foot stumbles. For the appointed day of their reckoning is near, and what is destined for them hastens.   להלִ֤י נָקָם֙ וְשִׁלֵּ֔ם לְעֵ֖ת תָּמ֣וּט רַגְלָ֑ם כִּ֤י קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם אֵידָ֔ם וְחָ֖שׁ עֲתִדֹ֥ת לָֽמוֹ:
Vengeance is poised with Me, and it will pay: Heb. וְשִׁלֵּם. The retribution of vengeance is with Me, prepared and held in readiness, and it will pay out punishment to them, according to their deeds. [That is to say,] Vengeance will pay the punishment they deserve. [Thus, the word וְשִׁלֵּם is to be understood as a verb.] However, some explain the word וְשִׁלֵּם as a noun, equivalent to וְשִׁלּוּם, and recompense, the same grammatical form as [the noun in the phrase], “And the [prophetic] word (וְהַדִּבֵּר) is not in them,” (Jer. 5:13) where the word is equivalent to וְהַדִּבּוּר [i.e., a noun]. And when will I pay them [their punishment]?   לִי נָקָם וְשִׁלֵּם: עִמִּי נָכוֹן וּמְזֻמָּן פֻּרְעֲנוּת נָקָם, וִישַׁלֵּם לָהֶם כְּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם, הַנָּקָם יְשַׁלֵּם לָהֶם גְּמוּלָם. וְיֵשׁ מְפָרְשִׁים ושלם שֵׁם דָּבָר, כְּמוֹ וְשִׁלּוּם וְהוּא מִגִּזְרַת "וְהַדִּבֵּר אֵין בָּהֶם" (ירמיהו ה') — כְּמוֹ וְהַדִּבּוּר. וְאֵימָתַי אֲשַׁלֵּם לָהֶם?
at the time their foot stumbles: namely, when the merit of their forefathers expires, the merit upon which they are relying.   לְעֵת תָּמוּט רַגְלָם: כְּשֶׁתִּתֹּם זְכוּת אֲבוֹתָם שֶׁהֵן סְמוּכִים עָלָיו:
For the appointed day [of their reckoning] is near: As soon as I desire to bring the day of their disaster upon them, this day is near and in readiness before Me, to be brought about by many agents.   כִּי קָרוֹב יוֹם אֵידָם: מִשֶּׁאֶרְצֶה לְהָבִיא עֲלֵיהֶם יוֹם אֵידָם קָרוֹב וּמְזֻמָּן לְפָנַי לְהָבִיא עַל יְדֵי שְׁלוּחִים הַרְבֵּה:
and what is destined for them hastens: And the things that are destined to come hasten [in coming].   וְחָשׁ עֲתִדֹת לָֽמוֹ: וּמַהֵר יָבוֹאוּ הָעֲתִידוֹת לָהֶם:
hastens: Heb. וְחָשׁ, as in the verse, “Let him hurry, hasten (יְחִישָׁה)” (Isa. 5:19). Until here, Moses testified against them with words of reproof, that this Song should be a witness for Israel’s reproof, i.e., when punishment would come upon Israel, they would know that I told them about this from the very beginning. From here onwards, he testifies to Israel with words of comfort, about things that would come upon them at the conclusion of the retribution, like everything he stated earlier: “And it will be, when all these words happen to you-the blessing and the curse… then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles…” (Deut. 30:1-3).   וְחָשׁ: כְּמוֹ "יְמַהֵר יָחִישָׁה" (ישעיהו ה'); עַד כָּאן הֵעִיד עֲלֵיהֶם מֹשֶׁה דִבְרֵי תּוֹכֵחָה לִהְיוֹת הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת לְעֵד, כְּשֶׁתָּבֹא עֲלֵיהֶם הַפֻּרְעָנוּת יֵדְעוּ שֶׁאֲנִי הוֹדַעְתִּים מֵרֹאשׁ, מִכָּאן וָאֵילָךְ הֵעִיד עֲלֵיהֶם דִּבְרֵי תַנְחוּמִין שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ עֲלֵיהֶם כִּכְלוֹת הַפֻּרְעָנוּת, כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לְמַעְלָה, "וְהָיָה כִי יָבֹאוּ עָלֶיךָ וְגוֹ' הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה וְגוֹ' וְשָׁב ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת שְׁבוּתְךָ וְגוֹ'":
36When the Lord will judge His people, and will reconsider His servants, when He sees that the power is increasing, and none is controlled or strengthened.   לוכִּֽי־יָדִ֤ין יְהֹוָה֙ עַמּ֔וֹ וְעַל־עֲבָדָ֖יו יִתְנֶחָ֑ם כִּ֤י יִרְאֶה֙ כִּי־אָ֣זְלַת יָ֔ד וְאֶ֖פֶס עָצ֥וּר וְעָזֽוּב:
When the Lord will judge His people: i. e., When God will exact judgment upon Israel by bringing upon them these aforementioned sufferings. Similar to this is the verse, “For through these He judges (יָדִין) peoples” (Job 36:31), i.e., He chastises peoples. The word כִּי here does not mean “because,” giving the reason for the preceding statements, but rather, it introduces a new passage [i.e., it means “when”], as in the verse,“When (כִּי) you come to the land” (Lev. 25:2). [The meaning of our verse is:] When these judgments will come upon them, and the Holy One, Blessed is He, will reconsider concerning His servants to return [to them] and to have mercy upon them….   כִּֽי־יָדִין ה' עַמּוֹ: כְּשֶׁיִּשְׁפֹּט אוֹתוֹ בְּיִסּוּרִין הַלָּלוּ הָאֲמוּרוֹת עֲלֵיהֶם, כְּמוֹ "כִּי בָם יָדִין עַמִּים" (איוב ל"ו) — יְיַסֵּר עַמִּים. כִּי זֶה אֵינוֹ מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בִּלְשׁוֹן דְּהָא, לָתֵת טַעַם לַדְּבָרִים שֶׁל מַעְלָה, אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן תְּחִלַּת דִּבּוּר, כְּמוֹ (ויקרא כ"ה) "כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ", כְּשֶׁיָּבֹאוּ עֲלֵיהֶם מִשְׁפָּטִים הַלָּלוּ וְיִתְנַחֵם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל עֲבָדָיו לָשׁוּב וּלְרַחֵם עֲלֵיהֶם:
will reconsider: Heb. יִתְנֶחָם. [This word] denotes changing one’s mind, whether for good or for evil.   יִתְנֶחָם: לְשׁוֹן הִפּוּךְ הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה לְהֵיטִיב אוֹ לְהָרַע:
when He will see that the power is growing: i.e., when God sees that the enemy’s power is becoming stronger and stronger against Israel, and none among them is controlled or strengthened.   כִּֽי יִרְאֶה כִּֽי־אָזְלַת יָד: כְּשֶׁיִּרְאֶה כִּי יַד הָאוֹיֵב הוֹלֶכֶת וְחוֹזֶקֶת מְאֹד עֲלֵיהֶם, ואפס בָּהֶם עצור ועזוב:
controlled: Heb. עָצוּר. One who is rescued by an officer (עוֹצֵר) or a ruler who would confine (יַעִצוֹר) the people.   עָצוּר: נוֹשַׁע עַל יְדֵי עוֹצֵר וּמוֹשֵׁל שֶׁיַּעֲצֹר בָּהֶם:
or strengthened: Heb. עָזוּב, [One saved] by an עוֹזֵב, one who gives strength [to someone else]. An עוֹצֵר is a ruler who confines his people [within certain boundaries], so that they will not go out in scattered groups when they go to war against the enemy, mentenedor in Old French [like the English, maintain. Consequently:] עָצוּר [the passive noun from the root עצר] means: One saved through the confinement (מַעִצוֹר) of a ruler. עָזוּב Strengthened, like “and they fortified (וַיַּעַזְבוֹ) Jerusalem until the… wall” (Neh. 3:8); and, “How is the city of praise not fortified (עֻזְּבָה)” (Jer. 49:25). עָצוּר is mentenude in Old French, and עָזוּב is enforze, fortified.   עזוב: עַל יְדֵי עוֹזֵב; עוֹצֵר הוּא הַמּוֹשֵׁל הָעוֹצֵר בָּעָם שֶׁלֹּא יֵלְכוּ מְפֻזָּרִים בְּצֵאתָם לַצָּבָא עַל הָאוֹיֵב, בְּלַעַז מיינטינ"דור; עצור, הוּא הַנּוֹשָׁע בְּמַעֲצוֹר הַמּוֹשֵׁל; עזוב, מְחֻזָּק, כְּמוֹ (נחום ג') "וַיַּעַזְבוּ יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עַד הַחוֹמָה"; "אֵיךְ לֹא עֻזְּבָה עִיר תְּהִלָּה" (ירמיהו מ"ט), אינפורצדו"ר:
37Then He will say, "Where is their deity, the rock in which they trusted,   לזוְאָמַ֖ר אֵ֣י אֱלֹהֵ֑ימוֹ צ֖וּר חָסָ֥יוּ בֽוֹ:
Then He will say: The Holy One, Blessed is He, will say about them [Israel]:   וְאָמַר: הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עֲלֵיהֶם:
Where is their deity: The idols which they worshipped. [Where are they now?]   אי אלהימו: עבודה זרה שֶׁעָבְדוּ:
the rock in which they trusted: [The word צוּר] means: The rock. [This figuratively means: The rock under which] they used to shelter themselves from the sun and the cold. That is to say, [the deity] in which they had placed their trust to protect them against any harm.   צוּר חָסָיוּ בֽוֹ: הַסֶּלַע שֶׁהָיוּ מִתְכַּסִּין בּוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַחַמָּה וְהַצִּנָּה, כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁהָיוּ בְטוּחִין בּוֹ לְהָגֵן עֲלֵיהֶם מִן הָרָעָה:
38who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their libations? Let them arise and help you! Let them be your shelter!   לחאֲשֶׁ֨ר חֵ֤לֶב זְבָחֵ֨ימוֹ֙ יֹאכֵ֔לוּ יִשְׁתּ֖וּ יֵ֣ין נְסִיכָ֑ם יָק֨וּמוּ֙ וְיַעְזְרֻכֶ֔ם יְהִ֥י עֲלֵיכֶ֖ם סִתְרָֽה:
who ate the fat of their sacrifices: i.e., these deities would eat up [the fat] and would drink up the wine of their libations when they offered the sacrifices before them.   אֲשֶׁר חֵלֶב זְבָחֵימוֹ: הָיוּ אוֹתָן אֱלֹהוֹת אוֹכְלִים, שֶׁהָיוּ מַקְרִיבִים לִפְנֵיהֶם, וְשׁוֹתִין יין נסיכם:
Let them be your shelter!: Let that same rock [you worshipped] be a refuge and shelter (מִסְתּוֹר) for you.   יְהִי עֲלֵיכֶם סִתְרָֽה: אוֹתוֹ הַצּוּר יִהְיֶה לָכֶם מַחֲסֶה וּמִסְתּוֹר:
39See now that it is I! I am the One, and there is no god like Me! I cause death and grant life. I strike, but I heal, and no one can rescue from My Hand!   לטרְא֣וּ | עַתָּ֗ה כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י אֲנִי֙ ה֔וּא וְאֵ֥ין אֱלֹהִ֖ים עִמָּדִ֑י אֲנִ֧י אָמִ֣ית וַֽאֲחַיֶּ֗ה מָחַ֨צְתִּי֙ וַֽאֲנִ֣י אֶרְפָּ֔א וְאֵ֥ין מִיָּדִ֖י מַצִּֽיל:
See now: Understand from the punishment that I brought upon you, from which no one can rescue you, and from the salvation with which I will save you, and that there is no one to stop Me, that   רְאוּ עַתָּה: הָבִינוּ מִן הַפֻּרְעָנוּת שֶׁהֵבִיא עֲלֵיכֶם וְאֵין לָכֶם מוֹשִׁיעַ, וּמִן הַתְּשׁוּעָה שֶׁאוֹשִׁיעֲכֶם וְאֵין מוֹחֶה בְיָדִי:
It is I! I am the One: “It is I” Who can bring someone down, and “I am the One” Who can lift someone up.   אֲנִי אֲנִי הוּא: אֲנִי לְהַשְׁפִּיל וַאֲנִי לְהָרִים:
and there is no god with Me!: [There is no deity] which can stand up against Me, to stop Me.   וְאֵין אֱלֹהִים עִמָּדִי: עוֹמֵד כְּנֶגְדִּי לִמְחוֹת:
with Me: resembling Me, like Me.   עִמָּדִי: דֻּגְמָתִי וְכָמוֹנִי:
and no one can save from My Hand: those who sin against Me.   וְאֵין מִיָּדִי מַצִּֽיל: הַפּוֹשְׁעִים בִּי:
40For I raise up My hand to heaven, and say, 'As I live forever.'   מכִּֽי־אֶשָּׂ֥א אֶל־שָׁמַ֖יִם יָדִ֑י וְאָמַ֕רְתִּי חַ֥י אָֽנֹכִ֖י לְעֹלָֽם:
For I raise up My hand to heaven: For in My fury, I will raise up My hand to Myself, making an oath.   כִּֽי־אֶשָּׂא אֶל־שָׁמַיִם יָדִי: כִּי בַחֲרוֹן אַפִּי אֶשָּׂא יָדִי אֶל עַצְמִי בִּשְׁבוּעָה:
and say, “As I live…”: This is the expression of an oath, like the verse, “’As I live,’ says the Lord, 'if not for that which you have spoken in My ears’” (Num. 14:28). So too, here in our verse [the meaning is]: “I swear, just as I live [forever]…”.   וְאָמַרְתִּי חַי אָֽנֹכִי: לְשׁוֹן שְׁבוּעָה הוּא, אֲנִי נִשְׁבָּע חי אנכי:
41When I sharpen the blade of My sword, and My hand grasps judgment, I will bring vengeance upon My adversaries and repay those who hate Me.   מאאִם־שַׁנּוֹתִי֙ בְּרַ֣ק חַרְבִּ֔י וְתֹאחֵ֥ז בְּמִשְׁפָּ֖ט יָדִ֑י אָשִׁ֤יב נָקָם֙ לְצָרָ֔י וְלִמְשַׂנְאַ֖י אֲשַׁלֵּֽם:
When I sharpen the blade of My sword: If I sharpen the blade of My sword, so that it will shine (בְּרַק) [The word בְּרַק, literally lightning, means shine or flash] (see Ezek. 21:15), flandor in Old French.   אִם־שַׁנּוֹתִי בְּרַק חַרְבִּי: אִם אֲשַׁנֵּן אֶת לַהַב חַרְבִּי לְמַעַן הֱיוֹת לָהּ בָּרָק, שפלנ"דור:
and My hand grasps judgment: leaving the attribute of mercy [and applying the attribute of justice] on My enemies who harmed Israel, for “I was angry only a little, but they helped to do harm” (Zech. 1:15). Another explanation: My hand will grasp the attribute of justice, sustaining it and exacting vengeance with it.   וְתֹאחֵז בְּמִשְׁפָּט יָדִי: לְהַנִּיחַ מִדַּת רַחֲמִים מֵאוֹיְבַי שֶׁהֵרֵעוּ לָכֶם "אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי קָצַפְתִּי מְעָט וְהֵמָּה עָזְרוּ לְרָעָה" (זכריה א טו), וְתֹאחֵז יָדִי אֶת מִדַּת הַמִּשְׁפָּט לְהַחֲזִיק בָּהּ וְלִנְקֹם נָקָם:
I will bring vengeance upon My adversaries: Our Rabbis learned in the Aggadah (Mechilta Shemoth 14:3): By virtue of the expression in the verse, “and grasp judgment in My hand,” we understand that the nature of a human being is not like that of the Holy One, Blessed is He. For it is the nature of a human to cast an arrow, but he is unable to retrieve it. The Holy One, blessed be He, however, shoots His arrows and He can indeed retrieve them, as if He were holding them in His hand. Now, lightning is His arrow, [alluded to here] by the phrase בְּרַק חַרְבִּי, literally “the lightning of My sword,” [and the verse continues,] “and grasping judgment in My hand.” here, “judgment” refers to retribution; justize in Old French.   אָשִׁיב נָקָם וגו': לָמְדוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ בָּאַגָּדָה מִתּוֹךְ לְשׁוֹן הַמִּקְרָא שֶׁאָמַר ותאחז במשפט ידי — לֹא כְמִדַּת בָּשָׂר וָדָם מִדַּת הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מִדַּת בָּשָׂר וָדָם זוֹרֵק חֵץ וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַהֲשִׁיבוֹ, וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא זוֹרֵק חִצָּיו וְיֵשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לַהֲשִׁיבָם כְּאִלּוּ אוֹחֲזָן בְּיָדוֹ, שֶׁהֲרֵי בָרָק הוּא חִצּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כָּאן ברק חרבי ותאחז במשפט ידי, וְהַמִּשְׁפָּט הַזֶּה לְשׁוֹן פֻּרְעָנוּת הוּא, בְלַעַז יושטיצ"א:
42I will intoxicate My arrows with blood, and My sword will consume flesh, from the blood of the slain and the captives, from the first breach of the enemy.'   מבאַשְׁכִּ֤יר חִצַּי֙ מִדָּ֔ם וְחַרְבִּ֖י תֹּאכַ֣ל בָּשָׂ֑ר מִדַּ֤ם חָלָל֙ וְשִׁבְיָ֔ה מֵרֹ֖אשׁ פַּרְע֥וֹת אוֹיֵֽב:
I will intoxicate My arrows with blood: of the enemy;   אַשְׁכִּיר חִצַּי מִדָּם: הָאוֹיֵב:
and My sword will consume flesh: their flesh [i.e., of the enemy].   וְחַרְבִּי תֹּאכַל: בְּשָׂרָם:
from the blood of the slain and the captives: [All] this will happen to them, because of the sin of the blood of Israel’s slain, and of the captives they took from them.   מִדָּם חָלָל וְשִׁבְיָה: זֹאת תִּהְיֶה לָהֶם מֵעֲוֹן דַּם חַלְלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשִׁבְיָה שֶׁשָּׁבוּ מֵהֶם:
from the first breach of the enemy: From the very first breach the enemy made. For when the Holy One, Blessed is He, inflicts punishment upon the nations, He visits upon them their own sin and the sins of their ancestors, from the very first breach they made in Israel. — [Sifrei 32:42]   מֵרֹאשׁ פַּרְעוֹת אוֹיֵֽב: מִפֶּשַׁע תְּחִלַּת פִּרְצוֹת הָאוֹיֵב, כִּי כְּשֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נִפְרָע מִן הָאֻמּוֹת פּוֹקֵד עֲלֵיהֶם עֲוֹנָם וַעֲוֹנוֹת אֲבוֹתֵיהֶם מֵרֵאשִׁית פִּרְצָה שֶׁפָּרְצוּ בְיִשְׂרָאֵל:
43Sing out praise, O you nations, for His people! For He will avenge the blood of His servants, inflict revenge upon His adversaries, and appease His land [and] His people.   מגהַרְנִ֤ינוּ גוֹיִם֙ עַמּ֔וֹ כִּ֥י דַם־עֲבָדָ֖יו יִקּ֑וֹם וְנָקָם֙ יָשִׁ֣יב לְצָרָ֔יו וְכִפֶּ֥ר אַדְמָת֖וֹ עַמּֽוֹ:
Sing out praise, O you nations, for His people: At that time, the nations will praise Israel, saying: "You see, now, what the praise of this nation is! That they cleaved to the Holy One, Blessed is He, through all the sufferings that befell them, and they did not forsake Him! They appreciated His goodness and His praise!   הַרְנִינוּ גוֹיִם עַמּוֹ: לְאוֹתוֹ הַזְּמַן יְשַׁבְּחוּ הָאֻמּוֹת אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, רְאוּ מַה שִּׁבְחָהּ שֶׁל אֻמָּה זוֹ, שֶׁדָּבְקוּ בְּהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּכָל הַתְּלָאוֹת שֶׁעָבְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וְלֹא עֲזָבוּהוּ, יוֹדְעִים הָיוּ בְּטוּבוֹ וּבְשִׁבְחוֹ:
and He will avenge the blood of His servants: i.e., [God will avenge] the shedding of their blood, as the phrase literally means.   כִּי דַם־עֲבָדָיו יִקּוֹם: שְׁפִיכוּת דְּמֵיהֶם, כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹ:
inflict revenge upon His adversaries: for the robbery and the violence [which they perpetrated against Israel], like the matter that is stated, “Egypt will be a desolation and Edom as a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah…” (Joel 4:19); and Scripture also states, “For the violence against your brother Jacob…” (Obad. 1: 10).   וְנָקָם יָשִׁיב לְצָרָיו: עַל הַגָּזֵל וְעַל הֶחָמָס, כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יואל ד') "מִצְרַיִם לִשְׁמָמָה תִהְיֶה וֶאֱדוֹם לְמִדְבַּר שְׁמָמָה תִּהְיֶה מֵחֲמַס בְּנֵי יְהוּדָה", וְאוֹמֵר (עובדיה י') "מֵחֲמַס אָחִיךָ יַעֲקֹב וְגוֹ'" (עי' ספרי):
and appease His land and His people: And He will appease His land and His people for the distresses that they experienced, and that the enemy perpetrated against them.   וְכִפֶּר אַדְמָתוֹ עַמּוֹ: וִיפַיֵּס אַדְמָתוֹ וְעַמּוֹ עַל הַצָּרוֹת שֶׁעָבְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וְשֶׁעָשָׂה לָהֶם הָאוֹיֵב:
and appease: Heb. וְכִפֵּר, an expression of conciliation and appeasement, as in the verse, אֲכַפְּרָה פָּנָיו, which is rendered in the Targum as: “I will appease his anger” (Gen. 32:21).   וְכִפֶּר: לְשׁוֹן רִצּוּי וּפִיּוּס, כְּמוֹ (בראשית לב, כא) "אֲכַפְּרָה פָנָיו" — אַנְחִינֵיהּ לְרוּגְזֵיהּ:
and appease His land: And what is His land? His people. When His nation is comforted, His land is also comforted. Thus, Scripture says, “O Lord, You have appeased Your land” (Ps. 85:2). How have You appeased Your land? [That same verse continues:] “You have returned the captivity of Jacob.” This [section] is explained in different ways in Sifrei. Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Nehemiah differed regarding its explanation: Rabbi Judah explains the whole section as referring to Israel, while Rabbi Nehemiah explains the whole section as referring to the other nations. [Now Rashi proceeds to explain this whole section according to the two approaches.] Rabbi Judah explains it as referring to Israel, as follows: From “I said that I would make an end of them,” until “The Lord did none of this!” [verses 26-27], as I have explained above. [Verse 28:] “For that nation is lacking counsel” means that Israel lacks My Torah, because the Torah provides Israel with sound counsel; “and they have no understanding” means that they do not reflect on how one individual of the nations could pursue one thousand of them, unless it is “because their Rock had sold them over” (verse 30); “for their rock is not like our [Mighty] Rock” (verse 31). Everything is as I have explained it until the end. Rabbi Nehemiah explains the section as referring to the other nations, [as follows]: [Verse 28:] ”For they are a nation devoid of counsel,” until “Nevertheless, our enemies sit in judgment” (verses 28-31), he explains as I explained.   וְכִפֶּר אַדְמָתוֹ: וּמַה הִיא אַדְמָתוֹ? עמו. כְּשֶׁעַמּוֹ מִתְנַחֲמִים אַרְצוֹ מִתְנַחֶמֶת, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "רָצִיתָ ה' אַרְצֶךָ", בַּמֶּה רָצִיתָ אַרְצֶךָ? "שַׁבְתָּ שְׁבִית יַעֲקֹב" (תהילים פ"ה). בפנים אחרים היא נדרשת בספרי, ונחלקו בה רבי יהודה ורבי נחמי', רבי יהודה דורש כלה כנגד ישראל, ורבי נחמי' דורש כלה כנגד העובדי כוכבים, רבי יהודה דורשה כלפי ישראל: אמרתי אפאיהם כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשְׁתִּי, עַד (כז) ולא ה' פעל כל זאת. (כח) כי גוי אבד עצות המה. אָבְדוּ תוֹרָתִי שֶׁהִיא לָהֶם עֵצָה נְכוֹנָה, ואין בהם תבונה לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן (ל) איכה ירדף אחד מִן הָאֻמּוֹת אלף מֵהֶם, אם לא כי צורם מכרם. (לא) כי לא כצורנו צורם הַכֹּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשְׁתִּי עַד תַּכְלִית. וְרַ' נְחֶמְיָה דוֹרְשָׁהּ כְּלַפֵּי הָאֻמּוֹת, כי גוי אבד עצות המה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשְׁתִּי תְחִלָּה עַד ואיבינו פלילים:
[32] For their vine is of the vine of Sodom: That of the nations,   כִּי מגפן סדם גפנם: שֶׁל אֻמּוֹת:
and of the field of Gomorrah…: And the nations do not give any thought to attribute the greatness to Me.   ומשדמת עמרה וגו': וְלֹא יָשִׂימוּ לִבָּם לִתְלוֹת הַגְּדֻלָּה בִּי:
their grapes are grapes of rosh: This is what Scripture says, “Were it not that the enemy’s wrath was heaped up (verse 27)” against Israel, to poison and embitter them, and therefore (verse 32), “they have bitter clusters,” and they will be forced to eat them because of what they did to My children.   ענבמו ענבי רוש: הוּא שֶׁאָמַר לולי כעס אויב אגור עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַרְעִילָם וּלְהַמְרִירָם, לְפִיכָךְ אשכלת מררת למו לְהַלְעִיט אוֹתָם עַל מַה שֶּׁעָשׂוּ לְבָנַי:
[33] Their wine is the bitterness of serpents: ready to give them [the nations] to drink because of what they did to them [Israel].   חמת תנינם יינם: מוּכָן לְהַשְׁקוֹתָם עַל מַה שֶּׁעוֹשִׂין לָהֶם:
[34] [Is it not] stored up with Me: i.e., this cup [of poison], as Scripture states, “For a cup is in the hand of the Lord […which all the wicked of the world will…drink]” (Ps. 75:9).   כמס עמדי: אוֹתוֹ הַכּוֹס, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים ע"ה) "כִּי כוֹס בְּיַד ה' וְגוֹ'":
[35] at the time their foot trips: [i.e., when the nations’ foot trips,] as Scripture says, “A foot will trample it,” [referring to the downfall of the wicked] (Isa. 26:6).   לעת תמוט רגלם: כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "תִּרְמְסֶנָּה רֶגֶל" (ישעיהו כ"ו):
[36] For the Lord will judge His people: when explaining the section according to this [Rabbi Nehemiah’s] explanation, [the word כִּי in the expression] כִּי יָדִין does mean “because,” and the judgment spoken of here does not refer to sufferings [of Israel], but rather, the verse means: Because God will plead the cause of Israel against those who have oppressed her, when “He sees that the [nations’] power is increasing…”   כִּי ידין ה' עַמּוֹ: בְּלָשוֹן זֶה מְשַׁמֵּשׁ כי ידין בִּלְשוֹן דְּהָא, וְאֵין יָדִין לְשוֹן יִסּוּרִין אֶלָּא כּמוֹ כִּי יָרִיב אֶת רִיבָם מִיַּד עוֹשְׁקֵיהֶם. כי יראה כי אזלת יד וגו':
[37] Then he will say, “Where is their Deity?”: The enemy will say, “Where is Israel’s God?” just as the wicked Titus said, when he rent the veil [of the Holy Temple] (see Gittin 56b), as Scripture states, “And my enemy will see [God’s righteousness], and shame will cover her, who says to me, ‘Where is the Lord, your God?’” (Micah 7:10).   ואמר אי אלהימו: הָאוֹיֵב יֹאמַר אֵי אֱלֹהֵימוֹ שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל? כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר טִיטוּס הָרָשָׁע כְּשֶׁגִּדֵּר אֶת הַפָּרֹכֶת (גיטין נ"ו), כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מיכה ז'): וְתֵרֶא אֹיַבְתִּי וּתְכַסֶּהָ בוּשָׁה הָאוֹמְרָה אֵלַי אַיּוֹ ה' אֱלֹהָיִךְ":
[39] See now that it is I!: Then the Holy One, Blessed is He, will reveal His salvation and say: “Now you see that it is I! I am the One!” From Me the evil befell you, and from Me good will come upon you;   ראו עתה כִּי אני וגו': אָז יְגַלֶּה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יְשׁוּעָתוֹ וְיֹאמַר ראו עתה כי אני אני הוא, מֵאִתִּי בָּאת עֲלֵיהֶם הָרָעָה וּמֵאִתִּי תָבֹא עֲלֵיהֶם הַטּוֹבָה:
and no one can rescue from My Hand: i.e., who will rescue you from the disaster I will bring upon you.   ואין מידי מציל: שֶׁיַּצִּיל אֶתְכֶם מִן הָרָעָה אֲשֶר אָבִיא עֲלֵיכֶם:
[40] For I raise up My place to heaven: Heb. כִּי אֶשָּׂא אֶל שָׁמַיִם יָדִי. This is to be understood as, “I have raised up (נָשָׂאתִי).” My Divine Presence has always dwelt in the heaven, as the Targum renders it. And even if a weak one is above, and a strong one is below, the fear of the one above is upon the one below. How much more is this so, since the Mighty One is above, and the weak one is below?!   כִּי אשא אל שמים ידי: כְּמוֹ כִּי נָשָׂאתִי — תָּמִיד אֲנִי מַשְׁרֶה מְקוֹם שְׁכִינָתִי בַשָּׁמַיִם, כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, אֲפִלּוּ חַלָּש לְמַעְלָה וְגִבּוֹר לְמַטָּה אֵימַת עֶלְיוֹן עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹן וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁגִּבּוֹר לְמַעְלָה וְחַלָּשׁ מִלְּמַטָּה:
My place: [According to this explanation, the word] יָדִי means “the [dwelling] place of My Divine Presence,” as in the verse, “every man in his place (יָדוֹ)” (Num. 2:17). [Continues God:] Now, it was within My power to punish you [nations] immediately, but I said, “As I live forever,” I will not hasten to exact punishment-there is time for this, because I live forever! I will exact the punishment [from the nations] in the latter generations. Furthermore, I have the power to exact punishment both from the living and the dead. A mortal king, who may die at any moment, hastens to avenge himself during his lifetime, because either he or his enemy may die without seeing his punishment being meted out upon him, but I, [says God,] live forever, so that if the enemy dies and I have not yet exacted punishment upon them, I will exact punishment from them when they are dead.   ידי: מְקוֹם שְׁכִינָתִי, כְּמוֹ "אִישׁ עַל יָדוֹ" (במדבר ב'), וְהָיָה בְיָדִי לְהִפָּרַע מִכֶּם, אֲבָל אָמַרְתִּי שֶׁחַי אָנֹכִי לְעוֹלָם, אֵינִי מְמַהֵר לִפָּרַע לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי שָׁהוּת בַּדָּבָר, אֲנִי חַי לְעוֹלָם וּבְדוֹרוֹת אַחֲרוֹנִים אֲנִי נִפְרָע מֵהֶם וְהַיְכֹלֶת בְּיָדִי לִפָּרַע מִן הַמֵּתִים וּמִן הַחַיִּים; מֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם שֶׁהוּא הוֹלֵךְ לָמוּת מְמַהֵר נִקְמָתוֹ לְהִפָּרַע בְּחַיָּיו כִּי שֶׁמָּא יָמוּת הוּא אוֹ אוֹיְבוֹ וְנִמְצָא שֶׁלֹּא רָאָה נִקְמָתוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ אֲבָל אֲנִי חַי לְעוֹלָם, וְאִם יָמוּתוּ הֵם וְאֵינִי נִפְרָע בְּחַיֵּיהֶם, אֶפָּרַע בְּמוֹתָם:
[41] When I sharpen the blade of my sword: There are instances in Scripture where the word אִם is not used conditionally [i.e., it does not mean “if”. Here, אִם means “when,” and thus, the verse means:] “When I sharpen the blade of My sword, and My hand grasps judgment…,” and all these remaining verses are as I have explained them above.   אם שנותי ברק חרבי: הַרְבֵּה אִם יֵשׁ שֶׁאֵינָם תְּלוּיִן, כְּשֶׁאֲשַׁנֵּן ברק חרבי ותאחז במשפט ידי, כֻּלּוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשְׁתִּי לְמַעְלָה:
44And Moses came and spoke all the words of this song into the ears of the people he and Hoshea the son of Nun.   מדוַיָּבֹ֣א משֶׁ֗ה וַיְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַשִּׁירָֽה־הַזֹּ֖את בְּאָזְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם ה֖וּא וְהוֹשֵׁ֥עַ בִּן־נֽוּן:
He and Hoshea the son of Nun: It was the Sabbath upon which there were two leaders [because the office was being transferred to Joshua, i.e.,] authority was taken from one and given to the other. — [Sotah 13b] Moses appointed a meturgeman [literally, an interpreter, here a spokesman] for Joshua, [to relay to the public what Joshua said,] so that Joshua could expound [on the Torah] in Moses’ lifetime, so that Israel would not say [to Joshua], “During your teacher’s lifetime you did not dare to raise your head!” - [Sifrei 31:1] And why does Scripture here call him Hoshea [for his name had long since been changed to Joshua (see Numb. 13:16). To imply [lit., to say] that Joshua did not become haughty, for although he was given high status, he humbled himself as he was at the beginning [when he was still called Hoshea]. — [Sifrei 32:44]   הוּא וְהוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן־נֽוּן: שַׁבָּת שֶׁל דְּיוֹזְגִי הָיְתָה, נִטְּלָה רְשׁוּת מִזֶּה וְנִתְּנָה לָזֶה, הֶעֱמִיד לוֹ מֹשֶׁה מְתֻרְגְּמָן לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ שֶׁיְּהֵא דוֹרֵשׁ בְּחַיָּיו, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּחַיֵּי רַבְּךָ לֹא הָיָה לְךָ לְהָרִים רֹאשׁ; וְלָמָּה קוֹרְאֵהוּ כָּאן הוֹשֵׁעַ? לוֹמַר שֶׁלֹּא זָחָה דַעְתּוֹ עָלָיו שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּתְּנָה לוֹ גְּדֻלָּה הִשְׁפִּיל עַצְמוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר מִתְּחִלָּתוֹ (עי' ספרי):
45And Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel.   מהוַיְכַ֣ל משֶׁ֔ה לְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת־כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
46And he said to them, "Set your hearts to all of the words which I bear witness for you this day, so that you may command your children to observe to do all the words of this Torah.   מווַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵהֶם֙ שִׂ֣ימוּ לְבַבְכֶ֔ם לְכָ֨ל־הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָֽנֹכִ֛י מֵעִ֥יד בָּכֶ֖ם הַיּ֑וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר תְּצַוֻּם֙ אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶ֔ם לִשְׁמֹ֣ר לַֽעֲשׂ֔וֹת אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת:
Set your hearts: A person must direct his eyes, his heart, and his ears to the words of the Torah, for Scripture states (Ezek. 40: 4),“Son of man, see with your eyes, and listen with your ears, and set your heart [upon all that I show you]” [namely, the plan of the Holy Temple]. Now, here, we have an inference from major to minor: If in the case of the plan of the Holy Temple, which is visible to the eyes and which is measured with a measuring-rod, a person must direct his eyes, ears, and heart to understand, how much more so must he do so to understand the words of the Torah, which are likened to “mountains suspended by a hair” [i.e., numerous laws derived from a single word of the Torah]?!- [Sifrei 32:45]   שִׂימוּ לְבַבְכֶם: צָרִיךְ אָדָם שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עֵינָיו וְלִבּוֹ וְאָזְנָיו מְכֻוָּנִים לְדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "בֶּן אָדָם רְאֵה בְעֵינֶיךָ וּבְאָזְנֶיךָ שְׁמַע וְשִׂים לִבְּךָ" (יחזקאל מ'); וַהֲרֵי דְבָרִים קַל וָחֹמֶר וּמַה תַּבְנִית הַבַּיִת שֶׁהוּא נִרְאֶה לָעֵינַיִם וְנִמְדָד בְּקָנֶה צָרִיךְ אָדָם שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עֵינָיו וְאָזְנָיו וְלִבּוֹ מְכֻוָּנִין, לְהָבִין דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה שֶׁהֵן כַּהֲרָרִין תְּלוּיִין בִּשְׂעָרָה עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה (ספרי):
47For it is not an empty thing for you, for it is your life, and through this thing, you will lengthen your days upon the land to which you are crossing over the Jordan, to possess it."   מזכִּי לֹֽא־דָבָ֨ר רֵ֥ק הוּא֙ מִכֶּ֔ם כִּי־ה֖וּא חַיֵּיכֶ֑ם וּבַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֗ה תַּֽאֲרִ֤יכוּ יָמִים֙ עַל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתֶּ֜ם עֹֽבְרִ֧ים אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֛ן שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ:
For it is not an empty thing for you: You do not labor over it in vain, for a great reward is contingent upon it, for “it is your life” [that is, the reward is life itself]. Another explanation: There is not one empty [i.e., superfluous] word in the Torah which, if properly expounded upon, will not have a reward attached to it. You must know this, for [as an illustration:] our Rabbis teach, Scripture states, “And Lotan’s sister was Timna” (Gen. 36:22). [What, one might ask, is the purpose of telling us this? Furthermore, an earlier verse states,] “and Timna was a concubine [to Eliphaz the son of Esau]” (Gen. 36:12). [Is it necessary for the Torah to state this at all? But our Rabbis explain, as follows:] Because Timna said,“If I am unworthy to become Eliphaz’s wife, I hope, at least, to become his concubine!” So why does Scripture enter into all these details [of her birth and marriage]? To teach us the greatness of Abraham, that rulers and kings yearned to cleave to his seed. [Lotan was a prince of Seir; thus the verse tells us that Timna was of noble ancestry; and yet, she preferred to be a mere concubine to Eliphaz, Abraham’s great grandson, rather than become a princess in her own nation.]- [Sifrei 32:46]   כִּי לֹֽא־דָבָר רֵק הוּא מִכֶּם: לֹא לְחִנָּם אַתֶּם יְגֵעִים בָּהּ, כִּי הַרְבֵּה שָׂכָר תָּלוּי בָּהּ, כי הוא חייכם; דָּבָר אַחֵר — אֵין לְךָ דָבָר רֵיקָן בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁאִם תִּדְרְשֶׁנּוּ שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ מַתַּן שָׂכָר, תֵּדַע לְךָ שֶׁכֵּן אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים "וַאֲחוֹת לוֹטָן תִּמְנָע" (בראשית ל"ו) "וְתִמְנַע הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ וְגוֹ'", לְפִי שֶׁאָמְרָה אֵינִי כְדַאי לִהְיוֹת לוֹ אִשָּׁה הַלְוַאי וְאֶהְיֶה פִילַגְשׁוֹ, וְכָל כָּךְ לָמָּה? לְהוֹדִיעַ שִׁבְחוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם שֶׁהָיוּ שִׁלְטוֹנִים וּמְלָכִים מִתְאַוִּים לִדַּבֵּק בְּזַרְעוֹ (ספרי):
48And the Lord spoke to Moses on that very day, saying,   מחוַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה בְּעֶ֛צֶם הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר:
And the Lord spoke to Moses on that very day: Heb. בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. In three places Scripture employs the phrase: בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה [which has the meaning, “at the strongest light of the day”]. First, regarding Noah, Scripture states, “On that very day (בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה) Noah entered [… the ark]” (Gen. 7:13), which means in the glare of full daylight. Noah’s contemporaries said: “We swear by such and such, that if we notice him about to enter the ark, we will not let him proceed! Moreover, we will take axes and hatchets and split open the ark!” So the Holy One, Blessed is He, said: “I will have Noah enter at midday, and let anyone who has the power to prevent it, come and prevent it!” Second, regarding Egypt, Scripture states, “On that very day, the Lord brought [the children of Israel] out [of the land of Egypt]” (Exod. 12:51). The Egyptians said: “We swear by such and such, that if we notice them about to leave, we will stop them! And not only that, but we will take swords and other weapons, and kill them!” So, the Holy One, Blessed is He, said: “I will bring them out in the middle of the day, and let anyone who has power to prevent it, come and prevent it!” Likewise here, regarding Moses’ death, Scripture states, “on that very day (בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה).” The children of Israel said, “We swear by such and such, that if we notice Moses [ascending the mountain to die], we will not let him do so! The man who brought us out of Egypt, divided the Red Sea for us, brought the manna down for us, made flocks of quails fly over to us, brought up the well for us, and gave us the Torah-we will not let him!” Thereupon, the Holy One, Blessed is He, said: “I will have Moses ascend the mountain [to his resting place] in the middle of the day!” - [Sifrei 32:47]   וַיְדַבֵּר ה' אֶל־משֶׁה בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: בִּשְׁלוֹשָׁה מְקוֹמוֹת נֶאֱמַר בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, נֶאֱמַר בְּנֹחַ "בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה בָּא נֹחַ וְגוֹ'" (בראשית ז') — בְּמַרְאִית אוֹרוֹ שֶׁל יוֹם, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ בְנֵי דוֹרוֹ אוֹמְרִים בְּכָךְ וְכָךְ אִם אָנוּ מַרְגִּישִׁין בּוֹ, אֵין אָנוּ מַנִּיחִין אוֹתוֹ לִכָּנֵס בַּתֵּבָה, וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא אָנוּ נוֹטְלִין כַּשִּׁילִין וְקַרְדֻּמּוֹת וּמְבַקְּעִין אֶת הַתֵּבָה, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הֲרֵינִי מַכְנִיסוֹ בַּחֲצִי הַיּוֹם וְכָל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ כֹחַ לִמְחוֹת יָבֹא וְיִמְחֶה; בְּמִצְרַיִם נֶאֱמַר "בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה הוֹצִיא ה'" (שמות י"ב), לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ מִצְרִיִּים אוֹמְרִים בְּכָךְ וְכָךְ אִם אָנוּ מַרְגִּישִׁין בָּהֶם, אֵין אָנוּ מַנִּיחִין אוֹתָם לָצֵאת, וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא אָנוּ נוֹטְלִין סְיָפוֹת וּכְלֵי זַיִן וְהוֹרְגִין בָּהֶם, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הֲרֵינִי מוֹצִיאָן בַּחֲצִי הַיּוֹם וְכָל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ כֹחַ לִמְחוֹת יָבֹא וְיִמְחֶה; אַף כָּאן בְּמִיתָתוֹ שֶׁל מֹשֶׁה נֶאֱמַר "בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה", לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹמְרִים בְּכָךְ וְכָךְ אִם אָנוּ מַרְגִּישִׁין בּוֹ — אֵין אָנוּ מַנִּיחִין אוֹתוֹ, אָדָם שֶׁהוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְקָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם וְהוֹרִיד לָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן וְהֵגִיז לָנוּ אֶת הַשְּׂלָו וְהֶעֱלָה לָנוּ אֶת הַבְּאֵר וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, אֵין אָנוּ מַנִּיחִין אוֹתוֹ, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הֲרֵינִי מַכְנִיסוֹ בַחֲצִי הַיּוֹם וְכוּ' (ספרי):
49Go up this Mount Avarim [to] Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is facing Jericho, and see the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel as a possession,   מטעֲלֵ֡ה אֶל־הַר֩ הָֽעֲבָרִ֨ים הַזֶּ֜ה הַר־נְב֗וֹ אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מוֹאָ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֣י יְרֵח֑וֹ וּרְאֵה֙ אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן אֲשֶׁ֨ר אֲנִ֥י נֹתֵ֛ן לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לַֽאֲחֻזָּֽה:
50And die on the mountain upon which you are climbing and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.   נוּמֻ֗ת בָּהָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ עֹלֶ֣ה שָׁ֔מָּה וְהֵֽאָסֵ֖ף אֶל־עַמֶּ֑יךָ כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־מֵ֞ת אַֽהֲרֹ֤ן אָחִ֨יךָ֙ בְּהֹ֣ר הָהָ֔ר וַיֵּאָ֖סֶף אֶל־עַמָּֽיו:
Just as your brother Aaron died: [God said to Moses:] “Die with the same death that you witnessed and longed for, that Moses removed Aaron’s first [i.e., upper] garment and dressed Eleazar [Aaron’s son] with it. Then, Moses did the same with the second garment, and the third. Aaron then saw his son in his glory [of his new office]. Moses then said to him: ”Aaron my brother! Go up onto the couch,“ and Aaron went up. ”Stretch out your hands,“ and Aaron stretched [out his hands]. ”Stretch out your legs,“ and Aaron stretched [out his legs]. ”Close your eyes,“ and Aaron closed [his eyes]; ”Close your mouth,“ and Aaron closed [his mouth], and he passed away. Thereupon, Moses said, ”Fortunate is the one who dies a death like this!" - [Sifrei 32:49]   כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־מֵת אַֽהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ: בְּאוֹתָהּ מִיתָה שֶׁרָאִיתָ וְחָמַדְתָּ אוֹתָהּ, שֶׁהִפְשִׁיט מֹשֶׁה אֶת אַהֲרֹן בֶּגֶד רִאשׁוֹן וְהִלְבִּישׁוֹ לְאֶלְעָזָר וְכֵן שֵׁנִי וְכֵן שְׁלִישִׁי וְרָאָה בְּנוֹ בִּכְבוֹדוֹ, אָמַר לוֹ מֹשֶׁה, אַהֲרֹן אָחִי עֲלֵה לַמִּטָּה וְעָלָה, פְּשֹׁט יָדְךָ וּפָשַׁט, פְּשֹׁט רַגְלְךָ וּפָשַׁט, עֲצֹם עֵינֶיךָ וְעָצַם, קְמֹץ פִּיךָ וְקָמַץ, וְהָלַךְ לוֹ. אָמַר מֹשֶׁה — אַשְׁרֵי מִי שֶׁמֵּת בְּמִיתָה זוֹ (ספרי):
51Because you betrayed Me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Merivath Kadesh, [in] the desert of Zin, [and] because you did not sanctify Me in the midst of the children of Israel.   נאעַל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר מְעַלְתֶּ֜ם בִּ֗י בְּתוֹךְ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּמֵֽי־מְרִיבַ֥ת קָדֵ֖שׁ מִדְבַּר־צִ֑ן עַ֣ל אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־קִדַּשְׁתֶּם֙ אוֹתִ֔י בְּת֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
Because you betrayed Me: You caused the people to rebel against Me.   עַל אֲשֶׁר מְעַלְתֶּם בִּי: גְּרַמְתֶּם לִמְעֹל בִּי:
because you did not sanctify Me: [Says God to Israel:] You caused Me not to be sanctified [see Yalkut , end of Ha’azinu]: I said to you “Speak to the rock” [to provide you with water in the desert (see Num. 20:8)], but instead, they hit the rock, and so, they had to hit it twice [in order to extract water]. Had they, however, spoken to it [as I told them], so that the rock would have given forth water without being hit, the Name of Heaven would have been sanctified, for the Israelites would have said,"If the rock, which is subject neither to reward nor punishment, for if it acts meritoriously [i.e., fulfills God’s will,] it receives no reward, and if it sins [i.e., not fulfilling God’s will,] it is not punished, and yet [without any of these incentives] the rock fulfills the command of its Creator [by producing water when spoken to], how much more so should we [who do have the incentives of reward and punishment fulfill our Creator’s will]!   עַל אֲשֶׁר לֹֽא־קִדַּשְׁתֶּם אוֹתִי: גְּרַמְתֶּם לִי שֶׁלֹּא אֶתְקַדֵּשׁ, אָמַרְתִּי לָכֶם "וְדִבַּרְתֶּם אֶל הַסֶּלַע" (במדבר כ') וְהֵם הִכּוּהוּ וְהֻצְרְכוּ לְהַכּוֹתוֹ פַעֲמַיִם, וְאִלּוּ דִּבְּרוּ עִמּוֹ וְנָתַן מֵימָיו בְּלֹא הַכָּאָה, הָיָה מִתְקַדֵּשׁ שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹמְרִים וּמַה הַסֶּלַע שֶׁאֵינוֹ לְשָׂכָר וְלֹא לְפֻרְעָנוּת, אִם זָכָה אֵין לוֹ מַתַּן שָׂכָר וְאִם חָטָא אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה, כָּךְ מְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת בּוֹרְאוֹ, אָנוּ לֹא כָּל שֶׁכֵּן:
52For from afar, you will see the land, but you will not come there, to the land I am giving the children of Israel.   נבכִּ֥י מִנֶּ֖גֶד תִּרְאֶ֣ה אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְשָׁ֨מָּה֙ לֹ֣א תָב֔וֹא אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֥י נֹתֵ֖ן לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
from afar: Heb. כִּי מִנֶּגֶד from afar.   כִּי מִנֶּגֶד: מֵרָחוֹק:
you will see [the Land]: For if you do not see the Land now, you will no longer see it in your lifetime.   תִּרְאֶה וגו': אִם לֹא תִרְאֶנָּה עַכְשָׁו, לֹא תִרְאֶנָּה עוֹד בְּחַיֶּיךָ, עַל כֵּן אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לְךָ עֲלֵה וּרְאֵה:
but you will not come there: But I know that the Land is dear to you. That is why I say to you, “Go up [the mountain] and see [it]!”   וְשָׁמָּה לֹא תָבוֹא: וְיָדַעְתִּי כִּי חֲבִיבָה הִיא לְךָ, עַל כֵּן אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לְךָ עֲלֵה וּרְאֵה: