Chapter 6

1And the Lord said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh, for with a mighty hand he will send them out, and with a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land."   אוַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה עַתָּ֣ה תִרְאֶ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֖ה לְפַרְעֹ֑ה כִּ֣י בְיָ֤ד חֲזָקָה֙ יְשַׁלְּחֵ֔ם וּבְיָ֣ד חֲזָקָ֔ה יְגָֽרְשֵׁ֖ם מֵֽאַרְצֽוֹ:
Now you will see, etc.: You have questioned My ways [of running the world, which is] unlike Abraham, to whom I said, “For in Isaac will be called your seed” (Gen. 21:12), and afterwards I said to him, “Bring him up there for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:2), yet he did not question Me. Therefore, now you will see. What is done to Pharaoh you will see, but not what is done to the kings of the seven nations when I bring them [the children of Israel] into the land [of Israel]. — [from Sanh. 111a]   עַתָּה תִרְאֶה וגו': הִרְהַרְתָּ עַל מִדּוֹתַי, לֹא כְאַבְרָהָם שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לוֹ "כִּי בְיִצְחָק יִקָּרֵא לְךָ זָרַע" (בראשית כ"א), וְאַחַר כָּךְ אָמַרְתִּי לוֹ "הַעֲלֵהוּ לְעוֹלָה" וְלֹא הִרְהֵר אַחֲרַי; לְפִיכָךְ עתה תראה. הֶעָשׂוּי לְפַרְעֹה תִּרְאֶה, וְלֹא הֶעָשׂוּי לְמַלְכֵי שִׁבְעָה אֻמּוֹת כְּשֶׁאֲבִיאֵם לָאָרֶץ (סנהדרין קי"א):
for with a mighty hand he will let them go: Because of My mighty hand, which will overpower Pharaoh, he will let them go.   כִּי בְיָד חֲזָקָה יְשַׁלְּחֵם: מִפְּנֵי יָדִי הַחֲזָקָה שֶׁתֶּחֱזַק עָלָיו יְשַׁלְּחֵם:
and with a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land: Against Israel’s will he will drive them out, and they will not have time to make provisions for themselves, and so He says, “And the Egyptians pressed the people strongly, etc.” (Exod. 12:33).   וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה יְגָֽרְשֵׁם מֵֽאַרְצֽוֹ: עַל כָּרְחָם שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל יְגָרְשֵׁם, לֹא יַסְפִּיקוּ לַעֲשוֹת לָהֶם צֵדָה; וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "וַתֶּחֱזַק מִצְרַיִם עַל הָעָם וְגוֹ'" (שמות י"ב):
2God spoke to Moses, and He said to him, "I am the Lord.   בוַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־משֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֵלָ֖יו אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָֽה:
God spoke to Moses: He called him to account since he [Moses] had spoken harshly by saying, “Why have You harmed this people?” (Exod. 5:22)-[from Tanchuma Buber, Va’era 4]   וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־משֶׁה: דִּבֵּר אִתּוֹ מִשְׁפָּט, עַל שֶׁהִקְשָׁה לְדַבֵּר וְלוֹמַר "לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָה לָעָם הַזֶּה":
and He said to him, I am the Lord: [Meaning: I am] faithful to recompense all those who walk before Me. I did not send you [to Pharaoh] except to fulfill My words, which I spoke to the early fathers. In this sense, we find that it אִנִי ה is interpreted in many places [in Scripture] as “I am the Lord,” [meaning that I am] faithful to exact retribution. [It has this meaning] when it is stated in conjunction with [an act warranting] punishment, e.g., “or you will profane the name of your God; I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:12). When it is stated in conjunction with the fulfillment of commandments, e.g., “And you shall keep My commandments and perform them; I am the Lord” (Lev. 22:31), [it means: I am] faithful to give reward.   וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי ה': נֶאֱמָן לְשַׁלֵּם שָׂכָר טוֹב לַמִּתְהַלְּכִים לְפָנַי, וְלֹא לְחִנָּם שְׁלַחְתִּיךָ כִּי אִם לְקַיֵּם דְּבָרִי שֶׁדִּבַּרְתִּי לָאָבוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹנִים. וּבַלָּשׁוֹן הַזֶּה מָצִינוּ שֶׁהוּא נִדְרָשׁ בְּכַמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת אֲנִי ה' נֶאֱמָן לְהִפָּרַע – כְּשֶׁהוּא אָמוּר אֵצֶל עֹנֶשׁ – כְּגוֹן "וְחִלַּלְתָּ אֶת שֵׁם אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲנִי ה'" (ויקרא י״ט:י״ב), וּכְשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר אֵצֶל קִיּוּם מִצְווֹת – כְּגוֹן "וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם מִצְוֹתַי וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אוֹתָם אֲנִי ה'" (שם כ"ב) – נֶאֱמָן לִתֵּן שָׂכָר:
3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob with [the name] Almighty God, but [with] My name YHWH, I did not become known to them.   גוָֽאֵרָ֗א אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֶל־יִצְחָ֥ק וְאֶל־יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב בְּאֵ֣ל שַׁדָּ֑י וּשְׁמִ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה לֹ֥א נוֹדַ֖עְתִּי לָהֶֽם:
I appeared: to the fathers.   וָֽאֵרָא: אֶל הָאָבוֹת:
with [the name] Almighty God: I made promises to them, in all of which I said to them, “I am the Almighty God.”   בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי: הִבְטַחְתִּים הַבְטָחוֹת וּבְכֻלָּן אָמַרְתִּי לָהֶם אֲנִי אֵל שַׁדַּי:
but [with] My name YHWH, I did not become known to them: It is not written here לֹא הוֹדַעְתִּי, “but My Name YHWH I did not make known to them,” but לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי, “I did not become known.” [I.e.,] I was not recognized by them with My attribute of keeping faith, by dint of which My name is called YHWH, [which means that I am] faithful to verify My words, for I made promises to them, but I did not fulfill [them while they were alive].   וּשְׁמִי ה' לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶֽם: לֹא הוֹדַעְתִּי אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן אֶלָּא לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי, לֹא נִכַּרְתִּי לָהֶם בְּמִדַת אֲמִתּוּת שֶׁלִּי, שֶׁעָלֶיהָ נִקְרָא שְׁמִי ה', נֶאֱמָן לְאַמֵּת דְּבָרַי, שֶׁהֲרֵי הִבְטַחְתִּים וְלֹא קִיַּמְתִּי:
4And also, I established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings in which they sojourned.   דוְגַ֨ם הֲקִמֹ֤תִי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי֙ אִתָּ֔ם לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶ֖ם אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן אֵ֛ת אֶ֥רֶץ מְגֻֽרֵיהֶ֖ם אֲשֶׁר־גָּ֥רוּ בָֽהּ:
And also, I established My covenant, etc.: And also, when I appeared to them as the Almighty God, I established and set up a covenant between Myself and them.   וְגַם הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי וגו': וְגַם כְּשֶׁנִּרְאֵיתִי לָהֶם בְּאֵל שַׁדַּי הִצַּבְתִּי וְהֶעֱמַדְתִּי בְרִיתִי בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיהֶם,
to give them the land of Canaan: To Abraham in the section dealing with [the commandment of] circumcision (Gen. 17), it is said: “I am the Almighty God… And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings” (Gen. 17:1). To Isaac [it is stated], “for to you and to your seed I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham” (Gen. 26:3), and that oath which I swore to Abraham was spoken with the [name] “Almighty God.” To Jacob [it is said], “I am the Almighty God; be fruitful and multiply, etc. And the land that, etc.” (Gen. 35:11, 12). So you see that I vowed to them [many vows], but I did not fulfill [My vows yet].   לָתֵת לָהֶם אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן: לְאַבְרָהָם בְּפָרָשַׁת מִילָה נֶאֱמַר "אֲנִי אֵל שַׁדַּי וְגוֹ' וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֶיךָ" (בראשית י"ז), לְיִצְחָק "כִּי לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת כָּל הָאֲרָצֹת הָאֵל וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת הַשְּׁבֻעָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם" (שם כ"ו), וְאוֹתָהּ שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם בְּאֵל שַׁדַּי אָמַרְתִּי לְיַעֲקֹב – "אֲנִי אֵל שַׁדַּי פְּרֵה וּרְבֵה וְגוֹ' וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר וְגוֹ'" (שם ל"ה), הֲרֵי שֶׁנָּדַרְתִּי לָהֶם וְלֹא קִיַּמְתִּי:
5And also, I heard the moans of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians are holding in bondage, and I remembered My covenant.   הוְגַ֣ם | אֲנִ֣י שָׁמַ֗עְתִּי אֶת־נַֽאֲקַת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִצְרַ֖יִם מַֽעֲבִדִ֣ים אֹתָ֑ם וָֽאֶזְכֹּ֖ר אֶת־בְּרִיתִֽי:
And also, I heard: Just as I established and set up the covenant, it is incumbent upon Me to fulfill [it]. Therefore, I heard the moans [complaints] of the children of Israel, who are moaning.   וְגַם אֲנִי: כְּמוֹ שֶׁהִצַּבְתִּי וְהֶעֱמַדְתִּי הַבְּרִית יֵשׁ עָלַי לְקַיֵּם, לְפִיכָךְ שמעתי את נאקת בני ישראל הַנּוֹאֲקִים,:
whom the Egyptians are holding in bondage. I remembered: that covenant [which I made with Abraham], for in the Covenant between the Parts, I said to him, “And also the nation that they will serve will I judge” (Gen. 15:14).   אֲשֶׁר מִצְרַיִם מַעֲבִדִים אֹתָם וָאֶזְכֹּר אֶת־בְּרִיתִי: כִּי בִּבְרִית בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים אָמַרְתִּי לוֹ "וְגַם אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי" (בראשית ט"ו):
6Therefore, say to the children of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save you from their labor, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.   ולָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֥ר לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֘ אֲנִ֣י יְהֹוָה֒ וְהֽוֹצֵאתִ֣י אֶתְכֶ֗ם מִתַּ֨חַת֙ סִבְלֹ֣ת מִצְרַ֔יִם וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵֽעֲבֹֽדָתָ֑ם וְגָֽאַלְתִּ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ בִּזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֔ה וּבִשְׁפָטִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים:
Therefore: according to that oath.   לָכֵן: עַל פִּי אוֹתָהּ הַשְּׁבוּעָה:
say to the children of Israel, I am the Lord: [I am] faithful to My promise.   אֱמֹר לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנִי ה': הַנֶּאֱמָן בְּהַבְטָחָתִי:
and I will take you out: for so did I promise him [Abraham], “and afterwards they will go forth with great possessions” (Gen. 15:14).   וְהֽוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם: כִּי כֵן הִבְטַחְתִּי: "וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל" (שם):
the burdens of the Egyptians: The toil of the burden of the Egyptians.   סִבְלֹת: טֹרַח מַשָּׂא מִצְרַיִם:
7And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a God to you, and you will know that I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.   זוְלָֽקַחְתִּ֨י אֶתְכֶ֥ם לִי֙ לְעָ֔ם וְהָיִ֥יתִי לָכֶ֖ם לֵֽאלֹהִ֑ים וִֽידַעְתֶּ֗ם כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵיכֶ֔ם הַמּוֹצִ֣יא אֶתְכֶ֔ם מִתַּ֖חַת סִבְל֥וֹת מִצְרָֽיִם:
8I will bring you to the land, concerning which I raised My hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you as a heritage; I am the Lord.' "   חוְהֵֽבֵאתִ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר נָשָׂ֨אתִי֙ אֶת־יָדִ֔י לָתֵ֣ת אֹתָ֔הּ לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּלְיַֽעֲקֹ֑ב וְנָֽתַתִּ֨י אֹתָ֥הּ לָכֶ֛ם מֽוֹרָשָׁ֖ה אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָֽה:
I raised My hand: I raised it to swear by My throne. [following Onkelos]   נָשָׂאתִי אֶת־יָדִי: הֲרִימוֹתִיהָ לְהִשָּׁבַע בְּכִסְאִי:
9Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel, but they did not hearken to Moses because of [their] shortness of breath and because of [their] hard labor.   טוַיְדַבֵּ֥ר משֶׁ֛ה כֵּ֖ן אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְלֹ֤א שָֽׁמְעוּ֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה מִקֹּ֣צֶר ר֔וּחַ וּמֵֽעֲבֹדָ֖ה קָשָֽׁה:
but they did not hearken to Moses: They did not accept consolation. I.e., they despaired completely of ever being redeemed.   וְלֹא שָֽׁמְעוּ אֶל־משֶׁה: לֹא קִבְּלוּ תַנְחוּמִין:
because of [their] shortness of breath: Whoever is under stress, his wind and his breath are short, and he cannot take a deep breath. Similar to this [interpretation, namely that what is meant by I am the Lord is: I am faithful to fulfill My word] I heard from Rabbi Baruch the son of Rabbi Eliezer, and he brought me proof [of this explanation] from this [following] verse: “at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My name is the Lord” (Jer. 16:21). [Rabbi Baruch said,] We learn from this that when the Holy One, blessed be He, fulfills His words-even [when it is] for retribution-He makes it known that His name is the Lord. How much more so [does this expression apply] when he fulfills [His word] for good [because the Tetragrammaton represents the Divine Standard of Mercy]. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted it (Sanh. 111a) as related to the preceding topic, [namely] that Moses said [verse 22], “Why have You harmed…?” (Exod. 5:22). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “We suffer a great loss for those [the Patriarchs] who are lost and [whose replacement] cannot be found. I must lament the death of the Patriarchs. Many times I revealed Myself to them as the Almighty God and they did not ask Me, ‘What is Your name?’ But you asked, What is His name? What shall I say to them?’” (Exod. 3:13). [4]   מִקֹּצֶר רוּחַ: כָּל מִי שֶׁהוּא מֵצֵר, רוּחוֹ וּנְשִׁימָתוֹ קְצָרָה, וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַאֲרִיךְ בִּנְשִׁימָתוֹ: קָרוֹב לְעִנְיָן זֶה שָׁמַעְתִּי בְּפָרָשָׁה זוֹ מֵרַבִּי בָּרוּךְ בְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, וְהֵבִיא לִי רְאָיָה מִמִּקְרָא זֶה, "בַּפַּעַם הַזֹּאת אוֹדִיעֵם אֶת יָדִי וְאֶת גְּבוּרָתִי וְיָדְעוּ כִּי שְׁמִי ה'" (ירמיהו ט"ז) – לָמַדְנוּ כְּשֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְאַמֵּן אֶת דְּבָרָיו אֲפִלּוּ לְפֻרְעָנוּת מוֹדִיעַ שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ ה', וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן הַאֲמָנָה לְטוֹבָה. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ דְרָשׁוּהוּ לְעִנְיָן שֶׁל מַעְלָה, שֶׁאָמַר מֹשֶׁה לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָה, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא "חֲבַל עַל דְּאָבְדִין וְלָא מִשְׁתַּכְּחִין" – יֵשׁ לִי לְהִתְאוֹנֵן עַל מִיתַת הָאָבוֹת, הַרְבֵּה פְּעָמִים נִגְלֵיתִי אֲלֵיהֶם בְּאֵל שַׁדַּי וְלֹא אָמְרוּ לִי מַה שִּׁמְךָ, וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ מַה שְּׁמוֹ, מָה אֹמַר אֲלֵיהֶם:
And also, I established, etc.: And when Abraham sought to bury Sarah, he could not find a grave until he bought [one] for a very high price. Similarly, [with] Isaac, [the Philistines] contested the wells he had dug. And so [with] Jacob, “And he bought the part of the field where he had pitched his tent” (Gen. 33:19), yet they did not question My actions! But you said, “Why have You harmed [the Israelites]?” This midrash, however, does not fit the text, for many reasons: First, because it does not say, “And My Name, ה they did not ask me.” And if you say [in response to this] that He did not let them [the Patriarchs] know that this is His name, [and nevertheless they did not ask Him, (and we will explain לֹא נוֹדַעְךְתִּי like לֹא הוֹדַעְךְתִּי, I did not make known,) I will answer you that] indeed, at the beginning, when He revealed Himself to Abraham “between the parts” (Gen. 15:10), it says: “I am the Lord (אֲנִי ה), Who brought you forth from Ur of the Chaldees” (Gen. 15:7). Moreover, how does the context continue with the matters that follow this [verse]: “And also, I heard, etc. Therefore, say to the children of Israel” ? Therefore, I say that the text should be interpreted according to its simple meaning, [with] each statement fitting its context, and the midrashic explanation may be expounded upon, as it is said: “‘Is not My word so like fire,’ says the Lord, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’” (Jer. 23:29). [The rock it strikes] is divided into many splinters.   וגם הקמתי וגו': וּכְשֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ אַבְרָהָם לִקְבֹּר אֶת שָׂרָה לֹא מָצָא קֶבֶר עַד שֶׁקָּנָה בְדָמִים מְרֻבִּים, וְכֵן בְּיִצְחָק עִרְעֲרוּ עָלָיו עַל הַבְּאֵרוֹת אֲשֶׁר חָפַר, וְכֵן יַעֲקֹב וַיִּקֶן אֶת חֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶה, לִנְטוֹת אָהֳלוֹ, וְלֹא הִרְהֲרוּ אַחַר מִדּוֹתַי, וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָה? וְאֵין הַמִּדְרָשׁ מִתְיַשֵּׁב אַחַר הַמִּקְרָא מִפְּנֵי כַמָּה דְבָרִים, אַחַת, שֶׁלֹּא נֶאֱמַר וּשְׁמִי ה' לֹא שָׁאֲלוּ לִי, וְאִם תֹּאמַר לֹא הוֹדִיעָם שֶׁכָּךְ שְׁמוֹ, הֲרֵי תְּחִלָּה כְּשֶׁנִּגְלָה לְאַבְרָהָם בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים נֶאֱמַר "אֲנִי ה' אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִים" (בראשית ט"ו), וְעוֹד הֵיאַךְ הַסְּמִיכָה נִמְשֶׁכֶת בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁהוּא סוֹמֵךְ לְכָאן וגם אני שמעתי וגו' לכן אמר לבני ישראל? לְכָךְ אֲנִי אוֹמֵר יִתְיַשֵּׁב הַמִּקְרָא עַל פְּשׁוּטוֹ, דִּבּוּר דָּבוּר עַל אָפְנָיו, וְהַדְּרָשָׁה תִדָּרֵשׁ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "הֲלוֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ נְאֻם ה' וּכְפַטִּישׁ יְפוֹצֵץ סָלַע" (ירמיהו כ"ג) – מִתְחַלֵּק לְכַמָּה נִיצוֹצוֹת (סנהדרין ל"ד):
10The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,   יוַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־משֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר:
11"Come, speak to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and he will let the children of Israel out of his land."   יאבֹּ֣א דַבֵּ֔ר אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֖ה מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרָ֑יִם וִֽישַׁלַּ֥ח אֶת־בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵֽאַרְצֽוֹ:
12But Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, "Behold, the children of Israel did not hearken to me. How then will Pharaoh hearken to me, seeing that I am of closed lips?"   יבוַיְדַבֵּ֣ר משֶׁ֔ה לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר הֵ֤ן בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֹא־שָֽׁמְע֣וּ אֵלַ֔י וְאֵיךְ֙ יִשְׁמָעֵ֣נִי פַרְעֹ֔ה וַֽאֲנִ֖י עֲרַ֥ל שְׂפָתָֽיִם:
closed lips: Heb. עִרַל שְׂפָתָיִם, Literally, of “closed” lips. Similarly, every expression of (עָרְלָה) I say, denotes a closure: e.g., “their ear is clogged (עִרֵלָה) ” (Jer. 6:10), [meaning] clogged to prevent hearing; “of uncircumcised (עַרְלֵי) hearts” (Jer. 9:25), [meaning] clogged to prevent understanding; “You too drink and become clogged up (וְהֵעָרֵל) ” (Hab. 2:16), [which means] and become clogged up from the intoxication of the cup of the curse; עָרְלַתבָּשָָׂר, the foreskin of the flesh, by which the male membrum is closed up and covered; “and you shall treat its fruit as forbidden (וְעִרַלְךְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ) ” (Lev. 19:23), [i. e.,] make for it a closure and a covering of prohibition, which will create a barrier that will prevent you from eating it. “For three years, it shall be closed up [forbidden] (עִרֵלִים) for you” (Lev. 19:23), [i.e.,] closed up, covered, and separated from eating it.   וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמָעֵנִי פַרְעֹה: זֶה אֶחָד מֵעֲשָׂרָה קַל וָחֹמֶר שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה (בראשית רבה צ"ב):
How then will Pharaoh hearken to me: This is one of the ten kal vachomer inferences mentioned in the Torah. — [from Gen. Rabbah 92:7] [I.e., inferences from major to minor, such as in this case. I.e., if, because of my speech impediment, the children of Israel, who have everything to gain by listening to me, did not listen to me, Pharaoh, who has everything to lose by listening to me, will surely not listen to me.]   עֲרַל שְׂפָתָֽיִם: אֲטוּם שְׂפָתַיִם; וְכֵן כָּל לְשׁוֹן עָרְלָה אֲנִי אוֹמֵר שֶׁהוּא אָטוּם, "עֲרֵלָה אָזְנָם" (ירמיהו ו') – אֲטוּמָה מִשְּׁמֹעַ, "עַרְלֵי לֵב" (שם ט') – אֲטוּמִים מֵהָבִין, "שְׁתֵה גַּם אַתָּה וְהֵעָרֵל" (חבקוק ב') – וְהֵאָטֵם מִשִּׁכְרוּת כּוֹס הַקְּלָלָה, "עָרְלַת בָּשָׂר" – שֶׁהַגִּיד אָטוּם וּמְכֻסֶּה בָהּ, "וַעֲרַלְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ" (ויקרא י"ט) – עֲשׂוּ לוֹ אֹטֶם וּכְסוּי אִסּוּר שֶׁיַּבְדִּיל בִּפְנֵי אֲכִילָתוֹ, "שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים" (שם) – אָטוּם וּמְכֻסֶּה וּמֻבְדָּל מִלְּאָכְלוֹ:
13So the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and He commanded them concerning the children of Israel and concerning Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to let the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.   יגוַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהֹוָה֘ אֶל־משֶׁ֣ה וְאֶל־אַֽהֲרֹן֒ וַיְצַוֵּם֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֶל־פַּרְעֹ֖ה מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרָ֑יִם לְהוֹצִ֥יא אֶת־בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם:
So the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron: Because Moses had said, “I am of closed lips,” the Holy One, blessed be He, combined Aaron with him to be for him as a “mouth” [i.e., speaker] and an interpreter.   וַיְדַבֵּר ה' אֶל־משֶׁה וְאֶל־אַֽהֲרֹן: לְפִי שֶׁאָמַר מֹשֶׁה אֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתַיִם, צֵרֵף לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת אַהֲרֹן לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְפֶה וּלְמֵלִיץ:
and He commanded them concerning the children of Israel: He commanded regarding them [the Israelites] to lead them gently and to be patient with them. — [from Sifrei Beha’alothecha 91]   וַיְצַוֵּם אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: צִוָּם עֲלֵיהֶם לְהַנְהִיגָם בְּנַחַת וְלִסְבֹּל אוֹתָם (שמות רבה):
and concerning Pharaoh, the king of Egypt: He commanded them concerning him [Pharaoh], to speak to him respectfully. This is its midrashic interpretation (Mechilta, Bo, ch. 13; Exod. Rabbah 7:2). Its simple meaning is that He commanded them [Moses and Aaron] concerning Israel and concerning His mission to Pharaoh. What the content of the command was, is delineated in the second section [verses 29-31], after the order of the genealogy [that follows this passage]. [This second section should be here] but since [Scripture] mentioned Moses and Aaron, it interrupts the narrative with “These are the heads of the fathers’ houses” (verse 14) to inform us how Moses and Aaron were born and after whom they traced their lineage..   וְאֶל־פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם: צִוָּם עָלָיו לַחֲלֹק לוֹ כָבוֹד בְּדִבְרֵיהֶם, זֶה מִדְרָשׁוֹ (שם); וּפְשׁוּטוֹ, צִוָּם עַל דְּבַר יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל שְׁלִיחוּתוֹ אֶל פַּרְעֹה; וּדְבַר הַצִּוּוּי מַהוּ, מְפֹרָשׁ בְּפָרָשָׁה שְׁנִיָּה לְאַחַר סֵדֶר הַיַּחַס, אֶלָּא מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁהִזְכִּיר מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן, הִפְסִיק הָעִנְיָן בְּאלה ראשי בית אבתם לְלַמְּדֵנוּ הֵיאַךְ נוֹלְדוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן וּבְמִי נִתְיַחֲסוּ:
14These [following] are the heads of the fathers' houses: The sons of Reuben, Israel's firstborn: Enoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Karmi, these are the families of Reuben.   ידאֵ֖לֶּה רָאשֵׁ֣י בֵֽית־אֲבֹתָ֑ם בְּנֵ֨י רְאוּבֵ֜ן בְּכֹ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל חֲנ֤וֹךְ וּפַלּוּא֙ חֶצְרֹ֣ן וְכַרְמִ֔י אֵ֖לֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת רְאוּבֵֽן:
These [following] are the heads of the fathers’ houses: Since [Scripture] had to trace the lineage of the tribe of Levi as far as Moses and Aaron-because of Moses and Aaron-it commenced to trace their [the Israelites’] lineage in the order of their births, starting with Reuben. (In the Great Pesikta [Rabbathi] (7:7) I saw [the following statement]: Because Jacob rebuked [the progenitors of] these three tribes at the time of his death (Gen. 49:4-7), Scripture again traces their lineage here by themselves, to infer that [even though Jacob rebuked them] they are of high esteem.)   אֵלֶּה רָאשֵׁי בֵֽית־אֲבֹתָם: מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁהֻזְקַק לְיַחֵס שִׁבְטוֹ שֶׁל לֵוִי עַד מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן בִּשְׁבִיל מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן, הִתְחִיל לְיַחֲסָם דֶּרֶךְ תּוֹלְדוֹתָם מֵרְאוּבֵן. וּבְפְסִיקְתָּא רַבָּתִי רָאִיתִי, לְפִי שֶׁקִּנְטְרָם יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ לִשְׁלוֹשָׁה שְׁבָטִים הַלָּלוּ בִּשְׁעַת מוֹתוֹ, חָזַר הַכָּתוּב וְיִחֲסָם כָּאן לְבַדָּם, לוֹמַר שֶׁחֲשׁוּבִים הֵם:
15And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Saul, the son of the Canaanitess, these are the families of Simeon.   טווּבְנֵ֣י שִׁמְע֗וֹן יְמוּאֵ֨ל וְיָמִ֤ין וְאֹ֨הַד֙ וְיָכִ֣ין וְצֹ֔חַר וְשָׁא֖וּל בֶּן־הַכְּנַֽעֲנִ֑ית אֵ֖לֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת שִׁמְעֽוֹן:
16And these are the names of Levi's sons after their generations: Gershon, Kehath, and Merari, and the years of Levi's life were one hundred thirty seven years.   טזוְאֵ֨לֶּה שְׁמ֤וֹת בְּנֵֽי־לֵוִי֙ לְתֹ֣לְדֹתָ֔ם גֵּֽרְשׁ֕וֹן וּקְהָ֖ת וּמְרָרִ֑י וּשְׁנֵי֙ חַיֵּ֣י לֵוִ֔י שֶׁ֧בַע וּשְׁלשִׁ֛ים וּמְאַ֖ת שָׁנָֽה:
and the years of Levi’s life: Why were Levi’s years counted? To let us know how many were the years of bondage. For as long as one of the tribes was alive, there was no bondage, as it is said: “Now Joseph died, as well as all his brothers,” and afterwards, “A new king arose” (Exod. 1:6, 8), and Levi outlived them all. — [from Seder Olam, ch. 3]   וּשְׁנֵי חַיֵּי לֵוִי וגו': לָמָּה נִמְנוּ שְׁנוֹתָיו שֶׁל לֵוִי? לְהוֹדִיעַ כַּמָּה יְמֵי הַשִּׁעְבּוּד; שֶׁכָּל זְמַן שֶׁאֶחָד מִן הַשְּׁבָטִים קַיָּם לֹא הָיָה שִׁעְבּוּד (שמות רבה א'), שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיָּמָת יוֹסֵף וְכָל אֶחָיו" (שמות א), וְאַחַר כָּךְ "וַיָּקָם מֶלֶךְ חָדָשׁ", וְלֵוִי הֶאֱרִיךְ יָמִים עַל כֻּלָּם:
17The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei to their families.   יזבְּנֵ֥י גֵֽרְשׁ֛וֹן לִבְנִ֥י וְשִׁמְעִ֖י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָֽם:
18And the sons of Kehath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, and the years of Kehath's life were one hundred thirty three years.   יחוּבְנֵ֣י קְהָ֔ת עַמְרָ֣ם וְיִצְהָ֔ר וְחֶבְר֖וֹן וְעֻזִּיאֵ֑ל וּשְׁנֵי֙ חַיֵּ֣י קְהָ֔ת שָׁל֧שׁ וּשְׁלשִׁ֛ים וּמְאַ֖ת שָׁנָֽה:
And the years of Kehath's life and the years of Amram's life etc: From this calculation we learn that the 400 year sojourn of the B'nei Yisrael which Scriptures talks about, it was not [spent] in Egypt alone but, rather [was calculated] from the day Yitzchok was born. [This can be calculated thus:] For Kehath was among those who went down to Egypt, [Now] calculate all his years and the years of Amram, [his son] and the eighty years of Moshe, you will find that they do not total 400 years, and many of the [sons'] years are included in the fathers' years.   וּשְׁנֵי חַיֵּי קְהָת וּשְׁנֵי חַיֵּי עַמְרָם וגו': מֵחֶשְׁבּוֹן זֶה אָנוּ לְמֵדִים עַל מוֹשַׁב בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (בראשית ט״ו:י״ג), שֶׁלֹּא בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לְבַדָּהּ הָיוּ, אֶלָּא מִיּוֹם שֶׁנּוֹלַד יִצְחָק; שֶׁהֲרֵי קְהָת מִיּוֹרְדֵי מִצְרַיִם הָיָה, חֲשֹׁב כָּל שְׁנוֹתָיו וּשְׁנוֹת עַמְרָם וּשְׁמוֹנִים שֶׁל מֹשֶׁה, לֹא תִמְצָאֵם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה, וְהַרְבֵּה שָׁנִים נִבְלָעִים לַבָּנִים בִּשְׁנֵי הָאָבוֹת:
19And the sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi; these are the families of the Levites according to their generations.   יטוּבְנֵ֥י מְרָרִ֖י מַחְלִ֣י וּמוּשִׁ֑י אֵ֛לֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הַלֵּוִ֖י לְתֹֽלְדֹתָֽם:
20Amram took Jochebed, his aunt, as his wife, and she bore him Aaron and Moses, and the years of Amram's life were one hundred thirty seven years.   כוַיִּקַּ֨ח עַמְרָ֜ם אֶת־יוֹכֶ֤בֶד דֹּֽדָתוֹ֙ ל֣וֹ לְאִשָּׁ֔ה וַתֵּ֣לֶד ל֔וֹ אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹ֖ן וְאֶת־משֶׁ֑ה וּשְׁנֵי֙ חַיֵּ֣י עַמְרָ֔ם שֶׁ֧בַע וּשְׁלשִׁ֛ים וּמְאַ֖ת שָׁנָֽה:
Jochebed, his aunt: Heb. דֹדָתוֹ [Onkelos renders:] his father’s sister, the daughter of Levi, the sister of Kehath.   יוֹכֶבֶד דודתו: אַחַת אֲבוּהִי, בַּת לֵוִי אֲחוֹת קְהָת:
21And the sons of Izhar were Korah and Nepheg and Zichri.   כאוּבְנֵ֖י יִצְהָ֑ר קֹ֥רַח וָנֶ֖פֶג וְזִכְרִֽי:
22And the sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.   כבוּבְנֵ֖י עֻזִּיאֵ֑ל מִֽישָׁאֵ֥ל וְאֶלְצָפָ֖ן וְסִתְרִֽי:
23Aaron took to himself for a wife, Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.   כגוַיִּקַּ֨ח אַֽהֲרֹ֜ן אֶת־אֱלִישֶׁ֧בַע בַּת־עַמִּֽינָדָ֛ב אֲח֥וֹת נַחְשׁ֖וֹן ל֣וֹ לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַתֵּ֣לֶד ל֗וֹ אֶת־נָדָב֙ וְאֶת־אֲבִיה֔וּא אֶת־אֶלְעָזָ֖ר וְאֶת־אִֽיתָמָֽר:
the sister of Nahshon: From here we learn that one who contemplates taking a wife must [first] investigate her brothers. — [from B.B. 110a, Exod. Rabbah 7:5]   אֲחוֹת נַחְשׁוֹן: מִכָּאן לָמְדוּ, הַנּוֹשֵׂא אִשָּׁה צָרִיךְ לִבְדֹק בְאַחֶיהָ (בבא בתרא ק"י):
24And the sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites.   כדוּבְנֵ֣י קֹ֔רַח אַסִּ֥יר וְאֶלְקָנָ֖ה וַֽאֲבִֽיאָסָ֑ף אֵ֖לֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הַקָּרְחִֽי:
25Eleazar, the son of Aaron, took himself [one] of the daughters of Putiel to himself as a wife, and she bore him Phinehas; these are the heads of the fathers' [houses] of the Levites according to their families.   כהוְאֶלְעָזָ֨ר בֶּן־אַֽהֲרֹ֜ן לָֽקַח־ל֨וֹ מִבְּנ֤וֹת פּֽוּטִיאֵל֙ ל֣וֹ לְאִשָּׁ֔ה וַתֵּ֥לֶד ל֖וֹ אֶת־פִּֽינְחָ֑ס אֵ֗לֶּה רָאשֵׁ֛י אֲב֥וֹת הַֽלְוִיִּ֖ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָֽם:
[one] of the daughters of Putiel-: Of the seed of Jethro, who fattened (פִּטֵּ ם) calves for idolatry (see Rashi on Exod. 2:16) and [who was also] of the seed of Joseph, who defied and fought (פִּטְפֵּט) against his passion [when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife]. — [from B.B. 109b]   מִבְּנוֹת פּֽוּטִיאֵל: מִזֶּרַע יִתְרוֹ שֶׁפִּטֵּם עֲגָלִים לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, וּמִזֶּרַע יוֹסֵף שֶׁפִּטְפֵּט בְּיִצְרוֹ (סוטה מ"ג):
26That is Aaron and Moses, to whom the Lord said, "Take the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt with their legions."   כוה֥וּא אַֽהֲרֹ֖ן וּמשֶׁ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָמַ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ לָהֶ֔ם הוֹצִ֜יאוּ אֶת־בְּנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם עַל־צִבְאֹתָֽם:
That is Aaron and Moses: Who are mentioned above [verse 20], whom Jochebed bore to Amram, [these two] are [the same] Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, etc. In some places, [Scripture] places Aaron before Moses, and in other places it places Moses before Aaron, to tell us that they were equal. — [from Mechilta, 7:1]   הוּא אַֽהֲרֹן וּמשֶׁה: אֵלּוּ שֶׁהֻזְכְּרוּ לְמַעְלָה, שֶׁיָּלְדָה יוֹכֶבֶד לְעַמְרָם. הוא אהרן ומשה. יֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁמַּקְדִּים אַהֲרֹן לְמֹשֶׁה וְיֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁמַּקְדִּים מֹשֶׁה לְאַהֲרֹן, לוֹמַר לְךָ שֶׁשְּׁקוּלִין כְּאֶחָד:
with their legions: Heb. ע ַל-צִבְאֹתָם [equivalent to בְּ צִ בְאֹתָם], with their legions. [I.e.,] all their legions according to their tribes. There are [examples] of עַל when it is used instead of one letter, [e.g.,] “you shall live by your sword (עַל-חַרְבְּ) ” (Gen. 27:40), [which is] the same as בְּחַרְבְּ [by your own sword]; You stood by your sword (עַל-חַרְבְּכֶם) (Ezek. 33:26), [which is the same as] בְּחַרְבְּכֶם   עַל־צִבְאֹתָֽם: בְּצִבְאוֹתָם, כָּל צְבָאָם לְשִׁבְטֵיהֶם; יֵשׁ עַל שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא בִמְקוֹם אוֹת אַחַת, "וְעַל חַרְבְּךָ תִחְיֶה" (בראשית כ"ז), כְּמוֹ בְּחַרְבְּךָ, "עֲמַדְתֶּם עַל חַרְבְּכֶם" (יחזקאל ל"ג) – בְּחַרְבְּכֶם:
27They are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to let the children of Israel out of Egypt; they are Moses and Aaron.   כזהֵ֗ם הַֽמְדַבְּרִים֙ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֣ה מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַ֔יִם לְהוֹצִ֥יא אֶת־בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָ֑יִם ה֥וּא משֶׁ֖ה וְאַֽהֲרֹֽן:
They are the ones who spoke, etc: [It was] they [who] are the ones who were commanded, and they are the ones who fulfilled [what they had been commanded to do, i.e., speak to Pharaoh].   הֵם הַֽמְדַבְּרִים וגו': הֵם שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ, הֵם שֶׁקִּיְּמוּ:
they are Moses and Aaron: They remained in their mission and in their righteousness from beginning to end. — [from Meg. 11a]   הוּא משֶׁה וְאַֽהֲרֹֽן: הֵם בִּשְׁלִיחוּתָם וּבְצִדְקָתָם מִתְּחִלָּה וְעַד סוֹף (מגילה י"א):
28Now it came to pass on the day that the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,   כחוַיְהִ֗י בְּי֨וֹם דִּבֶּ֧ר יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶל־משֶׁ֖ה בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם:
Now it came to pass on the day that the Lord spoke, etc.: [This is] connected with the following verse: [“That the Lord spoke to Moses”].   וַיְהִי בְּיוֹם דִּבֶּר וגו': מְחֻבָּר לַמִּקְרָא שֶׁלְּאַחֲרָיו:
29that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "I am the Lord. Speak to Pharaoh everything that I speak to you."   כטוַיְדַבֵּ֧ר יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶל־משֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹ֖ר אֲנִ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה דַּבֵּ֗ר אֶל־פַּרְעֹה֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרַ֔יִם אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י דֹּבֵ֥ר אֵלֶֽיךָ:
that the Lord spoke: This is the very same speech stated above, “Come, speak to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt” (verse 11), but since [Scripture] interrupted the topic in order to trace their [Moses’ and Aaron’s] lineage, it returned to it [the statement, in order] to resume with it.   וַיְדַבֵּר ה': הוּא הַדִּבּוּר עַצְמוֹ הָאָמוּר לְמַעְלָה בא דבר אל פרעה מלך מצרים, אֶלָּא מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁהִפְסִיק הָעִנְיָן כְּדֵי לְיַחֲסָם, חָזַר עָלָיו לְהַתְחִיל בּוֹ:
I am the Lord: I have the power to send you and [also] to fulfill the words of My mission.   אֲנִי ה': כְּדַאי אֲנִי לְשָׁלְחֲךָ וּלְקַיֵּם דִּבְרֵי שְׁלִיחוּתִי:
30But Moses said before the Lord, "Behold, I am of closed lips; so how will Pharaoh hearken to me?"   לוַיֹּ֥אמֶר משֶׁ֖ה לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה הֵ֤ן אֲנִי֙ עֲרַ֣ל שְׂפָתַ֔יִם וְאֵ֕יךְ יִשְׁמַ֥ע אֵלַ֖י פַּרְעֹֽה:
But Moses said before the Lord: This is the statement [that Moses] stated above: “Behold, the children of Israel did not hearken to me” (verse 12). Scripture repeats it here because it had interrupted the topic [for the reasons given above], and this is customary, similar to a person who says, “Let us return to the earlier [topic].”   וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה לִפְנֵי ה': הִיא הָאֲמִירָה שֶׁאָמַר לְמַעְלָה הן בני ישראל לא שמעו אלי, וְשָׁנָה הַכָּתוּב כָּאן, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִפְסִיק הָעִנְיָן; וְכֵן הִיא הַשִּׁיטָה, כְּאָדָם הָאוֹמֵר "נַחֲזֹר עַל הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת":