God’s Forgiveness

3:23 Moses continued,“Seeing that God had allowed me to assign the territory that we conquered on the eastern side of the Jordan River to some of the tribes,1 I thought that He might now be reconsidering His decree not to let me enter the land, thus intending to let me finish dividing it among all the tribes. I therefore thought it an opportune time to reiterate my profound desire to enter the Land of Israel.” Moses prayed for this clemency in consideration of his many good deeds,2 but—as righteous people typically do—he also solicited God’s absolute, undeserved mercy,3 feeling that his merits were not sufficient to warrant his prayer being accepted. “I both prayed to God and entreated Him at that time, saying,

24 ‘God, I know that You are merciful even when meting out justice,4 for when the people sinned by making the Golden Calf, You took the initiative to show me, Your servant, Your magnanimity; that Your right hand, which metes out loving-kindness, is stronger than Your left hand, which metes out strict justice, and can overcome it; and that it is our prayers that make Your mercy override Your justice.5 That is why I am praying to You now and requesting mercy. For who is like You, God, in heaven or on earth, who can match Your deeds and Your might? Mortal kings have advisors who convince him not to be lenient or merciful, but You can do whatever You please. And I see now that You have begun to let me conquer the land.

25 My request: Please let me cross over the Jordan River, complete the conquest of the land, and see the good land that is on the other side of the Jordan River, including the good mountain that You will choose as the location of the Temple and the constructed and functioning Temple itself, which is termed “the Lebanon [Levanon]” because it whitens [from lavan, “white”] the sins of the people. Please tell me whether You will grant this request.6

26 But God was angry with me because of my improper response to you when you complained against Him at Kadesh,7 and He therefore did not heed me. God said to me, ‘Your entreaty in this regard suffices for Me to understand how important this matter is for you. Speak to Me no more regarding this matter, so that people should not consider Me harsh and you pestering. Furthermore, a reward for your merits much better than what you are requesting awaits you in the afterlife.8

27 However, I will allow you to see not only the “good” parts of the land, that is, its exceptional parts, as you requested, but all of it.9 Ascend to the peak of Mount Nebo and lift up your eyes westward, northward, southward, and eastward, and see it, but only from afar, with your eyes—for you will not cross this Jordan River.

28 Instead, prepare your successor to cross the river and lead the people into the land. Command Joshua not to be fazed by the people’s troublesomeness, mistrust of their leaders, and general litigiousness.10 Strengthen him and encourage him, lest he fear that just as I am denying you entrance into the land because of your shortcomings, so will I eventually do the same to him. For despite any shortcomings he may have, he will nevertheless cross over the Jordan River before this people, and he will apportion to them the land that you will merely see. I am making his success dependent on one condition: that he travel before this people, leading them into battle himself; only then will he be able toconquer and apportion the land to them. They will lose any battles he does not lead.

29 After we conquered the territory of Sichon and Og and I apportioned it to some of your tribes—which, as I mentioned, is what inspired me to ask God to reconsider allowing me to enter the Promised Land—we moved on to the plains of Moab, where we are presently located. We abided in the valley opposite Shitim, also known as Beit Pe’or [‘the house of Pe’or’], where some of you were lured into committing lechery and idolatry.11 Despite this, you have been forgiven for your sins and will soon cross over into the Promised Land, whereas I did not merit to be forgiven and will therefore not cross over into it. See, then, how gracious God has been to you.

The Importance of the Commandments

4:1 So now, O Israel, listen to the rules and to the ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, in order that you may live and enter and take possession of the land that God, God of your forefathers, is giving you.

2 The commandments are perfect; you do not need to try to enhance them in any way. Do not add anything to what I command you, nor subtract from it, in order to observe the commandments of God, your God, that I am commanding you exactly as they should be observed. For example, you will eventually be commanded to put four written passages of the Torah in your tefilin;12 do not instead put five in them. Since there are only four passages in the Torah that mention tefilin, adding a fifth passage about something else in order to ‘expand’ the scope of the commandment will on the contrary mitigate the impact of the commandment.13 Similarly, do not hold five different types of plants on Sukot instead of four;14 since only the four that God specified have the property of augmenting joy, holding a different type of plant, which does not share this property, would mitigate the effect of holding the other four.15 A further example: do not attach five tassels onto a four-cornered garment instead of four tassels;16 since the tassels are intended to remind you of the four expressions God used when He described how He was going to take you out of Egypt,17 adding a fifth tassel might make you think of something else, thereby mitigating the impact of this commandment.18 By the same token, in each of these cases, do not use three items instead of four.

3 You have seen with your own eyes what God did in the incident involving Ba’al Pe’or, how God, your God, exterminated from your midst every individual who abandoned God and followed Ba’al Pe’or.

4 In contrast, all of you who are alive today are lovinglyattached19 to God, your God.20

Second Reading 5 Behold, as God, my God, commanded me to, I have taught you rules and ordinances for you to abide by when you will live in the land that you are entering in order to possess.

6 You must safeguard these rules and ordinances—i.e., make sure you are performing them properly—by constantly studying the Torah’s instructions how to perform them, and then you must perform them, for that is what will attest to your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of the peoples, who will hear all these rules and say, ‘Only this great nation is such a wise and understanding people.’

7 For what great nation is there that has a god as near to it as God, our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him?

8 And what great nation is there that has rules and ordinances as just and relevant as this entire Torah, which I am setting before you this day?

9 Therefore, be wary and guard yourself carefully lest you forget what you have learned and start observing God’s rules and ordinances incorrectly, for if you do, you will appear foolish rather than wise. In addition, take care lest you forget the foundation underlying your observance of these rules and ordinances, namely, the things that you saw with your own eyes at Mount Sinai when God gave you the Torah, and lest these things depart from your heart all the days of your life—and you must impart them as well to your children and to your children’s children:

10 the Divine revelation you experienced on the day you stood before God, your God, at Mount Horeb, when God said to me, ‘Assemble the people for Me; I will let them hear My words, in order that they learn to revere Me all the days that they live on the earth, and in order that they teach their children to revere Me, as well.’

11 You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain;21 the mountain burned with fire that rose up to the midst of heaven,22 and it was enveloped by three degrees of obscurity: darkness, a normal cloud, and a thick cloud.23

12 God spoke to you out of the midst of the fire.24 You heard the sound of the words but saw no image; you only heard God’s voice.

13 He told you the terms of His covenant25 —the Torah—that He commanded you to observe, and summarized it26 in the Ten Commandments, and He inscribed the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets.27

14 God commanded me at that time, during my first forty days on Mount Sinai after the Giving of the Torah, to teach you the oral explanation of the rules and ordinances, so that you should perform them28 properly in the land into which you are crossing in order to possess.

Entrance to the Promised Land Contingent upon Loyalty to God

15 You must guard yourselves carefully against the temptation to depict what you experienced at Mount Sinai in any visual form, for you did not see any image of God on the day that God spoke to you at Mount Horeb from the midst of the fire.

16 Be careful lest you become degenerate and make a sculpted image for yourselves to worship:29 the representation of any form, whether it be the likeness of a male or a female human being;

17 the likeness of any beast that is on the earth; the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky;

18 the likeness of anything that crawls on the ground; or the likeness of any fish that is in the water lower than the earth surrounding it.

19 Be careful, too, lest you lift up your eyes toward heaven in search of something to worship and see the sun, the moon, the stars, or all the host of heaven, which God, your God, appointed to give light to all people who dwell under the entire heaven—i.e., all the peoples of the earth,30 and be lured to prostrate yourselves before them and worship them. In addition to serving as luminaries, God specifically created the celestial bodies to test humanity to see if they would succumb to the temptation to worship them. But whereas He allowed the other nations to err in this matter and to escape the consequences for the time being, He will not be so generous with you.

20 For, as you see, God took you and brought you out of the iron crucible, that is, out of Egypt, where He refined the dross out of you and forged you into a people whom He can call His heritage, as you are today.

21 As I have said,31 the reason I am not entering the Promised Land is because God was angry with me at Kadesh because of you, and He swore that I would not cross the Jordan River and that I would not come into the good land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance.

22 For I must die and be buried in this land; I will not even cross the Jordan River in a coffin. You, however, have been forgiven and will cross it, and you will take possession of this good land.

Residence in the Promised Land Contingent upon Loyalty to God

23 Backsliding into idolatry will not only keep you from entering and conquering the Promised Land; it will also prevent you from remaining in it. Beware, then, lest you forget the covenant of God, your God, that He made with you, and make for yourselves a sculpted image, that is, the likeness of anything—which God, your God, has forbidden you to do.

24 For God, your God, is, metaphorically, a consuming fire; He is a zealous God who does not tolerate infidelity.

25 When you have children and children’s children, and you will be long established in the land, and you become corrupt and make a sculpted image, the likeness of anything, and do evil in the eyes of God, your God, to provoke Him to anger by worshipping it,

26 I invoke heaven and earth today as witnesses, i.e., reminders32 —since they will be present then whereas I will not—that I am warning you that you will speedily and utterly perish from the land into which you are crossing the Jordan River to possess; you will not prolong your days upon it, but will be utterly destroyed.

27 God will scatter you among the peoples, and you will remain few in number among the nations to where God will lead you.

28 As slaves, youwill serve idol-worshipping masters in your exile, so it will be as though you yourselves will be worshipping otherdeities there—man’s handiwork, wood and stone—that can neither see, hear, eat, or smell.

29 But since God has irrevocably made you His people, you will eventually seek God, your God, from there, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

30 When you are distressed, and all these things happen to you in the end of the days of your exile, you will return to God, your God, and obey Him.

31 For God, your God, is a merciful God: He will not loosen His hold on you, allowing you to assimilate altogether, nor destroy you outright; neither will He forget the covenant of your forefathers, which He swore to them. As for His threat to utterly destroy you,33 He made this threat contingent on your being “long established” in the land.34 He will therefore exile you before this condition has been fulfilled.35

32 For please inquire regarding the early days that were before you—since the day that God created humanity on the earth—and ask everyone on earth, from one end of heaven to the other end of heaven, whether there was anything like this great phenomenon, or was the likes of it heard:

33 Did ever a people hear God’s voice speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard,36 and live?

34 Or has any god miraculously come and taken for himself a whole nation from the midst of anothernation, daring the host nation to test him with trials,37 or providing his emissary with signs confirming that a supernal power sent him,38 or smiting the host nation with marvels—the plagues,39 or waging war against it,40 or—besides the other plagues, which only vexed the Egyptians but did not kill them—by figuratively using his mighty hand to kill their animals with an epidemic,41 or by figuratively using his outstretched arm to kill their firstborn,42 or by manifesting his great, awesome presence,43 as all that God, your God, did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

35 Nonetheless, the miracles of the Exodus did not preclude the existence of some other (albeit lesser) deity. But when God gave you the Torah, you were shown that there is no other deity: He first ‘opened up’ the entire hierarchy of the spiritual worlds44 in order for you to know that God is the only God in it, and then He ‘tore open’ both spiritual and physical reality so you could see that there is no other reality within creation besides Him.45

36 From heaven He let you hear His voice, to instruct you;46 upon the earth, He showed you His great fire;47 and you heard His words issuing out of the midst of the fire.48

37 He did all this because He loved your forefathers, and—for the same reason—He chose their seed after them to be His people. He therefore brought you out of Egypt, protecting you either by placing Himself in front of you49 or placing you in front of Him,50 whichever was necessary, and showing your forefathers how He rescued you at the Sea of Reeds51 with His great strength,

38 in order to drive out from before you nations who are greater and stronger than you, to bring you to their land and give you their land so you can pass it down as an inheritance, as you have already seen prior to today with regard to Sichon and Og.

39 You must therefore, in response to this revelation, make every effort to know today and consider in your heart that God is the only God, both in heaven above and upon earth below, and furthermore that all reality owes its existence to God: there is no intrinsic existence other than His.52

40 In order to achieve this awareness, God has given you the Torah and its commandments;53 you must therefore observe His rules and His commandments, which I am commanding you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, and so that you may prolong your days upon the land that God, your God, is giving to you forever.”

Cities of Refuge

Third Reading 41 It was then, after Moses understood that God was not going to allow him to cross over into the Land of Israel,54 that Moses decided to designate three cities on the side of the Jordan River that is toward the direction of the sunrise, i.e., to the east,

42 so that a murderer might flee there, provided that he murders his fellow man unintentionally, not having hated him in time past and not having premeditated the murder. He may flee to one of these cities in order that he might live.55

43 The cities that Moses designated were Betzer in the desert, in the plain-country of the tribe of Reuben; Ramot in Gilead, the territory of the tribe of Gad; and Golan in the Bashan, the territory of the tribe of Manasseh. Moses knew that these cities would not begin to function as cities of refuge until the other three, to the west of the Jordan River, would also be designated, but he reasoned that designating them now would obviate the need for Joshua to do so after designating the three to the west of the Jordan River. He also knew that designating cities of refuge is a commandment that is performed only in the Land of Israel, and since God was not permitting him to enter the land, he was not sure (a) if his actions indeed had any legal significance, and (b) if God indeed wanted him to do this. Nevertheless, he designated them anyway, hoping thereby to at least partially fulfill this commandment.56

Moses’ Second Address

44 The following is the corpus of instruction that Moses now set before the Israelites.

45 These teachings are the very same testimonies, rules, and ordinances that Moses spoke to the Israelites when they went out of Egypt, i.e., at Mount Sinai,

46 but he reviewed them now, when the people were camped on the east side of the Jordan River, in the valley opposite Beit Pe’or, in the land they had conquered from Sichon, king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Cheshbon, and whom Moses and the Israelites smote after they went out of Egypt.

47 They took possession of his land, as well as the land of Og, king of the Bashan, i.e., all the lands of the two kings of the Amorites who were on the side of the Jordan River toward the east, the direction of the sunrise,

48 from their southern border at Aroer, which is on the edge of the Arnon gorge, northward up to Mount Sion, which is Mount Hermon,57

49 and all the plain located across the Jordan Rivereastward, southward as far as the sea of the plain, the Dead Sea, and the land further southward along the foot of the waterfalls descending from the peak of Mount Nebo.58

The Legal Obligation to Perform the Commandments

Fourth Reading 5:1 Moses prefaced His review by recalling that when God gave the Torah at Mount Sinai, He established a covenant with the Jewish people.59 Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the rules and ordinances that I speak in your ears today; study them and safeguard them60 by learning how to perform them properly.

2 Your obligation to observe these rules and ordinances is based on the fact that God, our God, made a covenant with us at Mount Horeb.

3 Not with our forefathersAbraham, Isaac, and Jacob—alone did God make this covenant, in which case you would be bound to it only by tradition and hearsay, which might leave you some reason to doubt my words,but with each of us personally—we, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.

4 When He first pronounced all ten commandments at once, God spoke with you at the mountain face to face—without any intermediary—out of the midst of the fire61

5 (When God repeated each commandment separately, you only heard the first two directly from Him.I stood as an intermediary between God and you at that time in order to tell you the word of God regarding the last eight commandments, for you were afraid of the fire and you did not want to ascend the mountain.), saying,62

6 The first commandment: ‘I am God, your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of Pharaoh, where you were slaves.’

7 The second commandment: ‘You must not possess any idols of other peoples’ deities as long as I exist, i.e., ever, or wherever I may be, i.e., anywhere.

8 You must not make yourself a carved image or any other type of likeness of anything that is in heaven above, on earth below, or in the water lower than the earth surrounding it, even if you do not intend to worship it.

9 And if others make such idols, you must neither prostrate yourself before them nor worship them, for I, God, your God, am a zealous God in this regard. For those who hate Me and worship idols, I am a God who remembers the premeditated sins of the fathers, adding their demerits to those of their descendants, but only up to the third and the fourth generation, and only if these descendants also worship idols.

10 But, in contrast,I am a God who shows kindness for at least 2000 generations to the descendants of those who love Me and worship Me alone out of that love, and for 1000 generations of descendantsof those who observe My commandments solely out of fear or respect. Such is the difference between being motivated by love and being motivated by fear or respect.63

11 The third commandment: You must respect God’s Name. You must not swear by the Name of God, your God, in vain, by swearing that something is something that it manifestly is not. For God will not absolve anyone who swears by His name in vain.’

12 The fourth commandment: Remember and observe64 the Sabbath day continuously, to keep it holy, just as God, your God, commanded you prior to the Giving of the Torah, at Marah.65 “Remember” the Sabbath by anticipating it during the preceding week; “observe” the Sabbath by refraining on it from all categories of prohibited work.

13 Six days must you labor and do all your work. But even if you have not finished all your work during the six preceding workdays,

14 the seventh day is the Sabbath, dedicated to God, your God; you should behave on the Sabbath as if all your work is done. You must not do any work—you, your son, or your daughter. Even though your children are not technically obligated to observe the commandments until they attain majority, you must nevertheless not permit them to engage in any form of forbidden work. Your bondman and your bondwoman are likewise forbidden to work, since they are obligated to observe all the prohibitions that you are. You may also not make your ox, your donkey, or any of your livestock work. The resident alien, who is permitted to live within your gates, is also forbidden to work, though not to the same extent that you are.66 You and your animals should rest on the Sabbath, besides for your and their own sakes, in order that your bondman and your bondwoman may rest like you and not have to serve you or take care of your animals.

15 You must remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that God, your God, took you out from there with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, on the condition that you fulfill His commandments. Therefore, God, your God, commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.’

16 The fifth commandment: ‘Honor your father and your mother—as God, your God also commanded you at Marah67 —so that your days be lengthened and that it go well with you in the land that God, your God, is giving you.’

17 The sixth commandment: ‘You must not murder.’

The seventh commandment: ‘You must not commit adultery, i.e., conduct extra-marital relations with a married woman.’

The eighth commandment: ‘You must not steal people, i.e., kidnap.’

The ninth commandment: ‘You must not bear false witness against your fellow man.’

18 The tenth commandment: ‘You must not desire your fellow man’s wife, nor may you desire your fellow man’s house, his field, his bondman, his bondwoman, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that belongs to your fellow man.’

Fifth Reading 19 God spoke these words to your entire assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the normal cloud, and the thick cloud,68 with a great voice, not pausing for breath as human beings must. Never again will God reveal Himself publicly to this degree. Later, during my first 40 days on the mountain, He inscribed the Ten Commandmentson two stone tablets and gave them to me.

20 When you heard the voice from out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you approached me—all the heads of your tribes and your elders (here, unlike above,69 you approached me in an organized fashion, everyone showing due respect to their superiors in age, rank, and social status)

21 and you said, ‘Behold, God, our God, has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen today that God can speak directly with human beings and, with His help, they can miraculously survive the intensity of this experience and continue to live.

22 But we want to receive the Torah in the framework of our own, natural existence. So now, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we continue to hear the voice of God, our God, anymore, without Him keeping us miraculously alive, we will die.

23 For who is there of all flesh who heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?

24 Rather, you should approach God by yourself, hear all that God, our God, will say, and you should speak to us all that God, our God, will speak to you, and we will study it and do it.’70 For my part, I was deeply disturbed over this attitude. Shouldn’t you have preferred to learn directly from God, rather than from me?

25 But God heard the sound of your words when you spoke to me, and God said to me, ‘I have heard the sound of the words of this people, which they have spoken to you; they have spoken well.

26 If only their hearts would be like this—to revere Me and to keep all My commandments—for all time, that it might go well with them and with their children forever!

27 So go say to them, “Return to your tents. Since you will not have to be ready at all times for Divine communication, you may resume conjugal life—which occasionally entails becoming ritually defiled,71 for which reason I told you to refrain from it in preparation for the Giving of the Torah.72

28 But as for you, Moses, you must from now on separate from your wife, since you must at all times maintain the highest level of ritual purity in order to speak with Me at any moment.73 In this sense, stay here—on your present level of ritual purity—in order to be able to converse with Me, and I will speak to you all the commandments, rules, and ordinances whenever I deem it necessary, in order for you to teach them to the people, that they may perform them correctly in the land that I am giving them to possess.’

29 Seeing, therefore, that the commandments you have heard from me, which I am about to review with you, are all of Divine origin, safeguard them by learning how to perform them properly as God, your God, has commanded you through me; do not deviate in your performance of them either to the right or to the left.

30 Rather, walk entirely in the path that God, your God, has commanded you, in order that you may live in the land, that it may go well with you in the land, and that you may prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

6:1 The following are the commandment, the rules, and the ordinances that God, your God, has commanded me to teach you, in order that you be able to perform them in the land into which you are about to pass in order to possess it

2 (and in order that you respect God, your God, enough to keep all His rules and His commandments that I command you—you, your children, and your grandchildren—all the days of your life, and in order that your days may be lengthened;

3 so hearken, O Israel, and safeguard these commandments by learning how to perform them properly, in order that it be good for you and that you increase exceedingly, just as God, the God of your forefathers, spoke concerning you), a land flowing with milk and date- and fig-honey:

Performing the Commandments out of Love

Sixth Reading 4 Besides fulfilling God’s commandments because you are legally obligated to do so based on the covenant He made with you at Mount Sinai, you should also fulfill His commandments out of love, because when you are motivated by love, you will fulfill the commandments even when doing so seems inconvenient, burdensome, or inexpedient.74 This love, in turn, should be based on your awareness that God is the one and only true deity. Therefore, hear, O Israel: Although God is presently only our God, since only we, as a nation, have accepted Him as our sole sovereign, God is nonetheless the one and only true deity, and the day will come when He will be acknowledged as such by all humanity.75

5 If you indeed contemplate this truth and all its implications, you will come to love God, your God, with all your heart, that is, with total sincerity, and even by harnessing your inclination to do evil for serving Him; and at the expense of your very soul, i.e., even if doing so requires you to suffer martyrdom; and with all your material means, even if you value these material means more than your own life; and whether He treats you well or seemingly does not.

6 Due to this love, these words—that is, the teachings of the Torah—that I command you to observe, will seem,76 whenever you study them,77 as fresh and novel as if I had spoken them to you today, because you will keep them upon your heart, i.e., you will realize that only by constantly studying the Torah will you be able to sustain constant awareness of God and constant love for Him.

7 Furthermore, you will enthusiastically teach your knowledge of the Torah to others. You will learn the Torah thoroughly for the sake of your students,78 so that you will always know how to answer their questions. Also, the Torah’s teachings—and not other, secondary matters of mundane life—will be your chief occupation: You will discuss them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the way; they will be your last concern when you lie down to sleep at night and your first concern when you wake up in the morning.

8 The subject of the passages inscribed on the parchments that have been in your tefilin until now is the Exodus from Egypt.79 From now on, you must add this paragraph, describing how you are to love God, to the tefilin. In the head-tefilin, write it on an additional, third parchment and place it in one of the two empty compartments; in the hand-tefilin, add it to the single parchment already there.80 You must bind these words as a sign upon your weaker arm and they must act as a reminder on your forehead, above the point exactly between your eyes. Thus, the tefilin will from now on remind you not only of the miracles of the Exodus but also of the intense love you are to feel toward God when you contemplate His singularity.81

9 You must also inscribe this paragraph82 upon a parchment, place the parchment in a container, and fasten the container to one of the doorposts of each door of your house (the right doorpost as you enter83 )and upon your gates—both the gates to your private homes as well as the gates to your public areas. This parchment is called a mezuzah, after the doorpost onto which it is affixed.

Remaining Loyal to God

10 When God, your God, brings you to the land that He swore to your forefathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give you, and you will benefit from great and good cities that you did not build,

11 houses full of all good things that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew out of the rocky ground, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant, and you will eat and be satisfied,

12 beware, lest this unearned opulence make you forget God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house where you were slaves.

13 Accord Him all the respect due Him: only if you revere God, your God, and worship Him, may you swear by His Name. Do not invoke His Name lightly.

14 In your fascination with materiality and sensual pleasure, do not follow other deities, especially not any of the deities of the peoples who are around you and with whom you might therefore become familiar,

15 for God, your God, whom you know to be a zealous God, is among you, and He does not tolerate infidelity. Therefore, do not worship idols, lest the wrath of God, your God, be kindled against you and He destroy you off the face of the earth.

16 Furthermore, you must not test God, your God, challenging Him to meet your supposed needs, as you tested Him at Masah and Merivah.84

17 Rather, diligently safeguard the commandments of God, your God, His testimonies, and His rules, which He has commanded you, for their own sake.

18 Moreover, do not limit your devotion to the strict letter of God’s law. Rather, you must do what is proper and good in the eyes of God beyond the explicit requirements of His law. For example, when selling your field, you should allow the owner of an adjoining field to have the first bid,85 and you should reach a compromise with a litigant rather than exacting from him everything to which you are technically entitled. You should do all this without concern for reward, in order that God may reward you nonetheless, and it will be well with you and that you come and take possession of the good land86 that God swore to your forefathers

19 in order to drive out all your enemies from before you, as God has spoken.87

20 If your intelligent88 child asks you at some point in the future, saying, ‘What is the basis for the testimonies, rules, and ordinances that God, our God, has commanded you?’

21 You must say to your child, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

22 God afflicted Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household with great and terrible signs and marvels before our eyes.

23 He brought us out of there in order that He might bring us to and give us the land that He swore to our forefathers.

24 God commanded us to perform all these rules, to cultivate respect for God, our God, for our good all the days, and to keep us alive, as we are today.

25 It will be for our merit that we safeguard these rules by studying how to perform them properly, in order to observe all these commandments before God, our God, exactly as He has commanded us.’

Seventh Reading 7:1 When God, your God, brings you into the land that you are entering in order to possess, He will cast out many nations from before you: the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites—seven nations, each of which is more numerous and powerful than you.

2 God, your God, will deliver them to you, and you, for your part, must smite them. They are so corrupt and pose such a serious threat to your spiritual integrity that you must utterly destroy them: you must neither make a covenant with them nor be gracious to them by allowing them to remain in the land, even peacefully, or complimenting their beauty—unless they repent of their evil ways and convert to Judaism.89

3 You must not intermarry with them: you must not give your daughter to a son of theirs, and you must not take a daughter of theirs for your son,

4 for the children produced from such unions will be lost to the Jewish people. The children born to the non-Jewish daughter will not be Jewish to begin with, and although the child born to your Jewish daughter by her non-Jewish husband will be Jewish, the husband will still turn away your Jewish grandchild from following Me, and they will worship the deities of other nations.90 God will hold you responsible for not eliminating this threat from your midst: the wrath of God will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.

5 Rather, thus must you do to them: You must demolish their multi-stone altars, smash their single-stone monuments, cut down their deified trees, and burn their sculpted images in fire.91

6 For you are a holy people, consecrated to God, your God: God, your God, has chosen you to be His treasured people92 out of all the peoples upon the face of the earth.

7 God did not delight in you and choose you because you are more numerous than any other people, for, on the contrary, you are the least of all the peoples.

8 Rather, it was because of God’s love for you and because He kept the oath He swore to your forefathers that God took you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slaves, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. In addition, God chose you because you are the most self-effacing of all peoples. Even your leaders are self-effacing,93 while those of other peoples are self-aggrandizing.94 Your selflessness in comparison to the other nations is alluded to by the fact that the number of your tribal clans—65—is five less than the number of the nations—70.95

Maftir 9 Seeing that God has kept His promise to your forefathers, you can know assuredly that God, your God, is the only God; that He is the only truly faithful God; and that what I told you about His loyalty is true: He will keep theterms of the covenant and will do all the kindness He promised to those who keep His commandments because they love Him, adding their merit to that of their descendants for two thousand generations;96 as well as to those who keep His commandments only out of fear or respect, adding their merit to those of their descendants for one thousand generations.97

10 Although, as stated, God fully rewards the devotion of those who love Him, there may be circumstances that cause the reward not to reach them. In such cases, they will receive the reward that they failed to receive in their lifetimes in the afterlife. In contrast,He fully recompenses those who hate Him for whatever good they do during their lifetimes while they are still alive, and thus they enter the afterlife devoid of any merits, causing them to perish, i.e., be denied any afterlife. He does not delay in rewarding one who hates Him for the good he does; He recompenses him while he is alive.

11 Thus, as you see, it is best that you observe the commandments, rules, and ordinances that I command you to do today out of love, even though you may not receive their full reward in this life. Be assured that in the afterlife, you will be able to claim your full reward. Indeed, inasmuch as the fullest reward possible is the infinite delight of ever-expanding Divine consciousness, and attaining this consciousness will be your chief activity in the afterlife, it follows that you will be taking the reward for what you already earned when alive, while simultaneously earning and taking more.98