Shemot (Exodus) Chapter 3

1Moses was pasturing the flocks of Jethro, his father in law, the chief of Midian, and he led the flocks after the free pastureland, and he came to the mountain of God, to Horeb.   אוּמשֶׁ֗ה הָיָ֥ה רֹעֶ֛ה אֶת־צֹ֛אן יִתְר֥וֹ חֹֽתְנ֖וֹ כֹּהֵ֣ן מִדְיָ֑ן וַיִּנְהַ֤ג אֶת־הַצֹּאן֙ אַחַ֣ר הַמִּדְבָּ֔ר וַיָּבֹ֛א אֶל־הַ֥ר הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים חֹרֵֽבָה:
after the free pastureland: to distance himself from [the possibility of] theft, so that they [the flocks] would not pasture in others’ fields. — [from Exodus Rabbah 2:3]   אַחַר הַמִּדְבָּר: לְהִתְרַחֵק מִן הַגֶּזֶל, שֶׁלֹּא יִרְעוּ בִּשְׂדוֹת אֲחֵרִים (שמות רבה ב'):
to the mountain of God: [Mount Horeb is called “the mountain of God”] in view of the [events of the] future.   אֶל־הַר הָֽאֱלֹהִים: עַל שֵׁם הֶעָתִיד:
2An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from within the thorn bush, and behold, the thorn bush was burning with fire, but the thorn bush was not being consumed.   בוַיֵּרָ֠א מַלְאַ֨ךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֵלָ֛יו בְּלַבַּת־אֵ֖שׁ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֑ה וַיַּ֗רְא וְהִנֵּ֤ה הַסְּנֶה֙ בֹּעֵ֣ר בָּאֵ֔שׁ וְהַסְּנֶ֖ה אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אֻכָּֽל:
in a flame of fire: Heb. בִּלַבַּת אֵשׁ, in a flame of (שַׁלְהֶבֶת) fire, the heart (לִבּוֹ) of fire, like “the heart (לֵב) of the heavens” (Deut. 4:11), “in the heart (בְּלֵב) of the terebinth” (II Sam. 18:14). Do not wonder about the tav [in לִבַּת], for we have [an instance] similar to this: How degenerate is your heart (לִבָּתֵךְ) (Ezek. 16:30).   בְּלַבַּת־אֵשׁ: בְּשַׁלְהֶבֶת אֵשׁ – לִבּוֹ שֶׁל אֵשׁ, כְּמוֹ "לֵב הַשָּׁמַיִם" (דברים ד'), "בְּלֵב הָאֵלָה" (שמואל ב י"ח); וְאַל תִּתְמַהּ עַל הַתָּי"ו, שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָנוּ כַיּוֹצֵא בוֹ, "מָה אֲמֻלָה לִבָּתֵךְ" (יחזקאל ט"ז):
from within the thorn bush: But not from any other tree, because of “I am with him in distress” (Ps. 91:15). — [from Tanchuma, Shemoth 14]   מִתּוֹךְ הַסְּנֶה: וְלֹא אִילָן אַחֵר, מִשּׁוּם "עִמּוֹ אָנֹכִי בְצָרָה" (תהילים צא טו):
being consumed: Heb. אֻכַָּל, consumed, like “with which no work has been done (עֻבַּד)” ; (Deut. 21:3), “whence he had been taken (לֻקַח)” (Gen. 3:23).   אֻכָּֽל: נֶאֱכָל, כְּמוֹ "לֹא עֻבַּד בָּהּ" (דברים כ"א), "אֲשֶׁר לֻקַּח מִשָּׁם" (בראשית ג'):
3So Moses said, "Let me turn now and see this great spectacle why does the thorn bush not burn up?"   גוַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֔ה אָסֻֽרָה־נָּ֣א וְאֶרְאֶ֔ה אֶת־הַמַּרְאֶ֥ה הַגָּדֹ֖ל הַזֶּ֑ה מַדּ֖וּעַ לֹֽא־יִבְעַ֥ר הַסְּנֶֽה:
Let me turn now: Let me turn away from here to draw near to there.   אָסֻֽרָה־נָּא: אָסוּרָה מִכָּאן לְהִתְקָרֵב שָׁם:
4The Lord saw that he had turned to see, and God called to him from within the thorn bush, and He said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am!"   דוַיַּ֥רְא יְהֹוָ֖ה כִּ֣י סָ֣ר לִרְא֑וֹת וַיִּקְרָא֩ אֵלָ֨יו אֱלֹהִ֜ים מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֗ה וַיֹּ֛אמֶר משֶׁ֥ה משֶׁ֖ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הִנֵּֽנִי:
5And He said, "Do not draw near here. Take your shoes off your feet, because the place upon which you stand is holy soil."   הוַיֹּ֖אמֶר אַל־תִּקְרַ֣ב הֲלֹ֑ם שַׁל־נְעָלֶ֨יךָ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְלֶ֔יךָ כִּ֣י הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ עוֹמֵ֣ד עָלָ֔יו אַדְמַת־קֹ֖דֶשׁ הֽוּא:
Take your shoes off: Heb. שַׁל, pull off and remove, similar to: “and the iron [axehead] will slip off (וְנָשַׁל)” (Deut. 19:5), “for your olive tree will drop (יִַַל)” [its fruit] (Deut. 28:40).   שַׁל־: שְׁלֹף וְהוֹצֵא, כְּמוֹ "וְנָשַׁל הַבַּרְזֶל" (דברים י"ט), "כִּי יִשַּׁל זֵיתֶךָ" (שם כ"ח):
is holy soil: [Lit., it is holy soil.] The place.   אַדְמַת־קֹדֶשׁ הֽוּא: הַמָּקוֹם:
6And He said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look toward God.   ווַיֹּ֗אמֶר אָֽנֹכִי֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִ֔יךָ אֱלֹהֵ֧י אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֖ק וֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י יַֽעֲקֹ֑ב וַיַּסְתֵּ֤ר משֶׁה֙ פָּנָ֔יו כִּ֣י יָרֵ֔א מֵֽהַבִּ֖יט אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים:
7And the Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their slave drivers, for I know their pains.   זוַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֔ה רָאֹ֥ה רָאִ֛יתִי אֶת־עֳנִ֥י עַמִּ֖י אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּמִצְרָ֑יִם וְאֶת־צַֽעֲקָתָ֤ם שָׁמַ֨עְתִּי֙ מִפְּנֵ֣י נֹֽגְשָׂ֔יו כִּ֥י יָדַ֖עְתִּי אֶת־מַכְאֹבָֽיו:
for I know their pains: This is similar to: “and God knew” (Exod. 2:25). That is to say: for I set My heart to contemplate and to know their pains, and I have not hidden My eyes, neither will I block My ears from their cry.   כִּי יָדַעְתִּי אֶת־מַכְאֹבָֽיו: כְּמוֹ "וַיֵּדַע אֱלֹהִים" (שמות ב'), כְּלוֹמַר כִּי שַׂמְתִּי לֵב לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן וְלָדַעַת אֶת מַכְאוֹבָיו וְלֹא הֶעֱלַמְתִּי עֵינַי לֶאֱטֹם אָזְנַי מִצַּעֲקָתָם:
8I have descended to rescue them from the hand[s] of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land, to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites.   חוָֽאֵרֵ֞ד לְהַצִּיל֣וֹ | מִיַּ֣ד מִצְרַ֗יִם וּלְהַֽעֲלֹתוֹ֘ מִן־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַהִוא֒ אֶל־אֶ֤רֶץ טוֹבָה֙ וּרְחָבָ֔ה אֶל־אֶ֛רֶץ זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָ֑שׁ אֶל־מְק֤וֹם הַכְּנַֽעֲנִי֙ וְהַ֣חִתִּ֔י וְהָֽאֱמֹרִי֙ וְהַפְּרִזִּ֔י וְהַֽחִוִּ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִֽי:
9And now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression that the Egyptians are oppressing them.   טוְעַתָּ֕ה הִנֵּ֛ה צַֽעֲקַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בָּ֣אָה אֵלָ֑י וְגַם־רָאִ֨יתִי֙ אֶת־הַלַּ֔חַץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִצְרַ֖יִם לֹֽחֲצִ֥ים אֹתָֽם:
10So now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh, and take My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."   יוְעַתָּ֣ה לְכָ֔ה וְאֶשְׁלָֽחֲךָ֖ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְהוֹצֵ֛א אֶת־עַמִּ֥י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם:
So now come, and I will send you, etc.: And if you ask, "of what help will this be?" "And take My people out!" Your words will help, and you will take them out of there.   וְעַתָּה לְכָה וְאֶשְׁלָֽחֲךָ אֶל־פַּרְעֹה: וְאִם תֹּאמַר מַה תּוֹעִיל? והוצא את עמי. יוֹעִילוּ דְּבָרֶיךָ וְתוֹצִיאֵם מִשָּׁם:
11But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should take the children of Israel out of Egypt?"   יאוַיֹּ֤אמֶר משֶׁה֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים מִ֣י אָנֹ֔כִי כִּ֥י אֵלֵ֖ךְ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְכִ֥י אוֹצִ֛יא אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם:
Who am I: Of what importance am I that I should speak with kings?   מִי אָנֹכִי: מָה אֲנִי חָשׁוּב לְדַבֵּר עִם הַמְּלָכִים?
and that I should take the children of Israel out: And even if I am of importance, what merit do the Israelites have that a miracle should be wrought for them, and I should take them out of Egypt?   וְכִי אוֹצִיא אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: וְאַף אִם חָשׁוּב אֲנִי, מַה זָּכוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה לָהֶם נֵס וְאוֹצִיאֵם מִמִּצְרַיִם?:
12And He said, "For I will be with you, and this is the sign for you that it was I Who sent you. When you take the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."   יבוַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ כִּי־אֶֽהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֔ךְ וְזֶה־לְּךָ֣ הָא֔וֹת כִּ֥י אָֽנֹכִ֖י שְׁלַחְתִּ֑יךָ בְּהוֹצִֽיאֲךָ֤ אֶת־הָעָם֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם תַּֽעַבְדוּן֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים עַ֖ל הָהָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה:
And He said, “For I will be with you…”: He [God] answered his former [question] first, and his latter [question] last. [Concerning] what you said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” This [mission] is not yours but Mine, “for I will be with you.” And this vision which you have seen in the thorn bush, is the sign for you that it was I who sent you and that you will succeed in My mission and that I am able to save you. Just as you saw the thorn bush performing My mission and not being harmed, so will you go on My mission and not be harmed. [Concerning] what you asked, “what merit do the Israelites have that they should go out of Egypt?” I have a great thing [dependent] on this Exodus, for at the end of three months from their Exodus from Egypt they are destined to receive the Torah on this mountain. Another explanation: For I will be with you, and this [namely] that you will succeed in your mission [on which I am sending you] is the sign for you for another promise, which I promise you, [namely,] that when you take them out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain, for you will receive the Torah on it, and that is the merit that will stand up for Israel. Similar to this expression [where a future event serves as a sign for a still more distant event], we find: “And this shall be the sign (הָאוֹת) for you, this year you shall eat what grows by itself, etc.” (Isa. 37:30, II Kings 19:29). Sennacherib’s downfall will be a sign for you regarding another promise, [i.e.,] that your land is desolate of fruit, and I will bless what grows by itself.   וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי־אֶֽהְיֶה עִמָּךְ: הֱשִׁיבוֹ עַל רִאשׁוֹן רִאשׁוֹן וְעַל אַחֲרוֹן אַחֲרוֹן; שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ מִי אָנֹכִי כִּי אֵלֵךְ אֶל פַּרְעֹה – לֹא שֶׁלְּךָ הִיא כִּי אִם מִשֶּׁלִּי, כִּי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ – וזה הַמַּרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתָ בַּסְּנֶה לך האות כי אנכי שלחתיך, וּכְדַאי אֲנִי לְהַצִּיל, כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאִיתָ הַסְּנֶה עוֹשֶׁה שְׁלִיחוּתִי וְאֵינֶנּוּ אֻכָּל, כָּךְ תֵּלֵךְ בִּשְׁלִיחוּתִי וְאֵינְךָ נִזּוֹק; וְשֶׁשָּׁאַלְתָּ מַה זְּכוּת יֵשׁ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיֵּצְאוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם? דָּבָר גָּדוֹל יֵשׁ לִי עַל הוֹצָאָה זוֹ, שֶׁהֲרֵי עֲתִידִים לְקַבֵּל הַתּוֹרָה עַל הָהָר הַזֶּה לְסוֹף ג' חֳדָשִׁים שֶׁיֵּצְאוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם. דָּבָר אַחֵר: כִּי־אֶֽהְיֶה עִמָּךְ וְזֶה־שֶׁתַּצְלִיחַ בִּשְׁלִיחוּתְךָ לך האות עַל הַבְטָחָה אַחֶרֶת, שֶׁאֲנִי מַבְטִיחֲךָ שֶׁכְּשֶׁתּוֹצִיאֵם מִמִּצְרַיִם תַּעַבְדוּן אוֹתִי עַל הָהָר הַזֶּה, שֶׁתְּקַבְּלוּ הַתּוֹרָה עָלָיו, וְהִיא הַזְּכוּת הָעוֹמֶדֶת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. וְדֻגְמַת לָשׁוֹן זֶה מָצִינוּ: "וְזֶה לְּךָ הָאוֹת אָכוֹל הַשָּׁנָה סָפִיחַ וְגוֹ'" (ישעיהו ל"ז), מַפָּלַת סַנְחֵרִיב תִּהְיֶה לְךָ אוֹת עַל הַבְטָחָה אַחֶרֶת, שֶׁאַרְצְכֶם חֲרֵבָה מִפֵּרוֹת וַאֲנִי אֲבָרֵךְ הַסְּפִיחִים:
13And Moses said to God, "Behold I come to the children of Israel, and I say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?"   יגוַיֹּ֨אמֶר משֶׁ֜ה אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּ֨ה אָֽנֹכִ֣י בָא֘ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ וְאָֽמַרְתִּ֣י לָהֶ֔ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י אֲבֽוֹתֵיכֶ֖ם שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם וְאָֽמְרוּ־לִ֣י מַה־שְּׁמ֔וֹ מָ֥ה אֹמַ֖ר אֲלֵהֶֽם:
14God said to Moses, "Ehyeh asher ehyeh (I will be what I will be)," and He said, "So shall you say to the children of Israel, 'Ehyeh (I will be) has sent me to you.'"   ידוַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר כֹּ֤ה תֹאמַר֙ לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֲלֵיכֶֽם:
“Ehyeh asher ehyeh (I will be what I will be)”: “I will be” with them in this predicament “what I will be” with them in their subjugation by other kingdoms. He [Moses] said before Him, “O Lord of the universe! Why should I mention to them another trouble? They have enough [problems] with this one.” He said to him, “You have spoken well. So shall you say, etc.” -[from Ber. 9b] (Not that Moses, God forbid, outsmarted God, but he did not understand what God meant, because originally, when God said, “I will be what I will be,” He told this to Moses alone, and He did not mean that he should tell it to Israel. That is the meaning of “You have spoken well,” for that was My original intention, that you should not tell such things to the children of Israel, only “So shall you say to the children of Israel,” ‘Ehyeh [I will be] has sent me.’” From tractate Berachoth this appears to be the correct interpretation. Give this matter your deliberation.) [Annotation to Rashi] [There appears to be no indication of this interpretation in tractate Berachoth.]   אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה: אֶהְיֶה עִמָּם בְּצָרָה זוֹ אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה עִמָּם בְּשִׁעְבּוּד שְׁאָר מַלְכֻיּוֹת. אָמַר לְפָנָיו, רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, מָה אֲנִי מַזְכִּיר לָהֶם צָרָה אַחֶרֶת? דַּיָּם בְּצָרָה זוֹ, אָמַר לוֹ יָפֶה אָמַרְתָּ, כה תאמר וגו' (ברכות ט'):
15And God said further to Moses, "So shall you say to the children of Israel, 'The Lord God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is how I should be mentioned in every generation.   טווַיֹּ֩אמֶר֩ ע֨וֹד אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶל־משֶׁ֗ה כֹּ֣ה תֹאמַר֘ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ יְהֹוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹֽתֵיכֶ֗ם אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֛ק וֵֽאלֹהֵ֥י יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם זֶה־שְּׁמִ֣י לְעֹלָ֔ם וְזֶ֥ה זִכְרִ֖י לְדֹ֥ר דֹּֽר:
This is My name forever: Heb. לְעֹלָם [It is spelled] without a vav, meaning: conceal it [God’s name] תהַעִלִימֵהוּ [so] that it should not be read as it is written. — [from Pes. 50a] Since the “vav” of (לְעֹלָ ם) is missing, we are to understand it as לְעַלֵּם, to conceal, meaning that the pronunciation of the way God’s name is written (י-ה-ו-ה) is to be concealed. — [from Pes. 50a.]   זֶה־שְּׁמִי לְעֹלָם: חָסֵר וָי"ו, לוֹמַר, הַעֲלִימֵהוּ – שֶׁלֹּא יִקָּרֵא כִּכְתָבוֹ (פסחים נ'):
and this is how I should be mentioned -: He [God] taught him [Moses] how it was to be read, and so does David say, “O Lord, Your name is forever; O Lord, the mention of Your name is for every generation” (Ps. 135:14). — [from Pes. 50a]   וְזֶה זִכְרִי: לִמְּדוֹ הֵיאַךְ נִקְרָא. וְכֵן דָּוִד הוּא אוֹמֵר, "ה' שִׁמְךָ לְעוֹלָם ה' זִכְרְךָ לְדֹר וָדֹר" (תהלים קל"ה):