Shemot (Exodus) Chapter 19

1In the third month of the children of Israel's departure from Egypt, on this day they arrived in the desert of Sinai.   אבַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ֙ הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לְצֵ֥את בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה בָּ֖אוּ מִדְבַּ֥ר סִינָֽי:
on this day: On the New Moon (Mechilta, Shab. 86b). It could have said only, “on that day.” What is the meaning of "on this day"? That the words of the Torah shall be new to you, as if they were given just today. — [from Tanchuma Buber, p. 73]   בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה: בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ; לֹא הָיָה צָרִיךְ לִכְתֹּב אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, מַהוּ בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה? שֶׁיִּהְיוּ דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה חֲדָשִׁים עָלֶיךָ כְּאִלּוּ הַיּוֹם נְתָנָם (ברכות ס"ג):
2They journeyed from Rephidim, and they arrived in the desert of Sinai, and they encamped in the desert, and Israel encamped there opposite the mountain.   בוַיִּסְע֣וּ מֵֽרְפִידִ֗ים וַיָּבֹ֨אוּ֙ מִדְבַּ֣ר סִינַ֔י וַיַּֽחֲנ֖וּ בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר וַיִּֽחַן־שָׁ֥ם יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נֶ֥גֶד הָהָֽר:
They journeyed from Rephidim: Why did [Scripture] have to repeat and explain from where they had journeyed? Did it not already state (Exod. 17:1) that they were encamped in Rephidim? It is known that they journeyed from there. But [it is repeated] to compare their journey from Rephidim to their arrival in the Sinai desert. Just as their arrival in the Sinai desert was with repentance, so was their journey from Rephidim with repentance. — [from Mechilta]   וַיִּסְעוּ מֵֽרְפִידִים: מַה תָּ"לֹ לַחֲזֹר וּלְפָרֵשׁ מֵהֵיכָן נָסְעוּ, וַהֲלֹא כְבָר כָּתַב שֶׁבִּרְפִידִים הָיוּ חוֹנִים, בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁמִּשָּׁם נָסְעוּ? אֶלָּא לְהַקִּישׁ נְסִיעָתָן מֵרְפִידִים לְבִיאָתָן לְמִדְבַּר סִינַי, מַה בִּיאָתָן לְמִדְבַּר סִינַי בִּתְשׁוּבָה, אַף נְסִיעָתָן מֵרְפִידִים בִּתְשׁוּבָה (מכילתא):
and Israel encamped there: Heb. וַיִחַן, [the singular form, denoting that they encamped there] as one man with one heart, but all the other encampments were [divided] with complaints and with strife. — [from Mechilta]   וַיִּֽחַן־שָׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל: כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד בְּלֵב אֶחָד, אֲבָל שְׁאָר כָּל הַחֲנִיּוֹת בְּתַרְעוֹמוֹת וּבְמַחֲלֹקֶת:
opposite the mountain: [This means] to its east. And wherever you find [the word] “opposite (נֶגֶד),” it means facing the eastern side. — [from Mechilta] [This signifies that they were facing west, toward the eastern side of Mount Sinai.]   נֶגֶד הָהָֽר: לְמִזְרָחוֹ, וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁאַתָּה מוֹצֵא נֶגֶד, פָּנִים לַמִּזְרָח (שם):
3Moses ascended to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "So shall you say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel,   גוּמשֶׁ֥ה עָלָ֖ה אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֵלָ֤יו יְהוָֹה֙ מִן־הָהָ֣ר לֵאמֹ֔ר כֹּ֤ה תֹאמַר֙ לְבֵ֣ית יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וְתַגֵּ֖יד לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
Moses ascended: on the second day (Shab. 86a), and all his ascents were early in the morning, as it is said: “And Moses arose early in the morning” (Exod. 34:4).   וּמשֶׁה עָלָה: בַּיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי; וְכָל עֲלִיּוֹתָיו בְּהַשְׁכָּמָה הָיוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיַּשְׁכֵּם מֹשֶׁה בַבֹּקֶר" (שמות ל"ד):
So shall you say: With this language and in this order. — [from Mechilta]   כֹּה תֹאמַר: בַּלָּשׁוֹן הַזֶּה וְכַסֵּדֶר הַזֶּה:
to the house of Jacob: These are the women. Say it to them in a gentle language. — [from Mechilta]   לְבֵית יַֽעֲקֹב: אֵלּוּ הַנָּשִׁים, תֹּאמַר לָהֶן בְּלָשׁוֹן רַכָּה (מכילתא):
and tell the sons of Israel: The punishments and the details [of the laws] explain to the males, things that are as harsh as wormwood. -[Mechilta, Shab. 87a]   וְתַגֵּיד לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל: עֳנָשִׁין וְדִקְדּוּקִים פָּרֵשׁ לַזְּכָרִים, דְּבָרִים הַקָּשִׁין כְּגִידִין (שבת פ"ז):
4'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles' wings, and I brought you to Me.   דאַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִׂ֖יתִי לְמִצְרָ֑יִם וָֽאֶשָּׂ֤א אֶתְכֶם֙ עַל־כַּנְפֵ֣י נְשָׁרִ֔ים וָֽאָבִ֥א אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֵלָֽי:
You have seen: This is not a tradition that you have. I am not sending you this [message] with words; I am not calling witnesses to testify before you, but you [yourselves] have seen what I did to the Egyptians. They were liable to Me for many sins before they attacked you, but I did not exact retribution from them except through you. — [from Mechilta]   אַתֶּם רְאִיתֶם: לֹא מַסֹּרֶת הִיא בְיֶדְכֶם, לֹא בִדְבָרִים אֲנִי מְשַׁגֵּר לָכֶם, לֹא בְעֵדִים אֲנִי מֵעִיד עֲלֵיכֶם, אֶלָּא אתם ראיתם אשר עשיתי למצרים, עַל כַּמָּה עֲבֵרוֹת הָיוּ חַיָּבִין לִי קֹדֶם שֶׁנִּזְדַּוְּגוּ לָכֶם וְלֹא נִפְרַעְתִּי מֵהֶם אֶלָּא עַל יֶדְכֶם (מכילתא):
and [how] I bore you: Heb. וָאֶשָׂא. This is [alluding to] the day that the Israelites came to Rameses-because the Israelites were scattered throughout the land of Goshen. And in a short time, when they came to start on their journey and leave, they all gathered in Rameses (Mechilta). Onkelos, however, rendered וָאֶשָׂא as וְאַטָלִיתיַתְכוֹן, and I caused you to travel, like וָאַסִּיעַ אֶתְכֶם He [Onkelos] amended [the translation of] the passage in a way respectful to the One above.   וָֽאֶשָּׂא אֶתְכֶם: זֶה הַיּוֹם שֶׁבָּאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְרַעְמְסֵס, שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְפֻזָּרִין בְּכָל אֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן, וּלְשָׁעָה קַלָּה כְּשֶׁבָּאוּ לִסַּע וְלָצֵאת, נִקְבְּצוּ כֻּלָּם לְרַעְמְסֵס, וְאֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם וָאֶשָּׂא כְּמוֹ וָאַסִּיעַ אֶתְכֶם – "וְאַטֵּלִית יָתְכוֹן", תִּקֵּן אֶת הַדִבּוּר דֶּרֶךְ כָּבוֹד לְמַעְלָה:
on eagles’ wings: Like an eagle, which carries its young on its wings, for all other birds place their young between their feet since they fear another bird flying above them. The eagle, however, fears only man, lest he shoot an arrow at it, because no other bird flies above it. Therefore, it places them [its young] on its wings. It says, “Rather the arrow pierce me and not my children.” I [God] too did that: “Then the angel of God…moved, …And he came between the camp of Egypt, etc.” (Exod. 14:19, 20), and the Egyptians shot arrows and catapult stones, and the cloud absorbed them. — [from Mechilta]   עַל־כַּנְפֵי נְשָׁרִים: כַּנֶּשֶׁר הַנּוֹשֵׂא גּוֹזָלָיו עַל כְּנָפָיו, שֶׁכָּל שְׁאָר הָעוֹפוֹת נוֹתְנִים אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם בֵּין רַגְלֵיהֶם, לְפִי שֶׁמִּתְיָרְאִין מֵעוֹף אַחֵר שֶׁפּוֹרֵחַ עַל גַּבֵּיהֶם, אֲבָל הַנֶּשֶׁר הַזֶּה אֵינוֹ מִתְיָרֵא אֶלָּא מִן הָאָדָם שֶׁמָּא יִזְרֹק בּוֹ חֵץ, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין עוֹף פּוֹרֵחַ עַל גַּבָּיו, לְכָךְ נוֹתְנוֹ עַל כְּנָפָיו, אוֹמֵר מוּטָב יִכָּנֵס הַחֵץ בִּי וְלֹא בִּבְנִי, אַף אֲנִי עָשִׂיתִי כֵן: "וַיִּסַּע מַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים וְגוֹ', וַיָּבֹא בֵּין מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם וְגוֹ'" (שמות י"ד), וְהָיוּ מִצְרַיִם זוֹרְקִים חִצִּים וְאַבְנֵי בָּלִיסְטְרָאוֹת וְהֶעָנָן מְקַבְּלָם:
and I brought you to Me: As the Targum [Onkelos renders: and I brought you near to My service]. [This is to avoid ascribing corporeality to God.]   וָֽאָבִא אֶתְכֶם אֵלָֽי: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
5And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth.   הוְעַתָּ֗ה אִם־שָׁמ֤וֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ בְּקֹלִ֔י וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֑י וִֽהְיִ֨יתֶם לִ֤י סְגֻלָּה֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים כִּי־לִ֖י כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ:
And now: If now you accept upon yourselves [the yoke of the commandments], it will be pleasant for you in the future, since all beginnings are difficult. — [from Mechilta]   וְעַתָּה: אִם עַתָּה תְקַבְּלוּ עֲלֵיכֶם, יֶעֱרַב לָכֶם מִכָּאן וָאֵילָךְ, שֶׁכָּל הַתְחָלוֹת קָשׁוֹת (מכילתא):
and keep My covenant: which I will make with you concerning the observance of the Torah.   וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת־בְּרִיתִי: שֶׁאֶכְרֹת עִמָּכֶם עַל שְׁמִירַת הַתּוֹרָה:
a treasure: Heb. סְגֻלִֵֶַָָָּה, a beloved treasure, like “and the treasures (וּסְגְלִֵּת) of the kings” (Eccl. 2:8), [i.e., like] costly vessels and precious stones, which kings store away. So will you be [more of] a treasure to Me than the other nations (Mechilta). Now don’t think (lit., and do not say) that you alone are Mine, and [that] I have no others besides you. So what else do I have, that [My] love for you should be made evident? For the whole earth is Mine, but they [the other nations] mean nothing to Me.   סְגֻלָּה: אוֹצָר חָבִיב, כְּמוֹ "וּסְגֻלַּת מְלָכִים" (קהלת ב') – כְּלֵי יְקָר וַאֲבָנִים טוֹבוֹת שֶׁהַמְּלָכִים גּוֹנְזִים אוֹתָם, כָּךְ אַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי סְגֻלָּה מִשְּׁאָר אֻמּוֹת; וְלֹא תֹאמְרוּ אַתֶּם לְבַדְּכֶם שֶׁלִּי וְאֵין לִי אֲחֵרִים עִמָּכֶם וּמַה יֵּשׁ לִי עוֹד שֶׁתְּהֵא חִבַּתְכֶם נִכֶּרֶת:
For the whole earth is Mine: but they [the other nations] mean nothing to Me.   כִּי־לִי כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ: וְהֵם בְּעֵינַי וּלְפָנַי לִכְלוּם:
6And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel."   ווְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּֽהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּֽהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ אֵ֚לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes: Heb., מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהִנִים, princes, as it is said: “and David’s sons were chief officers (כֹּהִנִים)” (II Sam. 8:18). -[from Mechilta]   וְאַתֶּם תִּֽהְיוּ־לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּֽהֲנִים: שָׂרִים, כְּמָה דְּאַתְּ אָמַר "וּבְנֵי דָּוִד כֹּהֲנִים" (שמואל ב ח'):
These are the words: No less and no more. — [from Mechilta]   אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים: לֹא פָּחוֹת וְלֹא יוֹתֵר (מכילתא):