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19:1  Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon, saying:

יט:א  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר׃

2  This is the ritual law that Hashem has commanded: Instruct B’nei Yisrael to bring you a red cow without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which no yoke has been laid.

ב  זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יְהֹוָה לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה אֲשֶׁר אֵין־בָּהּ מוּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עֹל׃

3  You shall give it to Elazar the Kohen. It shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence.

ג  וּנְתַתֶּם אֹתָהּ אֶל־אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן וְהוֹצִיא אֹתָהּ אֶל־מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְשָׁחַט אֹתָהּ לְפָנָיו׃

4  Elazar the Kohen shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.

ד  וְלָקַח אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן מִדָּמָהּ בְּאֶצְבָּעוֹ וְהִזָּה אֶל־נֹכַח פְּנֵי אֹהֶל־מוֹעֵד מִדָּמָהּ שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים׃

5  The cow shall be burned in his sight—its hide, flesh, and blood shall be burned, its dung included—

ה  וְשָׂרַף אֶת־הַפָּרָה לְעֵינָיו אֶת־עֹרָהּ וְאֶת־בְּשָׂרָהּ וְאֶת־דָּמָהּ עַל־פִּרְשָׁהּ יִשְׂרֹף׃

6  and the Kohen shall take cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson stuff, and throw them into the fire consuming the cow.

ו  וְלָקַח הַכֹּהֵן עֵץ אֶרֶז וְאֵזוֹב וּשְׁנִי תוֹלָעַת וְהִשְׁלִיךְ אֶל־תּוֹךְ שְׂרֵפַת הַפָּרָה׃

7  The Kohen shall wash his garments and bathe his body in water; after that the Kohen may reenter the camp, but he shall be unclean until evening.

ז  וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו הַכֹּהֵן וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמַּיִם וְאַחַר יָבוֹא אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וְטָמֵא הַכֹּהֵן עַד־הָעָרֶב׃

8  He who performed the burning shall also wash his garments in water, bathe his body in water, and be unclean until evening.

ח  וְהַשֹּׂרֵף אֹתָהּ יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו בַּמַּיִם וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמָּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב׃

9  A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the cow and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, to be kept for water of lustration for the Israelite community. It is for cleansing.

ט  וְאָסַף אִישׁ טָהוֹר אֵת אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה וְהִנִּיחַ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה בְּמָקוֹם טָהוֹר וְהָיְתָה לַעֲדַת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת לְמֵי נִדָּה חַטָּאת הִוא׃

10  He who gathers up the ashes of the cow shall also wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. This shall be a permanent law for the Israelites and for the strangers who reside among you.

י  וְכִבֶּס הָאֹסֵף אֶת־אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב וְהָיְתָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכָם לְחֻקַּת עוֹלָם׃

11  He who touches the corpse of any human being shall be unclean for seven days.

ha-no-GAY-a b’-MAYT l’-khol NE-fesh a-DAM v’-ta-MAY shiv-AT ya-MEEM

יא  הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמֵת לְכָל־נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם וְטָמֵא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים׃

19:11   He who touches the corpse of any human being shall be unclean

Chapter 19 discusses the laws of ritual impurity that result from coming into contact, directly or indirectly, with a dead body. Unlike other rituals that were performed inside the Mishkan or its courtyard, the purification process for these ritually impure individuals takes place outside the camp, in the place farthest from the Mishkan. When a person passes from this world, his body is left bereft of its soul, its Godliness. The absence of the soul is the antithesis of the spirituality of the Mishkan, where God’s presence is most intensely concentrated. Entering the holy sanctuary after having encountered the absence of Godliness is incongruous. It is only after a person has become purified that he can regain entry into such a holy place.1 comment

12  He shall cleanse himself with it on the third day and on the seventh day, and then be clean; if he fails to cleanse himself on the third and seventh days, he shall not be clean.

יב  הוּא יִתְחַטָּא־בוֹ בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִטְהָר וְאִם־לֹא יִתְחַטָּא בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לֹא יִטְהָר׃

13  Whoever touches a corpse, the body of a person who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles Hashem‘s Mishkan; that person shall be cut off from Yisrael. Since the water of lustration was not dashed on him, he remains unclean; his uncleanness is still upon him.

יג  כָּל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמֵת בְּנֶפֶשׁ הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר־יָמוּת וְלֹא יִתְחַטָּא אֶת־מִשְׁכַּן יְהֹוָה טִמֵּא וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כִּי מֵי נִדָּה לֹא־זֹרַק עָלָיו טָמֵא יִהְיֶה עוֹד טֻמְאָתוֹ בוֹ׃

14  This is the ritual: When a person dies in a tent, whoever enters the tent and whoever is in the tent shall be unclean seven days;

יד  זֹאת הַתּוֹרָה אָדָם כִּי־יָמוּת בְּאֹהֶל כָּל־הַבָּא אֶל־הָאֹהֶל וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר בָּאֹהֶל יִטְמָא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים׃

15  and every open vessel, with no lid fastened down, shall be unclean.

טו  וְכֹל כְּלִי פָתוּחַ אֲשֶׁר אֵין־צָמִיד פָּתִיל עָלָיו טָמֵא הוּא׃

16  And in the open, anyone who touches a person who was killed or who died naturally, or human bone, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

טז  וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּע עַל־פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה בַּחֲלַל־חֶרֶב אוֹ בְמֵת אוֹ־בְעֶצֶם אָדָם אוֹ בְקָבֶר יִטְמָא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים׃

17  Some of the ashes from the fire of cleansing shall be taken for the unclean person, and fresh water shall be added to them in a vessel.

יז  וְלָקְחוּ לַטָּמֵא מֵעֲפַר שְׂרֵפַת הַחַטָּאת וְנָתַן עָלָיו מַיִם חַיִּים אֶל־כֶּלִי׃

18  A person who is clean shall take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle on the tent and on all the vessels and people who were there, or on him who touched the bones or the person who was killed or died naturally or the grave.

יח  וְלָקַח אֵזוֹב וְטָבַל בַּמַּיִם אִישׁ טָהוֹר וְהִזָּה עַל־הָאֹהֶל וְעַל־כָּל־הַכֵּלִים וְעַל־הַנְּפָשׁוֹת אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ־שָׁם וְעַל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בַּעֶצֶם אוֹ בֶחָלָל אוֹ בַמֵּת אוֹ בַקָּבֶר׃

19  The clean person shall sprinkle it upon the unclean person on the third day and on the seventh day, thus cleansing him by the seventh day. He shall then wash his clothes and bathe in water, and at nightfall he shall be clean.

יט  וְהִזָּה הַטָּהֹר עַל־הַטָּמֵא בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְחִטְּאוֹ בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָהֵר בָּעָרֶב׃

20  If anyone who has become unclean fails to cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the congregation, for he has defiled Hashem‘s sanctuary. The water of lustration was not dashed on him: he is unclean.

כ  וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִטְמָא וְלֹא יִתְחַטָּא וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִתּוֹךְ הַקָּהָל כִּי אֶת־מִקְדַּשׁ יְהֹוָה טִמֵּא מֵי נִדָּה לֹא־זֹרַק עָלָיו טָמֵא הוּא׃

21  That shall be for them a law for all time. Further, he who sprinkled the water of lustration shall wash his clothes; and whoever touches the water of lustration shall be unclean until evening.

כא  וְהָיְתָה לָּהֶם לְחֻקַּת עוֹלָם וּמַזֵּה מֵי־הַנִּדָּה יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְהַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמֵי הַנִּדָּה יִטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב׃

22  Whatever that unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches him shall be unclean until evening.

כב  וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּע־בּוֹ הַטָּמֵא יִטְמָא וְהַנֶּפֶשׁ הַנֹּגַעַת תִּטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב׃

20:1  The Israelites arrived in a body at the wilderness of Zin on the first new moon, and the people stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there.

כ:א  וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל־הָעֵדָה מִדְבַּר־צִן בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן וַיֵּשֶׁב הָעָם בְּקָדֵשׁ וַתָּמָת שָׁם מִרְיָם וַתִּקָּבֵר שָׁם׃

2  The community was without water, and they joined against Moshe and Aharon.

ב  וְלֹא־הָיָה מַיִם לָעֵדָה וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ עַל־מֹשֶׁה וְעַל־אַהֲרֹן׃

3  The people quarreled with Moshe, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished at the instance of Hashem!

ג  וַיָּרֶב הָעָם עִם־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֵאמֹר וְלוּ גָוַעְנוּ בִּגְוַע אַחֵינוּ לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה׃

4  Why have you brought Hashem‘s congregation into this wilderness for us and our beasts to die there?

ד  וְלָמָה הֲבֵאתֶם אֶת־קְהַל יְהֹוָה אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה לָמוּת שָׁם אֲנַחְנוּ וּבְעִירֵנוּ׃

5  Why did you make us leave Egypt to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain or figs or vines or pomegranates? There is not even water to drink!”

ה  וְלָמָה הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם לְהָבִיא אֹתָנוּ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם הָרָע הַזֶּה לֹא מְקוֹם זֶרַע וּתְאֵנָה וְגֶפֶן וְרִמּוֹן וּמַיִם אַיִן לִשְׁתּוֹת׃

6  Moshe and Aharon came away from the congregation to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and fell on their faces. The Presence of Hashem appeared to them,

ו  וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן מִפְּנֵי הַקָּהָל אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וַיִּפְּלוּ עַל־פְּנֵיהֶם וַיֵּרָא כְבוֹד־יְהֹוָה אֲלֵיהֶם׃

7  and Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying,

ז  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

8  “You and your brother Aharon take the rod and assemble the community, and before their very eyes order the rock to yield its water. Thus you shall produce water for them from the rock and provide drink for the congregation and their beasts.”

ח  קַח אֶת־הַמַּטֶּה וְהַקְהֵל אֶת־הָעֵדָה אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְדִבַּרְתֶּם אֶל־הַסֶּלַע לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְנָתַן מֵימָיו וְהוֹצֵאתָ לָהֶם מַיִם מִן־הַסֶּלַע וְהִשְׁקִיתָ אֶת־הָעֵדָה וְאֶת־בְּעִירָם׃

9  Moshe took the rod from before Hashem, as He had commanded him.

ט  וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה אֶת־הַמַּטֶּה מִלִּפְנֵי יְהֹוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּהוּ׃

10  Moshe and Aharon assembled the congregation in front of the rock; and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?”

י  וַיַּקְהִלוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֶת־הַקָּהָל אֶל־פְּנֵי הַסָּלַע וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם שִׁמְעוּ־נָא הַמֹּרִים הֲמִן־הַסֶּלַע הַזֶּה נוֹצִיא לָכֶם מָיִם׃

11  And Moshe raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod. Out came copious water, and the community and their beasts drank.

יא  וַיָּרֶם מֹשֶׁה אֶת־יָדוֹ וַיַּךְ אֶת־הַסֶּלַע בְּמַטֵּהוּ פַּעֲמָיִם וַיֵּצְאוּ מַיִם רַבִּים וַתֵּשְׁתְּ הָעֵדָה וּבְעִירָם׃

12  But Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon, “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of B’nei Yisrael, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.”

va-YO-mer a-do-NAI el mo-SHEH v’-el a-ha-RON YA-an lo he-e-man-TEM BEE l’-HAK-dee-SHAY-nee l’-ay-NAY b’-NAY yis-ra-AYL la-KHAYN LO ta-VEE-u et ha-ka-HAL ha-ZEH el ha-A-retz a-sher na-TA-tee la-HEM

יב  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן יַעַן לֹא־הֶאֱמַנְתֶּם בִּי לְהַקְדִּישֵׁנִי לְעֵינֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָכֵן לֹא תָבִיאוּ אֶת־הַקָּהָל הַזֶּה אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נָתַתִּי לָהֶם׃

 20:12   Because you did not trust Me

The account of Moshe hitting the rock to get water for his people is one of the most perplexing stories in the entire Bible. Hashem tells him to speak to the rock in order to bring forth water, but Moshe hits the rock instead and is punished by being prevented from entering the Land of Israel, “because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the B’nei Yisrael.” What could be so terrible about hitting the rock instead of speaking to it? One explanation, given by Rashi, is that while Moshe understood that the water flowing from the rock was God’s doing, he did not make this sufficiently clear to the rest of the Children of Israel. Instead of hitting the rock, which implied that it was his own power that brought forth the water, Moshe should have spoken to it. By failing to do this, he missed an opportunity to attribute greatness to Hashem. It is not enough for us to recognize Hashem in our lives or within history; we have a duty to make sure others recognize Him as well.1 comment

13  Those are the Waters of Meribah—meaning that the Israelites quarrelled with Hashem—through which He affirmed His sanctity.

יג  הֵמָּה מֵי מְרִיבָה אֲשֶׁר־רָבוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־יְהֹוָה וַיִּקָּדֵשׁ בָּם׃

14  From Kadesh, Moshe sent messengers to the king of Edom: “Thus says your brother Yisrael: You know all the hardships that have befallen us;

יד  וַיִּשְׁלַח מֹשֶׁה מַלְאָכִים מִקָּדֵשׁ אֶל־מֶלֶךְ אֱדוֹם כֹּה אָמַר אָחִיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֵת כָּל־הַתְּלָאָה אֲשֶׁר מְצָאָתְנוּ׃

15  that our ancestors went down to Egypt, that we dwelt in Egypt a long time, and that the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our ancestors.

טו  וַיֵּרְדוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ מִצְרַיְמָה וַנֵּשֶׁב בְּמִצְרַיִם יָמִים רַבִּים וַיָּרֵעוּ לָנוּ מִצְרַיִם וְלַאֲבֹתֵינוּ׃

16  We cried to Hashem and He heard our plea, and He sent a messenger who freed us from Egypt. Now we are in Kadesh, the town on the border of your territory.

טז  וַנִּצְעַק אֶל־יְהֹוָה וַיִּשְׁמַע קֹלֵנוּ וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָךְ וַיֹּצִאֵנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ בְקָדֵשׁ עִיר קְצֵה גְבוּלֶךָ׃

17  Allow us, then, to cross your country. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from wells. We will follow the king’s highway, turning off neither to the right nor to the left until we have crossed your territory.”

יז  נַעְבְּרָה־נָּא בְאַרְצֶךָ לֹא נַעֲבֹר בְּשָׂדֶה וּבְכֶרֶם וְלֹא נִשְׁתֶּה מֵי בְאֵר דֶּרֶךְ הַמֶּלֶךְ נֵלֵךְ לֹא נִטֶּה יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול עַד אֲשֶׁר־נַעֲבֹר גְּבוּלֶךָ׃

18  But Edom answered him, “You shall not pass through us, else we will go out against you with the sword.”

יח  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֱדוֹם לֹא תַעֲבֹר בִּי פֶּן־בַּחֶרֶב אֵצֵא לִקְרָאתֶךָ׃

19  “We will keep to the beaten track,” the Israelites said to them, “and if we or our cattle drink your water, we will pay for it. We ask only for passage on foot—it is but a small matter.”

יט  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמְסִלָּה נַעֲלֶה וְאִם־מֵימֶיךָ נִשְׁתֶּה אֲנִי וּמִקְנַי וְנָתַתִּי מִכְרָם רַק אֵין־דָּבָר בְּרַגְלַי אֶעֱבֹרָה׃

20  But they replied, “You shall not pass through!” And Edom went out against them in heavy force, strongly armed.

כ  וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא תַעֲבֹר וַיֵּצֵא אֱדוֹם לִקְרָאתוֹ בְּעַם כָּבֵד וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה׃

21  So Edom would not let Yisrael cross their territory, and Yisrael turned away from them.

כא  וַיְמָאֵן אֱדוֹם נְתֹן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבֹר בִּגְבֻלוֹ וַיֵּט יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעָלָיו׃

22  Setting out from Kadesh, the Israelites arrived in a body at Mount Hor.

כב  וַיִּסְעוּ מִקָּדֵשׁ וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל־הָעֵדָה הֹר הָהָר׃

23  At Mount Hor, on the boundary of the land of Edom, Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon,

כג  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן בְּהֹר הָהָר עַל־גְּבוּל אֶרֶץ־אֱדוֹם לֵאמֹר׃

24  “Let Aharon be gathered to his kin: he is not to enter the land that I have assigned to B’nei Yisrael, because you disobeyed my command about the waters of Meribah.

כד  יֵאָסֵף אַהֲרֹן אֶל־עַמָּיו כִּי לֹא יָבֹא אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל אֲשֶׁר־מְרִיתֶם אֶת־פִּי לְמֵי מְרִיבָה׃

25  Take Aharon and his son Elazar and bring them up on Mount Hor.

KAKH et a-ha-RON v’-et el-a-ZAR b’-NO v’-HA-al o-TAM hor ha-HAR

כה  קַח אֶת־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת־אֶלְעָזָר בְּנוֹ וְהַעַל אֹתָם הֹר הָהָר׃

26  Strip Aharon of his vestments and put them on his son Elazar. There Aharon shall be gathered unto the dead.”

כו  וְהַפְשֵׁט אֶת־אַהֲרֹן אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וְהִלְבַּשְׁתָּם אֶת־אֶלְעָזָר בְּנוֹ וְאַהֲרֹן יֵאָסֵף וּמֵת שָׁם׃

27  Moshe did as Hashem had commanded. They ascended Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community.

כז  וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהֹוָה וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶל־הֹר הָהָר לְעֵינֵי כָּל־הָעֵדָה׃

28  Moshe stripped Aharon of his vestments and put them on his son Elazar, and Aharon died there on the summit of the mountain. When Moshe and Elazar came down from the mountain,

כח  וַיַּפְשֵׁט מֹשֶׁה אֶת־אַהֲרֹן אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וַיַּלְבֵּשׁ אֹתָם אֶת־אֶלְעָזָר בְּנוֹ וַיָּמָת אַהֲרֹן שָׁם בְּרֹאשׁ הָהָר וַיֵּרֶד מֹשֶׁה וְאֶלְעָזָר מִן־הָהָר׃

29  the whole community knew that Aharon had breathed his last. All the house of Yisrael bewailed Aharon thirty days.

כט  וַיִּרְאוּ כָּל־הָעֵדָה כִּי גָוַע אַהֲרֹן וַיִּבְכּוּ אֶת־אַהֲרֹן שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם כֹּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

21:1  When the Canaanite, king of Arad, who dwelt in the Negev, learned that Yisrael was coming by the way of Atharim, he engaged Yisrael in battle and took some of them captive.

כא:א  וַיִּשְׁמַע הַכְּנַעֲנִי מֶלֶךְ־עֲרָד יֹשֵׁב הַנֶּגֶב כִּי בָּא יִשְׂרָאֵל דֶּרֶךְ הָאֲתָרִים וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּשְׁבְּ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁבִי׃

2  Then Yisrael made a vow to Hashem and said, “If You deliver this people into our hand, we will proscribe their towns.”

ב  וַיִּדַּר יִשְׂרָאֵל נֶדֶר לַיהֹוָה וַיֹּאמַר אִם־נָתֹן תִּתֵּן אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה בְּיָדִי וְהַחֲרַמְתִּי אֶת־עָרֵיהֶם׃

3  Hashem heeded Yisrael‘s plea and delivered up the Canaanites; and they and their cities were proscribed. So that place was named Hormah.

ג  וַיִּשְׁמַע יְהֹוָה בְּקוֹל יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־הַכְּנַעֲנִי וַיַּחֲרֵם אֶתְהֶם וְאֶת־עָרֵיהֶם וַיִּקְרָא שֵׁם־הַמָּקוֹם חָרְמָה׃

4  They set out from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of Reeds to skirt the land of Edom. But the people grew restive on the journey,

ד  וַיִּסְעוּ מֵהֹר הָהָר דֶּרֶךְ יַם־סוּף לִסְבֹב אֶת־אֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם וַתִּקְצַר נֶפֶשׁ־הָעָם בַּדָּרֶךְ׃

5  and the people spoke against Hashem and against Moshe, “Why did you make us leave Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread and no water, and we have come to loathe this miserable food.”

va-y’-da-BER ha-AM be-e-lo-HEEM u-v’-mo-SHE la-MA he-e’-lee-TU-nu mi-mitz-RA-yim la-MOOT ba-mid-BAR kee ayn LEH-khem v’-AYN MA-yim v’-naf-SHAY-nu ka-TZA ba-LE-khem ha-k’-lo-KEL

ה  וַיְדַבֵּר הָעָם בֵּאלֹהִים וּבְמֹשֶׁה לָמָה הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם לָמוּת בַּמִּדְבָּר כִּי אֵין לֶחֶם וְאֵין מַיִם וְנַפְשֵׁנוּ קָצָה בַּלֶּחֶם הַקְּלֹקֵל׃

 21:5   We have come to loathe this miserable food

According to the Sages, the manna was a miraculous and wonderful food that tasted like anything a person would wish. If so, why did the Children of Israel complain so bitterly about it, and call it, “this miserable food”? According to the 13th century French scholar Rabbi Hezekiah ben Manoah, and known as Chizkuni, the Israelites were not complaining about the quality of the manna. Rather, they were expressing their impatience and eagerness to enter the Land of Israel where they would finally be able to eat the fruit of their own hands from the soil of the Holy Land.Comment

6  Hashem sent seraph serpents against the people. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died.

ו  וַיְשַׁלַּח יְהֹוָה בָּעָם אֵת הַנְּחָשִׁים הַשְּׂרָפִים וַיְנַשְּׁכוּ אֶת־הָעָם וַיָּמָת עַם־רָב מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל׃

7  The people came to Moshe and said, “We sinned by speaking against Hashem and against you. Intercede with Hashem to take away the serpents from us!” And Moshe interceded for the people.

ז  וַיָּבֹא הָעָם אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמְרוּ חָטָאנוּ כִּי־דִבַּרְנוּ בַיהֹוָה וָבָךְ הִתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־יְהֹוָה וְיָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אֶת־הַנָּחָשׁ וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל מֹשֶׁה בְּעַד הָעָם׃

8  Then Hashem said to Moshe, “Make a seraph figure and mount it on a standard. And if anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.”

ח  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שָׂרָף וְשִׂים אֹתוֹ עַל־נֵס וְהָיָה כָּל־הַנָּשׁוּךְ וְרָאָה אֹתוֹ וָחָי׃

9  Moshe made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, he would look at the copper serpent and recover.

va-YA-as mo-SHEH n’-KHASH n’-KHO-shet va-y’-si-MAY-hu al ha-NAYS v’-ha-YAH im na-SHAKH ha-na-KHASH et EESH v’-hi-BEET el n’-KHASH ha-n’-KHO-shet va-KHAI

ט  וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה נְחַשׁ נְחֹשֶׁת וַיְשִׂמֵהוּ עַל־הַנֵּס וְהָיָה אִם־נָשַׁךְ הַנָּחָשׁ אֶת־אִישׁ וְהִבִּיט אֶל־נְחַשׁ הַנְּחֹשֶׁת וָחָי׃

10  The Israelites marched on and encamped at Oboth.

י  וַיִּסְעוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּאֹבֹת׃

11  They set out from Oboth and encamped at Iye-Avarim, in the wilderness bordering on Moab to the east.

יא  וַיִּסְעוּ מֵאֹבֹת וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעִיֵּי הָעֲבָרִים בַּמִּדְבָּר אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי מוֹאָב מִמִּזְרַח הַשָּׁמֶשׁ׃

12  From there they set out and encamped at the wadi Zered.

יב  מִשָּׁם נָסָעוּ וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּנַחַל זָרֶד׃

13  From there they set out and encamped beyond the Arnon, that is, in the wilderness that extends from the territory of the Amorites. For the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.

יג  מִשָּׁם נָסָעוּ וַיַּחֲנוּ מֵעֵבֶר אַרְנוֹן אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר הַיֹּצֵא מִגְּבוּל הָאֱמֹרִי כִּי אַרְנוֹן גְּבוּל מוֹאָב בֵּין מוֹאָב וּבֵין הָאֱמֹרִי׃

14  Therefore the Book of the Wars of Hashem speaks of “…Waheb in Suphah, and the wadis: the Arnon

יד  עַל־כֵּן יֵאָמַר בְּסֵפֶר מִלְחֲמֹת יְהֹוָה אֶת־וָהֵב בְּסוּפָה וְאֶת־הַנְּחָלִים אַרְנוֹן׃

15  with its tributary wadis, stretched along the settled country of Ar, hugging the territory of Moab…”

טו  וְאֶשֶׁד הַנְּחָלִים אֲשֶׁר נָטָה לְשֶׁבֶת עָר וְנִשְׁעַן לִגְבוּל מוֹאָב׃

16  And from there to Beer, which is the well where Hashem said to Moshe, “Assemble the people that I may give them water.”

טז  וּמִשָּׁם בְּאֵרָה הִוא הַבְּאֵר אֲשֶׁר אָמַר יְהֹוָה לְמֹשֶׁה אֱסֹף אֶת־הָעָם וְאֶתְּנָה לָהֶם מָיִם׃

17  Then Yisrael sang this song: Spring up, O well—sing to it—

יז  אָז יָשִׁיר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת עֲלִי בְאֵר עֱנוּ־לָהּ׃

18  The well which the chieftains dug, Which the nobles of the people started With maces, with their own staffs. And from Midbar to Mattanah,

יח  בְּאֵר חֲפָרוּהָ שָׂרִים כָּרוּהָ נְדִיבֵי הָעָם בִּמְחֹקֵק בְּמִשְׁעֲנֹתָם וּמִמִּדְבָּר מַתָּנָה׃

19  and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth,

יט  וּמִמַּתָּנָה נַחֲלִיאֵל וּמִנַּחֲלִיאֵל בָּמוֹת׃

20  and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the country of Moab, at the peak of Pisgah, overlooking the wasteland.

כ  וּמִבָּמוֹת הַגַּיְא אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׂדֵה מוֹאָב רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה וְנִשְׁקָפָה עַל־פְּנֵי הַיְשִׁימֹן׃

21  Yisrael now sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,

כא  וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְׂרָאֵל מַלְאָכִים אֶל־סִיחֹן מֶלֶךְ־הָאֱמֹרִי לֵאמֹר׃

22  Let me pass through your country. We will not turn off into fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from wells. We will follow the king’s highway until we have crossed your territory.”

כב  אֶעְבְּרָה בְאַרְצֶךָ לֹא נִטֶּה בְּשָׂדֶה וּבְכֶרֶם לֹא נִשְׁתֶּה מֵי בְאֵר בְּדֶרֶךְ הַמֶּלֶךְ נֵלֵךְ עַד אֲשֶׁר־נַעֲבֹר גְּבֻלֶךָ׃

23  But Sihon would not let Yisrael pass through his territory. Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Yisrael in the wilderness. He came to Jahaz and engaged Yisrael in battle.

כג  וְלֹא־נָתַן סִיחֹן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבֹר בִּגְבֻלוֹ וַיֶּאֱסֹף סִיחֹן אֶת־כָּל־עַמּוֹ וַיֵּצֵא לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמִּדְבָּרָה וַיָּבֹא יָהְצָה וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

24  But Yisrael put them to the sword, and took possession of their land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as [Az] of the Ammonites, for Az marked the boundary of the Ammonites.

כד  וַיַּכֵּהוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְפִי־חָרֶב וַיִּירַשׁ אֶת־אַרְצוֹ מֵאַרְנֹן עַד־יַבֹּק עַד־בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן כִּי עַז גְּבוּל בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן׃

25  Yisrael took all those towns. And Yisrael settled in all the towns of the Amorites, in Heshbon and all its dependencies.

כה  וַיִּקַּח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל־הֶעָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכָל־עָרֵי הָאֱמֹרִי בְּחֶשְׁבּוֹן וּבְכָל־בְּנֹתֶיהָ׃

26  Now Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against a former king of Moab and taken all his land from him as far as the Arnon.

כו  כִּי חֶשְׁבּוֹן עִיר סִיחֹן מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי הִוא וְהוּא נִלְחַם בְּמֶלֶךְ מוֹאָב הָרִאשׁוֹן וַיִּקַּח אֶת־כָּל־אַרְצוֹ מִיָּדוֹ עַד־אַרְנֹן׃

27  Therefore the bards would recite: “Come to Heshbon; firmly built And well founded is Sihon’s city.

כז  עַל־כֵּן יֹאמְרוּ הַמֹּשְׁלִים בֹּאוּ חֶשְׁבּוֹן תִּבָּנֶה וְתִכּוֹנֵן עִיר סִיחוֹן׃

28  For fire went forth from Heshbon, Flame from Sihon’s city, Consuming Ar of Moab, The lords of Bamoth by the Arnon.

כח  כִּי־אֵשׁ יָצְאָה מֵחֶשְׁבּוֹן לֶהָבָה מִקִּרְיַת סִיחֹן אָכְלָה עָר מוֹאָב בַּעֲלֵי בָּמוֹת אַרְנֹן׃

29  Woe to you, O Moab! You are undone, O people of Chemosh! His sons are rendered fugitive And his daughters captive By an Amorite king, Sihon.”

כט  אוֹי־לְךָ מוֹאָב אָבַדְתָּ עַם־כְּמוֹשׁ נָתַן בָּנָיו פְּלֵיטִם וּבְנֹתָיו בַּשְּׁבִית לְמֶלֶךְ אֱמֹרִי סִיחוֹן׃

30  Yet we have cast them down utterly, Heshbon along with Dibon; We have wrought desolation at Nophah, Which is hard by Medeba.

ל  וַנִּירָם אָבַד חֶשְׁבּוֹן עַד־דִּיבוֹן וַנַּשִּׁים עַד־נֹפַח אֲשֶׁר עַד־מֵידְבָא׃

31  So Yisrael occupied the land of the Amorites.

לא  וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאֶרֶץ הָאֱמֹרִי׃

32  Then Moshe sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its dependencies and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.

לב  וַיִּשְׁלַח מֹשֶׁה לְרַגֵּל אֶת־יַעְזֵר וַיִּלְכְּדוּ בְּנֹתֶיהָ ויירש [וַיּוֹרֶשׁ] אֶת־הָאֱמֹרִי אֲשֶׁר־שָׁם׃

33  They marched on and went up the road to Bashan, and King Og of Bashan, with all his people, came out to Edrei to engage them in battle.

לג  וַיִּפְנוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ דֶּרֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן וַיֵּצֵא עוֹג מֶלֶךְ־הַבָּשָׁן לִקְרָאתָם הוּא וְכָל־עַמּוֹ לַמִּלְחָמָה אֶדְרֶעִי׃

34  But Hashem said to Moshe, “Do not fear him, for I give him and all his people and his land into your hand. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites who dwelt in Heshbon.”

לד  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אַל־תִּירָא אֹתוֹ כִּי בְיָדְךָ נָתַתִּי אֹתוֹ וְאֶת־כָּל־עַמּוֹ וְאֶת־אַרְצוֹ וְעָשִׂיתָ לּוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ לְסִיחֹן מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי אֲשֶׁר יוֹשֵׁב בְּחֶשְׁבּוֹן׃

35  They defeated him and his sons and all his people, until no remnant was left him; and they took possession of his country.

va-ya-KU o-TO v’-et ba-NAV v’-et kol a-MO ad bil-TEE hish-eer LO sa-REED va-yee-r’-SHU et ar-TZO

לה  וַיַּכּוּ אֹתוֹ וְאֶת־בָּנָיו וְאֶת־כָּל־עַמּוֹ עַד־בִּלְתִּי הִשְׁאִיר־לוֹ שָׂרִיד וַיִּירְשׁוּ אֶת־אַרְצוֹ׃

21:35   They defeated him

In this section, the Israelites capture the lands of Sihon, king of the Amorites and Og, king of Bashan. Moshe initially asks these two kings for permission to pass peacefully through their lands in order to reach the Land of Israel. Instead of agreeing to the request, however, the Israelites were greeted with swords and spears. They thus had no choice but to go to war, from which they emerged victorious. While these lands were not included within the original borders of Eretz Yisrael, the capture of this territory marks the beginning of the successful conquest of the Promised Land.2 comments

22:1  The Israelites then marched on and encamped in the steppes of Moab, across the Yarden from Yericho.

כב:א  וַיִּסְעוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעַרְבוֹת מוֹאָב מֵעֵבֶר לְיַרְדֵּן יְרֵחוֹ׃

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