Deuteronomy 16
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Observe the month of Abib and offer a Pesach sacrifice to Hashem your God, for it was in the month of Abib, at night, that Hashem your God freed you from Egypt.

א  שָׁמוֹר אֶת־חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב וְעָשִׂיתָ פֶּסַח לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי בְּחֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב הוֹצִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִמִּצְרַיִם לָיְלָה׃

2  You shall slaughter the Pesach sacrifice for Hashem your God, from the flock and the herd, in the place where Hashem will choose to establish His name.

ב  וְזָבַחְתָּ פֶּסַח לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ צֹאן וּבָקָר בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר יְהוָה לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם׃

3  You shall not eat anything leavened with it; for seven days thereafter you shall eat unleavened bread, bread of distress—for you departed from the land of Egypt hurriedly—so that you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt as long as you live.

ג  לֹא־תֹאכַל עָלָיו חָמֵץ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תֹּאכַל־עָלָיו מַצּוֹת לֶחֶם עֹנִי כִּי בְחִפָּזוֹן יָצָאתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לְמַעַן תִּזְכֹּר אֶת־יוֹם צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ׃

4  For seven days no leaven shall be found with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh of what you slaughter on the evening of the first day shall be left until morning.

ד  וְלֹא־יֵרָאֶה לְךָ שְׂאֹר בְּכָל־גְּבֻלְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְלֹא־יָלִין מִן־הַבָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר תִּזְבַּח בָּעֶרֶב בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן לַבֹּקֶר׃

5  You are not permitted to slaughter the Pesach sacrifice in any of the settlements that Hashem your God is giving you;

ה  לֹא תוּכַל לִזְבֹּחַ אֶת־הַפָּסַח בְּאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ׃

6  but at the place where Hashem your God will choose to establish His name, there alone shall you slaughter the Pesach sacrifice, in the evening, at sundown, the time of day when you departed from Egypt.

ו  כִּי אִם־אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם תִּזְבַּח אֶת־הַפֶּסַח בָּעָרֶב כְּבוֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ מוֹעֵד צֵאתְךָ מִמִּצְרָיִם׃

7  You shall cook and eat it at the place that Hashem your God will choose; and in the morning you may start back on your journey home.

ז  וּבִשַּׁלְתָּ וְאָכַלְתָּ בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ וּפָנִיתָ בַבֹּקֶר וְהָלַכְתָּ לְאֹהָלֶיךָ׃

8  After eating unleavened bread six days, you shall hold a solemn gathering for Hashem your God on the seventh day: you shall do no work.

ח  שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצּוֹת וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי עֲצֶרֶת לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה מְלָאכָה׃

9  You shall count off seven weeks; start to count the seven weeks when the sickle is first put to the standing grain.

ט  שִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעֹת תִּסְפָּר־לָךְ מֵהָחֵל חֶרְמֵשׁ בַּקָּמָה תָּחֵל לִסְפֹּר שִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת׃

10  Then you shall observe the festival of Shavuot for Hashem your God, offering your freewill contribution according as Hashem your God has blessed you.

י  וְעָשִׂיתָ חַג שָׁבֻעוֹת לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִסַּת נִדְבַת יָדְךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּתֵּן כַּאֲשֶׁר יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃

11  You shall rejoice before Hashem your God with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite in your communities, and the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your midst, at the place where Hashem your God will choose to establish His name.

יא  וְשָׂמַחְתָּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ וְעַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתֶךָ וְהַלֵּוִי אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְהַגֵּר וְהַיָּתוֹם וְהָאַלְמָנָה אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבֶּךָ בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם׃

12  Bear in mind that you were slaves in Egypt, and take care to obey these laws.

יב  וְזָכַרְתָּ כִּי־עֶבֶד הָיִיתָ בְּמִצְרָיִם וְשָׁמַרְתָּ וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה׃

13  After the ingathering from your threshing floor and your vat, you shall hold the festival of Sukkot for seven days.

יג  חַג הַסֻּכֹּת תַּעֲשֶׂה לְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים בְּאָסְפְּךָ מִגָּרְנְךָ וּמִיִּקְבֶךָ׃

14  You shall rejoice in your festival, with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your communities.

יד  וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְּחַגֶּךָ אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ וְעַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתֶךָ וְהַלֵּוִי וְהַגֵּר וְהַיָּתוֹם וְהָאַלְמָנָה אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ׃

15  You shall hold a festival for Hashem your God seven days, in the place that Hashem will choose; for Hashem your God will bless all your crops and all your undertakings, and you shall have nothing but joy.

טו  שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תָּחֹג לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר יְהוָה כִּי יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכֹל תְּבוּאָתְךָ וּבְכֹל מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ וְהָיִיתָ אַךְ שָׂמֵחַ׃

16  Three times a year—on the festival of Pesach, on the festival of Shavuot, and on the festival of Sukkot—all your males shall appear before Hashem your God in the place that He will choose. They shall not appear before Hashem empty-handed,

sha-LOSH p’-a-MEEM ba-sha-NAH yay-ra-EH khol z’-khu-r’-KHA et p’-NAY a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha ba-ma-KOM a-SHER yiv-KHAR b’-KHAG ha-ma-TZOT u-v’-KHAG ha-sha-vu-OT u-v’-KHAG ha-su-KOT v’-LO yay-ra-EH et p’-NAY a-do-NAI ray-KAM

טז  שָׁלוֹשׁ פְּעָמִים בַּשָּׁנָה יֵרָאֶה כָל־זְכוּרְךָ אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחָר בְּחַג הַמַּצּוֹת וּבְחַג הַשָּׁבֻעוֹת וּבְחַג הַסֻּכּוֹת וְלֹא יֵרָאֶה אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהוָה רֵיקָם׃

16:16   Three times a year

The Hebrew word shalosh (שלוש) means ‘three.’ The number three indicates a strong unit or bond, as it says in Megillat Kohelet (4:12), “A threefold cord is not readily broken.” Perhaps for this reason, there are three times a year when every Jew is commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim and to appear before Hashem in the Temple. This ensures that he will reconnect with his Creator at least three times a year, and that the bonds between them will remain strong.


16:16   On the Feast of Booths

Sukkot stands out from the other pilgrimage festivals in that its celebration is not limited to the Jewish people. Rather, the Sages explain (Sukkah 55b) that a total of seventy bulls were brought as burnt-offerings throughout the Feast of Booths, on behalf of all seventy nations of the world. This served as a mighty display of universal solidarity and worship of the one true God of Israel.  The Sages of the Midrash conclude that had the Babylonians and Romans understood the universal benefit that the Beit Hamikdash provided, they would and would never have destroyed it and would even have built a protective fortress around it.  The prophet Zecharya promises that in the time of MashiachSukkot will once again be celebrated in Yerushalayim by all the nations of the world: “All who survive of all those nations that came up against Yerushalayim shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King Lord of Hosts, and to observe the festival of Sukkot” (Zechariah 14:16). This prophecy has begun to be fulfilled through the thousands of non-Jewish visitors from all over the world who come to Yerushalayim each year for Sukkot.

 Comment

17  but each with his own gift, according to the blessing that Hashem your God has bestowed upon you.

יז  אִישׁ כְּמַתְּנַת יָדוֹ כְּבִרְכַּת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן־לָךְ׃

18  You shall appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that Hashem your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice.

יח  שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן־לְךָ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת־הָעָם מִשְׁפַּט־צֶדֶק׃

19  You shall not judge unfairly: you shall show no partiality; you shall not take bribes, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the plea of the just.

יט  לֹא־תַטֶּה מִשְׁפָּט לֹא תַכִּיר פָּנִים וְלֹא־תִקַּח שֹׁחַד כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר עֵינֵי חֲכָמִים וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִם׃

20  Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that Hashem your God is giving you.

TZE-dek TZE-dek tir-DOF l’-MA-an tikh-YEH v’-ya-rash-TA et ha-A-retz a-sher a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha no-TAYN LAKH

כ  צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ׃

21  You shall not set up a sacred post—any kind of pole beside the mizbayach of Hashem your God that you may make

כא  לֹא־תִטַּע לְךָ אֲשֵׁרָה כָּל־עֵץ אֵצֶל מִזְבַּח יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה־לָּךְ׃

22  or erect a stone pillar; for such Hashem your God detests.

 

כב  וְלֹא־תָקִים לְךָ מַצֵּבָה אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵא יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃

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Deuteronomy 16

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