sh’-MA yis-ra-AYL a-TAH o-VAYR ha-YOM et ha-yar-DAYN la-VO la-RE-shet go-YIM g’-do-LEEM va-a-tzu-MEEM mi-ME-ka a-REEM g’-do-LOT uv-tzu-ROT ba-sha-MA-yim
The word for ‘Hebrew’, Ivrit (עברית), comes from the root avar (עבר), ‘to cross over,’ which appears in this verse. Moshe tells the people that they are about to cross into the land on the other side of the Jordan. Similarly, our forefather Avraham was called Ha’Ivri (Genesis 14:13) because he came from the other side of the river, and because his monotheistic views were on the “other side” compared to those of the rest of the world. Avraham’s heirs still carry the responsibility of being the world’s moral compass, reminding others not to necessarily conform to popular norms and mores, but to do only what is right. Accordingly, the State of Israel has adopted this responsibility as its mission, to do what is right among the international community of nations even when it is not popular. Indeed, Israel comes under great scrutiny by the nations of the world. It is often viewed as being on the “other side,” as a result of its historic mission to live by the principles of the Bible.1 comment
2 a people great and tall, the Anakites, of whom you have knowledge; for you have heard it said, “Who can stand up to the children of Anak?”
ב עַם־גָּדוֹל וָרָם בְּנֵי עֲנָקִים אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ וְאַתָּה שָׁמַעְתָּ מִי יִתְיַצֵּב לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי עֲנָק׃
3 Know then this day that none other than Hashem your God is crossing at your head, a devouring fire; it is He who will wipe them out. He will subdue them before you, that you may quickly dispossess and destroy them, as Hashem promised you.
ג וְיָדַעְתָּ הַיּוֹם כִּי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא־הָעֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ אֵשׁ אֹכְלָה הוּא יַשְׁמִידֵם וְהוּא יַכְנִיעֵם לְפָנֶיךָ וְהוֹרַשְׁתָּם וְהַאַבַדְתָּם מַהֵר כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה לָךְ׃
4 And when Hashem your God has thrust them from your path, say not to yourselves, “Hashem has enabled us to possess this land because of our virtues”; it is rather because of the wickedness of those nations that Hashem is dispossessing them before you.
ד אַל־תֹּאמַר בִּלְבָבְךָ בַּהֲדֹף יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֹתָם מִלְּפָנֶיךָ לֵאמֹר בְּצִדְקָתִי הֱבִיאַנִי יְהֹוָה לָרֶשֶׁת אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וּבְרִשְׁעַת הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה יְהֹוָה מוֹרִישָׁם מִפָּנֶיךָ׃
5 It is not because of your virtues and your rectitude that you will be able to possess their country; but it is because of their wickedness that Hashem your God is dispossessing those nations before you, and in order to fulfill the oath that Hashem made to your fathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.
6 Know, then, that it is not for any virtue of yours that Hashem your God is giving you this good land to possess; for you are a stiffnecked people.
ו וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי לֹא בְצִדְקָתְךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַטּוֹבָה הַזֹּאת לְרִשְׁתָּהּ כִּי עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹרֶף אָתָּה׃
7 Remember, never forget, how you provoked Hashem your God to anger in the wilderness: from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place, you have continued defiant toward Hashem.
ז זְכֹר אַל־תִּשְׁכַּח אֵת אֲשֶׁר־הִקְצַפְתָּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּמִּדְבָּר לְמִן־הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר־יָצָאתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד־בֹּאֲכֶם עַד־הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה מַמְרִים הֱיִיתֶם עִם־יְהֹוָה׃
8 At Horeb you so provoked Hashem that Hashem was angry enough with you to have destroyed you.
ח וּבְחֹרֵב הִקְצַפְתֶּם אֶת־יְהֹוָה וַיִּתְאַנַּף יְהֹוָה בָּכֶם לְהַשְׁמִיד אֶתְכֶם׃
9 I had ascended the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the Tablets of the Covenant that Hashem had made with you, and I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights, eating no bread and drinking no water.
ט בַּעֲלֹתִי הָהָרָה לָקַחַת לוּחֹת הָאֲבָנִים לוּחֹת הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַת יְהֹוָה עִמָּכֶם וָאֵשֵׁב בָּהָר אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה לֶחֶם לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּמַיִם לֹא שָׁתִיתִי׃
10 And Hashem gave me the two tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of Hashem, with the exact words that Hashem had addressed to you on the mountain out of the fire on the day of the Assembly.
י וַיִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה אֵלַי אֶת־שְׁנֵי לוּחֹת הָאֲבָנִים כְּתֻבִים בְּאֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים וַעֲלֵיהֶם כְּכָל־הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה עִמָּכֶם בָּהָר מִתּוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ בְּיוֹם הַקָּהָל׃
11 At the end of those forty days and forty nights, Hashem gave me the two tablets of stone, the Tablets of the Covenant.
יא וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לָיְלָה נָתַן יְהֹוָה אֵלַי אֶת־שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הָאֲבָנִים לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית׃
12 And Hashem said to me, “Hurry, go down from here at once, for the people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted wickedly; they have been quick to stray from the path that I enjoined upon them; they have made themselves a molten image.”
יב וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי קוּם רֵד מַהֵר מִזֶּה כִּי שִׁחֵת עַמְּךָ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתָ מִמִּצְרָיִם סָרוּ מַהֵר מִן־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִם עָשׂוּ לָהֶם מַסֵּכָה׃
13 Hashem further said to me, “I see that this is a stiffnecked people.
יג וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר רָאִיתִי אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה וְהִנֵּה עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹרֶף הוּא׃
14 Let Me alone and I will destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven, and I will make you a nation far more numerous than they.”
יד הֶרֶף מִמֶּנִּי וְאַשְׁמִידֵם וְאֶמְחֶה אֶת־שְׁמָם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אוֹתְךָ לְגוֹי־עָצוּם וָרָב מִמֶּנּוּ׃
15 I started down the mountain, a mountain ablaze with fire, the two Tablets of the Covenant in my two hands.
טו וָאֵפֶן וָאֵרֵד מִן־הָהָר וְהָהָר בֹּעֵר בָּאֵשׁ וּשְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הַבְּרִית עַל שְׁתֵּי יָדָי׃
16 I saw how you had sinned against Hashem your God: you had made yourselves a molten calf; you had been quick to stray from the path that Hashem had enjoined upon you.
טז וָאֵרֶא וְהִנֵּה חֲטָאתֶם לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם עֲשִׂיתֶם לָכֶם עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה סַרְתֶּם מַהֵר מִן־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יְהֹוָה אֶתְכֶם׃
17 Thereupon I gripped the two tablets and flung them away with both my hands, smashing them before your eyes.
יז וָאֶתְפֹּשׂ בִּשְׁנֵי הַלֻּחֹת וָאַשְׁלִכֵם מֵעַל שְׁתֵּי יָדָי וָאֲשַׁבְּרֵם לְעֵינֵיכֶם׃
18 I threw myself down before Hashem—eating no bread and drinking no water forty days and forty nights, as before—because of the great wrong you had committed, doing what displeased Hashem and vexing Him.
יח וָאֶתְנַפַּל לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה כָּרִאשֹׁנָה אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה לֶחֶם לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּמַיִם לֹא שָׁתִיתִי עַל כָּל־חַטַּאתְכֶם אֲשֶׁר חֲטָאתֶם לַעֲשׂוֹת הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהֹוָה לְהַכְעִיסוֹ׃
19 For I was in dread of Hashem‘s fierce anger against you, which moved Him to wipe you out. And that time, too, Hashem gave heed to me.
יט כִּי יָגֹרְתִּי מִפְּנֵי הָאַף וְהַחֵמָה אֲשֶׁר קָצַף יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם לְהַשְׁמִיד אֶתְכֶם וַיִּשְׁמַע יְהֹוָה אֵלַי גַּם בַּפַּעַם הַהִוא׃
21 As for that sinful thing you had made, the calf, I took it and put it to the fire; I broke it to bits and ground it thoroughly until it was fine as dust, and I threw its dust into the brook that comes down from the mountain.
כא וְאֶת־חַטַּאתְכֶם אֲשֶׁר־עֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת־הָעֵגֶל לָקַחְתִּי וָאֶשְׂרֹף אֹתוֹ בָּאֵשׁ וָאֶכֹּת אֹתוֹ טָחוֹן הֵיטֵב עַד אֲשֶׁר־דַּק לְעָפָר וָאַשְׁלִךְ אֶת־עֲפָרוֹ אֶל־הַנַּחַל הַיֹּרֵד מִן־הָהָר׃
22 Again you provoked Hashem at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah.
כב וּבְתַבְעֵרָה וּבְמַסָּה וּבְקִבְרֹת הַתַּאֲוָה מַקְצִפִים הֱיִיתֶם אֶת־יְהֹוָה׃
23 And when Hashem sent you on from Kadesh-barnea, saying, “Go up and take possession of the land that I am giving you,” you flouted the command of Hashem your God; you did not put your trust in Him and did not obey Him.
24 As long as I have known you, you have been defiant toward Hashem.
כד מַמְרִים הֱיִיתֶם עִם־יְהֹוָה מִיּוֹם דַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם׃
25 When I lay prostrate before Hashem those forty days and forty nights, because Hashem was determined to destroy you,
כה וָאֶתְנַפַּל לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֵת אַרְבָּעִים הַיּוֹם וְאֶת־אַרְבָּעִים הַלַּיְלָה אֲשֶׁר הִתְנַפָּלְתִּי כִּי־אָמַר יְהֹוָה לְהַשְׁמִיד אֶתְכֶם׃
26 I prayed to Hashem and said, “O Hashem, do not annihilate Your very own people, whom You redeemed in Your majesty and whom You freed from Egypt with a mighty hand.
כו וָאֶתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־יְהֹוָה וָאֹמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אַל־תַּשְׁחֵת עַמְּךָ וְנַחֲלָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר פָּדִיתָ בְּגָדְלֶךָ אֲשֶׁר־הוֹצֵאתָ מִמִּצְרַיִם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה׃
28 Else the country from which You freed us will say, ‘It was because Hashem was powerless to bring them into the land that He had promised them, and because He rejected them, that He brought them out to have them die in the wilderness.’
כח פֶּן־יֹאמְרוּ הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתָנוּ מִשָּׁם מִבְּלִי יְכֹלֶת יְהֹוָה לַהֲבִיאָם אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר לָהֶם וּמִשִּׂנְאָתוֹ אוֹתָם הוֹצִיאָם לַהֲמִתָם בַּמִּדְבָּר׃
29 Yet they are Your very own people, whom You freed with Your great might and Your outstretched arm.”
כט וְהֵם עַמְּךָ וְנַחֲלָתֶךָ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתָ בְּכֹחֲךָ הַגָּדֹל וּבִזְרֹעֲךָ הַנְּטוּיָה׃