Exodus 13

1Hashem spoke further to Moshe, saying,

אוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

2“Consecrate to Me every first-born; man and beast, the first issue of every womb among the Israelites is Mine.”

בקַדֶּשׁ־לִי כָל־בְּכוֹר פֶּטֶר כָּל־רֶחֶם בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה לִי הוּא׃

3And Moshe said to the people, “Remember this day, on which you went free from Egypt, the house of bondage, how Hashem freed you from it with a mighty hand: no leavened bread shall be eaten.

גוַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־הָעָם זָכוֹר אֶת־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר יְצָאתֶם מִמִּצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים כִּי בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיא יְהֹוָה אֶתְכֶם מִזֶּה וְלֹא יֵאָכֵל חָמֵץ׃

4You go free on this day, in the month of Abib.

ha-YOM a-TEM yo-tz'-EEM b'-KHO-desh ha-a-VEEV

דהַיּוֹם אַתֶּם יֹצְאִים בְּחֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב׃

 13:4 In the month of Abib

Spring flowers in the Negev

‘Abib’ in Hebrew is Aviv (אביב), meaning ‘springtime.’ The Torah has already stated that the redemption from Egypt took place in the first month, the month of Nissan, which is in the springtime. Why is it necessary to state explicitly that in happened in the month of Aviv? Emphasizing that the redemption took place in the spring highlights Hashem’s love and compassion for His children. He made sure to free the Israelites and set them on their journey through the desert when the weather was most pleasant; not too hot, too cold or too rainy. Furthermore, as springtime symbolizes the rebirth of the land, there was no better time to experience the rebirth of the nation than the spring.

5So, when Hashem has brought you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall observe in this month the following practice:

v'-ha-YA ki y'-vee-ah-KHA el eh-RETZ ha-k'-na-a'-nee v'-ha-khi-TEE v'-ha-eh-mo-REE v'-ha-khee-VEE v'-ha-y'-vu-SEE a-SHER nish-BA la-a-vo-te-KHA la-TAYT lakh eh-RETZ za-VAT kha-LAV u-d'-VASH v'-a-va-d'-TA et ha-a-vo-DA ha-ZOHT ba-kho-DESH ha-ZE

הוְהָיָה כִי־יְבִיאֲךָ יְהֹוָה אֶל־אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לָתֶת לָךְ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ וְעָבַדְתָּ אֶת־הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה׃

 13:5 A land flowing with milk and honey

Eretz Yisrael is described many times throughout the Bible as a land flowing with milk and honey. Rashi explains this expression quite literally: Milk flows from the goats, and honey comes from the dates and figs that Israel is known for. Ramban adds that the word “flowing” is used, which indicates exceptional fertility and abundance. On a metaphorical level, the Midrash explains that milk is a nutritional necessity whereas honey is a savory delicacy. Hashem promises that the Land of Israel will provide not only the essential things needed to survive, but also sweet luxuries.

Ripe dates in northern Israel

Sheep and goats in the Negev

6“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a festival of Hashem.

ושִׁבְעַת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצֹּת וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי חַג לַיהֹוָה׃

7Throughout the seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten; no leavened bread shall be found with you, and no leaven shall be found in all your territory.

זמַצּוֹת יֵאָכֵל אֵת שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים וְלֹא־יֵרָאֶה לְךָ חָמֵץ וְלֹא־יֵרָאֶה לְךָ שְׂאֹר בְּכָל־גְּבֻלֶךָ׃

8And you shall explain to your son on that day, ‘It is because of what Hashem did for me when I went free from Egypt.'

חוְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יְהֹוָה לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם׃

9“And this shall serve you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead—in order that the Teaching of Hashem may be in your mouth—that with a mighty hand Hashem freed you from Egypt.

טוְהָיָה לְךָ לְאוֹת עַל־יָדְךָ וּלְזִכָּרוֹן בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ לְמַעַן תִּהְיֶה תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה בְּפִיךָ כִּי בְּיָד חֲזָקָה הוֹצִאֲךָ יְהֹוָה מִמִּצְרָיִם׃

10You shall keep this institution at its set time from year to year.

יוְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת־הַחֻקָּה הַזֹּאת לְמוֹעֲדָהּ מִיָּמִים יָמִימָה׃

11“And when Hashem has brought you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and has given it to you,

יאוְהָיָה כִּי־יְבִאֲךָ יְהֹוָה אֶל־אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לְךָ וְלַאֲבֹתֶיךָ וּנְתָנָהּ לָךְ׃

12you shall set apart for Hashem every first issue of the womb: every male firstling that your cattle drop shall be Hashem's.

יבוְהַעֲבַרְתָּ כָל־פֶּטֶר־רֶחֶם לַיהֹוָה וְכָל־פֶּטֶר שֶׁגֶר בְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה לְךָ הַזְּכָרִים לַיהֹוָה׃

13But every firstling ass you shall redeem with a sheep; if you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. And you must redeem every first-born male among your children.

יגוְכָל־פֶּטֶר חֲמֹר תִּפְדֶּה בְשֶׂה וְאִם־לֹא תִפְדֶּה וַעֲרַפְתּוֹ וְכֹל בְּכוֹר אָדָם בְּבָנֶיךָ תִּפְדֶּה׃

14And when, in time to come, your son asks you, saying, ‘What does this mean?' you shall say to him, ‘It was with a mighty hand that Hashem brought us out from Egypt, the house of bondage.

ידוְהָיָה כִּי־יִשְׁאָלְךָ בִנְךָ מָחָר לֵאמֹר מַה־זֹּאת וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יְהֹוָה מִמִּצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים׃

15When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, Hashem slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, the first-born of both man and beast. Therefore I sacrifice to Hashem every first male issue of the womb, but redeem every first-born among my sons.'

טווַיְהִי כִּי־הִקְשָׁה פַרְעֹה לְשַׁלְּחֵנוּ וַיַּהֲרֹג יְהֹוָה כָּל־בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבְּכֹר אָדָם וְעַד־בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָה עַל־כֵּן אֲנִי זֹבֵחַ לַיהֹוָה כָּל־פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם הַזְּכָרִים וְכָל־בְּכוֹר בָּנַי אֶפְדֶּה׃

16“And so it shall be as a sign upon your hand and as a symbol on your forehead that with a mighty hand Hashem freed us from Egypt.”

טזוְהָיָה לְאוֹת עַל־יָדְכָה וּלְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ כִּי בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יְהֹוָה מִמִּצְרָיִם׃

17Now when Pharaoh let the people go, Hashem did not lead them by way of the land of the Phillistines, although it was nearer; for Hashem said, “The people may have a change of heart when they see war, and return to Egypt.”

יזוַיְהִי בְּשַׁלַּח פַּרְעֹה אֶת־הָעָם וְלֹא־נָחָם אֱלֹהִים דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים כִּי קָרוֹב הוּא כִּי אָמַר אֱלֹהִים פֶּן־יִנָּחֵם הָעָם בִּרְאֹתָם מִלְחָמָה וְשָׁבוּ מִצְרָיְמָה׃

18So Hashem led the people roundabout, by way of the wilderness at the Sea of Reeds. Now the Israelites went up armed out of the land of Egypt.

יחוַיַּסֵּב אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעָם דֶּרֶךְ הַמִּדְבָּר יַם־סוּף וַחֲמֻשִׁים עָלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

19And Moshe took with him the bones of Yosef, who had exacted an oath from the children of Yisrael, saying, “Hashem will be sure to take notice of you: then you shall carry up my bones from here with you.”

יטוַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה אֶת־עַצְמוֹת יוֹסֵף עִמּוֹ כִּי הַשְׁבֵּעַ הִשְׁבִּיעַ אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶתְכֶם וְהַעֲלִיתֶם אֶת־עַצְמֹתַי מִזֶּה אִתְּכֶם׃

20They set out from Succoth, and encamped at Etham, at the edge of the wilderness.

כוַיִּסְעוּ מִסֻּכֹּת וַיַּחֲנוּ בְאֵתָם בִּקְצֵה הַמִּדְבָּר׃

21Hashem went before them in a pillar of cloud by day, to guide them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, that they might travel day and night.

כאוַיהֹוָה הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם יוֹמָם בְּעַמּוּד עָנָן לַנְחֹתָם הַדֶּרֶךְ וְלַיְלָה בְּעַמּוּד אֵשׁ לְהָאִיר לָהֶם לָלֶכֶת יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה׃

22The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

כבלֹא־יָמִישׁ עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן יוֹמָם וְעַמּוּד הָאֵשׁ לָיְלָה לִפְנֵי הָעָם׃