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TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
PROPHETS
KETUVIM
WRITINGS

Chapter 18

Translation and Transliteration of 

1Jethro priest of Midian, Moshe' father-in-law, heard all that Hashem had done for Moshe and for Yisrael His people, how Hashem had brought Yisrael out from Egypt.

vai-YAY-ra e-LAV a-do-NAI b'-e-lo-NAY mam-RAY, v'-HU yo-SHEV pe-TAKH ha-o-HAYL k'-KHOm ha-YOM

אוַיִּשְׁמַ֞ע יִתְר֨וֹ כֹהֵ֤ן מִדְיָן֙ חֹתֵ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֵת֩ כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ לְמֹשֶׁ֔ה וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַמּ֑וֹ כִּֽי־הוֹצִ֧יא יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃

2So Jethro, Moshe' father-in-law, took Tzipora, Moshe' wife, after she had been sent home,

vai-YI-sa AY-naiv vai-YAR v'-hi-NEH sh'-LO-sha a-na-SHEEM ni-tza-VEEM a-LA-yav vai-YAR vai-YAR-tz lik-ra-TAM mi-pe-TAKH ha-o-HEL vai-YIS-ta-KHU a-RETZ

בוַיִּקַּ֗ח יִתְרוֹ֙ חֹתֵ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶת־צִפֹּרָ֖ה אֵ֣שֶׁת מֹשֶׁ֑ה אַחַ֖ר שִׁלּוּחֶֽיהָ׃

3and her two sons—of whom one was named Gershom, that is to say, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land”;

vai-YO-mer a-do-NAI, im-NA ma-TZA-tee KHEYN b'-ay-NE-kha, al-NA ta-a-VOR may-AL av-DE-kha

גוְאֵ֖ת שְׁנֵ֣י בָנֶ֑יהָ אֲשֶׁ֨ר שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאֶחָד֙ גֵּֽרְשֹׁ֔ם כִּ֣י אָמַ֔ר גֵּ֣ר הָיִ֔יתִי בְּאֶ֖רֶץ נׇכְרִיָּֽה׃

4and the other was named Eliezer, meaning, “The God of my father was my help, and He delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”

yu-KAKH-na m'-AT-ma-YIM v'-ra-cha-TZU rag-LEI-khem v'-hi-sha-A-nu TA-khat ha-Etz

דוְשֵׁ֥ם הָאֶחָ֖ד אֱלִיעֶ֑זֶר כִּֽי־אֱלֹהֵ֤י אָבִי֙ בְּעֶזְרִ֔י וַיַּצִּלֵ֖נִי מֵחֶ֥רֶב פַּרְעֹֽה׃

5Jethro, Moshe' father-in-law, brought Moshe' sons and wife to him in the wilderness, where he was encamped at the mountain of Hashem.

v'-ek-KHA pat-LE-khem v'-sa-a-DU li-b'-KHEM a-KHAR ta-a-vo-RU, ki-al-KEN a-va-RT'-EM al a-v'-DE-khem, va-YO-mer-U, KEIN ta-a-SEH ka-a-SHER di-BAR-ta.

הוַיָּבֹ֞א יִתְר֨וֹ חֹתֵ֥ן מֹשֶׁ֛ה וּבָנָ֥יו וְאִשְׁתּ֖וֹ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּ֗ר אֲשֶׁר־ה֛וּא חֹנֶ֥ה שָׁ֖ם הַ֥ר הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃

6He sent word to Moshe, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, with your wife and her two sons.”

vai-ma-HEIR av-ra-HAM ha-o-HE-lah el sa-RAH, va-YO-mer ma-ha-REE she-LOSH s'-EEM ke-MACH so-LET, LU-shee va-a-SEE u-GOT

ווַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֲנִ֛י חֹתֶנְךָ֥ יִתְר֖וֹ בָּ֣א אֵלֶ֑יךָ וְאִ֨שְׁתְּךָ֔ וּשְׁנֵ֥י בָנֶ֖יהָ עִמָּֽהּ׃

7Moshe went out to meet his father-in-law; he bowed low and kissed him; each asked after the other's welfare, and they went into the tent.

v'-el ha-ba-KAR RATS av-ra-HAM va-yi-KAKH ben-ba-KAR RAKH va-TOV va-yi-TEYN el ha-NA-ar va-ye-MA-her la-a-SOT o-TO

זוַיֵּצֵ֨א מֹשֶׁ֜ה לִקְרַ֣את חֹֽתְנ֗וֹ וַיִּשְׁתַּ֙חוּ֙ וַיִּשַּׁק־ל֔וֹ וַיִּשְׁאֲל֥וּ אִישׁ־לְרֵעֵ֖הוּ לְשָׁל֑וֹם וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ הָאֹֽהֱלָה׃

8Moshe then recounted to his father-in-law everything that Hashem had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Yisrael's sake, all the hardships that had befallen them on the way, and how Hashem had delivered them.

vai-YA-kakh khem-AH v'-kha-LAV u-ven ha-ba-KAR a-SHER a-SA vai-YI-ten lif-NE-hem v'-hu-o-MED a-LAY-hem TA-khat ha-AYTZ vai-YO-khe-LU

חוַיְסַפֵּ֤ר מֹשֶׁה֙ לְחֹ֣תְנ֔וֹ אֵת֩ כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה יְהֹוָה֙ לְפַרְעֹ֣ה וּלְמִצְרַ֔יִם עַ֖ל אוֹדֹ֣ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֵ֤ת כׇּל־הַתְּלָאָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר מְצָאָ֣תַם בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ וַיַּצִּלֵ֖ם יְהֹוָֽה׃

9And Jethro rejoiced over all the kindness that Hashem had shown Yisrael when He delivered them from the Egyptians.

va-yo-M'-RU e-LA-yo: a-YEH sa-RAH ish-TE-kha, va-yo-MER hi-NEH ba-O-HEL

טוַיִּ֣חַדְּ יִתְר֔וֹ עַ֚ל כׇּל־הַטּוֹבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֥ה יְהֹוָ֖ה לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִצִּיל֖וֹ מִיַּ֥ד מִצְרָֽיִם׃

10“Blessed be Hashem,” Jethro said, “who delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.

vai-YO-mer, SHOV a-SHUV e-LE-kha ka-ET kha-YAH, v'-hi-NEH VEN l'-SA-RA eesh-TE-kha, v'-SA-RA sho-MA-at PE-takh ha-O-HEL, v'-HU a-kha-RAV

יוַיֹּ֘אמֶר֮ יִתְרוֹ֒ בָּר֣וּךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִצִּ֥יל אֶתְכֶ֛ם מִיַּ֥ד מִצְרַ֖יִם וּמִיַּ֣ד פַּרְעֹ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר הִצִּיל֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם מִתַּ֖חַת יַד־מִצְרָֽיִם׃

11Now I know that Hashem is greater than all gods, yes, by the result of their very schemes against [the people].”

v'-av-ra-HAM v'-sa-RAH z'-kay-NEEM ba-EEM ba-ya-MEEM cha-DAL lih-YOT l'-sa-RAH o-RACH ka-na-SHEEM

יאעַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֔עְתִּי כִּֽי־גָד֥וֹל יְהֹוָ֖ה מִכׇּל־הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים כִּ֣י בַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר זָד֖וּ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃

12And Jethro, Moshe' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices for Hashem; and Aharon came with all the elders of Yisrael to partake of the meal before Hashem with Moshe' father-in-law.

vai-YA-kakh y'-TRO kho-TAYN mo-SHEH o-LAH u-ze-va-KHEEM lay-lo-HEEM, vai-ya-VO a-ha-RON v'-KOL zik-NAY yis-ra-AYL le-e-KHOL-le-KHEM im kho-TAYN mo-SHEH lif-NAY ha-E-lo-HEEM.

יבוַיִּקַּ֞ח יִתְר֨וֹ חֹתֵ֥ן מֹשֶׁ֛ה עֹלָ֥ה וּזְבָחִ֖ים לֵֽאלֹהִ֑ים וַיָּבֹ֨א אַהֲרֹ֜ן וְכֹ֣ל ׀ זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לֶאֱכׇל־לֶ֛חֶם עִם־חֹתֵ֥ן מֹשֶׁ֖ה לִפְנֵ֥י הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃

13Next day, Moshe sat as magistrate among the people, while the people stood about Moshe from morning until evening.

vai-HI, mi-mo-kho-RAT, va-YAY-shev mo-SHEH lish-POHT et-ha-AM, va-ya-a-MOD ha-AM al mo-SHEH, min ha-BO-ker ad ha-a-REV

יגוַיְהִי֙ מִֽמׇּחֳרָ֔ת וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב מֹשֶׁ֖ה לִשְׁפֹּ֣ט אֶת־הָעָ֑ם וַיַּעֲמֹ֤ד הָעָם֙ עַל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה מִן־הַבֹּ֖קֶר עַד־הָעָֽרֶב׃

14But when Moshe' father-in-law saw how much he had to do for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing to the people? Why do you act alone, while all the people stand about you from morning until evening?”

vai-YAR kho-TEN mo-SHEH et kol a-SHER hu o-SEH la-AM, va-YO-mer ma ha-DA-var ha-ZEH a-SHER a-TAH o-SEH la-AM, ma-DO-a a-TAH yo-SHEV le-va-DE-kha, v'-kol ha-AM ni-TZAV a-LE-kha min-BO-ker ad a-REV.

ידוַיַּרְא֙ חֹתֵ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֵ֛ת כׇּל־אֲשֶׁר־ה֥וּא עֹשֶׂ֖ה לָעָ֑ם וַיֹּ֗אמֶר מָֽה־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתָּ֤ה עֹשֶׂה֙ לָעָ֔ם מַדּ֗וּעַ אַתָּ֤ה יוֹשֵׁב֙ לְבַדֶּ֔ךָ וְכׇל־הָעָ֛ם נִצָּ֥ב עָלֶ֖יךָ מִן־בֹּ֥קֶר עַד־עָֽרֶב׃

15Moshe replied to his father-in-law, “It is because the people come to me to inquire of Hashem.

vai-YO-mer MO-sheh l'-kho-t'-NO: kee ya-VO e-LAI ha-AM lid-ROSH e-lo-HEEM

טווַיֹּ֥אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֖ה לְחֹתְנ֑וֹ כִּֽי־יָבֹ֥א אֵלַ֛י הָעָ֖ם לִדְרֹ֥שׁ אֱלֹהִֽים׃

16When they have a dispute, it comes before me, and I decide between one person and another, and I make known the laws and teachings of Hashem.”

ki-yi-HEH la-HEM da-VAR ba-AY e-LAI v'-sha-FAT-TEE BAYN EEsh u-BAYN ray-EH-hu v'-ho-DA-tee et-khu-KAY ha-e-lo-HEEM v'-et-to-RO-tav

טזכִּֽי־יִהְיֶ֨ה לָהֶ֤ם דָּבָר֙ בָּ֣א אֵלַ֔י וְשָׁ֣פַטְתִּ֔י בֵּ֥ין אִ֖ישׁ וּבֵ֣ין רֵעֵ֑הוּ וְהוֹדַעְתִּ֛י אֶת־חֻקֵּ֥י הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים וְאֶת־תּוֹרֹתָֽיו׃

17But Moshe' father-in-law said to him, “The thing you are doing is not right;

va-YO-mer kho-TEN mo-SHEH e-LAV lo-TOV ha-DA-var a-SHER a-TAH o-SEH

יזוַיֹּ֛אמֶר חֹתֵ֥ן מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֵלָ֑יו לֹא־טוֹב֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתָּ֖ה עֹשֶֽׂה׃

18you will surely wear yourself out, and these people as well. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.

na-VOL ti-BOL gam-a-TAH gam-ha-AM ha-ZEH a-SHER i-MAKH, ki-ka-VED mi-ME-kha ha-DA-var lo-tu-KHAL a-SO-hu l'-va-DE-kha

יחנָבֹ֣ל תִּבֹּ֔ל גַּם־אַתָּ֕ה גַּם־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמָּ֑ךְ כִּֽי־כָבֵ֤ד מִמְּךָ֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר לֹא־תוּכַ֥ל עֲשֹׂ֖הוּ לְבַדֶּֽךָ׃

19Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and Hashem be with you! You represent the people before Hashem: you bring the disputes before Hashem,

a-TAH sh'-MA b'-ko-LEE, ee-a-TZ'-KHA, v'-yi-HEE e-lo-HEEM i-ma-KHEM, he-YEH a-TAH la-AHM mool ha-e-lo-HEEM, v'-he-VEE-ta a-TAH et ha-d'-va-REEM el ha-e-lo-HEEM.

יטעַתָּ֞ה שְׁמַ֤ע בְּקֹלִי֙ אִיעָ֣צְךָ֔ וִיהִ֥י אֱלֹהִ֖ים עִמָּ֑ךְ הֱיֵ֧ה אַתָּ֣ה לָעָ֗ם מ֚וּל הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְהֵבֵאתָ֥ אַתָּ֛ה אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃

20and enjoin upon them the laws and the teachings, and make known to them the way they are to go and the practices they are to follow.

v'-hi-z'-har-TAH et-HEM et-ha-KHU-kim v'-et-ha-TO-rot v'-ho-DA-tah LA-HEM et-ha-DE-rekh ye-le-KHU vah v'-et-ha-ma-a-SEH a-SHER ya-a-SUN

כוְהִזְהַרְתָּ֣ה אֶתְהֶ֔ם אֶת־הַחֻקִּ֖ים וְאֶת־הַתּוֹרֹ֑ת וְהוֹדַעְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֗ם אֶת־הַדֶּ֙רֶךְ֙ יֵ֣לְכוּ בָ֔הּ וְאֶת־הַֽמַּעֲשֶׂ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר יַעֲשֽׂוּן׃

21You shall also seek out from among all the people capable men who fear Hashem, trustworthy men who spurn ill-gotten gain. Set these over them as chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, and

v'-a-TAH te-khe-ZEH mi-KOL ha-AM an-SHEI-kha-YIL yir-EI e-lo-HIM an-SHEI e-MET so-NEI va-TSA v'-sam-TA a-LE-hem sa-REI a-la-FEEM sa-REI me-OT sa-REI kha-mi-SHEEM v'-sa-REI a-sa-ROT

כאוְאַתָּ֣ה תֶחֱזֶ֣ה מִכׇּל־הָ֠עָ֠ם אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֜יִל יִרְאֵ֧י אֱלֹהִ֛ים אַנְשֵׁ֥י אֱמֶ֖ת שֹׂ֣נְאֵי בָ֑צַע וְשַׂמְתָּ֣ עֲלֵהֶ֗ם שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת׃

22let them judge the people at all times. Have them bring every major dispute to you, but let them decide every minor dispute themselves. Make it easier for yourself by letting them share the burden with you.

v'-sha-F'-tu et-ha-AHM b'-khol-AYT, va-HA-yah kol-ha-DA-var ha-GA-dol ya-VEE-u e-LE-kha, v'-kol-ha-DA-var ha-ka-TON yish-p'-TU-hem, va-ha-KEL me-a-LE-kha, v'-na-so-u i-TA-kha.

כבוְשָׁפְט֣וּ אֶת־הָעָם֮ בְּכׇל־עֵת֒ וְהָיָ֞ה כׇּל־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַגָּדֹל֙ יָבִ֣יאוּ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְכׇל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפְּטוּ־הֵ֑ם וְהָקֵל֙ מֵֽעָלֶ֔יךָ וְנָשְׂא֖וּ אִתָּֽךְ׃

23If you do this—and Hashem so commands you—you will be able to bear up; and all these people too will go home unwearied.”

IM et ha-da-VAR ha-ZEH ta-a-SEH v'-tzi-v'-KHA e-lo-HEEM v'-ya-khol-TA a-MOD v'-GAM kol ha-AM ha-ZEH al m'-ko-MO ya-VO v'-sha-LOM

כגאִ֣ם אֶת־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְצִוְּךָ֣ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְיָֽכׇלְתָּ֖ עֲמֹ֑ד וְגַם֙ כׇּל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה עַל־מְקֹמ֖וֹ יָבֹ֥א בְשָׁלֽוֹם׃

 18:23   All these people too will go home unwearied

A simple reading of this verse implies that after the implementation of Jethro’s suggestion for expediting the judicial process, every individual would be able to return to their homes much sooner. Based on a careful reading of the Hebrew words, however, the Kli Yakar explains that the verse does not refer to individuals returning to their private homes, but rather, to the Nation of Israel arriving in their national home, Eretz Yisrael. Improving their system of justice was a vital step towards entering the land. Similarly, a renewed commitment to justice will ultimately lead to the final return of the People of Israel to the Land of Israel, as it says (Isaiah 1:27), “Tzion shall be saved in the judgement.”

24Moshe heeded his father-in-law and did just as he had said.

vai-YISH-ma MO-sheh l'-KOL kho-T'-no va-YA-as KOL a-SHER a-MAR

כדוַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע מֹשֶׁ֖ה לְק֣וֹל חֹתְנ֑וֹ וַיַּ֕עַשׂ כֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָמָֽר׃

25Moshe chose capable men out of all Yisrael, and appointed them heads over the people—chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens;

vai-YIV-khar mo-SHEH an-SHEI-kha-YIL mi-KOL yis-ra-AYL, vai-YI-ten o-TAM ra-SHEEM al ha-AHM, sa-REI a-la-FEEM, sa-REI me-OT, sa-REI kha-mi-SHEEM, v'-sa-REI a-sa-ROT.

כהוַיִּבְחַ֨ר מֹשֶׁ֤ה אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֙יִל֙ מִכׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם רָאשִׁ֖ים עַל־הָעָ֑ם שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת׃

26and they judged the people at all times: the difficult matters they would bring to Moshe, and all the minor matters they would decide themselves.

v'-sha-F'-tu et-ha-AHM b'-kol-EYT et-ha-DA-var ha-KA-sheh y'-vee-UN el-MO-sheh v'-kol-ha-DA-var ha-ka-TOHN yish-POO-tu HEM

כווְשָׁפְט֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם בְּכׇל־עֵ֑ת אֶת־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַקָּשֶׁה֙ יְבִיא֣וּן אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה וְכׇל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפּוּט֥וּ הֵֽם׃

27Then Moshe bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way to his own land.

vai-y'-sha-LAKH mo-SHEH et-KHO-t'-NO va-YAY-lekh LO el-ar-TZO.

כזוַיְשַׁלַּ֥ח מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶת־חֹתְנ֑וֹ וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ ל֖וֹ אֶל־אַרְצֽוֹ׃