Exodus 33

1Then Hashem said to Moshe, “Set out from here, you and the people that you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, saying, ‘To your offspring will I give it'

vai-da-BAYR a-do-NAI el mo-SHEH LAYKH a-LAY mi-ZEH a-TAH v'-ha-AM a-SHER he-e-LEE-ta may-E-retz mitz-RA-yim el ha-A-retz a-SHER nish-BA-tee l'-av-ra-HAM l'-yitz-KHAK ul-ya-a-KOV lay-MOR l'-zar-a-KHA e-t'-NE-nah

אוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵךְ עֲלֵה מִזֶּה אַתָּה וְהָעָם אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלִיתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לֵאמֹר לְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה׃

 33:1   Set out from here

The Hebrew for ‘set out from here’ is lech, aleh mizeh (לך עלה מזה). The word lech means ‘go’ or ‘set out,’ and the word aleh means ‘ascend.’ It seems that it would have been enough for Hashem to simply tell Moshe lech mizeh, set out from here, and head to “the land of which I swore…’ What is added by the word aleh, ‘ascend’? Rashi finds a beautiful message in this seemingly extraneous word. He quotes the Talmud (Zevachim 54b) which teaches a precious lesson regarding the role of Eretz Yisrael: In a spiritual sense, the Holy Land is “the highest of all places on Earth” which is why the Torah uses an extra word, “to ascend.”

2I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites

בוְשָׁלַחְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ מַלְאָךְ וְגֵרַשְׁתִּי אֶת־הַכְּנַעֲנִי הָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהַפְּרִזִּי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי׃

3a land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go in your midst, since you are a stiffnecked people, lest I destroy you on the way.”

גאֶל־אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ כִּי לֹא אֶעֱלֶה בְּקִרְבְּךָ כִּי עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹרֶף אַתָּה פֶּן־אֲכֶלְךָ בַּדָּרֶךְ׃

4When the people heard this harsh word, they went into mourning, and none put on his finery.

דוַיִּשְׁמַע הָעָם אֶת־הַדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה וַיִּתְאַבָּלוּ וְלֹא־שָׁתוּ אִישׁ עֶדְיוֹ עָלָיו׃

5Hashem said to Moshe, “Say to B'nei Yisrael, ‘You are a stiffnecked people. If I were to go in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now, then, leave off your finery, and I will consider what to do to you.'”

הוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתֶּם עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹרֶף רֶגַע אֶחָד אֶעֱלֶה בְקִרְבְּךָ וְכִלִּיתִיךָ וְעַתָּה הוֹרֵד עֶדְיְךָ מֵעָלֶיךָ וְאֵדְעָה מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה־לָּךְ׃

6So the Israelites remained stripped of the finery from Mount Horeb on.

ווַיִּתְנַצְּלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־עֶדְיָם מֵהַר חוֹרֵב׃

7Now Moshe would take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, at some distance from the camp. It was called the Tent of Meeting, and whoever sought Hashem would go out to the Tent of Meeting that was outside the camp.

זוּמֹשֶׁה יִקַּח אֶת־הָאֹהֶל וְנָטָה־לוֹ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה הַרְחֵק מִן־הַמַּחֲנֶה וְקָרָא לוֹ אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהָיָה כָּל־מְבַקֵּשׁ יְהֹוָה יֵצֵא אֶל־אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד אֲשֶׁר מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה׃

8Whenever Moshe went out to the Tent, all the people would rise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moshe until he had entered the Tent.

חוְהָיָה כְּצֵאת מֹשֶׁה אֶל־הָאֹהֶל יָקוּמוּ כָּל־הָעָם וְנִצְּבוּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ וְהִבִּיטוּ אַחֲרֵי מֹשֶׁה עַד־בֹּאוֹ הָאֹהֱלָה׃

9And when Moshe entered the Tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the Tent, while He spoke with Moshe.

טוְהָיָה כְּבֹא מֹשֶׁה הָאֹהֱלָה יֵרֵד עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן וְעָמַד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְדִבֶּר עִם־מֹשֶׁה׃

10When all the people saw the pillar of cloud poised at the entrance of the Tent, all the people would rise and bow low, each at the entrance of his tent.

יוְרָאָה כָל־הָעָם אֶת־עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן עֹמֵד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְקָם כָּל־הָעָם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ׃

11Hashem would speak to Moshe face to face, as one man speaks to another. And he would then return to the camp; but his attendant, Yehoshua son of Nun, a youth, would not stir out of the Tent.

יאוְדִבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה פָּנִים אֶל־פָּנִים כַּאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ וְשָׁב אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וּמְשָׁרְתוֹ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן נַעַר לֹא יָמִישׁ מִתּוֹךְ הָאֹהֶל׃

12Moshe said to Hashem, “See, You say to me, ‘Lead this people forward,' but You have not made known to me whom You will send with me. Further, You have said, ‘I have singled you out by name, and you have, indeed, gained My favor.'

יבוַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהֹוָה רְאֵה אַתָּה אֹמֵר אֵלַי הַעַל אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה וְאַתָּה לֹא הוֹדַעְתַּנִי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־תִּשְׁלַח עִמִּי וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ יְדַעְתִּיךָ בְשֵׁם וְגַם־מָצָאתָ חֵן בְּעֵינָי׃

13Now, if I have truly gained Your favor, pray let me know Your ways, that I may know You and continue in Your favor. Consider, too, that this nation is Your people.”

יגוְעַתָּה אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ הוֹדִעֵנִי נָא אֶת־דְּרָכֶךָ וְאֵדָעֲךָ לְמַעַן אֶמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וּרְאֵה כִּי עַמְּךָ הַגּוֹי הַזֶּה׃

14And He said, “I will go in the lead and will lighten your burden.”

ידוַיֹּאמַר פָּנַי יֵלֵכוּ וַהֲנִחֹתִי לָךְ׃

15And he said to Him, “Unless You go in the lead, do not make us leave this place.

טווַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אִם־אֵין פָּנֶיךָ הֹלְכִים אַל־תַּעֲלֵנוּ מִזֶּה׃

16For how shall it be known that Your people have gained Your favor unless You go with us, so that we may be distinguished, Your people and I, from every people on the face of the earth?”

טזוּבַמֶּה יִוָּדַע אֵפוֹא כִּי־מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ אֲנִי וְעַמֶּךָ הֲלוֹא בְּלֶכְתְּךָ עִמָּנוּ וְנִפְלֵינוּ אֲנִי וְעַמְּךָ מִכָּל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה׃

17And Hashem said to Moshe, “I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have truly gained My favor and I have singled you out by name.”

יזוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה גַּם אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ אֶעֱשֶׂה כִּי־מָצָאתָ חֵן בְּעֵינַי וָאֵדָעֲךָ בְּשֵׁם׃

18He said, “Oh, let me behold Your Presence!”

יחוַיֹּאמַר הַרְאֵנִי נָא אֶת־כְּבֹדֶךָ׃

19And He answered, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim before you the name Hashem, and the grace that I grant and the compassion that I show.

יטוַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי אַעֲבִיר כָּל־טוּבִי עַל־פָּנֶיךָ וְקָרָאתִי בְשֵׁם יְהֹוָה לְפָנֶיךָ וְחַנֹּתִי אֶת־אֲשֶׁר אָחֹן וְרִחַמְתִּי אֶת־אֲשֶׁר אֲרַחֵם׃

20But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for man may not see Me and live.”

כוַיֹּאמֶר לֹא תוּכַל לִרְאֹת אֶת־פָּנָי כִּי לֹא־יִרְאַנִי הָאָדָם וָחָי׃

21And Hashem said, “See, there is a place near Me. Station yourself on the rock

כאוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי וְנִצַּבְתָּ עַל־הַצּוּר׃

22and, as My Presence passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and shield you with My hand until I have passed by.

כבוְהָיָה בַּעֲבֹר כְּבֹדִי וְשַׂמְתִּיךָ בְּנִקְרַת הַצּוּר וְשַׂכֹּתִי כַפִּי עָלֶיךָ עַד־עָבְרִי׃

23Then I will take My hand away and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.”

כגוַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת־כַּפִּי וְרָאִיתָ אֶת־אֲחֹרָי וּפָנַי לֹא יֵרָאוּ׃