TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
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Exodus 9

1Hashem said to Moshe, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says Hashem, the God of the Hebrews: Let My people go to worship Me.

va-YO-mer a-do-NAI el mo-SHEH BO el par-OH v'-di-bar-TA ay-LAV koh a-MAR a-do-NAI e-lo-HAY ha-iv-REEM sha-LAKH et a-MEE v'-ya-av-DU-nee

אוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בֹּא אֶל־פַּרְעֹה וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֵלָיו כֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הָעִבְרִים שַׁלַּח אֶת־עַמִּי וְיַעַבְדֻנִי׃

 9:1 Let My people go

Unfortunately, the bondage of Jews was not limited to the period of slavery in Egypt. There have been many other such incidents in history, even in the 20th and 21st centuries. Golda Meir (1898 –1978), while serving as Israel’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union, worked tirelessly to facilitate the immigration to Israel of Jews trapped behind the “Iron Curtain.” Upon her arrival, some 50,000 Jews greeted Golda for the Shabbat, despite fear of the Soviet regime. She was astonished. “I prayed together with them, Oh, how I prayed. I was caught up in a torrent of love so strong it literally took my breath away!” The 10,000 old Israeli Shekel banknote, followed by the first 10 New Israeli Shekel banknote, honored Golda Meir with her image on one side and on the other, an illustration of the mass of Russian Jews and the expression, taken from this verse, “Let My people go.”

10,000 old Israeli shekel banknote featuring Golda Meir

Prime Minister Golda Meir (1898-1978)

2For if you refuse to let them go, and continue to hold them,

בכִּי אִם־מָאֵן אַתָּה לְשַׁלֵּחַ וְעוֹדְךָ מַחֲזִיק בָּם׃

3then the hand of Hashem will strike your livestock in the fields—the horses, the asses, the camels, the cattle, and the sheep—with a very severe pestilence.

גהִנֵּה יַד־יְהֹוָה הוֹיָה בְּמִקְנְךָ אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה בַּסּוּסִים בַּחֲמֹרִים בַּגְּמַלִּים בַּבָּקָר וּבַצֹּאן דֶּבֶר כָּבֵד מְאֹד׃

4But Hashem will make a distinction between the livestock of Yisrael and the livestock of the Egyptians, so that nothing shall die of all that belongs to the Israelites.

דוְהִפְלָה יְהֹוָה בֵּין מִקְנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבֵין מִקְנֵה מִצְרָיִם וְלֹא יָמוּת מִכָּל־לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל דָּבָר׃

5Hashem has fixed the time: tomorrow Hashem will do this thing in the land.'”

הוַיָּשֶׂם יְהֹוָה מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר מָחָר יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה בָּאָרֶץ׃

6And Hashem did so the next day: all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the livestock of the Israelites not a beast died.

ווַיַּעַשׂ יְהֹוָה אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה מִמָּחֳרָת וַיָּמָת כֹּל מִקְנֵה מִצְרָיִם וּמִמִּקְנֵה בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא־מֵת אֶחָד׃

7When Pharaoh inquired, he found that not a head of the livestock of Yisrael had died; yet Pharaoh remained stubborn, and he would not let the people go.

זוַיִּשְׁלַח פַּרְעֹה וְהִנֵּה לֹא־מֵת מִמִּקְנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד־אֶחָד וַיִּכְבַּד לֵב פַּרְעֹה וְלֹא שִׁלַּח אֶת־הָעָם׃

8Then Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon, “Each of you take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moshe throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.

חוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן קְחוּ לָכֶם מְלֹא חָפְנֵיכֶם פִּיחַ כִּבְשָׁן וּזְרָקוֹ מֹשֶׁה הַשָּׁמַיְמָה לְעֵינֵי פַרְעֹה׃

9It shall become a fine dust all over the land of Egypt, and cause an inflammation breaking out in boils on man and beast throughout the land of Egypt.”

טוְהָיָה לְאָבָק עַל כָּל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם וְהָיָה עַל־הָאָדָם וְעַל־הַבְּהֵמָה לִשְׁחִין פֹּרֵחַ אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

10So they took soot of the kiln and appeared before Pharaoh; Moshe threw it toward the sky, and it caused an inflammation breaking out in boils on man and beast.

יוַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־פִּיחַ הַכִּבְשָׁן וַיַּעַמְדוּ לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וַיִּזְרֹק אֹתוֹ מֹשֶׁה הַשָּׁמָיְמָה וַיְהִי שְׁחִין אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת פֹּרֵחַ בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה׃

11The magicians were unable to confront Moshe because of the inflammation, for the inflammation afflicted the magicians as well as all the other Egyptians.

יאוְלֹא־יָכְלוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה מִפְּנֵי הַשְּׁחִין כִּי־הָיָה הַשְּׁחִין בַּחֲרְטֻמִּם וּבְכָל־מִצְרָיִם׃

12But Hashem stiffened the heart of Pharaoh, and he would not heed them, just as Hashem had told Moshe.

יבוַיְחַזֵּק יְהֹוָה אֶת־לֵב פַּרְעֹה וְלֹא שָׁמַע אֲלֵהֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה׃

13Hashem said to Moshe, “Early in the morning present yourself to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says Hashem, the God of the Hebrews: Let My people go to worship Me.

יגוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה הַשְׁכֵּם בַּבֹּקֶר וְהִתְיַצֵּב לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו כֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הָעִבְרִים שַׁלַּח אֶת־עַמִּי וְיַעַבְדֻנִי׃

14For this time I will send all My plagues upon your person, and your courtiers, and your people, in order that you may know that there is none like Me in all the world.

ידכִּי בַּפַּעַם הַזֹּאת אֲנִי שֹׁלֵחַ אֶת־כָּל־מַגֵּפֹתַי אֶל־לִבְּךָ וּבַעֲבָדֶיךָ וּבְעַמֶּךָ בַּעֲבוּר תֵּדַע כִּי אֵין כָּמֹנִי בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ׃

15I could have stretched forth My hand and stricken you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been effaced from the earth.

טוכִּי עַתָּה שָׁלַחְתִּי אֶת־יָדִי וָאַךְ אוֹתְךָ וְאֶת־עַמְּךָ בַּדָּבֶר וַתִּכָּחֵד מִן־הָאָרֶץ׃

16Nevertheless I have spared you for this purpose: in order to show you My power, and in order that My fame may resound throughout the world.

טזוְאוּלָם בַּעֲבוּר זֹאת הֶעֱמַדְתִּיךָ בַּעֲבוּר הַרְאֹתְךָ אֶת־כֹּחִי וּלְמַעַן סַפֵּר שְׁמִי בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ׃

17Yet you continue to thwart My people, and do not let them go!

יזעוֹדְךָ מִסְתּוֹלֵל בְּעַמִּי לְבִלְתִּי שַׁלְּחָם׃

18This time tomorrow I will rain down a very heavy hail, such as has not been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.

יחהִנְנִי מַמְטִיר כָּעֵת מָחָר בָּרָד כָּבֵד מְאֹד אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הָיָה כָמֹהוּ בְּמִצְרַיִם לְמִן־הַיּוֹם הִוָּסְדָה וְעַד־עָתָּה׃

19Therefore, order your livestock and everything you have in the open brought under shelter; every man and beast that is found outside, not having been brought indoors, shall perish when the hail comes down upon them!'”

יטוְעַתָּה שְׁלַח הָעֵז אֶת־מִקְנְךָ וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר לְךָ בַּשָּׂדֶה כָּל־הָאָדָם וְהַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר־יִמָּצֵא בַשָּׂדֶה וְלֹא יֵאָסֵף הַבַּיְתָה וְיָרַד עֲלֵהֶם הַבָּרָד וָמֵתוּ׃

20Those among Pharaoh's courtiers who feared Hashem's word brought their slaves and livestock indoors to safety;

כהַיָּרֵא אֶת־דְּבַר יְהֹוָה מֵעַבְדֵי פַּרְעֹה הֵנִיס אֶת־עֲבָדָיו וְאֶת־מִקְנֵהוּ אֶל־הַבָּתִּים׃

21but those who paid no regard to the word of Hashem left their slaves and livestock in the open.

כאוַאֲשֶׁר לֹא־שָׂם לִבּוֹ אֶל־דְּבַר יְהֹוָה וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת־עֲבָדָיו וְאֶת־מִקְנֵהוּ בַּשָּׂדֶה׃

22Hashem said to Moshe, “Hold out your arm toward the sky that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, upon man and beast and all the grasses of the field in the land of Egypt.”

כבוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה נְטֵה אֶת־יָדְךָ עַל־הַשָּׁמַיִם וִיהִי בָרָד בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם עַל־הָאָדָם וְעַל־הַבְּהֵמָה וְעַל כָּל־עֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

23So Moshe held out his rod toward the sky, and Hashem sent thunder and hail, and fire streamed down to the ground, as Hashem rained down hail upon the land of Egypt.

כגוַיֵּט מֹשֶׁה אֶת־מַטֵּהוּ עַל־הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיהֹוָה נָתַן קֹלֹת וּבָרָד וַתִּהֲלַךְ אֵשׁ אָרְצָה וַיַּמְטֵר יְהֹוָה בָּרָד עַל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

24The hail was very heavy—fire flashing in the midst of the hail—such as had not fallen on the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.

vai-HEE va-RAD v'-AYSH mit-la-KA-khat b'-TOKH ha-ba-RAD ka-VAYD m'-OD a-SHER lo ha-YAH kha-MO-hu b'-khol E-retz mitz-RA-yim may-AZ ha-y'-TAH l'-GOY

כדוַיְהִי בָרָד וְאֵשׁ מִתְלַקַּחַת בְּתוֹךְ הַבָּרָד כָּבֵד מְאֹד אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הָיָה כָמֹהוּ בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מֵאָז הָיְתָה לְגוֹי׃

 9:24   The hail was very heavy

Lightening strikes during a storm in Israel’s Negev region.

The hail contains both fire and ice coming down together to smite the Egyptians. Miraculously, the fire does not melt the ice and the ice does not extinguish the fire. The two ordinarily opposing forces work together harmoniously for the purpose of fulfilling God’s will. Similarly, Rashi comments (Genesis 1:8) that the Hebrew word for ‘heaven,’ shamayim (שמים), comes from the Hebrew words aish (אש), ‘fire,’ and mayim (מים), ‘water,’ as the two came together in harmony to make up the heavens. This overruling of the laws of nature serves as a powerful lesson and is referenced in the daily Jewish prayer service. The following supplication appears multiple times in the liturgy: “He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace upon us and upon all Israel.” With this request, humankind is reminded that the common goal of serving Hashem should override all differences between people and unite us in peace.

25Throughout the land of Egypt the hail struck down all that were in the open, both man and beast; the hail also struck down all the grasses of the field and shattered all the trees of the field.

כהוַיַּךְ הַבָּרָד בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה מֵאָדָם וְעַד־בְּהֵמָה וְאֵת כָּל־עֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה הִכָּה הַבָּרָד וְאֶת־כָּל־עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה שִׁבֵּר׃

26Only in the region of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail.

כורַק בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן אֲשֶׁר־שָׁם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא הָיָה בָּרָד׃

27Thereupon Pharaoh sent for Moshe and Aharon and said to them, “I stand guilty this time. Hashem is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.

כזוַיִּשְׁלַח פַּרְעֹה וַיִּקְרָא לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְאַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם חָטָאתִי הַפָּעַם יְהֹוָה הַצַּדִּיק וַאֲנִי וְעַמִּי הָרְשָׁעִים׃

28Plead with Hashem that there may be an end of Hashem's thunder and of hail. I will let you go; you need stay no longer.”

כחהַעְתִּירוּ אֶל־יְהֹוָה וְרַב מִהְיֹת קֹלֹת אֱלֹהִים וּבָרָד וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה אֶתְכֶם וְלֹא תֹסִפוּן לַעֲמֹד׃

29Moshe said to him, “As I go out of the city, I shall spread out my hands to Hashem; the thunder will cease and the hail will fall no more, so that you may know that the earth is Hashem's.

כטוַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מֹשֶׁה כְּצֵאתִי אֶת־הָעִיר אֶפְרֹשׂ אֶת־כַּפַּי אֶל־יְהֹוָה הַקֹּלוֹת יֶחְדָּלוּן וְהַבָּרָד לֹא יִהְיֶה־עוֹד לְמַעַן תֵּדַע כִּי לַיהֹוָה הָאָרֶץ׃

30But I know that you and your courtiers do not yet fear Hashem.”

לוְאַתָּה וַעֲבָדֶיךָ יָדַעְתִּי כִּי טֶרֶם תִּירְאוּן מִפְּנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים׃

31Now the flax and barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud;

לאוְהַפִּשְׁתָּה וְהַשְּׂעֹרָה נֻכָּתָה כִּי הַשְּׂעֹרָה אָבִיב וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה גִּבְעֹל׃

32but the wheat and the emmer were not hurt, for they ripen late.

לבוְהַחִטָּה וְהַכֻּסֶּמֶת לֹא נֻכּוּ כִּי אֲפִילֹת הֵנָּה׃

33Leaving Pharaoh, Moshe went outside the city and spread out his hands to Hashem: the thunder and the hail ceased, and no rain came pouring down upon the earth.

לגוַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה מֵעִם פַּרְעֹה אֶת־הָעִיר וַיִּפְרֹשׂ כַּפָּיו אֶל־יְהֹוָה וַיַּחְדְּלוּ הַקֹּלוֹת וְהַבָּרָד וּמָטָר לֹא־נִתַּךְ אָרְצָה׃

34But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he became stubborn and reverted to his guilty ways, as did his courtiers.

לדוַיַּרְא פַּרְעֹה כִּי־חָדַל הַמָּטָר וְהַבָּרָד וְהַקֹּלֹת וַיֹּסֶף לַחֲטֹא וַיַּכְבֵּד לִבּוֹ הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו׃

35So Pharaoh's heart stiffened and he would not let the Israelites go, just as Hashem had foretold through Moshe.

להוַיֶּחֱזַק לֵב פַּרְעֹה וְלֹא שִׁלַּח אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁה׃