Exodus 23
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1  You must not carry false rumors; you shall not join hands with the guilty to act as a malicious witness:

א  לֹא תִשָּׂא שֵׁמַע שָׁוְא אַל־תָּשֶׁת יָדְךָ עִם־רָשָׁע לִהְיֹת עֵד חָמָס׃

2  You shall neither side with the mighty to do wrong—you shall not give perverse testimony in a dispute so as to pervert it in favor of the mighty

ב  לֹא־תִהְיֶה אַחֲרֵי־רַבִּים לְרָעֹת וְלֹא־תַעֲנֶה עַל־רִב לִנְטֹת אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים לְהַטֹּת׃

3  nor shall you show deference to a poor man in his dispute.

ג  וְדָל לֹא תֶהְדַּר בְּרִיבוֹ׃

4  When you encounter your enemy’s ox or ass wandering, you must take it back to him.

ד  כִּי תִפְגַּע שׁוֹר אֹיִבְךָ אוֹ חֲמֹרוֹ תֹּעֶה הָשֵׁב תְּשִׁיבֶנּוּ לוֹ׃

5  When you see the ass of your enemy lying under its burden and would refrain from raising it, you must nevertheless raise it with him.

ה  כִּי־תִרְאֶה חֲמוֹר שֹׂנַאֲךָ רֹבֵץ תַּחַת מַשָּׂאוֹ וְחָדַלְתָּ מֵעֲזֹב לוֹ עָזֹב תַּעֲזֹב עִמּוֹ׃

6  You shall not subvert the rights of your needy in their disputes.

ו  לֹא תַטֶּה מִשְׁפַּט אֶבְיֹנְךָ בְּרִיבוֹ׃

7  Keep far from a false charge; do not bring death on those who are innocent and in the right, for I will not acquit the wrongdoer.

ז  מִדְּבַר־שֶׁקֶר תִּרְחָק וְנָקִי וְצַדִּיק אַל־תַּהֲרֹג כִּי לֹא־אַצְדִּיק רָשָׁע׃

8  Do not take bribes, for bribes blind the clear-sighted and upset the pleas of those who are in the right.

ח  וְשֹׁחַד לֹא תִקָּח כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר פִּקְחִים וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִים׃

9  You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.

ט  וְגֵר לֹא תִלְחָץ וְאַתֶּם יְדַעְתֶּם אֶת־נֶפֶשׁ הַגֵּר כִּי־גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

10  Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield;

י  וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע אֶת־אַרְצֶךָ וְאָסַפְתָּ אֶת־תְּבוּאָתָהּ׃

11  but in the seventh you shall let it rest and lie fallow. Let the needy among your people eat of it, and what they leave let the wild beasts eat. You shall do the same with your vineyards and your olive groves.

v’-ha-sh’-vee-IT tish-m’-TE-nah un-tash-TAH v’-a-kh’-LU ev-yo-NAY a-ME-kha v’-yit-RAM to-KHAL kha-YAT ha-sa-DEH kayn ta-a-SEH l’-khar-m’-KHA l’-zay-TE-kha

יא  וְהַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּשְׁמְטֶנָּה וּנְטַשְׁתָּהּ וְאָכְלוּ אֶבְיֹנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְיִתְרָם תֹּאכַל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן־תַּעֲשֶׂה לְכַרְמְךָ לְזֵיתֶךָ׃

 23:11   In the seventh you shall let it rest and lie fallow

Every seventh year, all farms, fields, orchards and vineyards in Eretz Yisrael are left untended and unharvested. To this very day, the Sabbatical year is kept in Israel. The message of this unique commandment is similar to that of Shabbat. Just as we are commanded to keep Shabbat and cease our daily activities every seventh day, we are similarly to rest from working the fields every seventh year. Just as Shabbat reminds us that Hashem created the world (Exodus 20:10) and everything in it belongs to Him, the Sabbatical year reminds us that our economic success and all that we produce is in the hands of our Creator.1 comment

12  Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor, in order that your ox and your ass may rest, and that your bondman and the stranger may be refreshed.

יב  שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂיךָ וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי תִּשְׁבֹּת לְמַעַן יָנוּחַ שׁוֹרְךָ וַחֲמֹרֶךָ וְיִנָּפֵשׁ בֶּן־אֲמָתְךָ וְהַגֵּר׃

13  Be on guard concerning all that I have told you. Make no mention of the names of other gods; they shall not be heard on your lips.

יג  וּבְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־אָמַרְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם תִּשָּׁמֵרוּ וְשֵׁם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים לֹא תַזְכִּירוּ לֹא יִשָּׁמַע עַל־פִּיךָ׃

14  Three times a year you shall hold a festival for Me:

יד  שָׁלֹשׁ רְגָלִים תָּחֹג לִי בַּשָּׁנָה׃

15  You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread—eating unleavened bread for seven days as I have commanded you—at the set time in the month of Abib, for in it you went forth from Egypt; and none shall appear before Me empty-handed;

טו  אֶת־חַג הַמַּצּוֹת תִּשְׁמֹר שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצּוֹת כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִךָ לְמוֹעֵד חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב כִּי־בוֹ יָצָאתָ מִמִּצְרָיִם וְלֹא־יֵרָאוּ פָנַי רֵיקָם׃

16  and the Feast of the Harvest, of the first fruits of your work, of what you sow in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in the results of your work from the field.

טז  וְחַג הַקָּצִיר בִּכּוּרֵי מַעֲשֶׂיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּזְרַע בַּשָּׂדֶה וְחַג הָאָסִף בְּצֵאת הַשָּׁנָה בְּאָסְפְּךָ אֶת־מַעֲשֶׂיךָ מִן־הַשָּׂדֶה׃

17  Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Sovereign, Hashem.

יז  שָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים בַּשָּׁנָה יֵרָאֶה כָּל־זְכוּרְךָ אֶל־פְּנֵי הָאָדֹן יְהֹוָה׃

18  You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with anything leavened; and the fat of My festal offering shall not be left lying until morning.

יח  לֹא־תִזְבַּח עַל־חָמֵץ דַּם־זִבְחִי וְלֹא־יָלִין חֵלֶב־חַגִּי עַד־בֹּקֶר׃

19  The choice first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of Hashem your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

יט  רֵאשִׁית בִּכּוּרֵי אַדְמָתְךָ תָּבִיא בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא־תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ׃

20  I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have made ready.

hi-NAY a-no-KHEE sho-LAY-akh mal-AKH l’-fa-NE-kha lish-mor-KHA ba-DA-rekh v’-la-ha-VEE-a-KHA el ha-ma-KOM a-SHER ha-khi-NO-tee

כ  הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי שֹׁלֵחַ מַלְאָךְ לְפָנֶיךָ לִשְׁמָרְךָ בַּדָּרֶךְ וְלַהֲבִיאֲךָ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר הֲכִנֹתִי׃

21  Pay heed to him and obey him. Do not defy him, for he will not pardon your offenses, since My Name is in him;

כא  הִשָּׁמֶר מִפָּנָיו וּשְׁמַע בְּקֹלוֹ אַל־תַּמֵּר בּוֹ כִּי לֹא יִשָּׂא לְפִשְׁעֲכֶם כִּי שְׁמִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ׃

22  but if you obey him and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.

כב  כִּי אִם־שָׁמֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקֹלוֹ וְעָשִׂיתָ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר אֲדַבֵּר וְאָיַבְתִּי אֶת־אֹיְבֶיךָ וְצַרְתִּי אֶת־צֹרְרֶיךָ׃

23  When My angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I annihilate them,

כג  כִּי־יֵלֵךְ מַלְאָכִי לְפָנֶיךָ וֶהֱבִיאֲךָ אֶל־הָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי וְהִכְחַדְתִּיו׃

24  you shall not bow down to their gods in worship or follow their practices, but shall tear them down and smash their pillars to bits.

כד  לֹא־תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם וְלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה כְּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם כִּי הָרֵס תְּהָרְסֵם וְשַׁבֵּר תְּשַׁבֵּר מַצֵּבֹתֵיהֶם׃

25  You shall serve Hashem your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will remove sickness from your midst.

כה  וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּבֵרַךְ אֶת־לַחְמְךָ וְאֶת־מֵימֶיךָ וַהֲסִרֹתִי מַחֲלָה מִקִּרְבֶּךָ׃

26  No woman in your land shall miscarry or be barren. I will let you enjoy the full count of your days.

כו  לֹא תִהְיֶה מְשַׁכֵּלָה וַעֲקָרָה בְּאַרְצֶךָ אֶת־מִסְפַּר יָמֶיךָ אֲמַלֵּא׃

27  I will send forth My terror before you, and I will throw into panic all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn tail before you.

כז  אֶת־אֵימָתִי אֲשַׁלַּח לְפָנֶיךָ וְהַמֹּתִי אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר תָּבֹא בָּהֶם וְנָתַתִּי אֶת־כָּל־אֹיְבֶיךָ אֵלֶיךָ עֹרֶף׃

28  I will send a plague ahead of you, and it shall drive out before you the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites.

כח  וְשָׁלַחְתִּי אֶת־הַצִּרְעָה לְפָנֶיךָ וְגֵרְשָׁה אֶת־הַחִוִּי אֶת־הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְאֶת־הַחִתִּי מִלְּפָנֶיךָ׃

29  I will not drive them out before you in a single year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply to your hurt.

כט  לֹא אֲגָרְשֶׁנּוּ מִפָּנֶיךָ בְּשָׁנָה אֶחָת פֶּן־תִּהְיֶה הָאָרֶץ שְׁמָמָה וְרַבָּה עָלֶיךָ חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה׃

30  I will drive them out before you little by little, until you have increased and possess the land.

m’-AT m’-AT a-ga-r’-SHE-nu mi-pa-NE-kha AD a-SHER tif-REH v’-na-khal-TA et ha-A-retz

ל  מְעַט מְעַט אֲגָרְשֶׁנּוּ מִפָּנֶיךָ עַד אֲשֶׁר תִּפְרֶה וְנָחַלְתָּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ׃

 23:30   until you have increased and possess the land

In these verses, Hashem describes a precise plan to inherit the Land of Israel through a gradual process. Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra, a well-known medieval commentator, poet and philosopher, explains that although God could have destroyed the inhabitants of Canaan instantaneously, He gave the Jewish people time to increase and take over the land in an incremental, natural way. We are privileged to live in an era in which we can see this verse being fulfilled before our eyes. The once desolate land has warmly embraced the gradual return of the Jewish people and has become a source of spiritual blessing and economic success. Israel is known around the world for its scientific, medical, economic, technological and agricultural research and innovation.1 comment

31  I will set your borders from the Sea of Reeds to the Sea of Philistia, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you will drive them out before you.

לא  וְשַׁתִּי אֶת־גְּבֻלְךָ מִיַּם־סוּף וְעַד־יָם פְּלִשְׁתִּים וּמִמִּדְבָּר עַד־הַנָּהָר כִּי אֶתֵּן בְּיֶדְכֶם אֵת יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ וְגֵרַשְׁתָּמוֹ מִפָּנֶיךָ׃

32  You shall make no covenant with them and their gods.

לב  לֹא־תִכְרֹת לָהֶם וְלֵאלֹהֵיהֶם בְּרִית׃

33  They shall not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me; for you will serve their gods—and it will prove a snare to you.

לג  לֹא יֵשְׁבוּ בְּאַרְצְךָ פֶּן־יַחֲטִיאוּ אֹתְךָ לִי כִּי תַעֲבֹד אֶת־אֱלֹהֵיהֶם כִּי־יִהְיֶה לְךָ לְמוֹקֵשׁ׃

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Exodus 23

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