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Chapter 4

Translation and Transliteration of 

1The Israelites again did what was offensive to HashemEhud now being dead.

va-yo-SI-fu b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL la-a-SOT ha-RA b'-ay-NAY a-do-NAI v'-ay-HUD MAYT

אוַיֹּסִ֙פוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה וְאֵה֖וּד מֵֽת׃

2And Hashem surrendered them to King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. His army commander was Sisera, whose base was Harosheth-goiim.

va-yim-k'-RAYM a-do-NAI b'-YAD ya-VEEN me-lekh k'-NA-an a-SHER ma-LAKH b'-kha-TZOR v'-sar tz'-va-O see-s'-RA v'-HU yo-SHAYV ba-kha-RO-shet ha-go-YIM

בוַיִּמְכְּרֵ֣ם יְהֹוָ֗ה בְּיַד֙ יָבִ֣ין מֶלֶךְ־כְּנַ֔עַן אֲשֶׁ֥ר מָלַ֖ךְ בְּחָצ֑וֹר וְשַׂר־צְבָאוֹ֙ סִֽיסְרָ֔א וְה֥וּא יוֹשֵׁ֖ב בַּחֲרֹ֥שֶׁת הַגּוֹיִֽם׃

3The Israelites cried out to Hashem; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he had oppressed Yisrael ruthlessly for twenty years.

va-yitz-a-KU v'-NAY yis-ra-AYL el a-do-NAI KEE t'-SHA may-OT re-khev bar-ZEL LO v'-HU la-KHATZ et b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL b'-khoz-KAH es-REEM sha-NAH

גוַיִּצְעֲק֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶל־יְהֹוָ֑ה כִּ֠י תְּשַׁ֨ע מֵא֤וֹת רֶֽכֶב־בַּרְזֶל֙ ל֔וֹ וְ֠ה֠וּא לָחַ֞ץ אֶת־בְּנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל בְּחׇזְקָ֖ה עֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָֽה׃

4Devora, wife of Lappidoth, was a Neviah; she led Yisrael at that time.

ud-vo-RAH i-SHAH n'-vee-AH AY-shet la-pee-DOT HEE sho-f'-TAH et yis-ra-AYL ba-AYT ha-HEE

דוּדְבוֹרָה֙ אִשָּׁ֣ה נְבִיאָ֔ה אֵ֖שֶׁת לַפִּיד֑וֹת הִ֛יא שֹׁפְטָ֥ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִֽיא׃

 Judges 4:4 Now Devora, a prophetess

Dona Gracia commemorative postage stamp

Throughout Jewish history, many women have followed the example of Devora, described in this verse as both a prophetess and a judge, by taking positions of leadership on behalf of their people. One example dates to the early Renaissance period, when another Jewish woman emerged as a great leader of her people.  At the time, the Jews of Spain faced the horrific persecutions of the Inquisition. But despite the strict prohibitions against practicing Judaism, many of the forced converts known as Anussim or “Crypto-Jews” continued to observe their religion in secret. Dona Gracia (1510–1569) discovered her Jewish identity only after she was married, but from that moment on, she was determined to bring respite to her people. As one of the wealthiest women in Europe, she was able to create an escape network for many of the Anussim, and eventually used her position of power to negotiate with Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent for a long term lease on the Tiberias region of the Land of Israel, of which she became the ruling authority. She began to rebuild the Galilee’s abandoned towns for other Anussim to settle in, and aimed to turn Tiberias into a major center of Jewish settlement, trade and learning. Today, visitors to the contemporary city of Teveria (Tiberias) can visit the Dona Gracia museum to learn about this fascinating woman who pursued one of the earliest attempts to create a Zionist movement.

5She used to sit under the Palm of Devora, between Rama and Beit El in the hill country of Efraim, and the Israelites would come to her for decisions.

v'-HEE yo-SHE-vet ta-khat TO-mer d'-vo-RAH BAYN ha-ra-MAH u-VAYN bayt AYL b'-HAR ef-RA-yim va-ya-a-LU ay-LE-ha b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL la-mish-PAT

הוְ֠הִ֠יא יוֹשֶׁ֨בֶת תַּחַת־תֹּ֜מֶר דְּבוֹרָ֗ה בֵּ֧ין הָרָמָ֛ה וּבֵ֥ין בֵּֽית־אֵ֖ל בְּהַ֣ר אֶפְרָ֑יִם וַיַּעֲל֥וּ אֵלֶ֛יהָ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לַמִּשְׁפָּֽט׃

6She summoned Barak son of Abinoam, of Kedesh in Naftali, and said to him, “Hashem, the God of Yisrael, has commanded: Go, march up to Mount Tavor, and take with you ten thousand men of Naftali and Zevulun.

va-tish-LAKH va-tik-RA l'-va-RAK ben a-vee-NO-am mi-KE-desh naf-ta-LEE va-TO-mer ay-LAV ha-lo tzi-VAH a-do-NAI e-lo-hay yis-ra-AYL LAYKH u-ma-shakh-TA b'-HAR ta-VOR v'-la-kakh-TA i-m'-KHA a-SE-ret a-la-FEEM EESH mi-b'-NAY naf-ta-LEE u-mi-b'-NAY z'-vu-LUN

ווַתִּשְׁלַ֗ח וַתִּקְרָא֙ לְבָרָ֣ק בֶּן־אֲבִינֹ֔עַם מִקֶּ֖דֶשׁ נַפְתָּלִ֑י וַתֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו הֲלֹ֥א צִוָּ֣ה ׀ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לֵ֤ךְ וּמָֽשַׁכְתָּ֙ בְּהַ֣ר תָּב֔וֹר וְלָקַחְתָּ֣ עִמְּךָ֗ עֲשֶׂ֤רֶת אֲלָפִים֙ אִ֔ישׁ מִבְּנֵ֥י נַפְתָּלִ֖י וּמִבְּנֵ֥י זְבֻלֽוּן׃

 4:6   Go, march up to Mount Tavor, and take with you ten thousand men

Mount Tavor in Northern Israel

The prophetess and judge Devora instructs Barak in God’s name that he is to “march up to Mount Tavor” and take ten thousand soldiers with him, to prepare to fight the enemy Sisera. Metzudat David points out that taking the soldiers does not mean he was to simply draft them into service. Rather, it means to “draw at their hearts,” so that they would overcome their natural fear of Sisera and fight courageously. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner notes that this teaches us an important lesson, which remains relevant to this day: the importance of paying attention to the emotional state of the soldiers of Israel. He writes, “The secret weapon of the Israeli Defense Forces is their morale, strength and courage.”

7And I will draw Sisera, Jabin's army commander, with his chariots and his troops, toward you up to the Wadi Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hands.”

u-ma-shakh-TEE ay-LE-kha el NA-khal kee-SHON et see-s'-RA sar tz'-VA ya-VEEN v'-et rikh-BO v'-et ha-mo-NO un-ta-TEE-hu b'-ya-DE-kha

זוּמָשַׁכְתִּ֨י אֵלֶ֜יךָ אֶל־נַ֣חַל קִישׁ֗וֹן אֶת־סִֽיסְרָא֙ שַׂר־צְבָ֣א יָבִ֔ין וְאֶת־רִכְבּ֖וֹ וְאֶת־הֲמוֹנ֑וֹ וּנְתַתִּ֖יהוּ בְּיָדֶֽךָ׃

8But Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go; if not, I will not go.”

va-YO-mer ay-LE-ha ba-RAK im tay-l'-KHEE i-MEE v'-ha-lakh-TEE v'-im LO tay-l'-KHEE i-MEE LO ay-LAYKH

חוַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ בָּרָ֔ק אִם־תֵּלְכִ֥י עִמִּ֖י וְהָלָ֑כְתִּי וְאִם־לֹ֥א תֵֽלְכִ֛י עִמִּ֖י לֹ֥א אֵלֵֽךְ׃

9“Very well, I will go with you,” she answered. “However, there will be no glory for you in the course you are taking, for then Hashem will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Devora went with Barak to Kedesh.

va-TO-mer ha-LOKH ay-LAYKH i-MAKH E-fes KEE LO tih-YEH tif-ar-t'-KHA al ha-DE-rekh a-SHER a-TAH ho-LAYKH KEE v'-YAD i-SHAH yim-KOR a-do-NAI et sees-RA va-TA-kom d'-vo-RAH va-TAY-lekh im ba-RAK KED-shah

טוַתֹּ֜אמֶר הָלֹ֧ךְ אֵלֵ֣ךְ עִמָּ֗ךְ אֶ֚פֶס כִּי֩ לֹ֨א תִֽהְיֶ֜ה תִּֽפְאַרְתְּךָ֗ עַל־הַדֶּ֙רֶךְ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַתָּ֣ה הוֹלֵ֔ךְ כִּ֣י בְֽיַד־אִשָּׁ֔ה יִמְכֹּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־סִֽיסְרָ֑א וַתָּ֧קׇם דְּבוֹרָ֛ה וַתֵּ֥לֶךְ עִם־בָּרָ֖ק קֶֽדְשָׁה׃

10Barak then mustered Zevulun and Naftali at Kedesh; ten thousand men marched up after him; and Devora also went up with him.

va-yaz-AYK ba-RAK et z'-vu-LUN v'-et naf-ta-LEE KED-shah va-YA-al b'-rag-LAV a-SE-ret al-FAY EESH va-TA-al i-MO d'-vo-RAH

יוַיַּזְעֵ֨ק בָּרָ֜ק אֶת־זְבוּלֻ֤ן וְאֶת־נַפְתָּלִי֙ קֶ֔דְשָׁה וַיַּ֣עַל בְּרַגְלָ֔יו עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת אַלְפֵ֖י אִ֑ישׁ וַתַּ֥עַל עִמּ֖וֹ דְּבוֹרָֽה׃

11Now Chever the Kenite had separated from the other Kenites, descendants of Hobab, father-in-law of Moshe, and had pitched his tent at Elon-bezaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

v'-KHE-ver ha-kay-NEE nif-RAD mi-KA-yin mi-b'-NAY kho-VAV kho-TAYN mo-SHEH va-YAYT ad ay-LON b'-tza-a-na-NEEM a-SHER et KE-desh

יאוְחֶ֤בֶר הַקֵּינִי֙ נִפְרָ֣ד מִקַּ֔יִן מִבְּנֵ֥י חֹבָ֖ב חֹתֵ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֵּ֣ט אׇֽהֳל֔וֹ עַד־אֵיל֥וֹן (בצענים) [בְּצַעֲנַנִּ֖ים] אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶת־קֶֽדֶשׁ׃

12Sisera was informed that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tavor.

va-ya-GI-du l'-sees-RA KEE a-LAH ba-RAK ben a-vee-NO-am har ta-VOR

יבוַיַּגִּ֖דוּ לְסִֽיסְרָ֑א כִּ֥י עָלָ֛ה בָּרָ֥ק בֶּן־אֲבִינֹ֖עַם הַר־תָּבֽוֹר׃

13So Sisera ordered all his chariots—nine hundred iron chariots—and all the troops he had to move from Harosheth-goiim to the Wadi Kishon.

va-yaz-AYK sees-RA et kol rikh-BO t'-SHA may-OT RE-khev bar-ZEL v'-et kol ha-AM a-SHER i-TO may-kha-RO-shet ha-go-YIM el NA-khal kee-SHON

יגוַיַּזְעֵ֨ק סִֽיסְרָ֜א אֶת־כׇּל־רִכְבּ֗וֹ תְּשַׁ֤ע מֵאוֹת֙ רֶ֣כֶב בַּרְזֶ֔ל וְאֶת־כׇּל־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתּ֑וֹ מֵחֲרֹ֥שֶׁת הַגּוֹיִ֖ם אֶל־נַ֥חַל קִישֽׁוֹן׃

14Then Devora said to Barak, “Up! This is the day on which Hashem will deliver Sisera into your hands: Hashem is marching before you.” Barak charged down Mount Tavor, followed by the ten thousand men,

va-TO-mer d'-vo-RAH el ba-RAK KUM KEE ZEH ha-YOM a-SHER na-TAN a-do-NAI et sees-RA b'-ya-DE-kha ha-LO a-do-NAI ya-TZA l'-fa-NE-kha va-YAY-red ba-RAK may-HAR ta-VOR va-a-SE-ret a-la-FEEM EESH a-kha-RAV

ידוַתֹּ֩אמֶר֩ דְּבֹרָ֨ה אֶל־בָּרָ֜ק ק֗וּם כִּ֣י זֶ֤ה הַיּוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁר֩ נָתַ֨ן יְהֹוָ֤ה אֶת־סִֽיסְרָא֙ בְּיָדֶ֔ךָ הֲלֹ֥א יְהֹוָ֖ה יָצָ֣א לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וַיֵּ֤רֶד בָּרָק֙ מֵהַ֣ר תָּב֔וֹר וַעֲשֶׂ֧רֶת אֲלָפִ֛ים אִ֖ישׁ אַחֲרָֽיו׃

15and Hashem threw Sisera and all his chariots and army into a panic before the onslaught of Barak. Sisera leaped from his chariot and fled on foot

va-YA-hom a-do-NAI et sees-RA v'-et kol ha-RE-khev v'-et kol ha-ma-kha-NEH l'-fee KHE-rev lif-NAY va-RAK va-YAY-red sees-RA may-AL ha-mer-ka-VAH va-YA-nos b'-rag-LAV

טווַיָּ֣הׇם יְ֠הֹוָ֠ה אֶת־סִֽיסְרָ֨א וְאֶת־כׇּל־הָרֶ֧כֶב וְאֶת־כׇּל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֛ה לְפִי־חֶ֖רֶב לִפְנֵ֣י בָרָ֑ק וַיֵּ֧רֶד סִֽיסְרָ֛א מֵעַ֥ל הַמֶּרְכָּבָ֖ה וַיָּ֥נׇס בְּרַגְלָֽיו׃

16as Barak pursued the chariots and the soldiers as far as Harosheth-goiim. All of Sisera's soldiers fell by the sword; not a man was left.

u-va-RAK ra-DAF a-kha-RAY ha-RE-khev v'-a-kha-RAY ha-ma-kha-NEH AD kha-RO-shet ha-go-YIM va-yi-POL kol ma-kha-NAY sees-RA l'-fee KHE-rev LO nish-AR ad e-KHAD

טזוּבָרָ֗ק רָדַ֞ף אַחֲרֵ֤י הָרֶ֙כֶב֙ וְאַחֲרֵ֣י הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה עַ֖ד חֲרֹ֣שֶׁת הַגּוֹיִ֑ם וַיִּפֹּ֞ל כׇּל־מַחֲנֵ֤ה סִֽיסְרָא֙ לְפִי־חֶ֔רֶב לֹ֥א נִשְׁאַ֖ר עַד־אֶחָֽד׃

17Sisera, meanwhile, had fled on foot to the tent of Yael, wife of Chever the Kenite; for there was friendship between King Jabin of Hazor and the family of Chever the Kenite.

v'-sees-RA NAS b'-rag-LAV el O-hel ya-AYL AY-shet KHE-ver ha-kay-NEE KEE sha-LOM BAYN ya-VEEN ME-lekh kha-TZOR u-VAYN BAYT KHE-ver ha-kay-NEE

יזוְסִֽיסְרָא֙ נָ֣ס בְּרַגְלָ֔יו אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל יָעֵ֔ל אֵ֖שֶׁת חֶ֣בֶר הַקֵּינִ֑י כִּ֣י שָׁל֗וֹם בֵּ֚ין יָבִ֣ין מֶלֶךְ־חָצ֔וֹר וּבֵ֕ין בֵּ֖ית חֶ֥בֶר הַקֵּינִֽי׃

18Yael came out to greet Sisera and said to him, “Come in, my lord, come in here, do not be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

va-tay-TZAY ya-AYL lik-RAT sees-RA va-TO-mer ay-LAV su-RAH a-do-NEE su-RAH ay-LAI al tee-RA va-YA-sar ay-LE-ha ha-O-he-lah va-t'-kha-SAY-hu ba-s'-mee-KHAH

יחוַתֵּצֵ֣א יָעֵל֮ לִקְרַ֣את סִֽיסְרָא֒ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֗יו סוּרָ֧ה אֲדֹנִ֛י סוּרָ֥ה אֵלַ֖י אַל־תִּירָ֑א וַיָּ֤סַר אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ הָאֹ֔הֱלָה וַתְּכַסֵּ֖הוּ בַּשְּׂמִיכָֽה׃

19He said to her, “Please let me have some water; I am thirsty.” She opened a skin of milk and gave him some to drink; and she covered him again.

va-YO-mer ay-LE-ha hash-kee-nee NA m'-at MA-yim KEE tza-MAY-tee va-tif-TAKH et NOD he-kha-LAV va-tash-KAY-hu va-t'-kha-SAY-hu

יטוַיֹּ֧אמֶר אֵלֶ֛יהָ הַשְׁקִינִי־נָ֥א מְעַט־מַ֖יִם כִּ֣י צָמֵ֑אתִי וַתִּפְתַּ֞ח אֶת־נֹ֧אוד הֶחָלָ֛ב וַתַּשְׁקֵ֖הוּ וַתְּכַסֵּֽהוּ׃

20He said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent. If anybody comes and asks you if there is anybody here, say ‘No.'”

va-YO-mer ay-LE-ha a-MOD PE-takh ha-O-hel v'-ha-YAH im EESH ya-VO ush-ay-LAYKH v'-a-MAR ha-yaysh POH EESH v'-a-MAR-t' A-yin

כוַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלֶ֔יהָ עֲמֹ֖ד פֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֑הֶל וְהָיָה֩ אִם־אִ֨ישׁ יָבֹ֜א וּשְׁאֵלֵ֗ךְ וְאָמַ֛ר הֲיֵֽשׁ־פֹּ֥ה אִ֖ישׁ וְאָמַ֥רְתְּ אָֽיִן׃

21Then Yael wife of Chever took a tent pin and grasped the mallet. When he was fast asleep from exhaustion, she approached him stealthily and drove the pin through his temple till it went down to the ground. Thus he died.

va-ti-KAKH ya-AYL AY-shet KHE-ver et y'-TAD ha-O-hel va-TA-sem et ha-ma-KE-vet b'-ya-DAH va-ta-VO ay-LAV ba-LAT va-tit-KA et ha-ya-TAYD b'-ra-ka-TO va-titz-NAKH ba-A-retz v'-HU nir-DAM va-YA-af va-ya-MOT

כאוַתִּקַּ֣ח יָעֵ֣ל אֵֽשֶׁת־חֶ֠בֶר אֶת־יְתַ֨ד הָאֹ֜הֶל וַתָּ֧שֶׂם אֶת־הַמַּקֶּ֣בֶת בְּיָדָ֗הּ וַתָּב֤וֹא אֵלָיו֙ בַּלָּ֔אט וַתִּתְקַ֤ע אֶת־הַיָּתֵד֙ בְּרַקָּת֔וֹ וַתִּצְנַ֖ח בָּאָ֑רֶץ וְהֽוּא־נִרְדָּ֥ם וַיָּ֖עַף וַיָּמֹֽת׃

 4:21 Then Yael wife of Chever took a tent pin and grasped the mallet

Orna Barbavai (b. 1962)

Yael is not the only great woman to act as a warrior on behalf of the Nation of Israel. Today, women form an important part of the Israel Defense Forces, serving at its highest levels. In 2011, Orna Barbavai made history, overcoming her underprivileged upbringing to become the first woman in IDF history to reach the rank of Aluf (אלוף), ‘Major General’. “I am proud to be the first woman to become a major general, and to be part of an organization in which equality is a central principle,” Barbivai said. The mother of three retired from the IDF in 2014, but serves as an inspiration to countless Israeli young women who enlist in the IDF each year and who know they can reach the highest levels not only in the IDF but throughout Israeli society.

22Now Barak appeared in pursuit of Sisera. Yael went out to greet him and said, “Come, I will show you the man you are looking for.” He went inside with her, and there Sisera was lying dead, with the pin in his temple.

v'-hi-NAY va-RAK ro-DAYF et sees-RA va-TAY-tzay ya-AYL lik-ra-TO va-TO-mer LO LAYKH v'-ar-AYKH et ha-EESH a-sher a-TAH m'-va-KAYSH va-ya-VO ay-LE-ha v'-hi-NAY sees-RA no-FAYL MAYT v'-ha-ya-TAYD b'-ra-ka-TO

כבוְהִנֵּ֣ה בָרָק֮ רֹדֵ֣ף אֶת־סִֽיסְרָא֒ וַתֵּצֵ֤א יָעֵל֙ לִקְרָאת֔וֹ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ לֵ֣ךְ וְאַרְאֶ֔ךָּ אֶת־הָאִ֖ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֣ה מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ וַיָּבֹ֣א אֵלֶ֔יהָ וְהִנֵּ֤ה סִֽיסְרָא֙ נֹפֵ֣ל מֵ֔ת וְהַיָּתֵ֖ד בְּרַקָּתֽוֹ׃

23On that day Hashem subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites.

va-yakh-NA e-lo-HEEM ba-YOM ha-HU AYT ya-VEEN me-lekh k'-NA-an lif-NAY b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL

כגוַיַּכְנַ֤ע אֱלֹהִים֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא אֵ֖ת יָבִ֣ין מֶֽלֶךְ־כְּנָ֑עַן לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

24The hand of the Israelites bore harder and harder on King Jabin of Canaan, until they destroyed King Jabin of Canaan.

va-TAY-lekh YAD b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL ha-LOKH v'-ka-SHAH AL ya-VEEN me-lekh k'-NA-an AD a-SHER hikh-REE-tu AYT ya-VEEN me-lekh k'-NA-an

כדוַתֵּ֜לֶךְ יַ֤ד בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ הָל֣וֹךְ וְקָשָׁ֔ה עַ֖ל יָבִ֣ין מֶלֶךְ־כְּנָ֑עַן עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר הִכְרִ֔יתוּ אֵ֖ת יָבִ֥ין מֶלֶךְ־כְּנָֽעַן׃