Chapter 23

1Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

אוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

2Speak to B'nei Yisrael and say to them: These are My fixed times, the fixed times of Hashem, which you shall proclaim as sacred occasions.

בדַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם מוֹעֲדֵי יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר־תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ אֵלֶּה הֵם מוֹעֲדָי׃

3On six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there shall be a Shabbat of complete rest, a sacred occasion. You shall do no work; it shall be a Shabbat of Hashem throughout your settlements.

גשֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ כָּל־מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ שַׁבָּת הִוא לַיהֹוָה בְּכֹל מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם׃

4These are the set times of Hashem, the sacred occasions, which you shall celebrate each at its appointed time:

דאֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי יְהֹוָה מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר־תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם בְּמוֹעֲדָם׃

5In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a Pesach offering to Hashem,

הבַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר לַחֹדֶשׁ בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם פֶּסַח לַיהֹוָה׃

6and on the fifteenth day of that month Hashem's Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread for seven days.

ווּבַחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה חַג הַמַּצּוֹת לַיהֹוָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים מַצּוֹת תֹּאכֵלוּ׃

7On the first day you shall celebrate a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations.

זבַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל־מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ׃

8Seven days you shall make offerings by fire to Hashem. The seventh day shall be a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations.

חוְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ כָּל־מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ׃

9Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

טוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

10Speak to B'nei Yisrael and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving to you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the Kohen.

da-BAYR el b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL v'-a-mar-TA a-lay-HEM kee ta-VO-u el ha-A-retz a-SHER a-NEE no-TAYN la-KHEM uk-tzar-TEM et k'-tzee-RA va-ha-vay-TEM et O-mer ray-SHEET k'-tzee-r'-KHEM el ha-ko-HAYN

ידַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי־תָבֹאוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וּקְצַרְתֶּם אֶת־קְצִירָהּ וַהֲבֵאתֶם אֶת־עֹמֶר רֵאשִׁית קְצִירְכֶם אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן׃

23:10   You shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest

Barley growing in the Western Negev

The omer is an offering of barley brought to the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim on the second day of Pesach, corresponding to the sixteenth day of the month of Nissan. Only once this offering was brought, all grain that had taken root prior to the time of the offering may be eaten. According to the Sages (Kiddushin 38a), it was on the sixteenth of Nissan that the Israelites ran out of manna after it ceased to fall following the death of Moshe. The offering of the first grain in the Beit Hamikdash on that day each year reminds us of the eternal lesson of the manna. We dedicate a portion of our crops to our Creator before we eat from them ourselves, to remind us that no matter how hard we work the land, and despite the tremendous human effort required to produce it, our sustenance is really a gift from God in heaven.

11He shall elevate the sheaf before Hashem for acceptance in your behalf; the Kohen shall elevate it on the day after the Shabbat.

יאוְהֵנִיף אֶת־הָעֹמֶר לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה לִרְצֹנְכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת יְנִיפֶנּוּ הַכֹּהֵן׃

12On the day that you elevate the sheaf, you shall offer as a burnt offering to Hashem a lamb of the first year without blemish.

יבוַעֲשִׂיתֶם בְּיוֹם הֲנִיפְכֶם אֶת־הָעֹמֶר כֶּבֶשׂ תָּמִים בֶּן־שְׁנָתוֹ לְעֹלָה לַיהֹוָה׃

13The meal offering with it shall be two-tenths of a measure of choice flour with oil mixed in, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to Hashem; and the libation with it shall be of wine, a quarter of a hin.

יגוּמִנְחָתוֹ שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ וְנִסְכֹּה יַיִן רְבִיעִת הַהִין׃

14Until that very day, until you have brought the offering of your God, you shall eat no bread or parched grain or fresh ears; it is a law for all time throughout the ages in all your settlements.

ידוְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ עַד־עֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה עַד הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת־קָרְבַּן אֱלֹהֵיכֶם חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם בְּכֹל מֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם׃

15And from the day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation offering—the day after the Shabbat—you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete:

טווּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת־עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה׃

16you must count until the day after the seventh week—fifty days; then you shall bring an offering of new grain to Hashem.

טזעַד מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת הַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּסְפְּרוּ חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם מִנְחָה חֲדָשָׁה לַיהֹוָה׃

17You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation offering; each shall be made of two-tenths of a measure of choice flour, baked after leavening, as first fruits to Hashem.

יזמִמּוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם תָּבִיאּוּ לֶחֶם תְּנוּפָה שְׁתַּיִם שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים סֹלֶת תִּהְיֶינָה חָמֵץ תֵּאָפֶינָה בִּכּוּרִים לַיהֹוָה׃

18With the bread you shall present, as burnt offerings to Hashem, seven yearling lambs without blemish, one bull of the herd, and two rams, with their meal offerings and libations, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to Hashem.

יחוְהִקְרַבְתֶּם עַל־הַלֶּחֶם שִׁבְעַת כְּבָשִׂים תְּמִימִם בְּנֵי שָׁנָה וּפַר בֶּן־בָּקָר אֶחָד וְאֵילִם שְׁנָיִם יִהְיוּ עֹלָה לַיהֹוָה וּמִנְחָתָם וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ־נִיחֹחַ לַיהֹוָה׃

19You shall also offer one he-goat as a sin offering and two yearling lambs as a sacrifice of well-being.

יטוַעֲשִׂיתֶם שְׂעִיר־עִזִּים אֶחָד לְחַטָּאת וּשְׁנֵי כְבָשִׂים בְּנֵי שָׁנָה לְזֶבַח שְׁלָמִים׃

20The Kohen shall elevate these—the two lambs—together with the bread of first fruits as an elevation offering before Hashem; they shall be holy to Hashem, for the Kohen.

כוְהֵנִיף הַכֹּהֵן אֹתָם עַל לֶחֶם הַבִּכּוּרִים תְּנוּפָה לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה עַל־שְׁנֵי כְּבָשִׂים קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיוּ לַיהֹוָה לַכֹּהֵן׃

21On that same day you shall hold a celebration; it shall be a sacred occasion for you; you shall not work at your occupations. This is a law for all time in all your settlements, throughout the ages.

כאוּקְרָאתֶם בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל־מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ חֻקַּת עוֹלָם בְּכָל־מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם׃

22And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I Hashem am your God.

uv-kutz-r'-KHEM et k'-TZEER ar-tz'-KHEM lo t'-kha-LE p'-AT sa-d'-KHA b'-kutz-RE-kha v'-LE-ket k'-tzee-r'-KHA LO te-la-KAYT le-a-NEE v'-la-GAYR ta-a-ZOV o-TAM a-NEE a-do-NAI e-LO-hay-khem

כבוּבְקֻצְרְכֶם אֶת־קְצִיר אַרְצְכֶם לֹא־תְכַלֶּה פְּאַת שָׂדְךָ בְּקֻצְרֶךָ וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃

 23:22   You shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field

This verse describes some of the agricultural laws reflecting the biblical notion of charity. A farmer must leave a corner of his field unharvested, and may also not collect stalks of grain that fall during harvesting. Similarly, forgotten sheaves of grain and small grapes left on the vine must not be collected. Instead, each of these portions of the harvest must be left for the poor. These commandments only apply to farmers in Israel. Farmers outside of Eretz Yisrael may harvest their entire field, as reflected in the words “of your land,” which refer specifically to the Land of Israel. This biblical imperative is still practiced in Israel today. Each season, farmers throughout Israel leave over millions of pounds of produce from the fields, which are collected by volunteers and distributed to poor people all over the country.

23Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

כגוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

24Speak to B'nei Yisrael thus: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts.

da-BAYR el b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL lay-MOR ba-KHO-desh ha-sh'-vee-EE b'-e-KHAD la-KHO-desh yih-YEH la-KHEM sha-ba-TON zikh-RON t'-ru-AH mik-ra KO-desh

כדדַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שַׁבָּתוֹן זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ׃

 23:24   In the seventh month, on the first day of the month

This verse refers to the celebration of the holiday of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year and the first of the High Holidays. The story is told of a small, uneducated child who did not know Hebrew, and thus could not participate in the Rosh Hashana services. He desperately wanted to pray with the congregation on such a holy day, and so he entered the synagogue and hesitantly approached the Holy Ark. As the congregants looked at him in confusion, he called out to Hashem by simply reciting the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the only Hebrew familiar to him. There was not a person in the room who wasn’t moved by his pure desire to return to Hashem, and the gates of Heaven immediately opened to accept his prayers. Do not think that the road to heaven is closed to you, God is always ready to welcome anyone who sincerely desires to approach Him.

25You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall bring an offering by fire to Hashem.

כהכָּל־מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה׃

26Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

כווַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

27Mark, the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: you shall practice self-denial, and you shall bring an offering by fire to Hashem;

כזאַךְ בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי הַזֶּה יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים הוּא מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה׃

28you shall do no work throughout that day. For it is a Day of Atonement, on which expiation is made on your behalf before Hashem your God.

כחוְכָל־מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה כִּי יוֹם כִּפֻּרִים הוּא לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃

29Indeed, any person who does not practice self-denial throughout that day shall be cut off from his kin;

כטכִּי כָל־הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תְעֻנֶּה בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וְנִכְרְתָה מֵעַמֶּיהָ׃

30and whoever does any work throughout that day, I will cause that person to perish from among his people.

לוְכָל־הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה כָּל־מְלָאכָה בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וְהַאֲבַדְתִּי אֶת־הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִקֶּרֶב עַמָּהּ׃

31Do no work whatever; it is a law for all time, throughout the ages in all your settlements.

לאכָּל־מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם בְּכֹל מֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם׃

32It shall be a Shabbat of complete rest for you, and you shall practice self-denial; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall observe this your Shabbat.

לבשַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן הוּא לָכֶם וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּתִשְׁעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ בָּעֶרֶב מֵעֶרֶב עַד־עֶרֶב תִּשְׁבְּתוּ שַׁבַּתְּכֶם׃

33Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

לגוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

34Say to B'nei Yisrael: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the festival of Sukkot to Hashem, [to last] seven days.

לדדַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי הַזֶּה חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לַיהֹוָה׃

35The first day shall be a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations;

להבַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ כָּל־מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ׃

36seven days you shall bring offerings by fire to Hashem. On the eighth day you shall observe a sacred occasion and bring an offering by fire to Hashem; it is a solemn gathering: you shall not work at your occupations.

לושִׁבְעַת יָמִים תַּקְרִיבוּ אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה עֲצֶרֶת הִוא כָּל־מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ׃

37Those are the set times of Hashem that you shall celebrate as sacred occasions, bringing offerings by fire to Hashem—burnt offerings, meal offerings, sacrifices, and libations, on each day what is proper to it—

לזאֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר־תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ לְהַקְרִיב אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה עֹלָה וּמִנְחָה זֶבַח וּנְסָכִים דְּבַר־יוֹם בְּיוֹמוֹ׃

38apart from the Shabbatot of Hashem, and apart from your gifts and from all your votive offerings and from all your freewill offerings that you give to Hashem.

לחמִלְּבַד שַׁבְּתֹת יְּהוָה וּמִלְּבַד מַתְּנוֹתֵיכֶם וּמִלְּבַד כָּל־נִדְרֵיכֶם וּמִלְּבַד כָּל־נִדְבוֹתֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר תִּתְּנוּ לַיהֹוָה׃

39Mark, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the yield of your land,

you shall observe the festival of Hashem [to last] seven days: a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day.

לטאַךְ בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאָסְפְּכֶם אֶת־תְּבוּאַת הָאָרֶץ תָּחֹגּוּ

 23:39   On the first day you shall take

The four species

One of the unique practices of the holiday of Sukkot is the taking of the four species. The Sages of the Midrash tell us that these four species symbolize four different personality types. The etrog (אתרוג), ‘citron,’ which is both fragrant and tasty, represents a person who both knows Torah and also performs good deeds. The lulav (לולב), ‘palm branch,’ has tasty fruit but no aroma, and thus represents a person who has knowledge of Torah, but does not perform good deeds. Conversely, the hadas (הדס), ‘myrtle branch,’ has a pleasant smell but no taste, representing a person who does good deeds, but lacks Torah knowledge. And the arava (ערבה), ‘willow branch,’ which lacks both smell and taste, represents a person who has neither Torah nor good deeds. By taking these different species and holding them together, we emphasize the importance of everyone, with all of their strengths and weaknesses, coming together and uniting in the service of the one true God.

40On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Hashem your God seven days.

ul-kakh-TEM la-KHEM ba-YOM ha-ri-SHON p'-REE AYTZ ha-DAR ka-POT t'-ma-REEM va-a-NAF aytz a-VOT v'-ar-VAY NA-khal us-makh-TEM lif-NAY a-do-NAI e-lo-hay-KHEM shiv-AT ya-MEEM

מוּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים וַעֲנַף עֵץ־עָבֹת וְעַרְבֵי־נָחַל וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם שִׁבְעַת יָמִים׃

 23:40   You shall rejoice before Hashem your God seven days

Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, was the most joyous of the festivals observed in the Beit Hamikdash. According to the Sages (Rosh Hashana 16a), on Sukkot, however, Hashem judges the people for water and determines how much rain will fall in the coming year. Given the fact that Eretz Yisrael is very dependent on rainfall, it seems that Sukkot should be a solemn time and not one of joyous celebration. What is the reason for such festivity? By making His people dependent on rainfall which comes from heaven, Hashem ensures that they must maintain a close connection with Him through prayer at all times. It is the constant connection with the Almighty, by virtue of His children’s continued dependence on Him, which is the cause for great celebration on Sukkot.

41You shall observe it as a festival of Hashem for seven days in the year; you shall observe it in the seventh month as a law for all time, throughout the ages.

מאוְחַגֹּתֶם אֹתוֹ חַג לַיהֹוָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים בַּשָּׁנָה חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי תָּחֹגּוּ אֹתוֹ׃

42You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Yisrael shall live in booths,

מבבַּסֻּכֹּת תֵּשְׁבוּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים כָּל־הָאֶזְרָח בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשְׁבוּ בַּסֻּכֹּת׃

43in order that future generations may know that I made B'nei Yisrael live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I Hashem your God.

l'-MA-an yay-d'-U do-ro-tay-KHEM KEE va-su-KOT ho-SHAV-tee et b'-NAY yis-ra-AYL b'-ho-tzee-EE o-TAM may-E-retz mitz-RA-yim a-NEE a-do-NAI e-lo-hay-KHEM

מגלְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃

23:43   In order that future generations may know

A sukkah in Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv

The holiday of Sukkot recalls the protective shelter Hashem provided to the People of Israel in the desert. By following Him into the wilderness, they demonstrated their unshakable faith in the Lord and their unwavering love for Him, as it says in Yirmiyahu (2:2) “Thus said Hashem: I accounted to your favor the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.” By leaving their sturdy homes and eating and sleeping in a sukkah for the seven days of the holiday, future generations demonstrate their unshakeable trust in Hashem and their faith that He will continue to take care of them throughout all of their challenges and tribulations, just as He did in the wilderness.

44So Moshe declared to the Israelites the set times of Hashem.

מדוַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶת־מֹעֲדֵי יְהֹוָה אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃