Chapter 33

1These were the marches of the Israelites who started out from the land of Egypt, troop by troop, in the charge of Moshe and Aharon.

AY-leh mas-AY v'-nay yis-ra-AYL a-SHER ya-tz'-U may-E-retz mitz-RA-yim l'-tziv-o-TAM b'-yad mo-SHEH v'-a-ha-RON

אאֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָצְאוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לְצִבְאֹתָם בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן׃

 33:1   These were the marches of the Israelites

This chapter summarizes the journey that the People of Israel took to the Promised Land, starting with the flight from Egypt until they stood on the bank of the Yarden River, ready to enter the land. Overall, there were forty-two encampments in the desert: fourteen before the sin of the spies which took place in the second year, and eight in the fortieth year, leaving only twenty stops during the thirty-eight years in between. Rashi points out that this highlights Hashem’s compassion for His people. Although they were punished with forty years of wandering in the desert, He did not force them to continuously move around, as this would have been too physically grueling. Instead, they were allowed much opportunity to rest between their wanderings.

2Moshe recorded the starting points of their various marches as directed by Hashem. Their marches, by starting points, were as follows:

בוַיִּכְתֹּב מֹשֶׁה אֶת־מוֹצָאֵיהֶם לְמַסְעֵיהֶם עַל־פִּי יְהֹוָה וְאֵלֶּה מַסְעֵיהֶם לְמוֹצָאֵיהֶם׃

3They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. It was on the morrow of the Pesach offering that the Israelites started out defiantly, in plain view of all the Egyptians.

גוַיִּסְעוּ מֵרַעְמְסֵס בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן מִמָּחֳרַת הַפֶּסַח יָצְאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּיָד רָמָה לְעֵינֵי כָּל־מִצְרָיִם׃

4The Egyptians meanwhile were burying those among them whom Hashem had struck down, every first-born—whereby Hashem executed judgment on their gods.

דוּמִצְרַיִם מְקַבְּרִים אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִכָּה יְהֹוָה בָּהֶם כָּל־בְּכוֹר וּבֵאלֹהֵיהֶם עָשָׂה יְהֹוָה שְׁפָטִים׃

5The Israelites set out from Rameses and encamped at Succoth.

הוַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵרַעְמְסֵס וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּסֻכֹּת׃

6They set out from Succoth and encamped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness.

ווַיִּסְעוּ מִסֻּכֹּת וַיַּחֲנוּ בְאֵתָם אֲשֶׁר בִּקְצֵה הַמִּדְבָּר׃

7They set out from Etham and turned about toward Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they encamped before Migdol.

זוַיִּסְעוּ מֵאֵתָם וַיָּשָׁב עַל־פִּי הַחִירֹת אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי בַּעַל צְפוֹן וַיַּחֲנוּ לִפְנֵי מִגְדֹּל׃

8They set out from Pene-hahiroth and passed through the sea into the wilderness; and they made a three-days' journey in the wilderness of Etham and encamped at Marah.

חוַיִּסְעוּ מִפְּנֵי הַחִירֹת וַיַּעַבְרוּ בְתוֹךְ־הַיָּם הַמִּדְבָּרָה וַיֵּלְכוּ דֶּרֶךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים בְּמִדְבַּר אֵתָם וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּמָרָה׃

9They set out from Marah and came to Elim. There were twelve springs in Elim and seventy palm trees, so they encamped there.

טוַיִּסְעוּ מִמָּרָה וַיָּבֹאוּ אֵילִמָה וּבְאֵילִם שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה עֵינֹת מַיִם וְשִׁבְעִים תְּמָרִים וַיַּחֲנוּ־שָׁם׃

10They set out from Elim and encamped by the Sea of Reeds.

יוַיִּסְעוּ מֵאֵילִם וַיַּחֲנוּ עַל־יַם־סוּף׃

11They set out from the Sea of Reeds and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.

יאוַיִּסְעוּ מִיַּם־סוּף וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּמִדְבַּר־סִין׃

12They set out from the wilderness of Sin and encamped at Dophkah.

יבוַיִּסְעוּ מִמִּדְבַּר־סִין וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּדָפְקָה׃

13They set out from Dophkah and encamped at Alush.

יגוַיִּסְעוּ מִדָּפְקָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּאָלוּשׁ׃

14They set out from Alush and encamped at Rephidim; it was there that the people had no water to drink.

ידוַיִּסְעוּ מֵאָלוּשׁ וַיַּחֲנוּ בִּרְפִידִם וְלֹא־הָיָה שָׁם מַיִם לָעָם לִשְׁתּוֹת׃

15They set out from Rephidim and encamped in the wilderness of Sinai.

טווַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִם וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּמִדְבַּר סִינָי׃

16They set out from the wilderness of Sinai and encamped at Kibroth-hattaavah.

טזוַיִּסְעוּ מִמִּדְבַּר סִינָי וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּקִבְרֹת הַתַּאֲוָה׃

17They set out from Kibroth-hattaavah and encamped at Hazeroth.

יזוַיִּסְעוּ מִקִּבְרֹת הַתַּאֲוָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בַּחֲצֵרֹת׃

18They set out from Hazeroth and encamped at Rithmah.

יחוַיִּסְעוּ מֵחֲצֵרֹת וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּרִתְמָה׃

19They set out from Rithmah and encamped at Rimmon-perez.

יטוַיִּסְעוּ מֵרִתְמָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּרִמֹּן פָּרֶץ׃

20They set out from Rimmon-perez and encamped at Libnah.

כוַיִּסְעוּ מֵרִמֹּן פָּרֶץ וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּלִבְנָה׃

21They set out from Libnah and encamped at Rissah.

כאוַיִּסְעוּ מִלִּבְנָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּרִסָּה׃

22They set out from Rissah and encamped at Kehelath.

כבוַיִּסְעוּ מֵרִסָּה וַיַּחֲנוּ בִּקְהֵלָתָה׃

23They set out from Kehelath and encamped at Mount Shepher.

כגוַיִּסְעוּ מִקְּהֵלָתָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּהַר־שָׁפֶר׃

24They set out from Mount Shepher and encamped at Haradah.

כדוַיִּסְעוּ מֵהַר־שָׁפֶר וַיַּחֲנוּ בַּחֲרָדָה׃

25They set out from Haradah and encamped at Makheloth.

כהוַיִּסְעוּ מֵחֲרָדָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּמַקְהֵלֹת׃

26They set out from Makheloth and encamped at Tahath.

כווַיִּסְעוּ מִמַּקְהֵלֹת וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּתָחַת׃

27They set out from Tahath and encamped at Terah.

כזוַיִּסְעוּ מִתָּחַת וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּתָרַח׃

28They set out from Terah and encamped at Mithkah.

כחוַיִּסְעוּ מִתָּרַח וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּמִתְקָה׃

29They set out from Mithkah and encamped at Hashmonah.

כטוַיִּסְעוּ מִמִּתְקָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּחַשְׁמֹנָה׃

30They set out from Hashmonah and encamped at Moseroth.

לוַיִּסְעוּ מֵחַשְׁמֹנָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּמֹסֵרוֹת׃

31They set out from Moseroth and encamped at Bene-jaakan.

לאוַיִּסְעוּ מִמֹּסֵרוֹת וַיַּחֲנוּ בִּבְנֵי יַעֲקָן׃

32They set out from Bene-jaakan and encamped at Hor-haggidgad.

לבוַיִּסְעוּ מִבְּנֵי יַעֲקָן וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּחֹר הַגִּדְגָּד׃

33They set out from Hor-haggidgad and encamped at Jotbath.

לגוַיִּסְעוּ מֵחֹר הַגִּדְגָּד וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּיָטְבָתָה׃

34They set out from Jotbath and encamped at Abronah.

לדוַיִּסְעוּ מִיָּטְבָתָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעַבְרֹנָה׃

35They set out from Abronah and encamped at Ezion-geber.

להוַיִּסְעוּ מֵעַבְרֹנָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעֶצְיוֹן גָּבֶר׃

36They set out from Ezion-geber and encamped in the wilderness of Zin, that is, Kadesh.

לווַיִּסְעוּ מֵעֶצְיוֹן גָּבֶר וַיַּחֲנוּ בְמִדְבַּר־צִן הִוא קָדֵשׁ׃

37They set out from Kadesh and encamped at Mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom.

לזוַיִּסְעוּ מִקָּדֵשׁ וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּהֹר הָהָר בִּקְצֵה אֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם׃

38Aharon the Kohen ascended Mount Hor at the command of Hashem and died there, in the fortieth year after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.

לחוַיַּעַל אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֶל־הֹר הָהָר עַל־פִּי יְהֹוָה וַיָּמָת שָׁם בִּשְׁנַת הָאַרְבָּעִים לְצֵאת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַחֲמִישִׁי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ׃

39Aharon was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

לטוְאַהֲרֹן בֶּן־שָׁלֹשׁ וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה בְּמֹתוֹ בְּהֹר הָהָר׃

40And the Canaanite, king of Arad, who dwelt in the Negev, in the land of Canaan, learned of the coming of the Israelites.

מוַיִּשְׁמַע הַכְּנַעֲנִי מֶלֶךְ עֲרָד וְהוּא־יֹשֵׁב בַּנֶּגֶב בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן בְּבֹא בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

41They set out from Mount Hor and encamped at Zalmonah.

מאוַיִּסְעוּ מֵהֹר הָהָר וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּצַלְמֹנָה׃

42They set out from Zalmonah and encamped at Punon.

מבוַיִּסְעוּ מִצַּלְמֹנָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּפוּנֹן׃

43They set out from Punon and encamped at Oboth.

מגוַיִּסְעוּ מִפּוּנֹן וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּאֹבֹת׃

44They set out from Oboth and encamped at Iye-Avarim, in the territory of Moab.

מדוַיִּסְעוּ מֵאֹבֹת וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעִיֵּי הָעֲבָרִים בִּגְבוּל מוֹאָב׃

45They set out from Iyim and encamped at Dibon-gad.

מהוַיִּסְעוּ מֵעִיִּים וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּדִיבֹן גָּד׃

46They set out from Dibon-gad and encamped at Almon-diblathaim.

מווַיִּסְעוּ מִדִּיבֹן גָּד וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעַלְמֹן דִּבְלָתָיְמָה׃

47They set out from Almon-diblathaim and encamped in the hills of Avarim, before Nebo.

מזוַיִּסְעוּ מֵעַלְמֹן דִּבְלָתָיְמָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים לִפְנֵי נְבוֹ׃

48They set out from the hills of Avarim and encamped in the steppes of Moab, at the Yarden near Yericho;

מחוַיִּסְעוּ מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעַרְבֹת מוֹאָב עַל יַרְדֵּן יְרֵחוֹ׃

49they encamped by the Yarden from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim, in the steppes of Moab.

מטוַיַּחֲנוּ עַל־הַיַּרְדֵּן מִבֵּית הַיְשִׁמֹת עַד אָבֵל הַשִּׁטִּים בְּעַרְבֹת מוֹאָב׃

50In the steppes of Moab, at the Yarden near Yericho, Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

נוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בְּעַרְבֹת מוֹאָב עַל־יַרְדֵּן יְרֵחוֹ לֵאמֹר׃

51Speak to B'nei Yisrael and say to them: When you cross the Yarden into the land of Canaan,

נאדַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן אֶל־אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן׃

52you shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land; you shall destroy all their figured objects; you shall destroy all their molten images, and you shall demolish all their cult places.

נבוְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּם אֶת־כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵיכֶם וְאִבַּדְתֶּם אֵת כָּל־מַשְׂכִּיֹּתָם וְאֵת כָּל־צַלְמֵי מַסֵּכֹתָם תְּאַבֵּדוּ וְאֵת כָּל־בָּמֹתָם תַּשְׁמִידוּ׃

53And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have assigned the land to you to possess.

v'-ho-rash-TEM et ha-A-retz vee-shav-tem BAH KEE la-KHEM na-TA-tee et ha-A-retz la-RE-shet o-TAH

נגוְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וִישַׁבְתֶּם־בָּהּ כִּי לָכֶם נָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ לָרֶשֶׁת אֹתָהּ׃

 33:53   I have assigned the land to you to possess.

Holocaust survivors yearning for Israel

This verse is the source for the biblical command to settle and inhabit the Land of Israel. It emphasizes the importance of living in the land and, according to many, hints to a prohibition of leaving Israel without a compelling reason. As Sefer Bamidbar draws to a close, the people are on the verge of entering the Promised Land and fulfilling these words. They would remain in the land for hundreds of years, but sin and transgression eventually led to their exile. For centuries, the Jewish people yearned to return and resettle their land. While over the centuries, some individuals were able to fulfill these dreams, the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 made it possible for any Jew who wishes to return to come and settle in their homeland. Today, there are approximately six million Jews and eight million total residents in Eretz Yisrael. How fortunate we are to live in a time when the Land of Israel is so accessible to all.

54You shall apportion the land among yourselves by lot, clan by clan: with larger groups increase the share, with smaller groups reduce the share. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. You shall have your portions according to your ancestral tribes.

v'-hit-na-khal-TEM et ha-A-retz b'-go-RAL l'-mish-p'-kho-tay-KHEM la-RAV tar-BU et na-kha-la-TO v'-lam-AT tam-EET et na-kha-la-TO EL a-sher yay-TZAY LO SHA-mah ha-go-RAL LO yih-YEH l'-ma-TOT a-vo-TAY-khem tit-ne-KHA-lu

נדוְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ בְּגוֹרָל לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתֵיכֶם לָרַב תַּרְבּוּ אֶת־נַחֲלָתוֹ וְלַמְעַט תַּמְעִיט אֶת־נַחֲלָתוֹ אֶל אֲשֶׁר־יֵצֵא לוֹ שָׁמָּה הַגּוֹרָל לוֹ יִהְיֶה לְמַטּוֹת אֲבֹתֵיכֶם תִּתְנֶחָלוּ׃

55But if you do not dispossess the inhabitants of the land, those whom you allow to remain shall be stings in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land in which you live;

נהוְאִם־לֹא תוֹרִישׁוּ אֶת־יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵיכֶם וְהָיָה אֲשֶׁר תּוֹתִירוּ מֵהֶם לְשִׂכִּים בְּעֵינֵיכֶם וְלִצְנִינִם בְּצִדֵּיכֶם וְצָרֲרוּ אֶתְכֶם עַל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יֹשְׁבִים בָּהּ׃

56so that I will do to you what I planned to do to them.

נווְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּמִּיתִי לַעֲשׂוֹת לָהֶם אֶעֱשֶׂה לָכֶם׃