Parashat Devarim


Devarim 1:1 These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Yisrael, across the Yarden, in the wilderness, in the Plain, opposite [the Sea of] Reeds, between Paran and Tofel and Lavan, and Chatzerot and Di-zahav;

Rashi on 1:1 THESE ARE THE WORDS. These are the words Since these are words of rebuke and he [Moshe] enumerates here all the places where they angered the Omnipresent, therefore it makes no explicit mention of the incidents [in which they transgressed], but rather merely alludes to them, [by mentioning the names of the places] out of respect for Yisrael (cf. Sifrei).

TO ALL YISRAEL. If he had rebuked only some of them, those who were in the marketplace [i.e., absent] might have said, "You heard from [Moshe] the son of Amram, and did not answer a single word regarding this and that; had we been there, we would have answered him!" Therefore, he assembled all of them, and said to them, "See, you are all here; if anyone has an answer, let him answer!"

IN THE WILDERNESS. [At that time]they were not in the desert, but in the plains of Moav. [Accordingly,] what is [the meaning of] bamidbar, in the desert? It means that he rebuked them for their having angered Him in the desert by saying, "If only we had died [by the hand of G-d]" (Shemot 16:3).

IN THE PLAIN. [He rebuked them] regarding the plain, for they had sinned with [the worship of] Baal-Peor at Shittim in the plains of Moav (BaMidbar 25:1-9).

OPPOSITE [THE SEA OF] REEDS. [He rebuked] them regarding their rebellion at the Reed Sea. When they arrived at the Reed Sea, they said, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt [that you have taken us to die in the desert?]" (Shemot 14:11). Likewise, [they sinned] when they traveled from the midst of the sea, as it is said, "and they were rebellious by the sea, by the Reed Sea" (Tehillim 106:7), as is found in Arachin (15a). Between Paran and Tofel and Lavan Rabbi Yochanan said: We have reviewed the entire Bible, but we have found no place named Tofel or Lavan! However, [the explanation is that] he rebuked them because of the foolish things they had said (taflu) about the manna, which was white (lavan), saying "And our soul loathes this light bread" (BaMidbar 21:5), and because of what they had done in the desert of Paran through the spies.

AND CHATZEROT. Concerning the insurrection of Korach [which took place in Chatzerot]. Another explanation: He said to them, "You should have learned from what I did to Miryam at Chatzerot because of slander; [nevertheless,] you spoke against the Omnipresent."

AND DI-ZAHAV (literally, enough gold). He rebuked them for the calf they had made as a result of their abundance of gold, as it is said: "and I gave her much silver and gold, but they made it for Baal" (Hoshea 2:10).

1:2 eleven days from Chorev, by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.

Rashi on 1:2 It is eleven days journey from Chorev Moshe said to them: "See what you caused! There is no shorter route from Chorev to Kadesh-barnea than the way through Mount Seir, and even that is a journey of eleven days. But you traversed it in three days!" For they traveled from Chorev on the twentieth of Iyar, as it is said, "And it came to pass in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth of the month [... the children of Yisrael traveled...]" (BaMidbar 10:11-12). And on the twenty-ninth of Sivan, they sent out the spies from Kadesh-barnea, (an interval of 40 days; cf. Taanit 29a). Subtract from them the thirty days they spent at Kivrot Hataavah (BaMidbar 11:34), where they ate the meat a "month of days," and the seven days they spent at Chatzerot for Miryam to be confined [as a mezoraat] (BaMidbar 12:15); we find therefore, that this entire journey [from Horeb to Kadesh-Barnea] took [only] three days/ And to such an extent did the Shechinah exert itself to hasten your arrival to the land of Kenaan, but because you sinned, He made you travel around Mount Seir for forty years.

1:3 it was in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, when Moshe spoke to the Children of Yisrael, according to everything that Hashem commanded him to them,

Rashi on 1:3 IT WAS IN THE FORTIETH YEAR, IN THE ELEVENTH MONTH, ON THE FIRST OF THE MONTH... MOSHE SPOKE. This teaches us that he rebuked them only a short while before his death. From whom did he learn [to do] this? From Yaakov, who rebuked his sons only a short while before his death. He said, "Reuven, my son, I will tell you why I have not reproved you [for your shortcomings] during all these years: So that you would not leave me and join my brother, 'Esav." And for four reasons, one should not reprimand a person except shortly before one’s death: So that one should not rebuke and again have to rebuke him, so as not to cause his friend to feel ashamed when he sees him` etc. And similarly, Yehoshua rebuked Yisrael only shortly before his death (cf. Yehoshua 24: 1-29), and so, Samuel, as it is said, "Behold, testify against me" (1Shmuel 12:3) and so, also, David rebuked his son Shlomo only shortly before his death (see 1Melachim 2:1-10).

1:4 after he had smitten Sichon, king of the Emori, who dwelt in Cheshbon, and Og, king of the Bashan, who dwelt in 'Ashtarot, in Edrei.

Rashi on 1:4 AFTER HE HAD SMITTEN SICHON. Moshe said: If I rebuke them before they enter [at least] part of the land, they will say, "What [claim] has this [man] on us? What good has he ever done for us? He has come only to vex us and to find some pretext, for he does not have the power to bring us into the land." Therefore he [Moshe]waited until he had defeated Sichon and Og before them and had given them possession of their land, and [only] afterwards did he rebuke them.

SICHON... who dwelt in Cheshbon -"Even if Sichon himself had not been powerful, but had dwelt in Cheshbon, he would have [nevertheless] been powerful because the city was a powerful one; and even had it been another city, and Sichon had dwelt in it, it would have [also] been powerful because the king was powerful. How much more so now' since both the king and the city were powerful!"

AND OG... WHO DWELT IN 'ASHTAROT. [Here, too,] the king was powerful, and the city was powerful.

'ASHTAROT. This is an expression denoting sharp cliffs and strength, just as "Ashterot-karnaim" (Bereyshit 14:5) [the hard rocks of Karnaim]. And the Ashtarot [referred to here] is indeed that same Ashterot-karnaim where the Refaim [the giants] were, whom Amrafel smote, as it is said, "And they smote the Refaim in Ashterot-karnaim " (Bereyshit 14:5). And Og escaped from them, and that is the meaning of that which is stated, "And the fugitive came" (Bereyshit 14:13), and Scripture states (further, 3:11) "For only Og, king of the Bashan, remained from the remnant of the Refaim." in Edrei the name of the kingdom.

1:5 On the other side of the Yarden in the land of Moav, Moshe began clarifying this Torah, saying:

Rashi on 1:5 COMMENCED, just as "Behold, now I have commenced (hoalti)" (Bereyshit 18:27).

CLARIFYING THIS TORAH. He explained it to them in seventy languages. Hakethav Vehakabbalah explains this to mean that Moshe gave them seventy interpretations to every passage.

1:6 Hashem, our G-d, spoke to us in Chorev, saying, "You have had much dwelling by this mountain.

Rashi on 1:6 YOU HAVE HAD MUCH DWELLING BY THIS MOUNTAIN. [This is to be interpreted] according to its simple meaning. But there also is an Aggadic explanation: I have given you much greatness and reward for your having dwelt at this mountain: you made the Mishkan, the menorah, and the [other] furnishings; you received the Torah; you appointed a Sanhedrin for yourselves, and captains over thousands and captains over hundreds.

1:7 Turn yourselves and journey, and come to the mountain ofthe Emori and to all its neighbors, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south, and at the seacoast; the land of the Kenaani and the Levanon, until the great river, the Perat (Euphrates) River.

Rashi on 1:7 TURN YOURSELVES AND JOURNEY. This is the way to 'Arad and Chormah.

AND COME TO THE MOUNTAIN OF THE EMORI. This is to be understood literally.

AND TO ALL ITS NEIGHBORS. Ammon, Moav, and Mount Seir.

IN THE PLAIN. This refers to the forested plain.

ON THE MOUNTAIN. This is the king’s mountain.

AND IN THE LOWLAND. This is the southern lowland.

AND IN THE SOUTH, AND AT THE SEACOAST. [This refers to] Ashkelon, Gaza and Caesarea, etc.

UNTIL THE GREAT RIVER, THE PERAT [EUPHRATES]. Since it [the Euphrates] is mentioned [in association] with the Land of Yisrael it is referred to as "great." A popular parable says: A king’s servant is a king. Associate yourself with the ruler, and [people] will bow down to you; attach yourself to an person anointed [with oil] and you will become anointed [with oil yourself].

1:8 See, I have given the land before you; come and take possession of the land that Hashem swore to your forefathers, to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaakov, to give to them and to their children after them.

Rashi on 1:8 SEE, I HAVE GIVEN THE LAND BEFORE YOU. With your own eyes you can see [this]: I do not tell you this from guessing or hearsay.

COME AND TAKE POSSESSION OF THE LAND. No one will contest the matter, and you will not need to go to war. If they [the Yisraelim] had not sent the spies, [but had trusted G-d] they would not have needed weapons of war.

TO YOUR FOREFATHERS. Why does he [Moshe] further mention Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov [when the reference "your forefathers" clearly indicates them]? [Their names are mentioned to show that] Avraham is worthy [of G-d’s oath] by himself, Yitzchak is worthy by himself, [and] Yaakov is worthy by himself.

1:9 I said to you at that time, saying, "I cannot carry you alone."

Rashi on 1:9 I SAID TO YOU AT THAT TIME, SAYING. Hebrew: lemor. What is the meaning of lemor? Moshe said to them, "Not by my own accord do I speak to you [and tell you that I cannot carry you alone] but by the command of the Holy One, blessed is He.

I CANNOT CARRY YOU ALONE. Is it possible that Moshe could not judge Yisrael? The man who brought them out of Egypt, split the sea for them, brought down the manna, and caused the quails to fly, could not judge them? Rather, he said to them: "Hashem, your G-d, has multiplied you"—[i.e.,] He has made you superior and elevated you higher than your judges. He took the punishment away from you and imposed it upon the judges [in cases where they could have prevented your wrongdoing and did not]. Shlomo made a similar statement: "For who is able to judge Your great people?" (1Melachim 3:9) Is it possible that he [i.e., Shlomo] of whom it is said (1Melachim 5: 11), "He was wiser than all men," could say, "Who is able to judge?" But this is what Shlomo meant: The judges of this people are not like the judges of other peoples, for if [one of the judges of other nations] gives judgment and sentences a person to death, to lashes, or to strangulation, or perverts judgment and robs him, it means nothing; if, however, I cause a person to pay unjustly, I am liable with my life, as it is said (Mishle 22:23), "And He robs the life of those who rob them."

1:10 Hashem, your G-d, has increased you and behold, you are today like the stars of the heavens in abundance.

Rashi on 1:10 YOU ARE TODAY LIKE THE STARS OF THE HEAVENS. But were they [the Yisraelim] on that day as [many as] the stars of the heavens? Were they not only six hundred thousand? What, then, is [the meaning of] "You are today...?" [It means]—You are compared to the sun, [signifying that you will] exist forever as do the sun, the moon, and the stars.

1:11 May Hashem, the G-d of your forefathers, add to you a thousand times yourselves, and bless you as He has spoken of you.

Rashi on 1:11 MAY... ADD TO YOU A THOUSAND TIMES YOURSELVES. What is [the purpose of] repeating further [in the verse]: "And bless you as He has spoken of you?" They [the Yisraelim] said to him, "Moshe, you are limiting our blessings [i.e., our numbers being multiplied only a thousandfold]. The Holy One, blessed is He, already promised to Avraham (Bereyshit 13:16), 'so that if a man will be able to count [the dust of the earth, so will your seed be counted]!’" [Moshe] replied to them: "This [blessing of a thousandfold] is mine, but He will bless you as He spoke concerning you!"

1:12 How can I alone carry your trouble and your burden and your quarrels?

Rashi on 1:12 HOW CAN I ALONE CARRY. [Even] if I were to say, "I will do so in order to receive a reward," I cannot do so. This is what I have already said to you, "Not by my own decision do I tell you [that I am unable to bear your trouble], but by the command of the Holy One, blessed is He."

YOUR TROUBLE. This teaches us that the Yisraelim were troublesome [people]; if one saw his opponent in a lawsuit about to win, he would say, "I have [other] witnesses to bring, [more] evidence to introduce, I [will exercise my right to] add judges to you [in your tribunal]".

AND YOUR BURDEN. This teaches that they [the Yisraelim] were heretics: If Moshe was early leaving his tent they would say, "Why does the son of Amram leave so early? Perhaps he is not at ease inside his house?" If he left late, they would say, "Why does the son of Amram not leave? What do you think? He is [probably] sitting and devising evil schemes against you, and is thinking up plots against you. [Other editions of Rashi have "commandments and reckonings."]

AND YOUR QUARRELS. This teaches that they [the Yisraelim] were contentious.

1:13 Provide yourselves men who are wise and understanding and well known to your tribes, and I shall appoint them as your heads.

Rashi on 1:13 PROVIDE YOURSELVES. Prepare yourselves for this matter.

MEN. Would it enter your mind [that] women [could be chosen]? What does [specifying] "men" teach us? [It signifies that they should pick] righteous men.

WHOW ARE WISE. Desirable [men]. [According to the glosses of Rabbi Akiva Eiger on Sifrei, bashful men, men who are ashamed of doing anything wrong.] [According to Heidenheim, the word kesufim is the definition of anashim, not of chachamim. According to him, the next heading reads: wise and understanding [men].]

UNDERSTANDING. [I.e., men] who understand [and derive] one thing from another. This is what Arius asked Rabbi Yose: "What is the difference between wise men and understanding men?" [Rabbi Yose said] "A wise man is like a rich money changer: When people bring him dinars to examine, he examines them. When they do not bring [money] to him, he sits doing nothing. An understanding man, however, is like a merchant money changer: When they bring him money to examine, he examines it, and when they do not bring it to him, he goes out and brings his own [money—i.e., he does not wait for people to come to him—he goes to them].

WELL KNOWN TO YOUR TRIBES. Men whom you recognize, for if one were to come before me wrapped in his tallit, I would not know who he is and of what tribe he is, and whether he is suitable. But you know him, for you have raised him. Therefore, it says, "well known to your tribes."

AND I SHALL APPOINT THEM AS YOUR HEADS. As chiefs and respected persons over you, i.e., you should act towards them with respect and reverence. [The word] vaasimem lacks a yud [after the sin; our editions, however, have it]: This teaches us that Yisrael’s transgressions (asham) are hung over the heads of their judges, since they [the judges] should have prevented them [from sinning], and directed them along the right path.

1:14 You answered me and said, "The thing that you have proposed to do is good."

Rashi on 1:14 YOU ANSWERED ME. You decided the matter for your benefit. You should have replied, "Our teacher, Moshe! From whom is it proper to learn, from you or from your disciple? Is it not [better to learn] from you, who have taken such pains about them?" However, I knew your thoughts; you were saying [to yourselves], "Many judges will now be appointed over us; if one does not know us, we shall bring him a gift, and he will show us favor."

TO DO. If I was sluggish, you said, "Act quickly."

1:15 So I took the heads of your tribes, men who were wise and well known, and I appointed them as heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes.

Rashi on 1:15 SO I TOOK THE HEADS OF YOUR TRIBES. I attracted them through [fine] words: "How fortunate you are! Over whom are you to be appointed? Over the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov—over the children of people who are called brothers and friends, [G-d’s] portion and inheritance, and every term of endearment."

SO I TOO...MEN WHO WERE WISE AND WELL KNOWN. But understanding men I could not find. This is one of the seven qualities which Yitro described to Moshe (Shemot 18:21), but Moshe found only three [of them]—righteous, wise, and well-known [men].

AND I APPOINTED THEM AS HEADS OVER YOU. You should respect them—[think of them as] chiefs in buying, chiefs in selling, chiefs in all business matters, last to enter(the synagogue from his home) and first to leave [so that everyone should stand up out of respect].

LEADERS OVER THOUSANDS, one who is appointed over one thousand.

LEADERS OVER HUNDREDS, one who is appointed over one hundred.

AND OFFICERS. I appointed [court officers] over you, for your tribe. These are the ones who bind and lash with a whip at the judges' order.

1:16 I commanded your judges at that time, saying, "Listen among your brothers and judge righteously between a man and his brother or his disputant.

Rashi on 1:16 I COMMANDED YOUR JUDGES. I said to them: "Be patient in passing judgment. If a case comes before you once, twice, three times, do not say, ‘This [case] has already appeared before me several times,’ but debate it over again.’"

[I COMMANDED YOUR JUDGES] AT THAT TIME. When I appointed them, I said to them, "Now is not like the past. Previously, you were your own masters, now you are subservient to the community."

LISTEN. Hebrew: shamoa. Present tense: odant in Old French, [always be] hearing, as in zachor, remembering, and shamor, keeping.

OR HIS DISPUTANT. Hebrew: gero. This (gero) is his opponent in the lawsuit who accumulates (oger) arguments against him. Another explanation: (uvein gero): Even in undertakings concerning a residence [gur meaning to dwell], in the division of [property between inheriting] brothers, even if it is a dispute about [such minor things as] an oven and a stove.

1:17 You shall not show favoritism in judgment, small and great alike shall you hear; you shall not fear in the face of man, for the judgment, it is unto G-d; and the matter that is too difficult for you, you shall bring to me and I shall hear it.

Rashi on 1:17 YOU SHALL NOT SHOW FAVORITISM IN JUDGMENT. This refers to the person who appoints judges, that he should not say, "So-and-so is handsome or strong; I will appoint him as a judge" [or] "So-and-so is my relative; I will appoint him as a judge in the city," even if he is not expert in the laws, and consequently he condemns the innocent and acquits the guilty. [G-d says:] I will hold it against the one who appointed him [this judge] as though he [himself] had shown partiality in judgment.

SMALL AND GREAT ALIKE SHALL YOU HEAR. A case regarding a perutah [small coin] should be as important to you as [a case] regarding a hundred maneh [a large sum], so that if it [the former] is presented before you first, do not postpone it for last. Another explanation of "Small and great alike shall you hear," as per the Targum [The words of the small you shall hear like the words of the great]: You shall not say: "This is a poor man, and his friend [opponent] is rich, and it is a mitzvah to support him [the poor man]. I will favor the poor man, and he will thus be supported respectably." Another explanation: You shall not say, "How can I affront the honor of this rich man because of one dinar? I will favor him now and when he goes outside [leaves the court] I will tell him, 'Give it to him [to the poor man], for you really owe it to him!’"

YOU SHALL NOT FEAR IN THE FACE OF MAN, meaning you shall not fear. Another explanation: You shall not gather in [stifle] your words because of any man. As in (Mishle 10:5), "It gathers (oger) in summer."

IT IS UNTO G-D. Whatever you unjustly take from one, you will oblige Me to return to him. Consequently you have perverted a judgment against Me.

AND THE MATTER THAT IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU, YOU SHALL BRING TO ME. Because of this [presumptive] statement, Moshe forgot the law regarding the daughters of Tzelofchad [in BaMidbar 27:1-5]. Similarly, Shmuel answered Shaul and said (1Shmuel 9:19), "I am the seer." Whereupon, the Holy One, blessed is He, said to him, "By your life, I will let you know that you do not [always] see [with the holy spirit]." And when did He let him know [this]? When he came to anoint David, "And he saw Eliav [and] he said, ‘Surely, before Hashem is His anointed'" (1Shmuel 16:6-7). The Holy One, blessed is He, said to him: "Did you not say, ‘I am the seer?’ Look not upon his appearance."

1:18 I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.

Rashi on 1:18 I COMMANDED YOU...ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD DO. These are the ten things that distinguish monetary cases from capital cases.

1:19 We journeyed from Chorev and we went through that entire great and awesome wilderness that you saw, by way of the mountain of the Emori, as Hashem, our G-d, commanded us, and we came until Kadesh-barnea.

Rashi on 1:19 THAT ENTIRE GREAT AND AWESOME WILDERNESS. [It is termed awesome (fearful)] because in it were serpents as [thick as] beams and scorpions as [big as] bows.

1:22 You approached me, all of you, and said, "Let us send men ahead of us and let them spy out the land, and bring word back to us: the road on which we should ascend and the cities to which we should come."

Rashi on 1:22 YOU APPROACHED ME, ALL OF YOU, in a state of disorder. But further on (Devarim 5:20-21) it says, "You approached me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders, and you said, Behold [Hashem, our G-d] has shown us [His glory and His greatness]." That approach to me was proper—young people respecting their elders, sending these before them. Here, however, you approached me all of you, in a state of disorder, the young pushing aside their elders, the elders pushing aside their heads.

AND BRING WORD BACK TO US [meaning that they will report] which language they [the Kenaanim] speak.

THE ROAD ON WHICH WE SHOULD ASCEND. There is no road without a crooked portion.


1:23 The matter was good in my eyes, so I took from you twelve men, one man for each tribe.

Rashi on 1:23 THE MATTER WAS GOOD IN MY EYES. "Good in my eyes, but it did not please the Omnipresent." But if it pleased Moshe, why does he mention it in his rebukes? This may be compared to a man who says to his friend, "Sell me this donkey of yours." He replies to him, "Yes." "Will you give it to me to test it?" He replies, "Yes." "May I test it on mountains and hills?" Again he replies, "Yes." When he sees that his friend does not withhold anything from him, the purchaser thinks to himself, "This man is certain that I shall not find any defect in the donkey," and he immediately says to him, "Take your money; I need not test it now." I too, consented to your words, thinking that you would perhaps reconsider when you saw that I do not withhold it from you, but you did not reconsider.

SO I TOOK FROM YOU - from the select that were among you, of the finest that were among you.

1:24 They turned and asscended the mountain and came until the Valley of Eshkol, and spied it out.

Rashi on 1:24 AND CAME UNTIL THE VALLEY OF ESHKOL. [This] tells us that it [here it was so called] on account of a future event [that the spies took from there a cluster (eshkol) of grapes].
AND SPIED IT OUT. This teaches us that they traversed through it along four lines, along the length and the breadth.

1:25 They took in their hands from the fruit of the land and brought [it] down to us; they brought back word to us and said, "Good is the land that Hashem, our G-d, gives us!"

Rashi on 1:25 AND BROUGHT [IT] DOWN TO US. This tells us that the land of Yisrael is higher than all other lands.

AND SAID, GOOD IS THE LAND. Who were the ones who spoke about its goodness? Yehoshua and Kalev.

1:26 But you did not wish to ascend, and you rebelled against the word of Hashem, your G-d.

Rashi on 1:26 AND YOU REBELLED. This is an expression denoting confrontation; you confronted His words.

1:27 And you slandered in your tents and said, "Because of Hashem's hatred for us did He take us out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Emori to destroy us.

Rashi on 1:27 YOU SLANDERED. This is an expression denoting slander. It is similar to (Mishle 18:8) "The words of a nirgan" i.e., of a slanderer. Because Hashem hates us Really, however, He loves you, but you hate Him. A common parable says: What is in your own heart about your friend, [you imagine] is in his heart about you.

BECAUSE OF HASHEM'S HATRED FOR US DID HE TAKE US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT - His taking us out was due to hatred [they claimed]. This may be compared to a mortal king who had two sons and two fields, one well irrigated, the other dependent upon rain only. To the son he loved, he gave the well irrigated field, and to the one he hated, he gave the one dependent upon rain only. The land of Egypt is a well irrigated country, for the Nile rises and irrigates it, while the land of Kenaan is dependent upon rain only. He took us out of [the irrigated] Egypt to give us the arid land of Kenaan.

1:28 To where shall we ascend? Our brothers have melted our hearts, sayiing, 'A people greater and taller than we, cities great and fortified to the heavens, and even children of giants have we seen there!'

Rashi on 1:28 CITIES GREAT AND FORTIFIED TO THE HEAVENS. The Scriptural text here is talking in exaggerated terms.

1:29 Then I said to you, "Do not break down and do not fear them!

Rashi on 1:29 DO NOT BREAK DOWN. This is an expression denoting breaking, as the Targum renders it: [Do not be broken], and similar to it (Iyov 30:6), "To dwell in the cleft of the valleys," i.e., to break through the valleys.

1:30 Hashem, your G-d, Who goes before you, He shall do battle for you, like everything He did for you in Egypt, before your eyes,

Rashi on 1:30 SHALL DO BATTLE FOR YOU. Hebrew: yilachem lachem—[lachem means] on your behalf.

1:31 and in the wilderness, as you have seen, that Hashem, your G-d, carried you, as a man carries his son, on the entire way that you traveled, until you arrived at this place.

Rashi on 1:31 AND IN THE WILDERNESS, AS YOU HAVE SEEN. This refers to the preceding verse: "just as He did for you in Egypt," and also what He did "in the wilderness, where you have seen how Hashem, your G-d, has carried you, etc."

AS A MAN CARRIES HIS SON. As I explained regarding [the verses]: "And the angel of G-d who went before the camp of the Yisraelim traveled and went behind, etc." (Shemot 14:19-20). This may be compared to one who is traveling on a road, with his son in front of him. If bandits come to kidnap [the son, he removes him from in front of him and places him behind him].

1:32 Yet in this matter you do not believe in Hashem, your G-d,

Rashi on 1:32 YET IN THIS MATTER that He promises you to bring you to the Land, you do not believe Him.

1:33 Who goes before you on the way to seek out for you a place for you to encamp, with fire by night to show you the road that you should travel and with a cloud by day!

Rashi on 1:33 TO SHOW YOU. Hebrew: larotchem, like leharotchem, and similarly, "to cause it to lead them (lanchotam) on the way" (Shemot 13:21) [like (lehanchotam)] and also, "To proclaim (lashmia) thanksgiving with a loud voice" (Tehillim 26:7), [like lehashmia], and so, "to go to tell (lagid) in Yizreel" (2Melachim 9:15), [like lehagid].

1:36 Except for Kalev son of Yefunneh: he shall see it, and to him shall I give the land upon which he trod, and to his children, because he followed Hashem wholeheartedly.

Rashi on 1:36 AND TO HIM SHALL I GIVE THE LAND UPON WHICH HE TROD [i.e.] Chevron, as it says, "And he [Kalev] came to Chevron" (BaMidbar 13:22).

1:37 With me, as well, Hashem became angry because of you, saying, "You, too, shall not come there.

Rashi on 1:37 BECAME ANGRY. Hebrew: hitanaf, became filled with anger.

1:40 And as for you, turn yourselves and journey to the wilderness, by way of the Sea of Reeds.

Rashi on 1:40 TURN YOURSELVES. I thought [previously] to let you pass through the breadth of the land of Edom northward, to enter the Land, but you sinned and caused delay for yourselves.

TURN YOURSELVES, and proceed through the wilderness towards the Reed Sea, for the desert in which they were traveling was south of Mount Seir, separating the Reed Sea from Mount Seir. Now turn in the direction of the Sea and go around Mount Seir, along its entire southern side from west to east.

1:41 Then you spoke up and said to me, "We have sinned to Hashem! We shall go up and do battle according to everything that Hashem, our G-d, has commanded us!" You girded, each man, his weapons of war, and you readied yourselves to ascend the mountain!

Rashi on 1:41 AND YOU READIED YOURSELVES, an expression of "Here we are (hinenu) and we will go up to the place" (BaMidbar 14:40). This expression which you used, denotes, "Yes", as if to say: You prepared [to go up to the mountain].

1:42 Hashem said to me, "Tell them, 'Do not ascend and do not do battle, for I am not among you; then you will not be struck down before your enemies.'"

Rashi on 1:42 DO NOT ASCEND. There will be no ascent [victory] for you, but only a descent [defeat].

1:44 And the Emori who dwells on that mountain went out against you and pursued you as the bees do; they struck you in Seir until Chormah.

Rashi on 1:44 AS THE BEES DO. Just as a bee dies instantly after stinging a person, they too [the Emorim], upon touching you, died immediately.

1:45 Then you wept again before Hashem, but Hashem did not listen to your voice and He did not give ear to you.

Rashi on 1:45 BUT HASHEM DID NOT LISTEN TO YOUR VOICE. As if possible [to say of G-d], you made His attribute of mercy as though it were cruel.

1:46 You stayed in Kadesh many days [as many] as the days that you dwelt.

Rashi on 1:46 YOU STAYED AT KADESH MANY DAYS - Nineteen years, as it says, "as the days that you dwelled" in the other stations. They totaled thirty-eight years; nineteen of them were spent at Kadesh, and for nineteen years they were continually wandering about, and they returned to Kadesh, as it says, (BaMidbar 32:13), "And He made them wander about in the wilderness"—thus I have found in Seder Olam (chapter 8).

2:1 We turned and journeyed to the wilderness by way of the Sea of Reeds, as Hashem spoke to me, and we went around Mount Seir for many days.

Rashi on 2:1 WE TURNED AND JOURNEYED TO THE WILDERNESS. Had they not sinned, they would have passed by way of Mount Seir to enter the Land from its south[ern end] to its north[ern end], but because they sinned, [it was decreed upon them that they remain in the desert; so] they turned towards the wilderness, which is between the Reed Sea and the southern side of Mount Seir, and they traveled along its south side from the west to the east, by way of the Reed Sea by the route they used when they went out of Egypt, which is at the southwest corner. From there they traveled towards the east.

AND WE WENT AROUND MOUNT SEIR the whole south side as far as the land of Moav.

2:3 Enough of your going around this mountain; turn yourselves northward.

Rashi on 2:3 TURN YOURSELVES NORTHWARD. Turn along the eastern side [of Moav], from the south to the north, facing northerward. Consequently, they were traveling in an easterly direction, and this is what is meant by "And they came from the sun rise [i.e., east side] to the land of Moav" (Shoftim 11:18).

2:4 You shall command the people, saying, 'You are passing through the boundary of your brothers the children of 'Esav, who dwell in Seir; and they willl fear you, and you shall take great care.

Rashi on 2:4 YOU SHALL TAKE GREAT CARE. And what is this "being careful"? "You shall not provoke them."

2:5 Do not provoke them, for I shall not give you of their land even a step of the sole of a foot, for as an inheritance to 'Esav have I given Mount Seir.

Rashi on 2:5 EVEN A STEP OF THE SOLE OF A FOOT, meaning, even only for the sole of the foot to tread a single step. I do not permit you to enter their land without permission. An Aggadic interpretation is: [I will not give you of their land] until the day arrives when the foot will tread upon the Mount of Olives [the Messianic era], as it said: "And His [G-d’s] feet will [figuratively] stand [on that day upon the Mount of Olives]" (Zecharya 14:4). [I have given Mount Seir] to 'Esav for an inheritance from Avraham. I gave ten nations to Avraham, seven of them for you [the seven of Kenaan], and the Kenim the Kenizzim, and the Kadmonim (Bereyshit 16:18-21), who are Ammon, Moav, and Seir. One of them is for 'Esav and the other two are for the children of Lot (Bereyshit Rabbah 44). As a reward [for Lot] for going with him [Avraham] to Egypt and for keeping silent when Avraham said, regarding his wife, "She is my sister," He treated him [Lot] as his [Avraham’s] son [to inherit part of the land promised to Avraham]

2:6 You shall purchase food from them for money so that you may eat; also water shall you buy from them for money so that you may drink.

Rashi on 2:6 YOU SHALL PURCHASE. Hebrew: tichruThis is an expression of purchase. Similar is (Bereyshit 50:5),"which I have purchased (kariti) for myself." In the coastal cities, for "selling" (mechira), they use the word "kira" (Rosh Hashanah 26a).

2:7 For Hashem, your G-d, has blessed you in all your handiwork; He knew your way in this great wilderness; this forty-year [period] Hashem, your G-d, was with you; you did not lack a thing.

Rashi on 2:7 FOR HASHEM, YOUR G-D, HAS BLESSED YOU. Therefore you should not be ungrateful for His goodness [to you] by acting as though you were poor. Rather, show yourselves as rich people.

2:8 So we passed from our brothers, the children of 'Esav who dwell in Seir, from the way of the 'Arava, from Elat and from 'Etzyon-gever and we turned and passed on the way of the Moavi desert.

Rashi on 2:8 AND WE TURNED AND PASSED towards the north; we turned to proceed on the eastern side.

2:9 Hashem said to me, "You shall not distress Moav and you shall not provoke war with them, for I shall not give you an inheritance from their land, for to the children of Lot have I given 'Ar as an inheritance.

Rashi on 2:9 AND YOU SHALL NOT PROVOKE WAR WITH THEM. G-d forbade Yisrael only to wage war against Moav. However, Yisrael did frighten them, appearing before them, armed for battle. Therefore, it is written, "And Moav was very frightened of the people" (BaMidbar 22:3) because Yisrael plundered and looted them. Regarding the children of Ammon, however, it says (v19), "Do not provoke them"—with any kind of provocation, as a reward for the modesty shown by their ancestress [Lot’s younger daughter], who did not publicize her father’s conduct, as did his elder daughter, who named her son Moav [moav like meav, from the father].

'AR. The name of the province.

2:10 The Emim dwelled there previously, a great and populous poeple, and tall as the giants.

Rashi on 2:10 THE EMIM DWELLED THERE PREVIOUSLY - You might think that this is the land of Refaim which I gave [promised] to Avraham (Bereyshit 15:20), because the Emim, who are Refaim dwelt there before, but this is not that one, for those Refaim I drove out and made the children of Lot settle there in their stead.

2:11 They, too, were considered Refaim, like the giants; and the Moavim called them Emim.

Rashi on 2:11 THEY... WERE CONSIDERED REFAIM... These Emim were considered Refaim, just as the Anakim, who were called Refaim, because whoever beheld them—his hands became weak (mitraput)) (Bereyshit Rabbah 26).

EMIM so called, because their fear (eyma) was cast over mankind. And similarly (v12), "The Chorim dwelt in Seir" and [just as I gave the Refaim over to the children of Lot,] I gave them [the Chorim] over to the children of 'Esav.

2:12 And in Seir the Chorim dwelled perviously, and the children of 'Esav would drive them away from before themselves and dwelled in their place, as Yisrael did to the land of it inheritance, which Hashem gave them.

Rashi on 2:12 WOULD DRIVE THEM AWAY. Hebrew: yirashum. [This is expressed in] the present tense, as if to say, I gave them power to go on constantly driving them out.

2:15 Even the hand of Hashem was on them to confound them from the midst of the camp, until their end.

Rashi on 2:15 EVEN THE HAND OF HASHEM WAS ON THEM to quickly destroy them within a period of forty years, so that they would not cause their children to tarry any longer in the desert.

2:17 Hashem spoke to me, saying:

Rashi on 2:17 HASHEM SPOKE TO ME. But since the spies were sent until now, the word vayedaber [denoting G-d’s speaking to Moshe with endearment] is not mentioned in [this] section, only vayomer [denoting a less endearing form of communication], to teach us that during those entire thirty-eight years during which time the Yisraelim were under ban by G-d, the Divine speech was not directed towards him in an expression of affection, face to face, and with peace of mind—to teach us that the Divine Presence rests upon the prophets only for Yisrael’s sake.

THE MEN OF WAR [i.e.,] men from twenty years of age, who go forth to war.

2:18-19 This day you shall cross the border of Moav, 'Ar, and you shall approach opposite the Children of Ammon; you shall not distress them and you shall not provoke them, for I shall not give any of the land of the Children of Ammon to you as an inheritance, for to the children of Lot have I given it as an inheritance.

Rashi on 18-19 THIS DAY YOU SHALL CROSS THE BORDER OF MOAV... AND YOU SHALL APPROACH OPPOSITE THE CHILDREN OF AMMON. From here [we deduce] that the land of Ammon was towards the north.

2:20 It, too, is considered the land of Refaim; Refaim dwelled in it previously, and the Ammonim called them Zamzumim.

Rashi on 2:20 IT, TOO, IS CONSIDERED THE LAND OF REFAIM because the Refaim dwelt there formerly, but this is not the one I gave to Avraham.

2:23 And as for the 'Avim who dwell in open cities until 'Azza [Gaza] - the Kaftorim who went out of Kaftor destroyed them, and dwelled in their place.

Rashi on 2:23 AND AS FOR THE 'AVIM WHO DWELL IN OPEN CITIES. The 'Avim are of the Pelishtim people, for they are listed together with them in the Book of Yehoshua (13:3), as it says, "The five Pelishtim lords." The 'Azzim, the Ashdodim, the Ashkelonim, the Gittim, the Ekronim, and the 'Avim." But because of the oath which Avraham had sworn to Avimelech, (Bereyshit 21:23-24), the Yisraelim were unable to take their land away from them; so I brought the Kaftorim against them, and they destroyed them and dwelt in their stead. Now, you are permitted to take it [the land of the 'Avim] from their [the Kaftorim,] possession.

2:25 This day I shall begin to place dread and fear of you on the face of the peoples under the entire heaven, when they hear of your reputation, and they will tremble and be anxious before you.

Rashi on 2:25 UNDER THE ENTIRE HEAVEN. This [statement that nations under the whole heaven will fear the Yisraelim] teaches that the sun stood still for Moshe on the day of the battle with Og, [Other editions: Sichon,] and the matter became [consequently] known under the entire heaven [that is, to the whole world].

2:26 I sent messengers from the Wilderness of Kedemot to Sichon king of Cheshbon, words of peace, saying,

Rashi on 2:26 I SENT MESSENGERS FROM THE WILDERNESS OF KEDEMOT. Even though the Omnipresent had not commanded me to call to Sichon in peace, I learned to do so from the incident at the desert of Sinai, i.e., relating to the Torah which preceded (kadma) the world. When the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to give the Torah to Yisrael, He took it to 'Esav and Yishmael. Although it was clear to Him that they would not accept it, nevertheless, He began with them in peace. So too, I first called to Sichon with words of peace. Another explanation, Moshe said to G-d, "I learned this from You, Who preceeded (kadamta) the world. You could have sent one flash of lightning to consume the Egyptians, but instead, You sent me from the desert to Pharaoh, saying, (Shemot 5:1) ‘Let my people go’ patiently."

2:29 as the children of 'Esav who dwell in Seir did for me, and the Moavim who dwell in 'Ar - until I cross the Yarden to the land that Hashe, our G-d, gives us.

Rashi on 2:29 AS THE CHILDREN OF 'ESAV...DID FOR ME. This is not referring to permission to pass through their land, [for Edom refused,] rather it refers to the selling of food and water.

UNTIL I CROSS THE YARDEN. This refers to [Moshe, earlier request] "Allow me to pass through your land." (v27).

2:31 Hashem said to me: See, I have begun to deliver before you Sichon and his land; begin to drive [him] out, to take possession of his land.

Rashi on 2:31 I HAVE BEGUN TO DELIVER...BEFORE YOU. G-d forced down the guardian angel of the Emori from above, beneath Moshe feet and made him tread upon his neck.

2:32 Sichon went out toward us - he and his entire people - for battle, to Yachaz.

Rashi on 2:32 SICHON WENT OUT. He did not send for Og to assist him. This teaches us that they did not require each other’s assistance [so powerful was each one of them.]

2:33 Hashem, our G-d, gave him before us, and we smote him and his sons and his entire people.

Rashi 2:33 AND HIS SONS. It is written banav [which can also be read as beno] "his son" [although traditionally it is read banaiv "his sons"], for Sichon had a son who was as mighty as he.

2:34 We captured all his cities at that time, and we destroyed every city - the men, the women and the small children; we did not leave a survivor.

Rashi on 2:34 THE MEN. Referring to the spoil taken from Sichon it is stated (v35), bazaznu lanu, an expression denoting plunder biza, because it was precious to them, and every man plundered for himself. When they came to the spoils of Og, however, they were already satisfied and full, and it was contemptible in their eyes. They tore into pieces and threw away cattle and garments, and took only the silver and gold. Therefore, it states (3:7), bazonu lanu, which is an expression of "contempt." It is also expounded in Sifrei, in the chapter beginning, "And Yisrael dwelt in Shittim" (BaMidbar 25).

2:37 Only to the land of the Children of Ammon you did not draw near, everywhere near the Valley of Yabbok and the cities of the mountain, and all that Hashem, our G-d, commanded [us].

Rashi on 2:37 EVERYWHERE NEAR THE VALLEY OF YABBOK [means,] all the area beside the brook of Yabrok.

3:1 We turned and ascended by way of the Bashan; and Og king of Bashan went out toward us, he and his entire people, for war at Edrei.

Rashi on 3:1 WE TURNED AND ASCENDED. The whole northern direction [from the wilderness toward Kenaan] is an ascent.

3:2 Hashem said to me, "Do not fear him, for into your hand have I given him and his entire people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sichon king of the Emori, who dwells in Cheshbon.

Rashi on 3:2 DO NOT FEAR HIM. In the case of Sichon [however] it was not necessary to state, "Do not fear him." But [in the case of Og,] Moshe feared lest the merit that he [Og] had rendered service to Avraham might stand by him, as it says, "And the fugitive came" (Bereyshit 14:13), and this was Og.

3:4 We captured all his cities as that time; there was no city that we did not take from them - sixty cities, the entire region of the royal palace - the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

Rashi on 3:4 ENTIRE REGION OF THE ROYAL PALACE. This is rendered in the Targum as, "the province of Trachona," and I saw the Targum Yerushalmi of Megillath Esther, which calls a palace terachoniv. Hence, I derive from this that argov chevel means "the province of the royal palace," denoting that the province is called after its name. [Consequently] I learned that the province argov is the province of the king’s palace, i.e., [the province] after which the kingdom was named. Similarly, the et argov found in 2Melachim 15:25 means that near the king’s palace, "Pekach the son of Remalyahu killed Pekachya the son of Menachem..."

3:5 All these were fortified cities, with a high wall, doors and a bar, aside from open cities, very many.

Rashi on 3:5 ASIDE FROM OPEN CITIES, i.e., without a wall. Similarly, "Yerushalayim will be inhabited like unwalled towns" (Zecharya 2:8).

3:6 We destroyed them, as we did to Sichon king of Cheshvon, destroying every city - the men, the women and the small children.

Rashi on 3:6 DESTROYING. Hebrew:hacharem. This is the present tense: [i.e.,] continuously destroying.

3:8 At that time we took the land from the hand of the two kings of the Emori that were on the other side of the Yarden, from the Valley of Arnon to Mount Chermon -

Rashi on 3:8 FROM THE HAND. [I.e.,] from the possession.

3:9 Tzidonim would call Chermon Siryon, and the Emori would call it Senir -

Rashi on 3:9 TZIDONIM WOULD CALL CHERMON, etc. But in another passage, it states, "Until Mount Sion, which is Chermon" (Devarim 4:48). So we see that it had four names [Chermon, Siryon, Senir, and Sion]. Why was it necessary for all of them to be written [in the Scriptures]? To extol the praise of the land of Yisrael, that there were four kingdoms priding themselves in it—one saying, "It shall be called by my name," and another saying, "It shall be called by my name."

SENIR. This means "snow" in German and Slavish.

3:11 For only 'Og king of the Bashan was left of the remaining Refaim. Behold! his bed was an iron bed, in Rabbah of the Children of 'Ammon; nine cubits its length and four cubits its width, by the cubit of a man.

Rashi on 3:11 ONLY 'OG...WAS LEFT OF THE REMAINING REFAIM whom Amrafel and his allies killed in 'Ashterot-karnayim [see Bereyshit 14:5], and he ['Og] escaped from the battle, as it is said, "And the fugitive came" (Bereyshit 14:13), and this is 'Og.

BY THE CUBIT OF A MAN. I.e., according to the cubit of 'Og [from the elbow to the end of the middle finger].

3:12 And we took possession of that land at that time; from 'Aroer, which is by the Valley of Arnon, and half of the mountain of Gilad and its cities I gave to the Reuveni and to the Gadi.

Rashi on 3:12 AND WE TOOK POSSESSION OF THAT LAND AT THAT TIME. The one mentioned above, "from the brook of Arnon to Mount Chermon" (v8).

FROM 'AROER, WHICH IS BY THE VALLEY OF ARNON. This is not to be connected with the beginning of the verse [defining "this land"], but with its conclusion, [namely,] "I gave to the Reuvenim and to the Gadim." Regarding the possession, however, that was "[from the brook of Arnon] to Mount Chermon" (v8).

3:13 The rest of the Gilad and the entire Bashan, the kingdom of 'Og, I gave to half the tribe of Menashshe, the entire region of the royal palace of the entire Bashan, that is called the land of Refaim.

Rashi on 3:13 THAT IS CALLED THE LAND OF REFAIM. That is what I gave to Avraham.

3:16 To the Reuveni and to the Gadi I gave from the Gilad until the Valley of Arnon, the midst of the valley and a border, until the Valley of Yabbok, the border of the children of 'Ammon,

Rashi on 3:16 THE MIDST OF THE VALLEY AND A BORDER. The entire brook and [the land] on its opposite bank. As if to say, "until" [the brook of Arnon,] including [the brook itself, i.e., the brook itself is included in the words toch hanachal] and then a bit more [namely, the opposite bank, referred to by the word ugevul.

3:17 and the 'Aravah and the Yarden and a border, from Kinneret to the sea of the 'Aravah, the Salt Sea, below the waterfalls from the mountaintop, eastward.

Rashi on 3:17 FROM KINNERET. This was on the western side of the Yarden, and the inheritance of the children of Gad was on the eastern side of the Yarden; so the width of the Yarden adjoining their territory fell within their lot, and in addition, the land on its opposite bank until the Kinneret. This is what it says, "And the Yarden and the border" of the Yarden and beyond it.

3:18 I commanded you at that time, saying, "Hashem, your G-d, gave you this land to take possession of it, armed shall you cross over before your brothers, the Children of Yisrael, all the men of the legion.

Rashi on 3:18 I COMMANDED YOU. He was addressing the sons of Reuven and the sons of Gad.

ARMED SHALL YOU CROSS OVER BEFORE YOUR BROTHERS. They would go in front of the [other] Yisraelim to battle, because they were mighty, and the enemies would fall before them, as it is said [of Gad], "He tears the arm together with the crown" (Devarim 33:20).


Rashi - The Sapirstein Edition [Devarim]

Complete Tanach with Rashi CD

Return to Parsha Index