Parashat Re'eh


Devarim 11:26 See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse.

Rashi on 11:26 A BLESSING AND A CURSE [i.e.,] those that were stated, [respectively,] on Mount Gerizim and on Mount 'Eval.

11:27 The blessing that you listen to the commandments of Hashem, your G-d, that I command you today.

Rashi on 11:27 THE BLESSING on the condition that you listen [and obey].

11:28 And the curse: if you do not listen to the commandments of Hashem, your G-d, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow the gods of others, that you did not know.

Rashi on 11:28 IF YOU... STRAY FROM THE PATH THAT I COMMAND YOU TODAY, TO FOLLOW FOLLOW GODS OF OTHERS. This teaches that whoever worships idols departs from the entire path that Yisrael has been commanded. From here [our Rabbis] said: One who acknowledges [the divinity of] pagan deities is as though he denies the entire Torah.

11:29 It shall be that when Hashem, your G-d, brings you to the land to which you come, to possess it, then you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount 'Eval.

Rashi on 11:29 YOU SHALL PLACE THE BLESSING. As the Targum [Onkelos] renders it: "those who bless."

ON MOUNT GERIZIM. [al, usually "upon," here means] "facing Mount Gerizim." [The Leviim] turned their faces [toward the mountain] and began with the blessing: "Blessed is the man who does not make any graven or molten image..." Each of the curses in that section [beginning Devarim 27:15] were first stated in the expression of a blessing. Afterwards, they turned their faces towards Mount 'Eval and began [to recite the corresponding] curse.

11:30 Are they not on the other side of the Yarden, far beyond [it], in the direction of the sunset, in the land of Kenaani, that dwells in the plain, faar from Gilgal, near the Plains of Moreh?

Rashi on 11:30 ARE THEY NOT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE YARDEN. [Moshe] gave [geographical] landmarks [describing the mountains].

BEYOND. [I.e.,] after crossing the Yarden, much further on in distance, for that is the meaning of the expression acharei, "beyond"; wherever [the term] acharei is used, [it signifies] "a great separation [in time or place]."

ON THE OTHERS SIDE OF THE YARDEN, FAR BEYOND [IT], IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SUNSET [i.e.,] beyond the Yarden, toward the west. And the cantillation marks of the verse prove that [acharei and derech] refer to two separate things, for they are marked with two [conjunctive] accents [thus demonstrating that these words are not connected]: acharei is punctuated with a pashta [which separates the word from the succeeding one], and derech is punctuated with a mashpel [which we call a yetib]. In addition, [the dalet of the word derech has a dagesh inside it [which indicates that the word derechbegins a new phrase or topic]. If, however, acharei derech were one phrase [meaning "beyond the direction"], then acharei would have been punctuated by a conjunctive accent, namely a shofar hafuch [which we call a mahpach] and derechby a pashta [the combination of which indicates the connection between those words. Additionally, the dalet of the word derech] would not have a dagesh inside it. [But this is not so, and thus acharei and derech are separate words in this verse.]

FAR. Far off from Gilgal.

NEAR THE PLAINS OF MOREH. This is Shechem, as is stated: "to the place of Shechem, to the plain of Moreh" (Bereishit 12:6).

11:31 For you are crossing the Yarden to come and take possession of the land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you; you shall possess it and you shall settle in it.

Rashi on 11:31 FOR YOU ARE CROSSING THE YARDEN. The miracles [that will occur for you during your crossing] of the Yarden will be a sign in your hands that you will come and inherit the land [as promised].

12:2 Destroy, you shall destroy all the places where the nations from whom you shall take possession worshiped their gods: on the high mountains and on the hills, and under very leafy tree.

Rashi on 12:2 DESTROY, YOU SHALL DESTROY. Destroy and then destroy them again. From here [we derive that] one who eradicates idolatry must thoroughly uproot it [i.e., remove every trace of it].

ALL THE PLACES WHERE THE NATIONS...WHORSHIPED. And what shall you destroy from them? Their gods that are on the mountains, etc.

12:3 You shall break apart their altars; you shall smash their pillars; and their Asherim shall you burn in the fire; their carved images shall you cut down; and you shall destroy their names from that place.

Rashi on 12:3 ALTARS [constructed] of many stones.

PILLARS [constructed] of one stone. This is the bimus [the pedestal for an idol] concerning which we learn in the Mishnah (A.Z. 3:7): A stone that was originally carved for an idol’s pedestal.

ASHERAH a tree that is worshipped.

YOU SHALL DESTROY THEIR NAMES. By giving them disgraceful nicknames. What they call, "exalted temple," [you] should call, "dug out house," what they call, "the all-seeing eye," [you] should call, "the thorn eye."

12:4 You shall not do so to Hashem, your G-d.

Rashi on 12:4 YOU SHALL NOT DO SO TO HASHEM, YOUR G-D to burn sacrifices to G-d in any place you choose, but rather at the place that He will choose. Another explanation is: "And you shall tear down their altars... and destroy their name... [but] do not do so [to Hashem your G-d]"; this is an admonition [addressed] to one who would erase the Name [of G-d from any writing] or remove a stone from the altar or from the courtyard. Rabbi Ishmael said: Would it enter your mind that the Yisraelim would tear down the altars [of G-d]? Rather, [the meaning of "You shall not do so" is that] you should not do like the deeds of the nations so that your sins would cause the sanctuary of [i.e., built by] your fathers to be destroyed.

12:5 Rather, only at the place that Hashem, your G-d, will choose from all your tribes to place His Name there, you shall seek out His resting place and come there.

Rashi on 12:5 YOU SHALL SEEK OUT HIS RESTING PLACE. This is the Mishkan in Shiloh.

12:6 And there shall you bring your olah-offerings and your sacrifices, and your tithes and what is raised of your hand, your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your cattle and your flocks.

Rashi on 12:6 AND YOUR SACRIFICES. Obligatory peace offerings.

YOUR TITHES. [I.e.,] the tithe of the cattle and the second tithe, to eat them within the walls [of Yerushalayim].

WHAT IS RAISED OF YOUR HAND. These are the first fruits, of which it is stated: "And the Kohen shall take the basket from your hand" (Devarim 26:4).

AND THE FIRSTBORN OF YOUR CATTLE to give them to the Kohen, and he shall offer them up there.

12:7 You shall eat there before Hashem, your G-d, and you shall rejoice in all that you have undertaken, you and your households, as Hashem, your G-d, has blessed you.

Rashi on 12:7 AS HASHEM, YOUR G-D, HAS BLESSED YOU. Commensurate to the blessing, bring [the offerings].

12:8 You shall no do like all that we do here today - [rather,] every man what is proper in his eyes -

Rashi on 12:8 YOU SHALL NOT DO LIKE ALL THAT WE DO HERE TODAY. This refers back to [what is stated above], "For you are crossing the Yarden..." (Devarim 11:31), meaning: When you will cross the Yarden, you immediately are permitted to offer up [sacrifices] on a bamah [a temporary altar] during the entire fourteen years of conquering [the nations] and dividing [the land among the tribes], but on a bamah you may not sacrifice all that you sacrifice "here this day," in the Mishkan, which is with you and has been anointed and is [thus] fit to sacrifice therein sin-offerings and guilt-offerings, vows and donations, whereas on a bamah, you may sacrifice only what is vowed or a donated. And that is the meaning of "every man [doing] what he deems fit" vows and donations that you donate because you deem fit to bring them, not because of any obligation [imposed upon you]; only these may you offer up on a bamah.

12:9 for you will not yet have come to the resting place and to the heritage that Hashem, your G-d, gives you.

Rashi on 12:9 FOR YOU WILL NOT YET HAVE COME TO THE RESTING PLACEF. All those fourteen years [of conquering and dividing the land].

NOT YET. Hebrew: ad-atah, the same as adayin,"not yet."


AND TO THE HERITAGE. This is Yerushalyim.

12:10 You shall cross the Yarden and you shall settle in the land that Hashem, your G-d, causes you to inherit, and He will give you rest from all your enemies all around, and you will dwell securely.

Rashi on 12:10 YOU SHALL CROSS THE YARDEN AND YOU SHALL SETTLE IN THE LAND. You will have apportioned it [among yourselves] and every man will recognize his portion and [the territory of] his tribe.

AND HE WILL GIVE YOU REST. [I.e.,] after conquering and dividing [the land] and having obtained rest from the "nations which Hashem left over, through whom to test Yisrael" (Shoftim 3:1). And that was only in the days of David.

12:11 Then it shall be that the place where Hashem, your G-d, will choose to rest His Name - there shall you bring everything that I command you: your olah-offerings and your [peace-offering] sacrifices, your tithes and what is raised of your hand, and the choicest of your vow offerings that you will vow to Hashem.

Rashi on 12:11 IT SHALL BE THAT THE PLACE WHERE HASHEM, YOUR G-D, WILL CHOOSE... THERE SHALL YOU BRING EVERYTHING THAT I COMMAND YOU. [At that time,] build for yourselves the Temple in Yerushalayim. And so [Scripture] states concerning David, "And it was, when the king sat in his house and Hashem had given him rest from all his enemies surrounding him, that the king said to Natan the prophet, 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedars, but the Ark of G-d dwells within the curtain’" (2Shmuel 7:1, 2) [i.e., the temporary Mishkan].

THERE SHALL YOU BRING EVERYTHING THAT I COMMAND YOU. Above (v6), [the same expression] is stated referring to Shiloh, but here it is stated referring to Yerushalayim. Accordingly, Scripture separates the two to permit [sacrificing on a bamah during the intermediate period] between the existence of] one [sanctuary] and the other. After Shiloh was destroyed, and they came to Nov [and erected the Mishkan there], and then again, when Nov was destroyed and they came to Giveon, [sacrificing on] a bamah was permitted—until they [finally] arrived in Yerushalayim-

THE CHOICEST OF YOUR VOW OFFERINGS. This teaches that one should bring [offerings] from the choicest.

12:13 Beware for yourself lest you bring up your olah-offerings in any place that you see.

Rashi on 12:13 BEWARE FOR YOURESELF LEST YOU BRING UP YOUR OLAH-OFFERINGS IN ANY PLACE THAT YOU SEE. [This negative form of the positive command in v11 is repeated in order] to attach a negative commandment to this matter.

ANY PLACE THAT YOU SEE [i.e.,] that enters your mind. However, you may offer [anywhere] by the bidding of a prophet, for example, as Eliyahu [did] on Mount Karmel (1Melachim 18:22).

12:14 Rather, only in the place that Hashem will choose, among one of your tribes, there shall you bring up your olah-offeirngs, and there shall you do all that I command you.

Rashi on 12:14 ONLY IN THE PLACE THAT HASHEM WILL CHOOSE in one of your tribes in the territory of Binyamin. But above (v5), it says, "[the place that Hashem... will choose] from all your tribes." How can these be reconciled? When David purchased the threshing-floor [later to become the Temple site] from Araunah the Yevusi (2Shmuel 24:24), he collected the [required] gold from all the tribes; however, the threshing-floor itself was [situated] in the territory of Binyamin.

12:15 But in all the desire of your soul you may slaughter and eat meat, according to the blessing that Hashem, your G-d, will have given you in all your cities; the impure one and the pure one may eat it, like the deer and like the hart.

Rashi on 12:15 BUT IN ALL THE DESIRE OF YOUR SOUL YOU MAY SLAUGHTER AND EAT MEAT... IN ALL YOUR CITIES. What is the text speaking about? If [you think that] it [is speaking] about [non-sacrificial] meat eaten to satisfy the appetite, to permit it for them without offering up any sacrificial portions, [we already have a reference to this, for Scripture] says elsewhere: "When Hashem, your G-d, expands your boundary... and you say, 'I will eat meat... [you may eat meat…]’" (v20). So what is this [verse] speaking about? It is [referring to] animals designated for holy [sacrificial] purposes that had [subsequently] become blemished, that they are to be redeemed [that is, replaced by their equivalent value in money] and they may [then] be eaten anywhere. Now one might think that [this rule applies] even if the blemish is a temporary one. Therefore, Scripture says: rak —"However" [literally, "only." This limits the permission to that of a permanent blemish].

YOU MAY SLAUGHTER AND EAT MEAT. You have no permission to sheer or milk [the blemished animals], but only to eat the [meat] after their ritual slaughter.

THE IMPURE ONE AND THE PURE ONE MAY EAT IT. Since they formerly had holy status, about which it is stated: "And the flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten" (VaYikra 7:19), it is necessary to give explicit permission for both the unclean and clean person alike to eat [from the meat, even] from the same dish... as of the deer and as of the hart of which no sacrifice is [ever] brought.

LIKE THE DEER AND LIKE THE HART. This [comparison to a deer and a hart] exempts these [redeemed animals] from [the obligation of] "the foreleg, the jaws, and the maw [stomach]" (see Devarim 18:3) [just as the deer and the hart are exempt from these gifts to the Kohen.

12:16 But you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it onto the earth, like water.

Rashi on 12:16 BUT YOU SHALL NOT EAT THE BLOOD. Although I said that these [animals] do not require sprinkling the blood on the altar, you shall not eat it.

YOU SHALL POUR IT ONTO THE EARTH, LIKE WATER. [This comes] to tell you that it does not require covering [with earth (see VaYikra 17:13)]. Another explanation: [The phrase, "like water," teaches us that] it is like water insofar as it renders seeds susceptible [for receiving ritual uncleanness (VaYikra 11:38).]

12:17 You may not eat in your cities: the tithe of your grain, and your wine, and your oil; and the firstborn of your cattle and your flocks; all your vow offerings that you vow and your free-will offerings; and what is raised of your hand.

Rashi on 12:17 YOU MAY NOT EAT IN YOUR CITIES: THE TITHE OF YOUR GRAIN. Scripture comes to attach a negative commandment to this matter [i.e., eating the firstborn, tithes, etc., outside the walls of Yerushalayim, in addition to the positive command (stated in v6)].

YOU MAY NOT EAT, literally, "you cannot eat."] Rabbi Joshua the son of Korchah said: You are able, but you are not permitted [to do so]. Similar to this, in the verse "As to the Yevusim, the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, the children of Yehudah could not drive them out" (Yehoshua 15:63), they were [physically] able to do so but they were not so permitted, since Avraham had made a [non-aggression] treaty with them when he bought the cave of Machpelah from them. [In fact,] they were not Yevusim [of the Yevusi nation] but Chittim. They were, however, called Yevusim after the city, named Yevus. So it is explained in Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer (chapter 36). And this is what is stated [when David was about to drive out the Yevusim. They said to him], "Unless you take away the blind and the lame [you shall not come in here]" (2Shmuel 5:6), [referring to] the images [that stood at the gates] upon which the oath [that Avraham had taken regarding the Yevusim] was written.

YOU MAY NOT EAT IN YOUR CITIES... THE FIRSTBORN OF YOUR CATTLE. This prohibition is addressed to the Kohanim [in contrast to "the tithe of your grain," since Yisraelim were never permitted to eat the firstborn, even within the walls of Yerushalayim].

AND WHAT IS RAISED BY YOUR HAND. This refers to the first fruits (see above on v6).

12:18 Rather you shall eat them before Hashem, your G-d, in the place that Hashem, your G-d, will choose - you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, and the Levi who is in your cities - and you shall rejoice before Hashem, your G-d, in your every undertaking.

Rashi on 12:18 RATHER YOU SHALL EAT THEM BEFORE HASHEM [i.e.,] within the walls [of Yerushalayim].

AND THE LEVI WHO IS IN YOUR CITIES. If you have nothing to give him from his portion, such as the first tithes, then give him the tithe of the poor. And if you have no tithe of the poor, invite him [to partake of] your peace offering.

12:19 Beware for yourself lest you forsake the Levi, all your days on your land.

Rashi on 12:19 BEWARE FORYOURSELF LEST YOU FORSAKE THE LEVI. This [in addition to the positive command expressed in the previous verse,] is to attach a negative commandment to the matter.

BEWARE FORYOURSELF LEST YOU FORSAKE THE LEVI...UPON YOUR LAND. But in exile, you are not admonished regarding him more than poor Yisraelim.

12:20 When Hashem, your G-d, will broaden your boundary as He spoke to you, and you say, "I would eat meat," for it is the desire of your soul to eat meat, as all the desire of your soul you may eat meat.

Rashi on 12:20 WHEN HASHEM, YOUR G-D, WILL BROADEN YOUR BOUNDARY... AND YOU SAY, "I WOULD EAT MEAT"... YOU MAY EAT MEAT. The Torah teaches proper conduct, that one should not desire to eat meat unless [one lives] in abundance and wealth.

AS ALL THE DESIRE OF YOUR SOUL YOU MAY EAT MEAT. In the desert, however, the meat of a non-consecrated animal was forbidden to them, unless one first consecrated it and offered it up as a peace offering.

12:21 Because the place where Hashem, your G-d, will choose to place His Name will be far from you, you may slaughter from your cattle and your flock that Hashem has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat in your cities according to all the desire of your soul.

Rashi on 12:21 BECAUSE THE PLACE WHERE HASHEM, YOUR G-D, WILL CHOOSE TO PLACE HIS NAME WILL BE FAR FROM YOU. And you will [consequently] be unable to come and make peace-offerings every day, as [you do] now when the Mishkan goes along with you.

YOU MAY SLAUGHTER... AS I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. We learn [from here] that there is a commandment regarding slaughtering, how one must slaughter. [Since this commandment is not written in the Torah we deduce that] these are the laws of ritual slaughtering given orally to Moshe on Mount Sinai.

12:22 But as the deer and the hart are eaten, so may you eat it, the impure one and the pure one may eat it together.

Rashi on 12:22 BUT AS THE DEER AND THE HART ARE EATEN, SO MAY YOU EAT IT. You are not admonished to eat them in a state of ritual purity; if, however, [you will reason:] Just as the fat of the deer and the hart is permitted [as food], so too should the fat of non-consecrated animals be permitted. Therefore [to counter this] Scripture says, "but" (ach.)

12:23 Only be strong not to eat the blood - for the blood, it is the soul - and you shall not eat the soul with the meat.

Rashi on 12:23 ONLY BE STRONG NOT TO EAT THE BLOOD. Since it is stated "be strong" [i.e., resist temptation], you learn that the [Yisraelim] were inclined to eating blood. Therefore, it is necessary to state, "be strong." [These are] the words of Rabbi Judah. Rabbi Simeon the son of Azzai, however, says: Scripture comes only to caution you and to instruct you as to what extent you must be steadfast in [fulfilling] the commandments: If regarding blood, which is easy to watch out for, since a person has no desire for it, [the Torah] needed to strengthen you with its admonition, how much more so [must one strengthen oneself] for all other commandments!

AND YOU SHALL NOT EAT THE SOUL WITH THE MEAT. This is an admonition against ever min hachai, [the eating of] a limb from a live animal.

12:24 You shall not eat it, you shall pour it onto the ground like water.

Rashi on 12:24 YOU SHALL NOT EAT IT. This is an admonition against the eating (dam hatamtzit), (the last blood oozing [from the incision of slaughtering]).

12:25 You shall not eat it, in order that it be well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the eyes of Hashem.

Rashi on 12:25 YOU SHALL NOT EAT IT. This is an admonition against the eating of the blood contained in the limbs [of the animal].

IN ORDER THAT IT BE WELL WITH YOU. Go forth and learn the [magnitude of] the reward for [observing] the commandments: If [in the case of] blood, which disgusts a person, he who abstains from it earns merit [both] for himself and for his children after him, how much more so [does this apply] to abstaining from theft and immorality, after which man’s soul of does lust.

12:26 Only your holy offerings that you will have and your vow offerings you shall carry and come to the place that Hashem will choose.

Rashi on 12:26 ONLY YOUR HOLY OFFERINGS... YOU SHALL CARRY AND COME TO THE PLACE THAT HASHEM WILL CHOOSE. Although you are permitted to slaughter unconsecrated animals, I did not permit you to slaughter consecrated animals and eat them in your cities without offering [them] up [on the altar]; rather, you must bring them to the Temple.

12:27 You shall perform your olah-offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the Altar of Hashem, your G-d; and the blood of your [peace-offering] sacrifices shall be poured upon the Altar of Hashem, your G-d, and you shall eat the flesh.

Rashi on 12:27 AND YOU SHALL PERFORM YOUR OLAH-OFFERINGS. If [your sacrifices] are burnt-offerings, place the flesh and the blood on the altar [as it says: "the flesh and the blood on the altar of Hashem," with respect to burnt offerings]. But if they are peace-offerings, "the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured upon the altar" first, and afterwards "you shall eat the flesh." Our Rabbis further deduced that [the words] "However, your holy offerings... [you shall carry]" (v26) come to instruct us regarding consecrated animals that are outside the Land [of Yisrael], as well as to instruct us regarding animals that have been exchanged for other consecrated animals, and regarding the offspring of consecrated animals, that [all of] these must [also] be offered up [in Yerushalayim].

12:28 Safeguard and listen to all these matters that I command you, in order that it be well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and what is right in the yes of Hashem, your G-d.

Rashi on 12:28 SAFEGUARD AND LISTEN TO ALL THESE MATTERS THAT I COMMAND YOU. This [term shemor, "keep"] refers to the studying of the Oral Law. [Since it is not written down,] you must "guard" it "in your innards," so that it should not be forgotten, as it is said, "For it is pleasant that you guard them (tishmerem) in your innards" (Mishle 22:18). And if you studied, you may understand and fulfill [the commandments], but one who is not [immersed] in study, cannot be [immersed] in practice.

SAFEGUARD... ALL THESE MATTERS THAT I COMMAND YOU. This means that a light commandment should be as precious to you as a difficult commandment.


AND WHAT IS RIGHT in the eyes of man.

12:30 beware for yourself, lest you be distracted by them after they have been destroyed before you; and lest you seek out their gods, saying, "How did these nations worship their gods, and even I will do the same."

Rashi on 12:30 LEST YOU BE DISTRACTED. Hebrew: pen-tinakesh achareihem. Onkelos renders tinakesh as an expression of mokesh, a "snare." [However,] I say that he was not meticulous in examining the language, for we do not find a "nun" in [any form of] the verb "to snare," not even as a root letter that is [sometimes] omitted from it. However, as an expression denoting vehement movement [from place to place] and rattling, we do find a "nun", as in "and his knees knocked nakshan one against the other [in fear]" (Daniel 5:6). Here, too, I say that pen-tinakesh achareihem means "lest you be attracted to them," i.e., by becoming bound up in what they do. Similarly, "May a creditor search out (yenakesh) all that he has" (Tehillim 109:11)—here David cursed the wicked that he should have many creditors and they should continually go after and be attracted to his money.

BEWARE FOR YOURSELF, LEST YOU BE DISTRACTED BY THEM AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BEFORE YOU. [G-d says:] After you see that I will annihilate them from before you, you ought to consider why these [people] were exterminated; because of the corrupt actions that were in their hands [i.e., that they had committed]. Accordingly, you should not act likewise, lest others come and exterminate you.

HOW DID THESE NATIONS WORSHIP THEIR GODS. [Until now,] the only cases that incurred the [death] penalty for idolatry were slaughtering, causing to go up in smoke, libation, and prostration [before any other god], as it says' "[He who slaughters [a sacrifice] to the gods shall be destroyed] except to Hashem alone" (Shemot 22:19). [This means that the of death punishment is incurred if one commits] things that are done for the Most High [namely the four aforementioned types of worship]. Here [Scripture] teaches you that if it is customary to worship a particular idol by some other rite, such as defacating before [Baal] Peor or casting a stone at Mercurius, this is considered its worship, and [one who performs that form of worship] is liable [to the death penalty]. However, regarding slaughtering, causing to go up in smoke, libation, and prostration, even though it is not customary [for that idol], one is liable [to the death penalty].

12:31 You shall not do so to Hashem, your G-d, for everything that is an abomination of Hashem, that He hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughers have they burned in the fire for their gods.

Rashi on 12:31 FOR EVEN THEIR SONS AND THEIR DAUGHTERS HAVE THEY BURNED IN THE FIRE TO THEIR GODS. The word gam, "also," [comes] to include their fathers and mothers [among those they burned]. Rabbi Akiva stated, "I [once] saw a heathen who bound his father before his dog, which then devoured him." [The dog represents the idol, either because it was made in the form of a dog, or this is a pejorative. The dog’s eating the father means that the heathen burned his father in fire before the idol.

13:1 The entire matter that I command you, you shall guard it to do; you shal not add to it and you shall not subtract from it.

Rashi on 13:1 THE ENTIRE MATTER THAT I COMMAND YOU - less significant [commandments] as well as more significant ones.

YOU SHALL GUARD IT TO DO. [This statement] attaches a negative commandment to the positive commandments mentioned in this parashah, for wherever hishamer is used, "guard," it is an expression of a negative commandment. Lashes, however, are not incurred for [infringement of a prohibition when] the term hishamer is attached to a positive commandment. You shall neither add to it [e.g., placing] five chapters in tefillin [instead of four], or [using] five species for the lulav [instead of four], or [reciting] four blessings [instead of three] for the "blessing of the Kohanim."

13:2 If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will give you a sign or a wonder,

Rashi on 13:2 IF THERE SHOULD STAND UP IN YOUR MIDST A PROPHET... AND HE WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN, [meaning a sign] in the heavens, as it is stated in the case of Gidon [who said to the angel]: "then show me a sign (ot)" (Shoftim 6:17), and then it says [further], "let it be dry only upon the fleece [and upon all the ground let there be dew]" (Shoftim 6:39).

OR A WONDER, [meaning a sign] on the earth. (Other texts [of Rashi read as follows]: and he gives you a sign in the heavens, as is written, "and they [i.e., the sun, the moon, and the stars] shall be for signs (l'otot) and for seasons" [Bereishit 1:14].

OR A WONDER on the earth, as is written, "If there will be dew on the fleece only, and upon all the ground, dry" [Shoftim 6:39]). Even so, you shall not listen to him. But if you say, "Why then does the Holy One, blessed is He, give him the power to perform a sign? [Scripture replies,] "for Hashem, your G-d, is testing you [... whether you really love Hashem your G-d]" (v4).

13:5 Hashem, your G-d, shall you follow and Him shall you fear; His commandments shall you keep and to His voice shall you listen; Him shall you serve and to Him shall you cleave.

Rashi on 13:5 HIS COMMANDMENTS SHALL YOU KEEP the Torah of Moshe.

HIS VOICE SHALL YOU LISTEN the voice of the prophets.

HIM SHALL YOU SERVE in His sanctuary.

AND TO HIM SHALL YOU CLEAVE to His ways: bestow kindness, bury the dead, and visit the sick, just as the Holy One, blessed is He, did.

13:6 And that prophet or that dreamer of a dream shall be put to death, for he had spoken fabrication against Hashem, your G-d - Who takes you out of the land of Egypt, and Who redeems you from the house of slaves - to make you stray from the path on which Hashem, your G-d, has commanded you to go; and you shall destroy the evil from your midst.

Rashi on 13:6 FOR HE HAD SPOKEN FABRICATION, literally something turned away, removed from the world, which neither existed nor was created, and which I never commanded him to say; destodre in Old French, to distort.

AND WHO REDEEMS YOU FROM THE HOUSE OF SLAVES. Even if G-d had no [other claim] on you other than that He had redeemed you, it would be sufficient [to demand your obedience].

13:7 If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your own soul will incite you secretly, saying, "Let us go and worship the gods of others" - that you did not know, you or your forefathers,

Rashi on 13:7 IF YOUR BROTHER... WILL INCITE YOU. The term hasatah always denotes inciting as it is said, "If Hashem has incited you against me" (1Shmuel 26:19); ametra in Old French, will incite, that he tempts him to do so.

YOUR BROTHER from the father[’s side].

THE SON OF YOUR MOTHER from the mother[’s side].

OF YOUR BOSOM. The one that lies in your embrace and is attached (machaka) to you; afichiede in Old French, bound, attached (Greenberg), afichier in Old French, to attach (Gukovitzki). This is similar to umecheik haaretz (Yechezkel 43:14), which refers to the base [of the altar] that is affixed firmly in the ground.

OR YOUR FRIEND WHO IS LIKE YOUR OWN SOUL. This refers to your father. Scripture enumerates those [persons] who are dear to you; how much more so [must you apply this] to others [and not spare them]!

IF YOUR BROTHER... INCITE YOU SECRETLY. Scripture speaks of what commonly [occurs, but does not exclude the other case, i.e., one who entices publicly], for usually the one who entices speaks clandestinely. Similarly, Shlomo [describing an episode of enticement,] says: "In the twilight, in the evening time, in the blackness of night and the darkness" (Mishle 7:9).

LET US GO AND WORSHIP THE G0DS OF OTHERS - THAT YOU DID NOT KNOW, YOU OR YOUR FOREFATHERS. This would be a great disgrace for you, for not even the heathen nations forsake what their forefathers have handed down to them. Yet this [man] says to you, "Abandon what your forefathers have handed down to you!"

13:8 from the gods of the peoples that are around you, those near to you or those far from you, from the end of the earth to the end of the earth -

Rashi on 13:8 THOSE NEAR TO YOU OR THOSE FAR FROM YOU. Why did [Scripture] specify [gods] that are "near... or far"? Rather, this is what Scripture says: Through [knowing] the character of those [gods] close to you, you learn the character of those far from you; just as those close to you are devoid of substance, so are those far from you devoid of substance.

GODS... FAR FROM YOU, FROM THE END OF THE EARTH TO THE END OF THE EARTH. This refers to the sun, the moon, and the legion of heavens [i.e., the stars], which extend from one end of the world to the other.

13:9 you shall not take kindly to him and you shall not listen to him; your eyes shall not take pity on him, you shall not be compassionate and you shall not cover up for him.

Rashi on 13:9 YOU SHALL NOT TAKE KINDLY TO HIM. You shall feel no longing (tove) towards him; do not love him (lo tohavenu). Since it is said, "You shall love your fellow man as yourself" (VaYikra 19:18), [therefore it is necessary to tell us that] this person, [however,] you shall not love.

AND YOU SHALL NOT LISTEN TO HIM when he pleads for his life, that you should pardon him. [It is necessary to state this] because it says, "[If you see the donkey of your enemy] you shall surely help him" (Shemot 23:5); this person, [however,] you shall not help.

YOUR EYE SHALL NOT TAKE PITY ON HIM. [It is necessary to state this] because it says, "you shall not stand idly by the blood of your fellow man" (VaYikra 19:16). This person [however] you shall not pity.

YOU SHALL NOT BE COMPASSIONATE. Do not search for merits in his favor.

AND YOU SHAL NOT COVER UP FOR HIM. If you are aware of something that will condemn him, you are not permitted to remain silent.

13:10 Rather, you shall surely kill him; you hand shall be the first against him to put him to death, and the hand of the entire people afterwards.

Rashi on 13:10 RATHER, YOU SHALL SURELY KILL HIM -(If he has left the court, acquitted, have him returned for conviction;) if [on the other hand,] he has left the court convicted, do not return him for acquittal

YOUR HAND SHALL BE THE FIRST AGAINST HIM TO PUT HIM TO DEATH. The one who was tempted [to idolatry by this person] has the duty to put him to death. [However] if he did not die by his hand, he must die by the hand of others, as is stated (in this verse), "and afterwards the hand of all the people, etc."

13:13 If, in one of your cities that Hashem, your G-d, gives you to dwell there, you hear, saying,

Rashi on 13:13 TO DWELL THERE. [The words "to dwell therein" are added] to exclude Yerushalayim, which was not apportioned as a dwelling place [for a particular tribe].

IF...YOU HEAR, SAYING, literally, to say. [If you hear people] saying thus:

13:14 "Men, sons of lawlessness have emerged from your midst, and they have caused the dwellers of their city to go astray, saying, 'Let us go and worship the gods of others, that you have not known'"

Rashi on 13:14 SONS OF LAWLESSNESS. Hebrew: benei-veliyaal — people without a yoke beli ol, who have thrown off the yoke of the Omnipresent.


THE DWELLERS OF THEIR CITY. But not the inhabitants of another city. From here [our Rabbis] said: A city is not considered a "wayward city" (ir hanidachat,) unless men (anashim) lead it astray, and unless those who lead it astray are from within it.

13:15 you shall seek out, and investigate, and inquire seel, and behold! it is true, the word is correct, this abomination was committed in your midst.

Rashi on 13:15 YOU SHALL SEEK OUT, AND INVESTIGATE. From this verse [in combination with others as explained], our Rabbis learned [the law of] the "seven investigations" [in a court of law], since Scripture uses many expressions [of investigation]. Here there are three expressions: derisha, chakira, and heitev [i.e., "inquiry'" "investigation'" and "thoroughly"]. The term veshaalta, "[you shall] ask," is not counted as one [of the seven investigations (chakirot,) ] and the the cross-examinations (bedikot,) [regarding accompanying circumstances] are derived from it. [So far, we have three expressions.] And elsewhere [in the case of collusive witnesses,] it says: "And the judges shall inquire thoroughly" (Devarim 19:18). [This adds two more expressions, derisha and heitev, to make five altogether.] And still elsewhere [in the case of idolatry,] it says: "And you shall inquire thoroughly" (Devarim 17:4) [thus adding two more expressions, derisha and heitev, to make up a final total of seven investigatory expressions demonstrating the law of "seven investigations"]. And our Rabbis learned a gezeira shava [i.e., an inference from an identical word in two passages, which teaches us that the laws in one passage apply to the other passage as well] from [the words] heitev heitev, to place what is stated in one context in the other context. [I.e., it is accounted as if all seven written in the context of the "wayward city," as well as in the cases of collusive witnesses and individuals who worshipped idols. I.e., all the seven expressions can be connected together to make seven investigations.] [The judges would ask the witnesses the following seven questions: 1) In what shemitah cycle was the crime committed? 2) In what year? 3) In what month? 4) In what day of the month? 5) On what day [of the week]? 6) In what hour? 7) In what place?

13:16 Smite, you shall smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword; lay it waste and everything that is in it, and its animals, with the edge of the sword.

Rashi on 13:16 SMITE, YOU SHALL SMITE. [The double expression is used to explain that] if you cannot execute the death penalty that is prescribed for them, put them to death in some other manner.

13:17 You shall gather together all its booty to the midst of its open square, and you shall burn in fire completely the city and all its booty to Hashem, your G-d, and it shall be an eternal heap, it shall not be rebuilt.

Rashi on 13:17 BURN IN THE FIRE COMPLETELY THE CITY... TO HASHEM, YOUR G-D [i.e.,] for His Name and for His sake.

13:18 No part of the banned property may adhere to your hand, so that Hashem will turn back from His burning wrath; and He will give you mercy and be merciful to you and multiply you, as He swore to your forefathers.

Rashi on 13:18 SO THAT HASHEM WILL TURN BACK FORM HIS BURNING WRATH. For as long as idol worship [exists] in the world, the fierce wrath [of G-d exists] in the world.

14:1 You are children to Hashem, your G-d - you shall not cut yourselves and you shall not make a bald spot between your eyes for a dead person.

Rashi on 14:1 YOU SHALL NOT CUT YOURSELVES. Do not make cuts and incisions in your flesh [to mourn] for the dead, in the manner that the Emorim do, because you are the children of the Omnipresent and it is appropriate for you to be handsome and not to be cut or have your hair torn out.

AND YOU SHALL NOT MAKE A BALD SPOT BETWEEN YOUR EYES [i.e.,] near the forehead. Elsewhere, however, it says: "They shall not make their head bald" (VaYikra 21:5), to make the entire head like between the eyes [i.e., one must not make bald spots on any part of the head].

14:2 For you are a holy people to Hashem, your G-d, and Hashem has chosen you for Himself to be a treasured people, from among all the peoples on the face of the earth.

Rashi on 14:2 FOR YOU ARE A HOLY PEOPLE. Your holiness stems from your forefathers, and, moreover, "Hashem has chosen you."

14:3 You shall not eat any abomination.

Rashi on 14:3 YOU SHALL NOT EAT ANY ABOMINATION. Anything that I have declared to be an abomination for you—for instance, if he made a slit in the ear of a firstborn [animal], in order to [be permitted to] slaughter it in the country [i.e., outside the Temple walls, where unblemished firstborns must be slaughtered]. This is a thing that I have declared to be an abomination for you, for "no blemish shall be in it" (VaYikra 22:21) [meaning that one may not make a blemish on a firstborn or on any sacrificial animal. Our verse comes to teach here that one may not slaughter [the firstborn] and eat it based on that [deliberately made] blemish. [Another example is] if one cooked meat in milk, which is a thing that I declared an abomination for you; and here Scripture admonishes against eating it.

14:4-5 These are the animals that you may eat: the ox, sheep, and goat; the hart, the deer, and the yachmur, the akko, dishon, the teo, and the zamer.

Rashi on 14:4-5 THESE ARE THE ANIMALS THAT YOU MAY EAT... THE HART, THE DEER, AND THE YACHMUR. [Since the verse begins with "These are the animals..." and then goes on to enumerate types of wild beasts,] we learn that the category of wild beasts (chaya) is included in the category of (behema), [which usually refers only to domestic animals]. We learn also that unclean domestic and wild animals are more numerous than clean [ones] since the less numerous are always enumerated. [Therefore, the clean animals are enumerated here.]

THE AKKO. This is rendered by Targum [Onkelos] as yala, [like the Hebrew yael in the expression] yaalei sala (Iyov 39: 1). This is known as estainboc [in Old French, mountain goat.

THE TEO. [Onkelos renders this:] turbala, [which is the equivalent of] tor hayaar, "the ox of the forest," for bala means "forest" in the Aramaic language.

14:6 And every animal that has a split hoof, which is separated with a split [into] two hooves, that brings up its cud among animals - it you may eat.

Rashi on 14:6 SPLIT, as the Targum [Onkelos renders it].

HOOF, plante [in French].

SEPARATED. [Hooves] cloven into two "nails'" for there are [animals with hooves] split but not entirely cloven into [two] nails; such animals are unclean.

AMONG ANIMALS - IT YOU MAY EAT. This [means literally "within the animal"], meaning that anything found inside the beast, you may eat. From here [our Rabbis] said that a fetus becomes permitted to be eaten through the [proper] slaughtering of its mother [without requiring its own slaughtering].

14:7 But this shall you not eat from among those that bring up their cud or have a separated split hoof: the shesuah, the camel, the hare, and the hyrax, for they bring up their cud, but their hoof is not split - they are impure to you;

Rashi on 14:7 THE SHESUAH. This is a certain creature that has two backs and two spinal columns. Our Rabbis said: Why are [these animals and birds] repeated [here, since they are already mentioned in VaYikra 11]? Because of the [animal called] shesuah, and in [the category of] fowl because of the raah, both of which are not mentioned in Torat Kohanim [i.e., VaYikra].

14:8 and the pig, for it has a split hoof, but not the cud - it is impure to you; from their flesh you shall not eat and you shall not touch their carcasses.

Rashi on 14:8 AND YOU SHALL NOT TOUCH THEIR CARCASSES. Our Rabbis explained [that this refers only to] the Festival[s], for a person is obliged to purify himself for the Festival. One might think that [all Yisraelim] are prohibited [from touching a carcass] during the entire year. Therefore, Scripture states [in reference to the uncleanness of a corpse]. "Say to the Kohanim ... [none shall be defiled for the dead...]" (VaYikra 21:1). Now if in the case of the uncleanness caused by a [human] corpse, which is a stringent [kind of uncleanness, only] Kohanim are prohibited regarding it but [ordinary] Yisraelim are not prohibited, then in the case of uncleanness caused by a carcass [of an animal], which is light [i.e., a less stringent uncleanness], how much more so [is the case that ordinary Yisraelim are permitted to touch these carcasses]!

14:11 You may eat every pure bird.

Rashi on 14:11 YOU MAY EAT EVERY PURE BIRD. ["Every"] comes to include [as permissible to eat] the bird that is set free [in the purification rite] of a metzora (see VaYikra 14:7).

14:12 And this is what you shall not eat from among them: the nesher, the peres, the ozniah;

Rashi on 14:12 THIS IS WHAT YOU SHALL NOT EAT FROM AMONG THEM. [The word "among" comes] to forbid [as food] the [bird that is] slaughtered [in the purification rite of a metzora ].

14:13 the raah, the ayah, and the dayah according to its kind;

Rashi on 14:13 THE RAAH, THE AYAH, [AND THE DAYAH]. These are [names for] the same [or similar] bird. Why is its name called raah? Because it sees (roeh) very well. And why does [Scripture] admonish you with all its names? In order not to give an opponent any opportunity to disagree, so that the one who wishes to prohibit should not call it raah, and the one who wishes to permit it will say, "This one is named dayah," or "This one is named ayah," and Scripture did not prohibit this one!" A nd in the case of birds, [Scripture] enumerates the unclean species, to teach that the clean birds are more numerous than the unclean [in contrast with Rashi on verses 4-5, regarding animals]. Therefore, it enumerates the fewer ones.

14:16 the kos, the yanshuf, and the tinshemet;

Rashi on 14:16 THE TINSHEMET, calve-soriz [in Old French], bat, [chauve souris in modern French. Note that Rashi on Yeshayahu 2:20 brings this laaz for atalef, whereas here and in VaYikra 11:18, he brings it for tinshemet, and does not identify atalef.

14:17 the kaat, the rachamah, and the shalach;

Rashi on 14:17 THE SHALACH [a bird] that draws out (sholeh) fish from the sea.

14:18 the chasidah, and the anafah according to its kind, the duchifat and the atalef.

Rashi on 14:18 THE DUCHIFAT. The wild rooster, [which is called] in Old French haruppe, and which has a double crest.

14:19 And every flying creeping creature is impure to you; they shall not be eaten.

Rashi on 14:19 FLYING CREEPING CREATURE. These are the lowly [creatures] that swarm on the ground: flies, hornets, and the unclean species of locusts. [All these] are called sheretz.

14:20 You may eat every pure fowl.

Rashi on 14:20 YOU MAY EAT EVERY PURE FOWL. But not the unclean ones. Here [Scripture] comes to attach a positive commandment to the negative commandment. Similarly, in the case of [clean] animals, it says: "that you may eat" (v6), [but] not the unclean ones. A prohibition inferred from a positive commandment [is regarded as] a positive commandment, so that one [who eats such food] transgresses a positive and a negative commandment.

14:21 You shall not eat any carcass; to the stranger who is in your cities shall you give it that he may eat it, or sell it to a non-Jew, for you are a holy people to Hashem, your G-d; you shall not cook a tender young animal in its mother's milk.

Rashi on 14:21 YOU SHALL NOT EAT ANY CARCASS; TO THE STRANGER WHO IS IN YOUR CITIES SHALL YOU GIVE IT [i.e.,] a resident alien (ger toshav), who has accepted upon himself not to worship idols, but he eats carcasses [animals not ritually slaughtered].

FOR YOU ARE A HOLY PEOPLE TO HASHEM. Sanctify yourself with that which is permitted to you; i.e., there are things which are technically permissible, but which some people treat as forbidden. In the presence of these people, do not treat those things as permissible. You shall not cook a kid [in its mother’s milk] [This is stated] three times [here, in Shemot 23:19, and in Shemot 34:26], to exclude wild animals, fowl, and unclean animals [from the prohibition of cooking meat in milk]. You shall not cook a kid [in its mother’s milk].

14:22 Tithe, you shall tithe the entire crop of your planting, the produce of the field, year by year.

Rashi on 14:21 & 22 YOU SHALL NOT COOK A KID IN ITS MOTHER'S MILK. TITHE, YOU SHALL TITHE THE ENTIRE CROP. What has one matter to do with the other [i.e., the prohibition of cooking a kid, and tithing]? The Holy One, blessed is He, said to Yisrael: Do not cause Me to destroy the [developing] kernels (gedayim) of grain, while they are yet in their "mother’s womb" [i.e., in the husks], for if you do not tithe your produce properly, when it is near ripening I will bring forth an easterly wind, which will blast them, as it is said, "and blast before becoming standing grain" (2Melachim 19:26). [And just as cooking the kid in its mother’s milk and the tithes are juxtaposed,] so is the topic of the first fruits (bikkurim) [juxtaposed to cooking the kid in its mother’s milk (see Shemot 23:19, 34:26), to teach us that, if you do not bring your first fruits to the Temple as commanded, your fruit produce will whither].

YOU SHALL TITHE... YEAR BY YEAR. From here, we derive [the ruling] that one may not give tithes from the new [crop] for the old [i.e., from this year’s crop for last year’s].

14:23 And you shall eat before Hashem, your G-d, in the place that He will choose to rest His Name there - the tithe of your grain, your wine, and your oil, and the firstborn of your cattle and your flocks, so that you will learn to fear Hashem, your G-d, all the days.

Rashi on 14:23 AND YOU SHALL EAT BEFORE HASHEM, YOUR G-D, IN THE PLACE THAT HE WILL CHOOSE... THE TITHE OF YOUR GRAIN. This refers to maaser sheini, "the second tithe," for we have already learned to give maaser rishon, "the first tithe," to the Leviim, as it is said, "[Speak to the Leviim...] when you take from the children of Yisrael [the tithe]..." (BaMidbar 18:26), and it gives them permission to eat it anywhere [not only in Yerushalayim], as it is said, "and you may eat it in any place" (BaMidbar 18:31). Thus you must conclude that this one [which may be eaten by its owners and must be eaten in Yerushalayim,] is another tithe [namely, the second tithe].

14:24 If the road will be too long for you, so that you will not be able to carry it, because the place that Hashem, your G-d, will choose to place His Name there will be far from you, for Hashem, your G-d, will bless you -

Rashi on 14:24 FOR HASHEM, YOUR G-D, WILL BELSS YOU so that your produce will be too much to carry.

14:26 You may spend the money for whatever your soul desires - for cattle, or for flock, or for wine, or for hard drink, or for anything that your soul wishes; you shal eat it there before Hashem, your G-d, and you shall rejoice - you and your household.

Rashi on 14:26 YOU MAY SPEND THE MONEY FOR WHATEVER YOUR SOUL DESIRES. This is a kelal, a general statement [not limited to anything in particular. Whereas the next expression,] cattle, or sheep, new wine or old wine [represents a] perat, a "specification" [that is, it details particular things, limiting the matter to those things. After this, the verse continues,]

OR FOR ANYTHING THAT YOUR SOUL WISHES. [The verse] again reverts to a kelal, a "general statement." [Now we have learned that when a verse expresses a kelal, a perat, and then a kelal, as in this case, we apply the characteristics of the perat to the whole matter. That is, just as the items listed in the perat 1) are products of things themselves produced by the earth [e.g., wine comes from grapes], and 2) are fitting to be food for man, [so must the money replacing them be used to purchase such products].

14:27 And the Levi who is in your cities, do not forsake him, for he does not have a portion or an inheritance with you.

Rashi on 14:27 AND THE LEVI... DO NOT FORSAKE HIM. By not giving him the first tithe.

FOR HE DOES NOT HAVE A PORTION NOR INHERITANCE WITH YOU. This excludes gleanings (VaYikra 19:9), forgotten sheaves (Devarim 24:19), the end of the field (VaYikra 19:9), [all of which are left for the poor,] and ownerless things, for the Levi does have a portion in these things, just as you do, and [consequently,] they are not subject to tithing.

14:28 At the end of three years you shall take out every tithe of your crop in that year and set it down within your cities.

Rashi on 14:28 AT THE END OF THREE YEARS YOU SHAL TAKE OUT EVERY TITHE OF YOUR CROP IN THAT YEAR. This comes to teach us that if one kept his tithes from the first and the second year of the shemitah [cycle], he has to remove them from his house in the third [year].

14:29 Then the Levi shall come - for he has no portion or inheritance with you - and the convert, and the orphan, and the widow who are in your cities, and they shall eat and be satisfied, in order that Hashem, your G-d, will bless you in all your handiwork that you may undertake.

Rashi on 14:29 AND THE LEVI SHALL COME. And take the first tithe.

AND THE CONVERT, AND THE ORPHAN...[WILL COME]. And take the second tithe, which this year [the third in the seven year cycle], belongs to the poor, and you [yourself] may not eat it in Yerushalayim, in the manner you were required to eat the second tithe in the [first] two years [of this cycle].

THEY SHALL EAT AND BE SATISFIED. Give them enough to satisfy them. From here [our Rabbis] said: One must not give the poor from the threshing floor less [than half a kav of wheat, or a kav of barley]. And you go up to Jerusalem with the [second] tithe of the first and the second years which you have delayed [to bring], and you shall confess: "I have removed the sanctified things from the house" (see Devarim 26:13), as is stated in [the section beginning with] "When you have finished tithing..." (Devarim 26:12).

15:1 At the end of seven years you shall institute a release.

Rashi on 15:1 AT THE END OF SEVEN YEARS YOU SHALL INSTITUTE A RELEASE. One might think that this means seven years [starting from the transaction] of each loan. Scripture, therefore, states, "The seventh year [i.e., the year of release] has approached..." (v9). But if you say [that] "seven years" [means] for each loan, after each individual loan, how has it approached? [No loan was yet transacted.] Consequently, you learn [that Scripture means] seven years according to the counting of the Shemitah [cycle].

15:2 This is the matter of the release: Every creditor shall release his authority over what he has lent his fellow; he shall not press his fellow or his brother, for He has proclaimed a release for Hashem.

Rashi on 15:2 EVERY CREDITOR SHALL RELEASE HIS AUTHORITY, [literally to release every master the loan of his hand, which makes no sense. Therefore, Rashi interprets the verse to mean] to release the hand of every creditor [from reclaiming the loan].

15:3 You will press the non-Jew; but over what you have with your rother, you shall release your authority.

Rashi on 15:3 YOU WILL PRESS THE NON-JEW. This is a positive command (See Ramban.)

15:4 However, there shall be no destitute among you; for blessing, Hashem, your G-d, will give you as an inheritance, to take possession of it.

Rashi on 15:4 HOWEVER, THERE SHALL BE NO DESTITUTE AMONG YOU. But further on it says, "For there will never cease to be needy [within the land]" (v11). [These two verses seem to contradict each other. However, the explanation is:] When you perform the will of the Omnipresent, there will be needy among others but not among you. If, however, you do not perform the will of the Omnipresent, there will be needy among you.

DESTITUTE, [denoting someone who is] poorer than an 'ani. The term evyon means "to yearn for" (taev), i.e., one who yearns for everything [because he has nothing].

15:5 only if listening, you will listen to the voice of Hashem, your G-d, to observe, to perform this entire commandment that I command you today.

Rashi on 15:5 ONLY IF LISTENTING, YOU WILL LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF HASHEM, YOUR G-D then "there will be no needy among you" (v4).

LISTENING, YOU WILL LISTEN. [The repetition of the verb form suggests:] If one listens a little, he will be granted the opportunity to listen much [i.e., he will be taught much Torah as a reward].

15:6 For Hashem, your G-d, has blessed you as He has spoken to you; you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule many nations, but they will not rule you.

Rashi on 15:6 FOR HASHEM, YOUR G-D, HAS BLESSED YOU, AS HE HAS SPOKEN TO YOU. And where did He speak about this? "Blessed are you in the city..." (Devarim 28:3).

YOU WILL LEND. Whenever an expression denoting lending refers to a lender [of money], it adopts the hiphil [causative] form. For example, vehilvita or vehaavatta, you will lend. However, if it would have said veavatta, [in the kal, simple conjugation,] it would be referring to the borrower, like velavita, you will borrow.

YOU WILL LEND TO MANY NATIONS. One might think that you will borrow from this one and lend that one. Therefore, Scripture states, "but you will not borrow."

AND YOU WILL RULE MANY NATIONS. One might think that [at the same time] other nations will rule over you. Therefore, Scripture states, "but they will not rule over you."

15:7 If there shall be a destitute person among you, of one of your brothers in any of your cities, in your land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you, you shall not harden your heart nor shall you close your hand against your destitute brother.

Rashi on 15:7 IF THERE SHALL BE A DESTITUTE PERSON AMONG YOU. The most needy person has priority.

OF ONE OF YOUR BROTHERS. Your brother on your father’s side has priority over your brother on your mother’s side.

IN ANY OF YOUR CITIES. The poor of your city have priority over the poor of another city.

YOU SHALL NOT HARDEN YOUR HEART. Some people suffer [as they deliberate] whether they should give [to the needy] or they should not give; therefore it says: "you shall not harden [your heart]." Some people stretch out their hand [to give], but then close it; therefore it says: "nor close your hand."

NOR SHALL YOU CLOSE YOUR HAND AGAINST YOUR DESTITUTE BROTHER. If you do not give him, you will ultimately become a "brother of the needy" [i.e., becoming needy yourself].

15:8 Rather, opening, your shall open your hand to him, and grant, you shall grant him enough for his lack which is lacking for him.

Rashi on 15:8 RATHER, YOU SHALL OPEN YOUR HAND. Even many times.

RATHER, YOU SHALL OPEN YOUR HAND. Here, the word ki has the meaning of "rather" [whereas in v7 it means "if," and in verse 10, "because"].

YOU SHALL GRANT. If he does not want [your money] as a [charitable] gift, give it to him as a loan.

[GRANT HIM]ENOUGH FOR HIS LACK. However, you are not commanded to make him wealthy.

ENOUGH FOR HIS LACK WHICH IS LACKING FOR HIM. Even a horse to ride on and a servant to run before him [if he is accustomed to this type of lifestyle].

WHICH IS LACKING FOR HIM. This refers to a wife [i.e., you should help him marry a wife]. Similarly, it is stated: "I shall make for him (lo) a helpmate opposite him" (Bereishit 2:18).

15:9 Beware lest there be a lawless thought in your heart, saying, "The seventh year approaches, the year of release," and you will look malevolently upon your destitute brother and you will not give him - then he will call out against you to Hashem, and there will be sin upon you.

Rashi on 15:9 THEN HE WILL CALL OUT AGAINST YOU TO HASHEM. One might think this is a requirement [namely, that this poor man is obliged to "cry out... against you"]. Therefore, Scripture says, "[On his day you shall give him his payment...] so that he will not cry against you [to Hashem]" (Devarim 24:15).

AND THERE WILL BE SIN UPON YOU in any case, even if he does not cry [against you]. If so, why does it say, "and he will cry out... against you?" [It means that G-d says:] I hasten to punish in response to the one who cries out more than to the one who does not cry out.

15:10 Giving, you shall give him, and let your heart not feel bad when you give him, for because of this matter, Hashem, your G-d, will bless you in all your deeds and in your every undertaking.

Rashi on 15:10 GIVING, YOU SHALL GIVE HIM. Even a hundred times.

HIM [meaning] between him and you [i.e., privately].

FOR BECAUSE OF THIS MATTER, literally, word. Even if you said [i.e., gave him your "word"] that you would give, you will receive a reward for the saying along with the reward for the deed.

15:11 For destitute people will not cease to exist within the land; because of this I command you, saying, "Opening, you shall open your hand to your brother, to your poor one, and to your destitute in your land."

Rashi on 15:11 BECAUSE, here meaning mipnei ken, [i.e.,] "because of this," or "therefore."

SAYING I offer you advice for your own good.


TO YOUR POOR ONE. Hebrew: laanyecha, [spelled] with one "yud" [singular form,] means one poor person, but aniyeycha with two "yuds" [the second "yud" denoting the plural form,] means two poor people. [Here, since it is written with one "yud," meaning one poor person, thus modifying achicha, your brother, which is in the singular].

5:12 If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, will be sold to you, he shall serve you for six years, and in the seventh year you shall send him away from you free.

Rashi on 15:12 IF YOUR BROTHER... WILL BE SOLD TO YOU. By others [but not one who sells himself because of poverty]. Scripture is speaking here of one whom the court sold [for a theft that he had committed]. But has it not already been stated, "If you buy a Hebrew servant" (Shemot 21:2) and there, too, Scripture is referring to one whom the court sold (Mechilta)? Nevertheless, [it is repeated here] because of two points which are new here: The first is that it is written [here] "or a Hebrew woman," that she, too, [like a manservant,] goes free at the end of six [years]. This does not mean a woman whom the court has sold, for a woman is not sold [by the court] on account of a theft, since it is stated [that the thief will be sold] "for his theft" (Shemot 22:2), not for her theft. Thus, [we are referring here to] a minor whom her father sold [as a handmaid], and it teaches you here that if six years terminate before she shows signs [of puberty], she goes free (Shemot 21:7-11). The second new point here is: "You shall surely provide him."

15:14 Extend, you shall extend [a grant] to him from your flocks, from your threshing floor, and from your wine pit; with which Hashem, your G-d, has blessed youk, so shall you give him.

Rashi on 15:14 EXTEND, YOU SHALL EXTEND [A GRANT] TO HIM. The root denotes an ornament worn high [on the upper portion of the body] within view of the eye. [Thus, this verse means that you should give him] something through which it will be recognized that you have benefited him. Others explain [the word haaneik] as an expression of loading on his neck [meaning that you should load him with gifts].

EXTEND, YOU SHALL EXTEND [A GRANT] TO HIM FROM YOUR FLOCKS, FROM YOUR THRESHING FLOOR, AND FROM YOUR WINE PIT. One might think that I must [give him] only these things [listed in the verse here]. Therefore, Scripture states, "from what Hashem, your G-d, has blessed you," meaning, from everything with which your Creator has blessed you. Then why are these mentioned? Just as these particular things are within the realm of blessing, so too, you should provide him only with what falls within the realm of blessing. This [therefore] excludes mules, [which are sterile, and are thus not considered within the realm of blessing]. In tractate Kiddushin (17a) our Rabbis derived by means of a gezerah shavah how much one must give the servant of each kind.

16:1 Guard the month of first-ripened produce and perform the pesach-offering for Hashem, your G-d, for in the month of first-ripened produce Hashem, your G-d, took you out of Egypt at night.

Rashi on 16:1 GUARD THE MONTH OF FIRST-RIPENED PRODUCE. Before it [Nissan] arrives, watch that it should be fit for the aviv, ripening [capable of producing ripe ears of barley by the sixteenth of the month], to offer up in it the omer meal offering. And if not, proclaim it a leap year [thereby enabling you to wait another month, until the barley ripens].

FOR IN THE MONTH OF FIRST-RIPENED PRODUCE HASHEM, YOUR G-D, TOOK YOU OUT OF EGYPT AT NIGHT. But did they not go out by day, as it is said, "on the morrow of the Pesach the children of Yisrael went out..." (BaMidbar 33:3)? However, since during the night Pharaoh gave them permission to leave, as it is said, "So he called for Moshe and Aharon at night [and said, ‘Rise up, go out from among my people...], " (Shemot 12:31), [therefore, here it says "at night"].

16:2 You shall slaughter a pesach-offering to Hashem, your g-d, from the flock, and cattle, in the place where Hashem will choose to rest His Name.

Rashi on 16:2 YOU SHALL SLAUGHTER A PESACH-OFFERING TO HASHEM, YOUR G-D, FROM THE FLOCK. As it is said, "You may take [it] either from the sheep or from the goats" (Shemot 12:5).

AND CATTLE. These are slaughtered as the chagigah [Festival offering]. If a large group was formed for the Pesach offering, they bring a Festival offering along with it, so that the Pesach sacrifice will be eaten [after a sufficient meal, and therefore] after the required satiation. [Everyone had to designate himself to a particular company of people, which was then relevant to one particular Pesach offering. Our Rabbis also derived many other things from this verse.

16:3 You shall not eat leavened bread with it, [for] a seven-day period you shall eat matzot because of it, bread of affliction, for you departed from the land of Egypt in haste - so that you will remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt all the days of your life.

Rashi on 16:3 BREAD OF AFFLICTION. [I.e.,] bread that brings to mind the affliction they suffered in Egypt.

SO THAT YOU WILL REMEMBER. By eating the Pesach sacrifice and the matzah, the day you went out [of the land of Egypt].

16:16 Three times a year all your malehood should appear before Hashem, your G-d, in the place that He will choose: on the Festival of Matzot, the Festival of Shavuot, and the Festival of Sukkot; and it shall not appear before Hashem empty-handed,

Rashi on 16:16 AND IT SHALL NOT APPEAR BEFORE HASHEM EMPTY-HANDED. But bring burnt-offerings of appearance (olot reiyah) [which are obligatory when appearing before Hashem in Yerushalayim on the Festivals] and Festival peace-offerings.

16:17 each man according to what his hand can give, according to the blessing that Hashem, your G-d, gives you.

Rashi on 16:17 EACH MAN ACCORDING TO WHAT HIS HAND CAN GIVE. One who has many eaters [i.e., a large family] and many possessions should bring many burnt-offerings and many peace-offerings.


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