What is the meaning of you shall not murder?

It seems to be that one of the most natural Ten Commandments to explain is the sixth one that says -YOU SHALL NOT MURDER”

However, the commentary of Eben Ezra is a little bit different, as written:

“לא תרצח. בידך או בלשונך להעיד עליו שקר להמיתו. או להיותך רכיל או לתת עצה רעה בזדון שתדע שיהרג. או שנגלה לך סוד שתוכל להצילו מן המות אם תגלהו לו. ואם לא גלית. אתה כמו רוצח”

In a nutshell, it says that you can’t use your hand, tongue, you can’t give a bad advice, you can’t gossip, you can’t hide a secret from someone that could be dying- unless you are a murderer.

What do you think about this commentary- is this an exaggeration of Eben Ezra?

Share your thoughts with us and have a blessed week,
Eli

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When was the Torah given?

Everyone knows that the festival of weeks is also the date according to the Jewish tradition that the Torah was given it’s during the sixth day of the third month – that is called in Hebrew month Sivan.
However, when you read Exodus 19:1 there could be a problem since it’s written-

“בַּחֹ֙דֶשׁ֙ הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לְצֵ֥את בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה בָּ֖אוּ מִדְבַּ֥ר סִינָֽי׃

In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.”

The translation already solved the problem, but, in Hebrew, it’s written three months after they went out of Egypt…

The Midrash tried to solve this problem in many exciting ways:

In the Midrash there’s an explanation about the number three that’s related to Moses that that was the third son, and was in the Nile after three months, and the people of Israel had three Patriarchs. That Midrash tried to avoid the problem.

Another Midrash spoke about the time in the year that the Torah was given in the zodiac. This is the time of Gemini, which means in Hebrew twins. The Torah was given in this time since if Esau, who was the twin of Jacob, will come to convert himself to be JEWISH this time will be useful to him.

Another way is to claim that the first word of Exodus 19:1 should be read instead of in the month as the month came (the third…)

What do you think about the Midrash- was the problem solved?

Have a blessed weekend,

Eli

The best advice ever

One of the heroes of the Bible to me is Jethro. The reason is not that he was strong or appeared in many chapters. Sometimes one sentence can change the life of many people as the words of Martin Luther King-“I HAVE A DREAM” changed.
When our hero saw how Moses judged the people from morning to evening he just said these words:

” וַיֹּ֛אמֶר חֹתֵ֥ן מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֵלָ֑יו לֹא־טוֹב֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתָּ֖ה עֹשֶֽׂה׃”

“Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good.” (Exodus 18:17)

The hero is also the one that knows how to say the correct words in the correct time.
After these words, and more, Moses didn’t judge the people alone. Moses could have more time for his family, although I don’t know if he used this time.
Without Jethro’s words- Moses wouldn’t have power to the
people, as Lennon sang!

Have a beautiful day, as U2 sang\

Eli

More complaints about water

Water, water, water.
How important is water. Water was the answer to the first question of what the world is.
The sons of Israel seem to have a Roman with water, as we have read and will read in the 
Future to come.
In this chapter, one more time, there’s a challenge to Moses, as written:

וַיָּ֤רֶב הָעָם֙ עִם־מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ תְּנוּ־לָ֥נוּ מַ֖יִם וְנִשְׁתֶּ֑ה וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ מֹשֶׁ֔ה מַה־תְּרִיבוּן֙ עִמָּדִ֔י מַה־תְּנַסּ֖וּן אֶת־יְהוָֽה׃ וַיִּצְמָ֨א שָׁ֤ם הָעָם֙ לַמַּ֔יִם וַיָּ֥לֶן הָעָ֖ם עַל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר לָ֤מָּה זֶּה֙ הֶעֱלִיתָ֣נוּ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם לְהָמִ֥ית אֹתִ֛י וְאֶת־בָּנַ֥י וְאֶת־מִקְנַ֖י בַּצָּמָֽא׃ וַיִּצְעַ֤ק מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־יְהוָ֣ה לֵאמֹ֔ר מָ֥ה אֶעֱשֶׂ֖ה לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה ע֥וֹד מְעַ֖ט וּסְקָלֻֽנִי׃

“So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”(Exodus 17:2-4)

It’s exciting that the people or some of the people and not all of them (Eben Ezra) spoke to Moses in Plural since Aaron was with him and when there’s a complaint it comes in the singular. However, only Moses spoke with God, only Moses was afraid that the people will stone him.

Moses survived this complaint. In numbers 20 he won’t.

Have a beautiful day with blessed water-Mayim in Hebrew.
Eli

The first Shabbat in the Wilderness.

Exodus 16 continues with more complaints of the Israelites. It seems that they want to come back to Egypt since there’s a memory of a pot of meat that was eaten there.
However, God provided the people the Manna and also commanded them not to gather the Manna on Shabbat as written:

“וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אִכְלֻ֣הוּ הַיּ֔וֹם כִּֽי־שַׁבָּ֥ת הַיּ֖וֹם לַיהוָ֑ה הַיּ֕וֹם לֹ֥א תִמְצָאֻ֖הוּ בַּשָּׂדֶֽה׃ שֵׁ֥שֶׁת יָמִ֖ים תִּלְקְטֻ֑הוּ וּבַיּ֧וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֛י שַׁבָּ֖ת לֹ֥א יִֽהְיֶה־בּֽוֹ׃ וַֽיְהִי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י יָצְא֥וּ מִן־הָעָ֖ם לִלְקֹ֑ט וְלֹ֖א מָצָֽאוּ׃ (ס) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה עַד־אָ֙נָה֙ מֵֽאַנְתֶּ֔ם לִשְׁמֹ֥ר מִצְוֺתַ֖י וְתוֹרֹתָֽי”

“And Moses said, eat that today; for today is a Sabbath unto the Lord: today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it, there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?”(Exodus 16:25-28)

The first Shabbat in the wilderness was before The Ten Commandments was given to the people. Some of the people have not understood yet the idea and for that reason, we can see that they went out to gather the Manna. God from his side just spoke with Moses about the commandments that weren’t kept and that’s it. No punishment yet.
And the text doesn’t continue…

How would you end this passage?

Share with us…

Have a great week!

Eli

The song of the sea

One of the most exciting moments in the history of the Israelites – after crossing the red sea-is the singing of what we call in Hebrew Shirat Hayam- The song of the sea.
It’s fascinating to read the commentaries of one verse that appears in the song, as written:

” יְהוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה יְהוָ֖ה שְׁמֽוֹ׃”

“The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.”(Exodus 15:3)

Rashi claimed that “He is a man of war, but His Name is the Lord (the God of Mercy): even at the time when He battles against and avenges Himself upon His enemies, He retains His attribute (that’s expressed by His name ה׳) showing pity to His creatures and feeding all the inhabitants of the world”

Seforno wrote that “even though He at times appears as the איש מלחמה, the “Man” of war who destroys His foes by invoking the attribute of Justice, He is yet predominantly Hashem, the God who practice mercy. It is this attribute of His which is responsible for the continued existence of all His creatures.”

Bechor Shor says that the meaning of war here is that God is a hero.

Shadal mentioned that the name of The Lord is combined with two letters of rejoicing and two letters of sadness meaning the God is the source of all the good and evil.

Which commentary of the fourth above describe your thoughts about God?

Share with us and have a lovely weekend,

Eli

The first complaint of the people?

When my students in high school complain just to complain-or as we call it ventilation- there’s a saying in the class that says:
“YOY ARE LIKE THE SONS OF ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS”

However, in the wilderness, there were also other stories as we shall see in our next chapters. As for now let’s examine the first complaint of the people when they saw Pharaoh and his army after them, as written:

“וּפַרְעֹ֖ה הִקְרִ֑יב וַיִּשְׂאוּ֩ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל אֶת־עֵינֵיהֶ֜ם וְהִנֵּ֥ה מִצְרַ֣יִם ׀ נֹסֵ֣עַ אַחֲרֵיהֶ֗ם וַיִּֽירְאוּ֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַיִּצְעֲק֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶל־יְהוָֽה׃וַיֹּאמְרוּ֮ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה֒ הַֽמִבְּלִ֤י אֵין־קְבָרִים֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם לְקַחְתָּ֖נוּ לָמ֣וּת בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר מַה־זֹּאת֙ עָשִׂ֣יתָ לָּ֔נוּ לְהוֹצִיאָ֖נוּ מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃ הֲלֹא־זֶ֣ה הַדָּבָ֗ר אֲשֶׁר֩ דִּבַּ֨רְנוּ אֵלֶ֤יךָ בְמִצְרַ֙יִם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר חֲדַ֥ל מִמֶּ֖נּוּ וְנַֽעַבְדָ֣ה אֶת־מִצְרָ֑יִם כִּ֣י ט֥וֹב לָ֙נוּ֙ עֲבֹ֣ד אֶת־מִצְרַ֔יִם מִמֻּתֵ֖נוּ בַּמִּדְבָּֽר׃”

“And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”(Exodus 14:11-12)

Malbim (1809-1879) was the only commentary that I have read that says it’s not a complaint. The people said that they could have rebelled against Pharaoh in Egypt as slaves and it is better for them to have done it in Egypt than to do it as “so-called free people” in the desert.

Do you agree with him or you think it’s a complaint?

Have a blessed weekend, with no complains,

Eli

The watch of God

If I have been asking the watch of God, why didn’t the Israelites enter immediately into the Promised Land it’s written:

“וַיְהִ֗י בְּשַׁלַּ֣ח פַּרְעֹה֮ אֶת־הָעָם֒ וְלֹא־נָחָ֣ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים דֶּ֚רֶךְ אֶ֣רֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים כִּ֥י קָר֖וֹב ה֑וּא כִּ֣י ׀ אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים פֶּֽן־יִנָּחֵ֥ם הָעָ֛ם בִּרְאֹתָ֥ם מִלְחָמָ֖ה וְשָׁ֥בוּ מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃וַיַּסֵּ֨ב אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ אֶת־הָעָ֛ם דֶּ֥רֶךְ הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר יַם־ס֑וּף וַחֲמֻשִׁ֛ים עָל֥וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: but God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”(Exodus 13:17-18)

The Midrash told many stories about Pharaoh that sent the people as birds or as flowers or as fruitful trees and more that were changed and upgraded due to the exile of Egypt.

God could have brought to the land of Israel in a few days, 11 days exactly as written in Deuteronomy. But the watch of God thought about a journey that would be valuable to us until today. The watch of God thought that if you go out from slavery to wars in the Promised Land would bring the Israelites back to Egypt.

A question to you, dear readers. If you could choose where to be- in the wilderness for 40 years or in the Land of Canaan after 40 years- what would you choose?
Write us here!

Have a beautiful day,
Eli

Photo by Pat Taylor on Unsplash

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The second meaning of Passover

We all as kids have learned that the meaning of Passover, Pesach, is to skip. The angel of God skipped the Houses of the Israelites, as written:

“וְעָבַרְתִּ֣י בְאֶֽרֶץ־מִצְרַיִם֮ בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַזֶּה֒ וְהִכֵּיתִ֤י כָל־בְּכוֹר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם מֵאָדָ֖ם וְעַד־בְּהֵמָ֑ה וּבְכָל־אֱלֹהֵ֥י מִצְרַ֛יִם אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה שְׁפָטִ֖ים אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה׃וְהָיָה֩ הַדָּ֨ם לָכֶ֜ם לְאֹ֗ת עַ֤ל הַבָּתִּים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַתֶּ֣ם שָׁ֔ם וְרָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־הַדָּ֔ם וּפָסַחְתִּ֖י עֲלֵכֶ֑ם וְלֹֽא־יִֽהְיֶ֨ה בָכֶ֥ם נֶ֙גֶף֙ לְמַשְׁחִ֔ית בְּהַכֹּתִ֖י בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

” For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.”
(Exodus 12:12-13).

However, the meaning of Pesach has been no just to skip/Passover. When you read Isaiah 31:5 there’s another meaning as written:

“כְּצִפֳּרִ֣ים עָפ֔וֹת כֵּ֗ן יָגֵ֛ן יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת עַל־יְרֽוּשָׁלִָ֑ם גָּנ֥וֹן וְהִצִּ֖יל פָּסֹ֥חַ וְהִמְלִֽיט׃”

“As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it, and passing over he will preserve it.”

The meaning of Pesach here is to defend or protect. In the language of Rashi, it’s called to have mercy. There’s even a commentary that is brought by Malbim that claimed that if an Egyptian was standing in the house of the Israelites was protected and saved!

Have a lovely day, Eli

When the Israelites went out from Egypt?

One of the interesting questions that I have learned in my studies in the Hebrew University was the question above. If we read Exodus 11:4 the answer is clear-

“וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה כֹּ֖ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֑ה כַּחֲצֹ֣ת הַלַּ֔יְלָה אֲנִ֥י יוֹצֵ֖א בְּת֥וֹךְ מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

“And Moses said, thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt”
However, what can we do with verses as Numbers 33:3, as written?

“וַיִּסְע֤וּ מֵֽרַעְמְסֵס֙ בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הָֽרִאשׁ֔וֹן בַּחֲמִשָּׁ֥ה עָשָׂ֛ר י֖וֹם לַחֹ֣דֶשׁ
הָרִאשׁ֑וֹן מִֽמָּחֳרַ֣ת הַפֶּ֗סַח יָצְא֤וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּיָ֣ד רָמָ֔ה לְעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

“And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.”

Rashi and Eben Ezra claimed that Pharaoh permitted at night, but they went out in the morning, as described in Numbers. Maybe, another option is to claim that the ninth plague- DARKNESS- didn’t end yet until the tenth one started…

What do you say? What is a better option- to escape at night or to go out proudly on the day?

Have a peaceful week, Eli

Photo by Adam Bichler on Unsplash

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