Parshas Beshalach

Words in bold represent changes to the traditional translation based on the Aramaic translation/commentary attributed to Onkelos the Ger.

Parshas Beshalach

Chapter 13

Rishon

17. When Pharaoh sent the people out, Hashem did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, though it was near, for Hashem said, “Lest the people be afraid[1] when they see war, and return to Egypt.”

18. Hashem led the people around, by way of the Sea of Reeds wilderness. The children of Israel ascended from the land of Egypt hastily.[2]

19. Moshe brought up with him the bones of Yoseif, for he had firmly sworn the children of Israel, saying, “Hashem will surely remember you, and you shall bring up my bones from here with you.”

20. They traveled from Succos and camped at Eisam, on the edge of the wilderness.

21. Hashem led before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, to travel by day and by night.

22. He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day and also not the pillar of fire by night (from) before the people.

Chapter 14

1. Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying,

2. Speak to the children of Israel and they will turn back and camp before Pi-HaChiros, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-Tz’fon. You shall encamp opposite it, by the sea.

3. Pharaoh will say regarding the children of Israel, “They are trapped in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.”

4. I will strengthen Pharaoh’s heart and he will pursue after them. I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Hashem. So they did.

5. It was told to the king of Egypt that the people had gone.[3] Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart about the people. They said, “What is this we have done, that we sent Israel from our service?”

6. He harnessed his chariot and he took his people with him.

7. He took 600 choice chariots and all the Egyptian chariots, and superiors appointed over all of them.

8. Hashem strengthened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel; the children of Israel were departing with an uncovered head.[4]

Sheini

9. The Egyptians pursued after them; they overtook them camped by the sea – all of Pharaoh’s chariot horses, his horsemen and his army – near Pi-HaChiros, before Baal-Tz’fon.

10. Pharaoh drew near. The children of Israel raised their eyes and behold, the Egyptians traveling after them. They were very afraid and the children of Israel cried out to Hashem.

11. They said to Moshe, “Was it for there are no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? What is this you have done to us, to bring us out from Egypt?

12. Is this not the thing that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Desist from us and we will serve the Egyptians because it’s better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness?’”

13. Moshe said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see Hashem’s salvation, which He will make for you today, for as you see the Egyptians today, you will not continue to see them again forever.

14. Hashem will wage war for you and you will remain silent!”

Shlishi

15. Hashem said to Moshe, “I have accepted your prayer.[5] Tell the children of Israel and they will travel.

16. You, take[6] your staff and stretch your hand over the sea; split it and the children of Israel will come into the sea on dry ground.

17. Behold, I will strengthen the heart of the Egyptians and they will come after them. I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and through his horsemen.

18. The Egyptians will know that I am Hashem when I am honored through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

19. The angel of Hashem, who had went ahead of the camp of Israel, moved and traveled behind them; the pillar of cloud moved from before them and it stood behind them,

20. It came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. There was the cloud and darkness for the Egyptians and it lit the night for Israel, and they could not draw near one another all night.

21. Moshe extended his hand over the sea; Hashem drove back the sea with a strong east wind all that night and turned the sea to dry ground. The waters split.

22. The children of Israel came into the sea on dry ground, and the waters were a wall for them on their right and on their left.

23. The Egyptians pursued; all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen came after them into the sea.

24. It happened in the morning watch that Hashem looked upon the camp of the Egyptians from a pillar of fire and cloud, and He confounded the camp of the Egyptians.

25. He removed the wheels from their chariots and He led them with heaviness. The Egyptians said, “Let’s flee from before Israel because this is the might of Hashem, Who battles against Egypt for them.”

Revii

26. Hashem said to Moshe, “Stretch your hand over the sea and the waters will return upon the Egyptians – on their chariots and on their horsemen.”

27. Moshe extended his hand over the sea and the sea returned to its strength at daybreak.[7] The Egyptians fled from before[8] it and Hashem suffocated the Egyptians in the sea.

28. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen – Pharaoh’s entire army that came after them into the sea; not one of them remained.

29. The children of Israel went through the sea on dry ground, the waters a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30. That day, Hashem delivered Israel from the hand of the Egyptians. Israel saw the Egyptians dead[9] on the shore of the sea.

31. Israel saw the strength of the great hand that Hashem had made against Egypt. The people revered before Hashem, and they had faith in Hashem’s word and in the prophecy of Moshe, His servant.

Chapter 15

1. Then Moshe and the children of Israel sang this song to Hashem. They said, saying: We will sing and give thanks before Hashem because He is exalted above the arrogant; pride is His. A horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea.

2. Reverence of Hashem is my strength and my song; He spoke through His word and He became my deliverance. This is my God and I will build Him a Temple;[10] the God of my father, and I will serve before[11] Him.

3. Hashem is the Master of victory in war;[12] Hashem is His name!

4. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has thrown into the sea, and his select officers drowned in the Sea of Reeds.

5. The deeps covered them; they descended into the depths like a stone.

6. Your right hand, Hashem, majestic in power; Your right hand, Hashem, shatters the enemy!

7. With Your great strength[13] You broke those who rose against Your people; You send Your wrath, it destroys them like fire to straw.

8. With the word of Your mouth[14] the waters became wise,[15] running water stood straight like a wall; the solidified in the heart of the sea.

9. The enemy would say, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils. My soul will be satisfied from them. I will draw my sword, my hand will destroy them.[16]

10. You said with Your word,Let the sea cover them.”[17] They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11. There is none but You; You are God, Hashem. There is none but You; You are majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders!

12. You extended Your right hand; the earth swallowed them.

13. In Your kindness You led this people You redeemed; in Your strength You guided them to Your holy habitation.

14. The peoples heard; they trembled. Anxiety gripped those who dwelled in Philistia.

15. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed. The mighty of Moab, trembling seized them. All those who were in Canaan were broken.[18]

16. You will cause[19] terror and fear to descend upon them; Through the greatness of Your strength[20] may they be as still as stone until Your people crosses the Arnon, Hashem – until this people You have acquired crosses the Jordan.

17. You will bring them and settle them on the mountain of Your inheritance, the place prepared for the house of Your presence that You prepared, Hashem – the sanctuary, my Master, that Your hands established.

18. Hashem: His kingdom will stand in this world and eternally![21]

19. For the horses of Pharaoh, with his chariots and horsemen, came into the sea; Hashem returned the waters of the sea upon them, and the children of Israel went on dry ground within the sea.

20. Miriam the prophetess, Aharon’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand. All the women went out after her with tambourines and dances.

21. Miriam called to them,” Sing and give thanks before Hashem because He is exalted above the arrogant; pride is His. A horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea.”

22. Moshe had Israel travel from the Sea of Reeds. They went out to the wilderness of Chagra;[22] they went three days in the wilderness and they didn’t find water.

23. They came to Marah and they were unable to drink waters from Marah because they were bitter; therefore its name was called Marah.

24. The people complained against Moshe, saying, “What shall we drink?”

25. He prayed before Hashem, and Hashem instructed him[23] (about) a tree[24]. He threw it into the waters and the waters became sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them.

26. He said, “If you completely accept the word[25] of Hashem your God, and do what is right before Him,[26] hearken to His commandments and observe all His statutes, then I will not place upon you all the afflictions that I placed in Egypt because I, Hashem, heal you.”

Chamishi

27. They came to Eilim and there were 12 springs of water and 70 palm trees. They camped there by the water.

Chapter 16

1. They traveled from Eilim and the entire congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month of their departure from the land of Egypt.

2. The entire congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moshe and Aharon in the wilderness.

3. The children of Israel said to them, “If only we had died before[27] Hashem in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to satiety! For you have brought us out to this wilderness to kill this whole congregation through starvation.”

4. Hashem said to Moshe, “Behold, I will cause bread to descend for you from the heavens. The people shall go out and gather a day’s portion on its day in order that I may test them, whether they will follow My law[28] or not.

5. It will be on the sixth day, when they prepare what they brought in, it will be double what they gather each day.”

6. Moshe and Aharon said to all the children of Israel, “In the evening, you will know that Hashem brought you out from the land of Egypt;

7. and in the morning you will see the glory of Hashem, because your complaints against the word of Hashem were heard before Him. Because what are we that you should complain against us?”

8. Moshe said, When Hashem gives you in the evening meat to eat and bread in the morning to satiety, when the complaints that you complain against Him are heard before Hashem – and what of us? Your complaints are not against us but against Hashem!”

9. “Moshe said to Aharon, “Say to the entire congregation of the children of Israel: Draw near before Hashem because your complaints are heard before Him.”

10. It happened as Aharon spoke to the entire congregation of the children of Israel, they turned towards the wilderness and behold, the honor of Hashem was revealed in a cloud.

Shishi

11. Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

12.“The complaints of the children of Israel are heard before Me. Speak to them, saying: In the afternoon you will eat meat and in the morning you will have your fill of bread, and you will know that I am Hashem your God.”

13. It happened in the evening that the quail arose and covered the camp; in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.

14. The layer of dew arose and behold, on the face of the wilderness, a fine and scaly[29] (substance), fine like chalk, like frost on the ground.

15. The children of Israel saw it and they said to one another,[30] “What is it?” because they didn’t know what it was. Moshe said to them, “It is the bread that Hashem gave you to eat.

16. This is the matter that Hashem has commanded: Gather of it each person according to what he eats, an omer per person for the number of souls. Each person shall take for those who are in his tent.”

17. The children of Israel did so. They gathered – one more, one less.

18. They measured it with an omer; the one who (took) much had no surplus and the one who (took) less had no shortfall. They had gathered each according to what he eats.

19. Moshe said to them, “Let no one leave over from it until morning.”

20. They didn’t accept it from Moshe. Some men left over from it until morning; it bred worms and rotted. Moshe became angry with them.

21. They gathered it every morning, according to what he eats. That which remained of it on the face of the field when the sun grew hot upon it, it melted.

22. It happened on the sixth day that they gathered double bread, two omers for one (person); all the princes of the congregation came and told Moshe.

23. He said to them, “This is what Hashem said: Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy sabbath to Hashem. Bake what you are going to bake and cook what you are going to cook. All the surplus, put aside for yourselves to be kept until morning.”

24. They put it aside until morning as Moshe had commanded; it didn’t rot and there weren’t any worms in it.

25. Moshe said, “Eat it today because today is a sabbath to Hashem. Today you won’t find it in the field.

26. Six days you shall gather it; on the seventh day, Shabbos, there won’t be (any) on it.”

27. It happened the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather and they didn’t find (anything).

28. Hashem said to Moshe, “Until when will you[31] refuse to observe My commandments and My laws?

29. See that Hashem has given you the Shabbos. Therefore, He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let each person remain where he is;[32] let no person depart from his place on the seventh day.”

30. The people rested on the seventh day.

31. The house of Israel called its name manna[33]. It was like coriander seed, white, and it tasted like wafers in honey.

32. Moshe said, “This is the matter that Hashem has commanded: Let an omer’s measure of it be kept throughout your generations in order that they will see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out from the land of Egypt.”

33. Moshe said to Aharon, “Take one jar and put there an omer’s measure of manna. Place it before Hashem to be kept throughout your generations.”

34. As Hashem commanded Moshe, Aharon placed it before the testimony,[34] to be kept.

35. The children of Israel ate manna for 40 years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the edge of the land of Canaan.

36. The omer is a tenth[35] in three seah.

Chapter 17

Shevii

1. The entire congregation of the children of Israel traveled from the wilderness of Sin in their journeys by Hashem’s mouth. They camped at Refidim and there was no water for the people to drink.

2. The people argued with Moshe. They said, “Give us water and we will drink!” Moshe said to them, “Why[36] do you argue with me? Why do you try Hashem?”

3. The people thirsted there for water; the people complained against Moshe and said, “Why is this that you brought us up from Egypt to kill me, my children and my cattle with thirst?”

4. Moshe prayed before Hashem, saying, “What shall I do with this people? A little bit more and they will stone me!”

5. Hashem said to Moshe, “Pass before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Take in your hand your staff, with which you struck the Nile, and go.

6. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock and water will go out from it, and the people will drink.” Moshe did so before the eyes of the elders of Israel.

7. They called the name of the place Masa u’Meriva after the children of Israel arguing and after their tests before Hashem, saying, “Is Hashem’s presence in our midst or not?”

8. Amalek came and battled against Israel in Refidim.

9. Moshe said to Yehoshua, “Choose men for us and go out and battle against Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff through which miracles from Hashem were performed[37] in my hand.”

10. Yehoshua did as Moshe said to him, to battle against Amalek. Moshe, Aharon and Chur ascended the top of the hill.

11. It happened that when Moshe raised his hand, those of the house of Israel prevailed, and when he lowered his hand, those of the house of Amalek prevailed.

12. Moshe’s hands grew heavy. They took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aharon and Chur supported his hands, one on this side and one on this side. It happened that his hands were spread out in prayer until the sun set.

13. Yehoshua broke Amalek and his people of Amalek by the edge of the sword.

14. Hashem said to Moshe, “Write this as a remembrance in the book and place it before Yehoshua[38] that I will utterly erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens!”

15. Moshe built an altar and he served on it before Hashem, who performed miracles for him.[39]

16. He said in an oath this statement from before awe of the One Whose presence is on the throne of glory, that he will battle the house of Amalek before Hashem, to destroy them from the generations of the world.[40]

[1] Rather than “reconsider.”

[2] As opposed to “armed.”

[3] Rather than “fled.”

[4] Rather than “a high hand.” Onkelos’ idiom may refer to a sign of freedom or triumph, or it may mean a public display, as opposed to sneaking out surreptitiously.

[5] Rather than “Why do you cry out to Me?”

[6] Rather than “raise.”

[7] More specific than “towards morning.”

[8] The language used in the Chumash suggests that the Egyptians ran to meet it.

[9] Since Onkelos changes “Egypt” to “the Egyptians,” he changes the adjective “dead” from singular to plural, an emendation that is not evident in the English.

[10] Rather than “glorify.”

[11] Rather than “extol.”

[12] As opposed to “a man of war.”

[13] Rather than “pride.”

[14] As opposed to “the breath of Your nostrils.”

[15] Rather than “piled up.”

[16] As opposed to “impoverish them.”

[17] As opposed to “You blew with Your wind and the sea covered them.”

[18] Among other changes to this verse, Onkelos substitutes “broken” for “melted.”

[19] A plea for God to do this actively rather than to simply let it happen passively.

[20] As opposed to “arm.”

[21] Rather than “Hashem will reign forever and ever.”

[22] “Shur” in the Chumash; Onkelos substitutes a name familiar to his contemporaries.

[23] Rather than “showed him”; the Hebrew could mean either.

[24] Or, a piece of wood.

[25] As opposed to “listen diligently to the voice of Hashem.”

[26] Rather than “in His eyes.”

[27] Rather than “by the hand of.”

[28] Literally, “My Torah.”

[29] The meaning of the Hebrew is obscure.

[30] The Chumash and Onkelos both say “a man to his brother,” an idiom we have edited here for clarity.

[31] In Hebrew, “you” is in the plural, i.e., “all of you,” and not Moshe per se.

[32] Literally, “under it.”

[33] Hebrew: mun.

[34] i.e., the aron (ark). This section occurs after the Mishkan was built. (See Rashi.)

[35] The Chumash says that an omer is a tenth “of an ephah.” An ephah is three seah. (See Rashi.)

[36] Literally, what.

[37] Rather than “the staff of God.”

[38] As opposed to “in Yehoshua’s ears.”

[39] Rather than “called its name Hashem-Nisi.” (Actually, Adonai-Nisi)

[40] The Chumash reads, “Because there’s a hand on the throne of God. It will be a war to Hashem against Amalek from generation to generation.” This is a complex sentiment in both the original text and the Targum.

© Copyright 2021 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz