Parshas Kedoshim

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

Parshas Kedoshim

Chapter 19


1. Hashem spoke with Moshe, saying:

2. Speak with the entire congregation of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy because I, Hashem your God, am holy.

3. A person shall revere[1] his mother and his father, and observe My Sabbath days; I am Hashem your God.

4. Do not turn after errors[2] and molten terrors[3] you shall not make for yourselves; I am Hashem your God.

5. When you sacrifice a holiness sacrifice[4] before Hashem, you shall sacrifice it for your acceptance.

6. On the day of its sacrificing[5] shall be eaten, and on the next day, and what remains until the third day shall be burned in fire.

7. And if it should be eaten on the third day, it is rejected;[6] it won’t be accepted.

8. One who eats it[7] will incur his sin because he desecrated that which is holy to Hashem; that person[8] shall be expelled from his[9] people.

9. In your harvesting the harvest of your land, you shall not complete to reap the corners of your field, and the gleanings of your harvest you shall not glean.

10. Your vineyard you shall not glean, and the fallen[10] (fruit) of your vineyard you shall not gather; for the needy[11] and for the strangers you shall leave them. I am Hashem your God.

11. You shall not steal, and you shall not deceive, and you shall not deal falsely with one another.[12]

12. And you shall not swear by My name falsely; you will desecrate the name of your God. I am Hashem.

13. You shall not oppress your fellow, and you shall not rob. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you until morning.

14. You shall not curse one who doesn’t hear[13] and before one who doesn’t see[14] you shall not place an obstacle. And you shall fear from your God; I am Hashem.

Sheini (Chamishi)

15. You shall not make falsehood[15] in judgment: do not raise the face of the lowly or honor the face of the great. In truth[16] you shall judge your people.

16. Do not eat winking[17] among your people. Do not stand beside[18] the blood of your fellow; I am Hashem.

17. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely admonish your neighbor and not become liable because of his sin.[19]

18. You shall not take revenge and you shall not hold resentment[20] against members[21] of your people. You shall love your fellow as yourself; I am Hashem.

19. My statutes you shall observe. Your cattle you shall not mate mixed species, your field you shall not sow (with) mixed species, and a garment of shaatnez[22] mixed species shall not come upon you.

20. A man who lies sexually with a woman who is a servant and she has been designated for (another) man but she has not been redeemed with money or her freedom has not been given to her with a document, there shall be an inquiry. They shall not die[23] because she wasn’t freed.

21. He shall bring his guilt offering before Hashem, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, a ram of a guilt offering.

22. The priest shall make atone for him with the ram of guilt offering before Hashem for his sin that he sinned, and he will be exempted[24] for his sin that he sinned.


23. When you come to the land and you plant every tree for food, you shall surely distance its fruit.[25] Three years it shall be distanced to you for destruction; it shall not be eaten.

24. And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, (for) praises before Hashem.

25. And in the fifth year may you eat its fruit to increase its produce for you; I am Hashem your God.

26. You shall not eat on the blood. You shall not (follow) omens and you shall not (follow) auspicious times.

27. You shall not round the corner(s) of your head and you shall not destroy the corner(s) of your beard.

28. And an injury[26] for the dead[27] you shall not put in your flesh, and sunken markings[28] you shall not place upon yourselves; I am Hashem.

29. You shall not desecrate your daughter to prostitute her and the land will not be led to fornication and the land (will not) be filled with sinful counsel.[29]

30. You shall observe My Sabbath days and you shall revere My Temple;[30] I am Hashem.

31. Do not turn after bidin and do not inquire of dechuru[31] to be impurified by them; I am Hashem your God.

32. Before a Torah scholar[32] you shall stand and you shall respect the face of the elder, and you shall revere from your God; I am Hashem.

Revii (Shishi)

33. When a stranger converts[33] with you in your land, you shall not oppress him.

34. Like the native-born of you the stranger who will convert with you shall be to you. You shall love him as yourself because you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am Hashem your God.

35. You shall not act falsely[34] in judgment, in measures, in weight and in volume.

36. You shall have an honest[35] scale, honest weights,[36] honest measures[37] and honest hins.[38] I am Hashem your God, Who brought you out from the land of Egypt.

37. You shall observe all My statutes and all My laws, and do them; I am Hashem.

Chapter 20


1. Hashem spoke with Moshe, saying:

2. And to the Children of Israel say, Any person from the children of Israel and from the stranger(s) who will convert in Israel who gives of his offspring[39] to Molech shall be put to death; the people of the house of Israel[40] shall pelt him with stone(s).

3. And I will set My anger[41] against that person and I will expel him from among his people because he gave of his offspring to Molech in order to impurify My sanctuary and to desecrate My holy name.

4. And if the people of the house of Israel should hide their eyes from that person in his giving of his offspring to Molech and not execute him,

5. I will set My anger against that person and against his accomplices,[42] and I will expel him and all who follow after him to go astray after Molech from among their people.

6. And the person[43] who will turn after bidin and dechuru[44] and to follow after them, I will set My anger against that person, and I will expel him from among his people.

7. You shall sanctify yourselves and you shall be holy because I am Hashem your God.

Shishi (Shevii)

8. You shall observe My statutes and perform them; I, Hashem, sanctify you.

9. Because any person who curses his father or his mother shall surely die. His father and his mother he cursed; he is liable to execution.[45]

10. And a man who commits adultery with a married woman,[46] that he committed adultery with his fellow’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely die.

11. And a man who lies with his father’s wife, his father’s lewdness he has uncovered. The two of them shall surely die; they are liable to execution.[47]

12. And a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death. They have committed a disgrace; they are liable to execution.

13. And a man who lies with a male like one lies with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely die; they are liable to execution.

14. And a man who takes a woman and her mother,[48] it is sinful counsel. In fire they shall be burned – both he and they – and there will be no sinful counsel among you.

15. And a man who has gives his seed with an animal, he shall surely die and you shall kill the animal.

16. And a woman who approaches any beast to rule over her,[49] you shall kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely die; they are liable to execution.

17. And a man who takes his sister[50] – the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother – and he will see her lewdness and she will see his lewdness, it is a disgrace. They shall be expelled in the eyes of the children of their people. His sister’s lewdness he has uncovered; he shall incur liability.[51]

18. And a man who lies with a woman (who is) unclean[52] and uncover her lewdness, he has uncovered her shame[53] and she has exposed the impurity of her blood.[54] Both of them shall be expelled from among their people.

19. The lewdness of your mother’s sister and of your father’s sister you shall not uncover because he reveals his relative; they shall bear their sin.

20. And a man who lies with his father’s brother’s wife,[55] he has uncovered his father’s brother’s[56] lewdness. They shall incur liability; they will die childless.

21. And a man who takes his brother’s wife (in marriage), it is disgusting.[57] His brother’s lewdness he has uncovered; they will be childless.

22. You shall guard all My statutes and all My laws, and you shall perform them, and the land to which I bring you to settle in will not empty you out.[58]


23. And do not follow the practices of the nations[59] that I exile[60] from before you because they did all these (things) and My word was disgusted by them.

24. I said to you: You will inherit their land and I will give it to you to possess it – a land that makes milk and honey.[61] I am Hashem your God, Who has separated you from the (other) peoples.

25. You shall distinguish between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean. You shall make your souls detestable through an animal, and through a bird, and through anything with which the ground creeps that I have distinguished for you as unclean.

26. You shall be holy to Me because I, Hashem, am holy, and I have separated you from the (other) nations to serve before Me.[62]

27. And a man or a woman who will have in them bidin or bechuru[63] shall surely did. They shall pelt them with stones; they are liable to execution.

[1] Literally, fear.

[2] A euphemism for idols.

[3] Rather than “gods.”

[4] As opposed to “a peace sacrifice.”

[5] Rather than “your sacrificing it.”

[6] Rather than “detestable.”

[7] As opposed to “Those who eat it.”

[8] Chumash: “soul.”

[9] See note on verse 17:10.

[10] Rather than “separated.”

[11] Onkelos pluralizes this word, as well as “stranger.”

[12] Literally, “a man with his neighbor.”

[13] Rather than “the deaf.”

[14] Rather than “the blind.”

[15] As opposed to “injustice.”

[16] Chumash: “righteousness.”

[17] The Hebrew “go (about) a gossip among your people” seems more straightforward for a change. Onkelos invokes imagery found in Daniel 3:8 and 6:25, et al. that would have been familiar to his original audience.

[18] Literally, on.

[19] As opposed to “not bear a sin because of him.”

[20] Rather than “a grudge.”

[21] Literally, children.

[22] A specific mixture of wool and linen.

[23] Rather that “They shall not be put to death.”

[24] From punishment.

[25] Chumash: “you shall blocked the blockage of its fruit,” i.e., consider it prohibited.

[26] Chumash: “a cut.”

[27] Rather than “for a soul.”

[28] i.e., a tattoo. The Chumash says “writing” and Onkelos clarifies that the prohibition is not limited to text.

[29] Rather than “immorality.”

[30] Beis HaMikdash, rather than just “Mikdash” (typically translated as “sanctuary”).

[31] The Aramaic names for Ov and Yidoni. These are often translated as ghosts and spirits but, according to Rashi, they are the names of particular types of seances or channeling.

[32] As opposed to “the white-haired.”

[33] Rather than “dwells.”

[34] Rather than “unjustly.”

[35] Chumash: “just.”

[36] Chumash: stones.

[37] Hebrew: “hin,” the name of a particular dry measure.

[38] The name of a particular liquid measure; Onkelos makes it plural.

[39] Literally, “seed.”

[40] Rather than “the land.”

[41] Rather than “My face.”

[42] As opposed to “his family.”

[43] Hebrew: “soul.”

[44] See note on 19:31.

[45] Rather than “his blood is upon him.”

[46] Literally, “a man’s wife.”

[47] Rather than “their blood is upon them.”

[48] i.e., in marriage.

[49] As opposed to “mate with her”; a euphemism.

[50] In marriage.

[51] Rather than “he shall bear his sin.”

[52] As opposed to “(at the time of) her sickness” (referring to menstruation).

[53] Rather than “fountain.”

[54] Rather than “the fountain of her blood.”

[55] As opposed to “his aunt.”

[56] Rather than “his uncle’s.”

[57] Rather than “impurity” (Hebrew: niddah).

[58] As opposed to “vomit you out.”

[59] Onkelos makes this word plural.

[60] Rather than “send (out).”

[61] As opposed to “flowing with milk and honey.”

[62] Rather than “be Mine.”

[63] See note on 19:31.

© Copyright 2021 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz