Parshas Re’eh

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

Parshas Re’eh

Rishon

26. See, I place before you today blessings and curses:[1]

27. the blessings, that you accept the commandments of Hashem your God that I command you today,

28. and the curses, if you don’t accept the commandments of Hashem your God, and you turn from the path that I command you today, to walk after the errors of the nations,[2] whom you haven’t known.

29. It will be when Hashem your God brings you in to the land in to which you come to inherit, you shall place the blessers on Mount Grizim and the cursers[3] on Mount Eival.

30. Behold, they are on the other side of the Jordan, beyond the way the sun comes (down),[4] in the land of the Canaanite(s) who dwell in the plain, opposite Gilgal, by the plains of Moreh.

31. Because you are crossing the Jordan to come in to inherit the land that Hashem your God gives to you. You will inherit it and you will settle in it.

32. Observe to perform all the statutes and the laws that I place before you today.

Chapter 12

1. These are the statutes and the laws that you must observe to perform in the land that Hashem, God of your fathers, gave you to inherit, all the days that you live on the earth.

2. You shall surely destroy all the places at which the nations whom you are to drive out served their errors, on the high mountains, and on the hills, and under every leafy tree.

3. You shall demolish their piles,[5] you shall break their pillars, and you shall burn their asheiras[6] in fire, and the images[7] of their gods you shall cut down, and you shall eradicate their name from that place.

4. Do not do such before Hashem your God.

5. Rather, only the place that Hashem your God will choose from all your tribes to place His name there for it to dwell you shall seek and come there.

6. And there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your holiness sacrifices,[8] and your tithes and what is separated (by) your hands, and your vow (offering)s and your donations, and the first-born of your cattle and your sheep.

7. You shall eat there before Hashem your God, and you shall rejoice in all the sendings of your hands[9] – you and the members of your households with whom Hashem your God has blessed you.

8. Do not do like all that we do here today, a man (doing) all that is fit[10] in his eyes,

9. because you haven’t come until now to the resting place and to the inheritance that Hashem your God gives you.

10. You shall cross the Jordan and you shall settle in the land that Hashem your God bestows to you, and He grants you rest from all your enemies all around, and you will dwell securely.

Sheini

11. It shall be (that) the place that Hashem your God will choose in which to cause His presence to dwell – there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your holiness sacrifices, your tithes and the separations of your hand, and all the best (of your) vow (offering)s that you will vow before Hashem.

12. You shall rejoice before Hashem your God – you, and your sons and daughters, and your male servants and your female servants, and the Levite who is in your cities,[11] because he has no portion and inheritance with you.

13. Guard yourself lest you offer up your burnt offerings in any place you see,

14. but only in the place that Hashem will choose in one of your tribes – there you shall offer up your burnt offerings and there you shall perform all that I command you.

15. But in every desire of your heart, you may slaughter and eat meat in all your cities according to the blessing of Hashem your God that He has given you. The impure and the pure alike shall eat it, like the flesh of the gazelle and the deer.

16. But the blood you may not eat; you shall pour it out the ground like water.

17. You do not have permission to eat the tithes of your grain, and your wine and your oil, and the firstborn of your cattle and your sheep, and all your vow (offering)s that you will vow, and your donations, and the separation of your hand in your cities.

18. Rather, before Hashem your God you shall eat in the place that Hashem your God will choose – you, and your son and your daughter, and your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is in your cities – and you shall rejoice before Hashem your God in every sending of your hand.

19. Guard yourself lest you neglect the Levite all your days on your land.

20. When Hashem your God widens your border as He said to you, and you say, “I would eat meat,” because your soul craves to eat meat, in every desire of your soul you may eat meat.

21. If the place that Hashem your God has chosen in which to place His presence will be far from you, you may slaughter from your cattle and from your sheep that Hashem has given you as I have commanded you, and you shall eat in your cities according to all your soul’s desire.

22. But as you would eat the flesh of the gazelle and the deer, so shall you eat it – the impure and the pure shall eat it together.

23. Just be strong not to eat the blood because the blood is the soul, and you shall not eat the soul with the flesh.

24. Do not eat it; on the ground you shall pour it like water.

25. Do not eat it so that it will be good for you and for your descendants after you, because you do what is appropriate before Hashem.[12]

26. But your holy tithes that will be to you, and your vow (offering)s, you shall carry and you shall come to the place that Hashem will choose.

27. You shall make your burnt offerings – the flesh and the blood – on the altar of Hashem your God; and the blood of your holiness sacrifices shall be poured on the altar of Hashem your God, and the flesh may be eaten.

28. Observe and accept all these things that I command you in order that it will be good for you and for your descendants after you forever, because you do what is correct and appropriate before Hashem your God.

Shlishi

29. When Hashem your God eradicates the nations that you are about to enter and inherit them from before you, and you have inherited them and settled in their land,

30. guard yourself lest you stumble after them after they have been destroyed from before you, and lest you inquire about their errors, saying, ‘How did these nations worship[13] their errors? I will also do thus.’

31. You shall not act thus before Hashem your God, because everything that is repulsive before Hashem[14] that He hates they do to their errors, because they also burn their sons and their daughters in fire to their errors.

Chapter 13

1. Every matter that I command you – that you shall observe to perform; do not add on to it and do not detract from it.

2. If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of a dream and he will give you a sign or a wonder,

3. and the sign and the wonder that he said with you occurs, saying, ‘Let us go after the errors whom you haven’t known, and worship them,’

4. do not accept the words of that prophet or that dreamer of a dream, because Hashem your God is testing you to know whether you love Hashem your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

5. After the reverence of Hashem your God you shall go, and Him you shall revere, and His commandments you shall observe, and you shall accept His word,[15] and before Him you shall serve, and you shall draw close to the reverence of Him.

6. And that prophet or that dreamer of a dream shall die, because he spoke distortion[16] against Hashem your God, the One Who took you out from the land of Egypt and the One Who redeemed you from the house of slavery,[17] to make you stray from the path on which Hashem your God commanded you to walk. You shall remove the malefactor from your midst.

7. If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife of your devotion,[18] or your friend who is like your soul advises[19] you in secret, saying, ‘Let us go and let us serve the errors of the nations’ whom you and your fathers haven’t known,

8. from the errors of the peoples that are around you, those near to you or those far from you, from (one) end of the earth and until (the other) end of the earth,

9. do not agree to him[20] and don’t accept (it) from him. And your eye shall not pity him, and do not show him compassion, and do not cover (up) for him,

10. rather, you shall surely execute him. Your hand shall be on him first to put him to death, and the hand of all the people afterwards.

11. You shall stone him with stones and he will die because he sought to make you stray from the reverence of Hashem your God, the One Who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.

12. And all Israel will hear and they will fear, and they won’t continue to do like this evil thing in your midst.

13. If you hear of one of your cities that Hashem your God gives you to dwell there, saying,

14. that men – sons of evil[21] – from among you went out and led the residents of their city astray, saying, ‘Let’s go and let’s serve the errors of the nations, whom you haven’t known,

15. you shall investigate and inquire and ask well. And behold, (if) it’s true, the matter is correct, this abomination was done in your midst,

16. you shall surely strike the residents of that city by the word of the sword; ban it and all that is in it, and its cattle by the word of the sword.

17. And all its spoil you shall gather into the middle of its wide space.[22] Burn the city and all its spoil in fire, entirely, to Hashem your God. It shall be a heap, desolate forever; it shall not be built again.

18. Nothing from the banned (property) shall stick in your hand, in order that Hashem may turn from His strong anger and grant you mercy, and be merciful to you and increase you He swore to your fathers,

19. because you accept the word of Hashem your God, to observe all His commandments that I command you today, to do what is appropriate before Hashem your God.

Chapter 14

Revii

1. You are children before Hashem your God. Do not cut yourselves and do not make a bald spot between your eyes for the dead,

2. because you are a holy people before Hashem your God, and Hashem your God chose you to be a cherished[23] people to Him from all peoples who are on the face of the earth.

3. Do not eat anything that is disgusting.

4. These are the animals that you may eat: oxen, lambs of ewes,[24] and kids of goats;

5. the deer, and the gazelle, and the roebuck, and the ibex, and the chamois, and the antelope, and the giraffe,[25]

6. and every animal that has a split hoof and its hooves are cloven (into) two hooves, (and) brings up the cud – among animals, that you may eat.

7. But these you may not eat of those that bring up the cud or[26] have split hooves that are cloven (into two) hooves: the camel, the hare and the hyrax, because they bring up cud and they don’t have split hooves – they are unclean to you;

8. and the pig, because it has hooves that are cloven and it doesn’t chew (cud), it is unclean to you. Of their flesh you shall not eat and their carcasses you shall not touch.

9. This you may eat of all that is in the water: everything that has fins and scales you may eat.

10. And everything that doesn’t have fins and scales you may not eat: it is unclean to you.

11. Every clean bird you may eat.

12. This is what you may not eat from them:[27] the eagle, and the vulture and the osprey,

13. and the buzzard, and the kite, and the falcon according to its species;

14. and every raven according to its species,

15. and the ostrich, and the nighthawk, and the sea gull,[28] and the hawk according to their species,

16. the little owl, and the great owl, and the horned owl,

17. and the pelican, and the bustard, and the cormorant,

18. and the stork, and the heron according to its species, and the hoopoe, and the bat.

19. All winged swarming things[29] are unclean to you: they may not be eaten.

20. Every clean bird you may eat.

21. Do not eat any carcass; give it to the uncircumcised resident[30] who is in your cities and he will eat it, or sell it to a citizen of (the) nations,[31] because you are a holy people before Hashem your God. Do not eat meat in (…) milk.[32]

Chamishi

22. You shall surely tithe all the produce of your seed that the field brings forth, year (by) year.

23. You shall eat the tithe of your grain, your wine and your oil, and the first-born of your cattle and your sheep, before Hashem your God in the place that He will choose to cause His presence to dwell there, in order that you will learn to revere before Hashem your God all the days.

24. And if the way will be too great from you, that you are not able to carry it because the place that Hashem your God will choose to cause His presence to dwell there will be far from you (and) because Hashem your God has blessed you,

25. you shall give it in money. Wrap the money in your hand and bring it to the place that Hashem your God will choose,

26. and give the money for all that your soul desires – on cattle, and on sheep, and on wine – new and aged[33] and on everything that your soul will request of you. You shall eat there before Hashem your God, and you shall rejoice – you and the members of your household.

27. And do not neglect the Levite who is in your cities, because he doesn’t have a portion and an inheritance with you.

28. At the end of three years you shall take out all the tithe of your produce in that year and store it in your cities.

29. And the Levite will come, because he doesn’t have a portion and an inheritance with you, and the convert,[34] and the orphan, and the widow who is in your cities. They shall eat and they shall be satisfied, in order that Hashem your God will bless you in all the work of your hand that you shall do.

Chapter 15

Shishi

1. At the end of seven years you shall make a release.[35]

2. And this is the matter of the release: that every person owed a debt[36] shall release that which he lent his fellow. He shall not demand from his fellow and his brother, because a release has been announced before Hashem.

3. From a citizen of (the) nations you shall demand, and what is yours from your brother your hand shall release.

4. However, there will be no needy person among you, because Hashem will surely bless you in the land that Hashem your God gives you as a heritage to inherit.

5. only if you surely accept the word of Hashem your God to observe to perform all this commandment that I command you today.

6. Because Hashem your God will bless you like what He said to you; you will lend to many nations, and you won’t borrow; you will rule over many nations, and over you they will not rule.

7. If there will be a needy person among you, from one of your brethren in one of your gates in your land that Hashem your God gives to you, don’t harden your heart and don’t close your hand from your needy brother.

8. Rather, you shall surely open your hand and you shall surely lend sufficient for his need that he lacks.

9. Guard yourself lest there be a matter in evil[37] with your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is near,’ and your eye be evil against your needy brother and you don’t give (to) him, and he calls against you before Hashem, and it will be a sin in you.

10. Surely give to him and let it not be evil in your heart when you give to him, because on account for this matter, Hashem your God will bless you in all your deeds and in every sending of your hand.

11. Because needy (people) will not cease from the midst of your land. Therefore, I command you, saying: you shall surely open your hand to your brother – to your poor and to your needy in your land.

12. If your brother – a son of Israel or a daughter of Israel[38] – is sold to you, he shall serve you six years and in the seventh year you shall release him a free man from you.[39]

13. And when you release him a free man from you, don’t release him empty(-handed).

14. You shall surely separate for him from your flock, and from your threshing floor, and from your press[40] – (from) that (which) Hashem your God has blessed you, you shall give to him.

15. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and Hashem your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this matter today.

16. It will be if he will he say to you, ‘I will not go out from you’ because he loves you and the members of your household because it is good for him with you,

17. you shall take the awl and put it in his ear and in the door; he will be a servant to you serving forever. And also to your female servant you shall do thus.

18. Let it not be difficult in your eyes when you release him a free man from you because he has served you twice as much as a hired worker (for) six years. Hashem your God will bless you in all that you do.

Shevii

19. (Of) every firstling that will born among your cattle and among your sheep, the males you shall sanctify before Hashem your God. Do not work the first-born of your ox and do not shear the first-born of your sheep.

20. Before Hashem your God you shall eat it year by year in the place that Hashem will choose – you and the members of your household.

21. And if there will be in it a defect, debilitated or blind, every bad defect, you shall not sacrifice it before Hashem your God.

22. In your cities you shall eat it, the impure the pure together, like the flesh of the gazelle and the deer.

23. Only its blood you shall not eat; on the ground you shall pour it like water.

Chapter 16

1. Observe the month of the spring[41] and make a passover (offering) to before Hashem your God, because in the month of the spring Hashem your God took you out from Egypt and worked miracles for you by night.

2. You shall slaughter the passover (offering) before Hashem your God from sons of sheep and a holiness sacrifice from cattle in the place that Hashem will choose to make His presence to dwell there.

3. Do not eat leaven on it; (for) seven days you shall eat unleavened bread[42] – bread of affliction – on it, because in haste you went out from the land of Egypt, in order that you remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt all the days of your life.

4. And leavening shall not be seen to you in all your border (for) seven days, and (none) of the flesh that you slaughter on the eve of the first day shall be left over until morning.

5. You don’t have permission to slaughter the passover (offering) in one of the cities that Hashem your God gives you.

6. but only in the place that Hashem your God will choose to make His presence dwell there shall you slaughter the passover (offering), in the evening, when the sun comes (down), (in) the season (when) you went out from Egypt.

7. You shall cook and eat it in the place that Hashem your God will choose; you shall turn in the morning and go to your cities.[43]

8. (For) six days you shall eat unleavened bread,[44] and on the seventh day, a gathering[45] before Hashem your God; do not perform labor.

9. You shall count seven weeks for yourself; from (when) the sickle starts in reaping the omer that is raised,[46] you shall start to count seven weeks.

10. You shall make the festival of weeks before Hashem your God, the contribution of the gift of your hand as Hashem your God will bless you.

11. You shall rejoice before Hashem your God – you, and your son and your daughter, and your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is in your cities, and the convert, and the orphan, and the widow who is in your midst, in the place that Hashem your God will choose to make His presence dwell there.

12. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and observe and perform these statutes.

13. The festival of booths you shall make for yourselves (for) seven days, in your gathering from your threshing floor and from your (wine) vat.

14. You shall rejoice in your festival – you, and your son and your daughter, and your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow who is in your cities.

15. (For) seven days you shall celebrate to Hashem your God in the place that Hashem will choose, because Hashem your God will bless you in all your crops and all the work of your hands, and you shall only be joyous.

16. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before Hashem your God in the place that He will choose – on the festival of unleavened bread, and on the festival of weeks, and on the festival of booths.[47] And they shall not appear before Hashem empty(-handed),

17. (each) man according to the gift of his hand, according to the blessing of Hashem your God that He has given you.


[1] Onkelos pluralizes these words.

[2] Rather than “other gods.”

[3] Rather than “the blessing” and “the curse.”

[4] i.e., in the west.

[5] Rather than “altars.”

[6] Trees that were worshiped.

[7] Rather than “graven images.”

[8] Referring to the korban shlamim, which we would normally call “peace offering.”

[9] i.e., all your endeavors.

[10] As opposed to “upright.”

[11] Rather than “gates.”

[12] Rather than “upright in Hashem’s eyes.”

[13] Rather than “serve.”

[14] As opposed to “everything abhorrent to Hashem.”

[15] Rather than “and in His voice you shall heed.”

[16] As opposed to “falsehood.”

[17] Rather than “slaves.”

[18] Rather than “embrace.”

[19] Rather than “entices.”

[20] As opposed to “love him” (see Rashi).

[21] The Hebrew word belial can mean evil or worthless; the phrase is commonly translated as “base individuals.” “Belial” has been adopted by other religions as a proper noun, referring to “the devil.”

[22] A more literal translation of the Hebrew than most English adaptations.

[23] Rather than “treasured.” (The distinction is greater between the Hebrew and Aramaic than it appears in English.)

[24] Rather than “of sheep.”

[25] All the animals in this verse are tentative as their exact identities are unclear from the Hebrew and the Aramaic.

[26] Literally, “and.”

[27] The exact identities of the birds, like those of the animals above, are tentative.

[28] Hebrew: shachaf. Onkelos adds the word “bird” to distinguish it from other possible meanings of the word.

[29] i.e., flying insects.

[30] Rather than “stranger.”

[31] As opposed to “foreigner.”

[32] Chumash: “Do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.”

[33] As opposed to “on wine, and on strong drink.”

[34] Rather than “stranger.”

[35] Hebrew: shmittah.

[36] Rather than “who has his hand (over) a loan” or other potential translations.

[37] Hebrew: belial. See note on 13:14.

[38] Chumash: “the Hebrew man or the Hebrew woman.”

[39] Chumash: “you shall send him free from you.”

[40] Rather than “vat.”

[41] Hebrew: aviv, possibly intended as a proper noun.

[42] Onkelos replaces matzos (plural) with patir (singular), a change not evident in English.

[43] Chumash: “tents.”

[44] See note on verse 3.

[45] Rather than “a cessation” (Hebrew: atzeres).

[46] Rather than “the standing (grain).”

[47] Onkelos treats “Shavuos” and “Succos” as common nouns, translating them into Aramaic.

© Copyright 2022 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz