Parashah 43 – Mas‘ei (Stages)
[In regular years read with Parashah 42, in leap years read separately]
33 These are the stages in the journey of the people of Isra’el as they left the land of Egypt divided into groups under the leadership of Moshe and Aharon. 2 Moshe recorded each of the stages of their journey by order of Yehovah ; here are the starting-points of each stage:
3 They began their journey from Ram’ses in the first month. On the fifteenth day of the first month, the morning after the Pesach, the people of Isra’el left proudly in view of all the Egyptians; 4 while the Egyptians were burying those among them whom Yehovah had killed, all their firstborn; Yehovah had also executed judgment on their gods. 5 The people of Isra’el moved on from Ram’ses and camped at Sukkot.
6 They moved on from Sukkot and camped at Etam, by the edge of the desert. 7 They moved on from Etam and turned back to Pi-Hachirot, in front of Ba‘al-Tz’fon, and camped before Migdol. 8 They moved on from P’nei-Hachirot, passed through the sea to the desert, continued three days’ journey into the Etam Desert and camped at Marah. 9 They moved on from Marah and came to Eilim; in Eilim were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, so they camped there. 10 They moved on from Eilim and camped by the Sea of Suf.
(LY: ii) 11 They moved on from the Sea of Suf and camped in the Seen Desert. 12 They moved on from the Seen Desert and camped at Dofkah. 13 They moved on from Dofkah and camped at Alush. 14 They moved on from Alush and camped at Refidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 15 They moved on from Refidim and camped in the Sinai Desert. 16 They moved on from the Sinai Desert and camped at Kivrot-HaTa’avah. 17 They moved on from Kivrot-HaTa’avah and camped in Hatzerot. 18 They moved on from Hatzerot and camped at Ritmah. 19 They moved on from Ritmah and camped at Rimmon-Peretz. 20 They moved on from Rimmon-Peretz and camped at Livnah. 21 They moved on from Livnah and camped at Rissah. 22 They moved on from Rissah and camped at K’helah. 23 They moved on from K’helah and camped at Mount Shefer. 24 They moved on from Mount Shefer and camped at Haradah. 25 They moved on from Haradah and camped at Mak’helot. 26 They moved on from Mak’helot and camped at Tachat. 27 They moved on from Tachat and camped at Terach. 28 They moved on from Terach and camped at Mitkah. 29 They moved on from Mitkah and camped at HaShmonah. 30 They moved on from HaShmonah and camped at Moserot. 31 They moved on from Moserot and camped at B’nei-Ya‘akan. 32 They moved on from B’nei-Ya‘akan and camped at Hor-HaGidgad. 33 They moved on from Hor-HaGidgad and camped at Yotvatah. 34 They moved on from Yotvatah and camped at Avronah. 35 They moved on from Avronah and camped at ‘Etzyon-Gever. 36 They moved on from ‘Etzyon-Gever and camped in the Tzin Desert, that is, Kadesh.
37 They moved on from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, at the border of the land of Edom. 38 At Yehovah’s order Aharon the cohen went up on Mount Hor, and he died there on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the people of Isra’el had left the land of Egypt. 39 Aharon was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor. 40 The Kena‘ani king of ‘Arad, who lived in the Negev in the land of Kena‘an, had heard that the people of Isra’el were coming; 41 so they moved on from Mount Hor and camped at Tzalmonah.
42 They moved on from Tzalmonah and camped at Punon. 43 They moved on from Punon and camped at Ovot. 44 They moved on from Ovot and camped ‘Iyei-Ha‘Avarim, at the border of Mo’av. 45 They moved on from ‘Iyim and camped at Divon-Gad. 46 They moved on from Divon-Gad and camped at ‘Almon-Divlatayim. 47 They moved on from Almon-Divlatayim and camped in the ‘Avarim Range, in front of N’vo. 48 They moved on from the ‘Avarim Range and camped in the plains of Mo’av by the Yarden, across from Yericho. 49 Their camp by the Yarden extended from Beit-HaYeshimot all the way to Avel-HaSheetim in the plains of Mo’av.
(RY: v; LY: iii) 50 Yehovah spoke to Moshe in the plains of Mo’av by the Yarden, across from Yericho. He said 51 to tell the people of Isra’el, “When you cross the Yarden into the land of Kena‘an, 52 you are to expel all the people living in the land from in front of you. Destroy all their stone figures, destroy all their metal statues and demolish all their high places. 53 Drive out the inhabitants of the land, and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess. 54 You will inherit the land by lot according to your families. You are to give more land to the larger families and less to the smaller ones. Wherever the lot falls to any particular person, that will be his property. You will inherit according to the tribes of your ancestors. 55 But if you don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land from in front of you, then those you allow to remain will become like thorns in your eyes and stings in your sides — they will harass you in the land where you are living. 56 And in this event, I will do to you what I intended to do to them.”
34 Yehovah told Moshe 2 to give this order to the people of Isra’el: “When you enter the land of Kena‘an, it will become your land to pass on as an inheritance, the land of Kena‘an as defined by these borders.
3 “Your southern portion will extend from the Tzin Desert close to the border of Edom. The eastern terminus of your southern border is at the end of the Dead Sea. 4 From there your border turns, goes south of the ‘Akrabbim Ascent and passes on to Tzin. From there it goes south of Kadesh-Barnea, on to Hatzar-Adar, and on to ‘Atzmon. 5 Then the border turns and goes from ‘Atzmon to the Vadi of Egypt and along it to the Sea.
6 “Your western border will be the Great Sea.
7 “Your northern border will be as follows: from the Great Sea mark a line to Mount Hor, 8 and from Mount Hor mark a line to the entrance of Hamat. The border goes out to Tz’dad. 9 Then the border goes to Zifron and finally to Hatzar-‘Einan; this is your northern border.
10 “For the eastern border mark your line from Hatzar-‘Enan to Sh’fam. 11 Then the border goes down from Sh’fam to Rivlah, on the east side of ‘Ayin, then down until it hits the slope east of Lake Kinneret. 12 From there it goes down the Yarden River till it flows into the Dead Sea. These will be the borders of your land.”
13 Moshe gave this order to the people of Isra’el: “This is the land in which you will receive inheritances by lot, which Yehovah has ordered to give to the nine tribes and the half-tribe. 14 The tribe of the descendants of Re’uven have already received their land for inheritance according to their clans, and so have the descendants of Gad and the half-tribe of M’nasheh. 15 These two-and-a-half tribes have received their inheritance on this side of the Yarden, across from Yericho and eastward, toward the sunrise.”
(RY: vi; LY: iv) 16 Yehovah said to Moshe, 17 “These are the names of the men who will take possession of the land for you: El‘azar the cohen and Y’hoshua the son of Nun. 18 Also appoint one leader from each tribe to take possession of the land. 19 The names of these men are:
from the tribe of Y’hudah, Kalev the son of Y’funeh;
20 from the tribe of the descendants of Shim‘on, Sh’mu’el the son of ‘Ammihud;
21 from the tribe of Binyamin, Elidad the son of Kislon;
22 from the tribe of the descendants of Dan, a leader, Buki the son of Yogli;
23 from the descendants of Yosef:
from the tribe of the descendants of M’nasheh, a leader, Hani’el the son of Efod;
24 from the tribe of the descendants of Efrayim, a leader, K’mu’el the son of Shiftan;
25 from the tribe of the descendants of Z’vulun, a leader, Elitzafan the son of Parnakh;
26 from the tribe of the descendants of Yissakhar, a leader, Palti’el the son of ‘Azan;
27 from the tribe of the descendants of Asher, a leader, Achihud the son of Shlomi;
28 from the tribe of the descendants of Naftali, a leader, P’dah’el the son of ‘Ammihud.”
29 These are the ones whom Yehovah ordered to divide the inheritance among the people of Isra’el in the land of Kena‘an.
35 (LY: v) In the plains of Mo’av by the Yarden, across from Yericho, Yehovah said to Moshe, 2 “Order the people of Isra’el to give to the L’vi’im cities to live in from the heritage they will possess, and you are also to give the L’vi’im some of the open land surrounding the cities. 3 They are to have the cities to live in, while their open land will be for their livestock, for growing crops and for all their animals. 4 The open land around the cities you give to the L’vi’im is to commence at a line drawn around the city wall 1,500 feet outside it and is to extend outward from there. 5 Measure 3,000 feet outward from the city wall to the east, south, west and north, with the city in the center. The space between the 1,500-foot line and the 3,000-foot line will be their open land around the cities. 6 The cities you give to the L’vi’im are to be the six cities of refuge to which you permit the person who kills someone to flee to; plus an additional forty-two cities. 7 Thus you will give the L’vi’im forty-eight cities, with their surrounding open land. 8 As to the cities you will give from those the people of Isra’el possess, from the many you will take many, and from the few you will take few — each tribe will contribute from its cities to the L’vi’im in accordance with the size of its inheritance.”
(RY: vii, LY: vi) 9 Yehovah said to Moshe, 10 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘When you cross the Yarden into the land of Kena‘an, 11 you are to designate for yourselves cities that will be cities of refuge for you, to which anyone who kills someone by mistake can flee. 12 These cities are to be a refuge for you from the dead person’s next-of-kin, who might otherwise avenge his kinsman’s death by slaying the killer prior to his standing trial before the community. 13 In regard to the cities you are to give, there are to be six cities of refuge for you. 14 You are to give three cities east of the Yarden and three cities in the land of Kena‘an; they will be cities of refuge. 15 These six cities will serve as refuge for the people of Isra’el, as well as for the foreigner and resident alien with them; so that anyone who kills someone by mistake may flee there.
16 “‘However, if he hits him with an iron implement and thus causes his death, he is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death. 17 Or if he hits him with a stone in his hand big enough to kill someone, and he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death. 18 Or if he hits him with a wood utensil in his hand capable of killing someone, and he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death. 19 The next-of-kin avenger is to put the murderer to death himself — upon meeting him, he is to put him to death. 20 Likewise, if he shoves him out of hatred; or intentionally throws something at him, causing his death; 21 or out of hostility strikes him with his hand, so that he dies; then the one who struck him must be put to death; he is a murderer; and the next-of-kin avenger is to put the murderer to death upon meeting him.
22 “‘But suppose he shoves him suddenly, but without hostility; or he throws something at him unintentionally; 23 or, without seeing him, being his enemy or seeking to harm him, he throws a stone big enough to cause death; and the person dies. 24 Then the community is to judge between the one who struck him and the next-of-kin avenger in accordance with these rules; 25 and the community is to save the killer from the next-of-kin avenger. The community is to return him to the city of refuge to which he fled, and he is to live there until the cohen hagadol, who was anointed with the holy oil, dies. 26 But if the killer ever goes beyond the limits of the city of refuge he fled to, 27 and the next-of-kin avenger finds him outside the limits of his city of refuge, and the avenger kills the killer, he will not be guilty of the man’s blood; 28 because he must stay in his city of refuge until the death of the cohen hagadol. But after the death of the cohen hagadol the killer may return to the land he owns. 29 These things shall constitute your standard for judgment through all your generations, wherever you live.
30 “‘If anyone kills someone, the murderer is to be put to death upon the testimony of witnesses; but the testimony of only one witness will not suffice to cause a person to be put to death. 31 Also, you are not to accept a ransom in lieu of the life of a murderer condemned to death; rather, he must be put to death. 32 Likewise, you are not to accept for someone who has fled to his city of refuge a ransom that would allow him to return to his land before the death of the cohen. 33 In this way you will not defile the land in which you are living. For blood defiles the land, and in this land no atonement can be made for the blood shed in it except the blood of him who shed it. 34 No, you are not to defile the land in which you live and in which I live; for I, Yehovah, live among the people of Isra’el.’”
36 (LY: vii) The leaders of the clans of the family of the descendants of Gil‘ad, the son of Machir, the son of M’nasheh, of the families of the descendants of Yosef, approached and addressed Moshe and the leaders, the heads of the clans of the people of Isra’el. 2 They said, “Yehovah ordered my lord to give by lot the land to be inherited by the people of Isra’el, and my lord was ordered by Yehovah to give the inheritance of our kinsman Tz’lof’chad to his daughters. 3 But if they get married to anyone belonging to another of the tribes of the people of Isra’el, then their inheritance will be taken away from the inheritance of our ancestors and be added to the inheritance of the tribe they will then belong to; thus it will be taken away from the sum total of our inheritance. 4 And when the yovel of the people of Isra’el comes, their inheritance will be added to the land possessed by the tribe they will then belong to and be subtracted from the inheritance belonging to the tribe of our ancestors.”
5 Moshe gave this order to the people of Isra’el, in keeping with the word of Yehovah : “The tribe of the descendants of Yosef is right in what it says. 6 Here is what Yehovah has ordered concerning the daughters of Tz’lof’chad: ‘Let them be married to whomever they think best, but they must marry only into a family from their father’s tribe. 7 In this way no inheritance of the people of Isra’el will move from one tribe to another; for each of the people of Isra’el is to hold on to the land for inheritance belonging to his father’s tribe. 8 Every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the people of Isra’el is to become the wife of someone from the family of her father’s tribe, so that every one of the people of Isra’el will stay in possession of his ancestors’ inheritance. 9 Thus no inheritance will move from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Isra’el will hold on to its own inheritance.”
(Maftir) 10 The daughters of Tz’lof’chad did as Yehovah had ordered Moshe. 11 Machlah, Tirtzah, Hoglah, Milkah and No‘ah all got married to sons of their father’s brothers. 12 They were married into the families of the descendants of M’nasheh the son of Yosef, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father’s family.
13 These are the mitzvot and rulings which Yehovah gave through Moshe to the people of Isra’el in the plains of Mo’av by the Yarden, across from Yericho.
Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened!
4 Hear the word of Yehovah, house of Ya‘akov
and all families in the house of Isra’el;
5 here is what Yehovah says:
“What did your ancestors find wrong with me
to make them go so far away from me,
to make them go after nothings
and become themselves nothings?
6 They didn’t ask, ‘Where is Yehovah,
who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
who led us through the desert,
through a land of wastes and ravines,
through a land of drought and death-dark shadows,
through a land where no one travels
and where no one ever lived?’
7 I brought you into a fertile land
to enjoy its fruit and all its good things;
but when you entered, you defiled my land
and made my heritage loathsome.
8 The cohanim didn’t ask, ‘Where is Yehovah?’
Those who deal with the Torah did not know me,
the people’s shepherds rebelled against me;
the prophets prophesied by Ba‘al
and went after things of no value.
9 “So again I state my case against you,” says Yehovah,
“and state it against your grandchildren too.
10 Cross to the coasts of the Kitti’im and look;
send to Kedar and observe closely;
see if anything like this has happened before:
11 has a nation ever exchanged its gods
(and theirs are not gods at all!)?
Yet my people have exchanged their Glory
for something without value.
12 Be aghast at this, you heavens!
Shudder in absolute horror!” says Yehovah.
13 “For my people have committed two evils:
they have abandoned me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns,
that can hold no water!
14 “Is Isra’el a slave, born into serfdom?
If not, why has he become plunder?
15 The young lions are roaring at him —
how loudly they are roaring!
They desolate his country,
demolishing and depopulating his cities.
16 The people of Nof and Tachpanches
feed on the crown of your head.
17 “Haven’t you brought this on yourself
by abandoning Yehovah your God
when he led you along the way?
18 If you go to Egypt, what’s in it for you?
Drinking water from the Nile?
If you go to Ashur, what’s in it for you?
Drinking water from the [Euphrates] River?
19 Your own wickedness will correct you,
your own backslidings will convict you;
you will know and see how bad and bitter
it was to abandon Yehovah your God,
and how fear of me is not in you,”
says Adonai Yehovah-Tzva’ot.
20 “For long ago I broke your yoke;
when I snapped your chains, you said, ‘I won’t sin.’
Yet on every high hill, under every green tree,
you sprawled and prostituted yourself.
21 But I planted you as a choice vine
of seed fully tested and true.
How did you degenerate
into a wild vine for me?
22 Even if you scrub yourself
with soda and plenty of soap,
the stain of your guilt is still there before me,”
says Adonai Yehovah.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled,
I have not pursued the ba‘alim’?
Look at your conduct in the valley,
understand what you have done.
You are a restive young female camel,
running here and there,
24 wild, accustomed to the desert,
sniffing the wind in her lust —
who can control her when she’s in heat?
Males seeking her need not weary themselves,
for at mating season they will find her.
25 “Stop before your shoes wear out,
and your throat is dry from thirst!
But you say, ‘No, it’s hopeless!
I love these strangers, and I’m going after them.’
26 Just as a thief is ashamed when caught,
so is the house of Isra’el ashamed —
they, their kings, their leaders,
their cohanim and their prophets,
27 who say to a log, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave us birth.’
For they have turned their backs to me
instead of their faces.
But when trouble comes, they will plead,
‘Rouse yourself and save us!’
28 Where are your gods that you made for yourselves?
Let them rouse themselves,
if they can save you when trouble comes.
Y’hudah, you have as many gods
as you have cities!
3:4 Didn’t you just now cry to me,
‘My father, you are my friend from my youth’?
1 What is causing all the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it your desires battling inside you? 2 You desire things and don’t have them. You kill, and you are jealous, and you still can’t get them. So you fight and quarrel. The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray! 3 Or you pray and don’t receive, because you pray with the wrong motive, that of wanting to indulge your own desires.
4 You unfaithful wives! Don’t you know that loving the world is hating God? Whoever chooses to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy! 5 Or do you suppose the Scripture speaks in vain when it says that there is a spirit in us which longs to envy? 6 But the grace he gives is greater, which is why it says,
“God opposes the arrogant,
but to the humble he gives grace.”
7 Therefore, submit to God. Moreover, take a stand against the Adversary, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded people! 9 Wail, mourn, sob! Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom! 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11 Brothers, stop speaking against each other! Whoever speaks against a brother or judges a brother is speaking against Torah and judging Torah. And if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of what Torah says, but a judge. 12 There is but one Giver of Torah; he is also the Judge, with the power to deliver and to destroy. Who do you think you are, judging your fellow human being?