Ki Tavo | כי תבוא | “When you come in ” Torah Portion Reading

Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Parashah 50: Ki Tavo (When you come) 26:1–29:8(9)

26 “When you have come to the land Adonai your God is giving you as your inheritance, taken possession of it and settled there; you are to take the firstfruits of all the crops the ground yields, which you will harvest from your land that Adonai your God is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place where Adonai your God will choose to have his name live. You will approach the cohen holding office at the time and say to him, ‘Today I declare to Adonai your God that I have come to the land Adonai swore to our ancestors that he would give us.’ The cohen will take the basket from your hand and put it down in front of the altar of Adonai your God.

“Then, in the presence of Adonai your God, you are to say, ‘My ancestor was a nomad from Aram. He went down into Egypt few in number and stayed. There he became a great, strong, populous nation. But the Egyptians treated us badly; they oppressed us and imposed harsh slavery on us. So we cried out to Adonai, the God of our ancestors. Adonai heard us and saw our misery, toil and oppression; and Adonai brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and a stretched-out arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders. Now he has brought us to this place and given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 Therefore, as you see, I have now brought the firstfruits of the land which you, Adonai, have given me.’ You are then to put the basket down before Adonai your God, prostrate yourself before Adonai your God, 11 and take joy in all the good that Adonai your God has given you, your household, the Levi and the foreigner living with you.

(ii) 12 “After you have separated a tenth of the crops yielded in the third year, the year of separating a tenth, and have given it to the Levi, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow, so that they can have enough food to satisfy them while staying with you; 13 you are to say, in the presence of Adonai your God, ‘I have rid my house of the things set aside for God and given them to the Levi, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow, in keeping with every one of the mitzvot you gave me. I haven’t disobeyed any of your mitzvot or forgotten them. 14 I haven’t eaten any of this food when mourning, I haven’t put any of it aside when unclean, nor have I given any of it for the dead. I have listened to what Adonai my God has said, and I have done everything you ordered me to do. 15 Look out from your holy dwelling-place, from heaven; and bless your people Isra’el and the land you gave us, as you swore to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

(iii) 16 “Today Adonai your God orders you to obey these laws and rulings. Therefore, you are to observe and obey them with all your heart and all your being. 17 You are agreeing today that Adonai is your God and that you will follow his ways; observe his laws, mitzvot and rulings; and do what he says. 18 In turn Adonai is agreeing today that you are his own unique treasure, as he promised you; that you are to observe all his mitzvot; 19 and that he will raise you high above all the nations he has made, in praise, reputation and glory; and that, as he said, you will be a holy people for Adonai your God.”

27 (iv) Then Moshe and all the leaders of Isra’el gave orders to the people. They said, “Observe all the mitzvot I am giving you today. When you cross the Yarden to the land Adonai your God is giving you, you are to set up large stones, put plaster on them, and, after crossing over, write this Torah on them, every word — so that you can enter the land Adonai your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as Adonai, the God of your ancestors, promised you. When you have crossed the Yarden, you are to set up these stones, as I am ordering you today, on Mount ‘Eival; and put plaster on them. There you are to erect an altar to Adonai your God, an altar made of stones. You are not to use any iron tool on them, but are to build the altar of Adonai your God of uncut stones; and you are to offer burnt offerings on it to Adonai your God. Also you are to sacrifice peace offerings, eat there and be joyful in the presence of Adonai your God. You are to write on the stones all the words of this Torah very clearly.”

Next Moshe and the cohanim, who are L’vi’im, spoke to all Isra’el. They said, “Be quiet; and listen, Isra’el! Today you have become the people of Adonai your God. 10 Therefore you are to listen to what Adonai your God says and obey his mitzvot and laws, which I am giving you today.”

(v) 11 That same day Moshe commissioned the people as follows: 12 “These are the ones who are to stand on Mount G’rizim and bless the people after you have crossed the Yarden: Shim‘on, Levi, Y’hudah, Yissakhar, Yosef and Binyamin; 13 while these are to stand on Mount ‘Eival for the curse: Re’uven, Gad, Asher, Z’vulun, Dan and Naftali. 14 The L’vi’im, speaking loudly, will proclaim to every man of Isra’el:

15 “‘A curse on anyone who makes a carved or metal image, something Adonai detests, the handiwork of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret!’ All the people are to respond by saying, ‘Amen!’

16 “‘A curse on anyone who dishonors his father or mother.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

17 “‘A curse on anyone who moves his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

18 “‘A curse on anyone who causes a blind person to lose his way on the road.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

19 “‘A curse on anyone who interferes with justice for the foreigner, orphan or widow.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

20 “‘A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with his father’s wife, because he has violated his father’s rights.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

21 “‘A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with any kind of animal.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

22 “‘A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with his sister, no matter whether she is the daughter of his father or of his mother.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

23 “‘A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with his mother-in-law.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

24 “‘A curse on anyone who secretly attacks a fellow member of the community.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

25 “‘A curse on anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

26 “‘A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice.’ All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’

28 “If you listen closely to what Adonai your God says, observing and obeying all his mitzvot which I am giving you today, Adonai your God will raise you high above all the nations on earth; and all the following blessings will be yours in abundance — if you will do what Adonai your God says:

“A blessing on you in the city, and a blessing on you in the countryside.

“A blessing on the fruit of your body, the fruit of your land and the fruit of your livestock — the young of your cattle and flocks.

“A blessing on your grain-basket and kneading-bowl.

“A blessing on you when you go out, and a blessing on you when you come in.

(vi) Adonai will cause your enemies attacking you to be defeated before you; they will advance on you one way and flee before you seven ways.

Adonai will order a blessing to be with you in your barns and in everything you undertake; he will bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.

Adonai will establish you as a people separated out for himself, as he has sworn to you — if you will observe the mitzvot of Adonai your God and follow his ways. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that Adonai’s name, his presence, is with you; so that they will be afraid of you.

11 Adonai will give you great abundance of good things — of the fruit of your body, the fruit of your livestock and the fruit of your land in the land Adonai swore to your ancestors to give you. 12 Adonai will open for you his good treasure, the sky, to give your land its rain at the right seasons and to bless everything you undertake. You will lend to many nations and not borrow; 13 Adonai will make you the head and not the tail; and you will be only above, never below — if you will listen to, observe and obey the mitzvot of Adonai your God 14 and not turn away from any of the words I am ordering you today, neither to the right nor to the left, to follow after other gods and serve them.

15 “But if you refuse to pay attention to what Adonai your God says, and do not observe and obey all his mitzvot and regulations which I am giving you today, then all the following curses will be yours in abundance:

16 “A curse on you in the city, and a curse on you in the countryside.

17 “A curse on your grain-basket and kneading-bowl.

18 “A curse on the fruit of your body, the fruit of your land and the young of your cattle and flocks.

19 “A curse on you when you come in, and a curse on you when you go out.

20 Adonai will send on you curses, disasters and frustration in everything you set out to do, until you are destroyed and quickly perish, because of your evil actions in abandoning me.

21 Adonai will bring on you a plague that will stay with you until he has exterminated you from the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. 22 Adonai will strike you down with wasting diseases, fever, inflammation, fiery heat, drought, blasting winds and mildew; and they will pursue you until you perish.

23 “The sky over your head will be brass and the earth under you iron. 24 Adonai will turn the rain your land needs into powder and dust that will fall on you from the sky until you are destroyed.

25 Adonai your God will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will advance on them one way and flee before them seven. You will become an object of horror to every kingdom on earth. 26 Your carcasses will become food for all the birds in the air and the wild animals, and there will be no one to scare them away.

27 Adonai will strike you down with the boils that broke out on the Egyptians, tumors, skin lesions and itching, all incurable. 28 Adonai will strike you with insanity, blindness and utter confusion. 29 You will grope about at noon like a blind person groping in the dark, unable to find your way.

“You will be continually oppressed and robbed, and there will be no one to save you. 30 You will get engaged to a woman, but another man will marry her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not use its fruit. 31 Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you won’t eat any of its meat. Your donkey will be taken away from you by force as you watch, and you won’t get it back. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and there will be no one to help you. 32 Your sons and daughters will be handed over to another people; you will watch for them longingly all day but not see them; and there will be nothing you can do about it. 33 A nation unknown to you will eat the fruit of your land and labor. Yes, you will be continually oppressed and crushed, 34 till you go crazy from what your eyes have to see. 35 Adonai will strike you down in the knees and legs with painful and incurable boils; they will spread from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. 36 Adonai will bring you and your king whom you have put over yourselves to a nation you have not known, neither you nor your ancestors; and there you will serve other gods made of wood and stone. 37 You will be so devastated as to become a proverb and a laughingstock among all the peoples to which Adonai will drive you.

38 “You will carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, because locusts will devour it. 39 You will plant vineyards and dress them but neither drink the wine nor gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. 40 You will have olive trees throughout your territory but not anoint yourself with the oil, because your olives will fall off unripe. 41 You will father sons and daughters, but they won’t belong to you, because they will go into captivity. 42 The bugs will inherit all your trees and the produce of your land.

43 “The foreigner living with you will rise higher and higher while you sink lower and lower. 44 He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he will be the head and you the tail.

45 “All these curses will come on you, pursuing you and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you didn’t pay attention to what Adonai your God said, observing his mitzvot and regulations that he gave you. 46 These curses will be on you and your descendants as a sign and a wonder forever. 47 Because you didn’t serve Adonai your God with joy and gladness in your heart when you had such an abundance of everything; 48 Adonai will send your enemy against you; and you will serve him when you are hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed and lacking everything; he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he destroys you. 49 Yes, Adonai will bring against you a nation from far away that will swoop down on you from the end of the earth like a vulture, a nation whose language you don’t understand, 50 a nation grim in appearance, whose people neither respect the old nor pity the young. 51 They will devour the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil, until you have been destroyed. They will leave you without grain, wine, olive oil, or your young cattle and sheep — until they have caused you to perish. 52 They will besiege all your towns until your high, fortified walls, in which you trusted, collapse everywhere in your land, which Adonai your God gave you. 53 Then, because of the severity of the siege and distress that your enemies are inflicting on you, you will eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your own sons and daughters, whom Adonai your God has given you. 54 Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will be without pity for his brother, his beloved wife or his surviving children, 55 to the degree that he will refuse to share with any of them the flesh of his children whom he is eating; because if he did, he would have nothing left for himself — in the severity of the siege and distress your enemies are inflicting on you in all your towns. 56 The most delicate and sensitive woman among you, so sensitive and delicate that she wouldn’t think of touching the sole of her foot to the ground, will so begrudge her own beloved husband, son and daughter 57 that she will secretly eat the afterbirth that comes out of her and even her own children as she bears them — so desperately hungry will she be in the severity of the siege and distress your enemies are inflicting on you in your towns.

58 “If you will not observe and obey all the words of this Torah that are written in this book, so that you will fear this glorious and awesome name, Adonai your God; 59 then Adonai will strike down you and your descendants with extraordinary plagues and severe sicknesses that go on and on. 60 He will bring back upon you all the diseases the Egyptians had, which you were in dread of; and they will cling to you. 61 Not only that, but Adonai will bring upon you all the sicknesses and plagues that are not written in this book of the Torah — until you are destroyed. 62 You will be left few in number, whereas you were once as numerous as the stars in the sky — because you did not pay attention to the voice of Adonai your God.

63 “Thus it will come about that just as once Adonai took joy in seeking to do you good and increase your numbers, so now Adonai will take joy in causing you to perish and be destroyed, and you will be plucked off the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. 64 Adonai will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other gods, made of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. 65 Among these nations you will not find repose, and there will be no rest for the sole of your foot; rather Adonai will give you there anguish of heart, dimness of eyes and apathy of spirit. 66 Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be afraid night and day and have no assurance that you will stay alive. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘Oh, how I wish it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘Oh, how I wish it were morning!’ — because of the fear overwhelming your heart and the sights your eyes will see. 68 Finally, Adonai will bring you back in ships to Egypt, the place of which I said to you, ‘You will never ever see it again’; and there you will try to sell yourselves as slaves to your enemies, but no one will buy you.”

69 (29:1) These are the words of the covenant which Adonai ordered Moshe to make with the people of Isra’el in the land of Mo’av, in addition to the covenant which he made with them in Horev.

29 (vii) (2) Then Moshe summoned all Isra’el and said to them, “You saw everything Adonai did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his servants and to all his land; (3) the great testings which you saw with your own eyes, and the signs and those great wonders. (4) Nevertheless, to this day Adonai has not given you a heart to understand, eyes to see or ears to hear! (5) I led you forty years in the desert. Neither the clothes on your body nor the shoes on your feet wore out. (6) You didn’t eat bread, and you didn’t drink wine or other intoxicating liquor; this was so that you would know that ‘I am Adonai your God.’ (Maftir) (7) When you arrived at this place, Sichon the king of Heshbon and ‘Og the king of Bashan advanced against us in battle, and we defeated them, (8) took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Re’uveni, the Gadi and the M’nashi. (9) Therefore, observe the words of this covenant and obey them; so that you can make everything you do prosper.

Haftarah Ki Tavo: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 60:1–22

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Ki Tavo: Mattityahu (Matthew) 13:1–23; Luke 21:1–4; Acts 28:17–31; Romans 11:1–15

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Shoftim | שופטים | “Judges ” Torah Portion Reading

Parashah 48: Shof’tim (Judges) 16:18–21:9

18 “You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates [in the cities] Adonai your God is giving you, tribe by tribe; and they are to judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 You are not to distort justice or show favoritism, and you are not to accept a bribe, for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of even the upright. 20 Justice, only justice, you must pursue; so that you will live and inherit the land Adonai your God is giving you.

21 “You are not to plant any sort of tree as a sacred pole beside the altar of Adonai your God that you will make for yourselves. 22 Likewise, do not set up a standing-stone; Adonai your God hates such things.

17 “You are not to sacrifice to Adonai your God a cow or sheep that has a defect or anything wrong with it; that would be an abomination to Adonai your God.

“If there is found among you, within any of your gates [in any city] that Adonai your God gives you, a man or woman who does what Adonai your God sees as wicked, transgressing his covenant by going and serving other gods and worshipping them, the sun, the moon, or anything in the sky — something I have forbidden — and it is told to you, or you hear about it; then you are to investigate the matter diligently. If it is true, if it is confirmed that such detestable things are being done in Isra’el; then you are to bring the man or woman who has done this wicked thing to your city gates, and stone that man or woman to death. The death sentence is to be carried out only if there was testimony from two or three witnesses; he may not be sentenced to death on the testimony of only one witness. The witnesses are to be the first to stone him to death; afterwards, all the people are to stone him. Thus you will put an end to this wickedness among you.

“If a case comes before you at your city gate which is too difficult for you to judge, concerning bloodshed, civil suit, personal injury or any other controversial issue; you are to get up, go to the place which Adonai your God will choose, and appear before the cohanim, who are L’vi’im, and the judge in office at the time. Seek their opinion, and they will render a verdict for you. 10 You will then act according to what they have told you there in that place which Adonai will choose; you are to take care to act according to all their instructions. 11 In accordance with the Torah they teach you, you are to carry out the judgment they render, not turning aside to the right or the left from the verdict they declare to you. 12 Anyone presumptuous enough not to pay attention to the cohen appointed there to serve Adonai your God or to the judge — that person must die. Thus you will exterminate such wickedness from Isra’el — 13 all the people will hear about it and be afraid to continue acting presumptuously.

(ii) 14 “When you have entered the land Adonai your God is giving you, have taken possession of it and are living there, you may say, ‘I want to have a king over me, like all the other nations around me.’ 15 In that event, you must appoint as king the one whom Adonai your God will choose. He must be one of your kinsmen, this king you appoint over you — you are forbidden to appoint a foreigner over you who is not your kinsman. 16 However, he is not to acquire many horses for himself or have the people return to Egypt to obtain more horses, inasmuch as Adonai told you never to go back that way again. 17 Likewise, he is not to acquire many wives for himself, so that his heart will not turn away; and he is not to acquire excessive quantities of silver and gold.

18 “When he has come to occupy the throne of his kingdom, he is to write a copy of this Torah for himself in a scroll, from the one the cohanim and L’vi’im use. 19 It is to remain with him, and he is to read in it every day, as long as he lives; so that he will learn to fear Adonai his God and keep all the words of this Torah and these laws and obey them; 20 so that he will not think he is better than his kinsmen; and so that he will not turn aside either to the right or to the left from the mitzvah. In this way he will prolong his own reign and that of his children in Isra’el.

18 (iii) The cohanim, who are L’vi’im, and indeed the whole tribe of Levi, is not to have a share or an inheritance with Isra’el. Instead, their support will come from the food offered by fire to Adonai and from whatever else becomes his. They will have no inheritance with their brothers, because Adonai is their inheritance — as he has said to them.

“The cohanim will have the right to receive from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether ox or sheep, the shoulder, the jowls and the stomach. You will also give him the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep. For Adonai your God has chosen him from all your tribes to stand and serve in the name of Adonai, him and his sons forever.

(iv) “If a Levi from one of your towns anywhere in Isra’el where he is living comes, highly motivated, to the place which Adonai will choose, then he will serve there in the name of Adonai his God, just like his kinsmen the L’vi’im who stand and serve in the presence of Adonai. Such a Levi will receive the same share as they do, in addition to what he may receive from selling his inherited ancestral property.

“When you enter the land Adonai your God is giving you, you are not to learn how to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through fire, a diviner, a soothsayer, an enchanter, a sorcerer, 11 a spell-caster, a consulter of ghosts or spirits, or a necromancer. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to Adonai, and because of these abominations Adonai your God is driving them out ahead of you. 13 You must be wholehearted with Adonai your God. (v) 14 For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to soothsayers and diviners; but you, Adonai your God does not allow you to do this.

15 Adonai will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him, 16 just as when you were assembled at Horev and requested Adonai your God, ‘Don’t let me hear the voice of Adonai my God any more, or let me see this great fire ever again; if I do, I will die!’ 17 On that occasion Adonai said to me, ‘They are right in what they are saying. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I order him. 19 Whoever doesn’t listen to my words, which he will speak in my name, will have to account for himself to me.

20 “‘But if a prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name which I didn’t order him to say, or if he speaks in the name of other gods, then that prophet must die.’ 21 You may be wondering, ‘How are we to know if a word has not been spoken by Adonai?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of Adonai, and the prediction does not come true — that is, the word is not fulfilled — then Adonai did not speak that word. The prophet who said it spoke presumptuously; you have nothing to fear from him.

19 “When Adonai your God cuts off the nations whose land Adonai your God is giving you, and you take their place and settle in their cities and houses, you are to set aside three cities for yourselves in your land that Adonai your God is giving you to possess. Divide the territory of your land, which Adonai your God is having you inherit, into three parts; and prepare the roads, so that any killer can flee to these cities. The killer who will live if he flees there is someone who has killed his fellow member of the community by mistake, who did not hate him in the past. An example would be if a man goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood and takes a stroke with the axe to fell a tree, but the head of the axe flies off the handle, hits his neighbor and kills him. Then he is to flee to one of these cities and live there. Otherwise the next-of-kin avenger, in the heat of his anger, may pursue the killer, overtake him because the distance [to the city of refuge] is long, and strike him dead — even though he didn’t deserve to die, inasmuch as he hadn’t hated him in the past. This is why I am ordering you to set aside for yourselves three cities.

“If Adonai your God expands your territory, as he swore to your ancestors that he would, and gives you all the land he promised to give to your ancestors — provided you keep and observe all these mitzvot I am giving you today, loving Adonai your God and always following his ways — then you are to add three more cities for yourselves, besides these three; 10 so that innocent blood will not be shed in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus blood guilt be on you.

11 “However, if someone hates his fellow member of the community, lies in wait for him, attacks him, strikes him a death blow, and then flees into one of these cities; 12 then the leaders of his own town are to send and bring him back from there and hand him over to the next-of-kin avenger, to be put to death. 13 You are not to pity him. Rather, you must put an end to the shedding of innocent blood in Isra’el. Then things will go well with you.

(vi) 14 “You are not to move your neighbor’s boundary marker from the place where people put it long ago, in the inheritance soon to be yours in the land Adonai your God is giving you to possess.

15 “One witness alone will not be sufficient to convict a person of any offense or sin of any kind; the matter will be established only if there are two or three witnesses testifying against him.

16 “If a malicious witness comes forward and gives false testimony against someone, 17 then both the men involved in the controversy are to stand before Adonai, before the cohanim and the judges in office at the time. 18 The judges are to investigate carefully. If they find that the witness is lying and has given false testimony against his brother, 19 you are to do to him what he intended to do to his brother. In this way, you will put an end to such wickedness among you. 20 Those who remain will hear about it, be afraid and no longer commit such wickedness among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

20 “When you go out to fight your enemies and see horses, chariots and a force larger than yours, you are not to be afraid of them; because Adonai your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. When you are about to go into battle, the cohen is to come forward and address the people. He should tell them, ‘Listen, Isra’el! You are about to do battle against your enemies. Don’t be fainthearted or afraid; don’t be alarmed or frightened by them; because Adonai your God is going with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies and give you victory.’

“Then the officials will speak to the soldiers. They are to say, ‘Is there a man here who has built a new house, but hasn’t dedicated it yet? He should go back home now; otherwise he may die fighting, and another man will dedicate it.

“‘Is there a man here who has planted a vineyard, but hasn’t yet made use of its fruit? He should go back home; otherwise he may die fighting, and another man will use it.

“‘Is there a man here who is engaged to a woman, but hasn’t married her yet? He should go back home; otherwise he may die fighting, and another man will marry her.’

“The officials will then add to what they have said to the soldiers: ‘Is there a man here who is afraid and fainthearted? He should go back home; otherwise his fear may demoralize his comrades as well.’ When the officials have finished speaking with the soldiers, commanders are to be appointed to lead the army.

(vii) 10 “When you advance on a town to attack it, first offer it terms for peace. 11 If it accepts the terms for peace and opens its gates to you, then all the people there are to be put to forced labor and work for you. 12 However, if they refuse to make peace with you but prefer to make war against you, you are to put it under siege. 13 When Adonai your God hands it over to you, you are to put every male to the sword. 14 However, you are to take as booty for yourself the women, the little ones, the livestock, and everything in the city — all its spoil. Yes, you will feed on your enemies’ spoil, which Adonai your God has given you. 15 This is what you are to do to all the towns which are at a great distance from you, which are not the towns of these nations.

16 “As for the towns of these peoples, which Adonai your God is giving you as your inheritance, you are not to allow anything that breathes to live. 17 Rather you must destroy them completely — the Hitti, the Emori, the Kena‘ani, the P’rizi, the Hivi and the Y’vusi — as Adonai your God has ordered you; 18 so that they won’t teach you to follow their abominable practices, which they do for their gods, thus causing you to sin against Adonai your God.

19 “When, in making war against a town in order to capture it, you lay siege to it for a long time, you are not to destroy its trees, cutting them down with an axe. You can eat their fruit, so don’t cut them down. After all, are the trees in the field human beings, so that you have to besiege them too? 20 However, if you know that certain trees provide no food, you may destroy them and cut them down, in order to build siege-works against the town making war with you, until it falls.

21 “If, in the land Adonai your God is giving you to possess, a murder victim is found lying in the countryside; and the perpetrator of the murder is not known; then your leaders and judges are to go out and measure the distance between it and the surrounding towns. After it has been determined which town is the closest, the leaders of that town are to take a young female cow that has never been put to work or yoked for use as a draft animal. The leaders of that town are to bring the heifer down to a vadi with a stream in it that never dries up, to a place that is neither plowed nor sown; and they are to break the cow’s neck there in the vadi. Then the cohanim, who are L’vi’im, are to approach; for Adonai your God has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in the name of Adonai; they will decide the outcome of every dispute and matter involving violence. All the leaders of the town nearest the murder victim are to wash their hands over the cow whose neck was broken in the vadi. (Maftir) Then they are to speak up and say, ‘This blood was not shed by our hands, nor have we seen who did it. Adonai, forgive your people Isra’el, whom you redeemed; do not allow innocent blood to be shed among your people Isra’el.’ And they will be forgiven this bloodshed. Thus you will banish the shedding of innocent blood from among you, by doing what Adonai sees as right.

Haftarah Shof’tim: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 51:12–52:12 [Messianic adaptation: conclude the reading at 53:12]

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Shof’tim: Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:38–42; 18:15–20; Acts 3:13–26; 7:35–53; 1 Corinthians 5:9–13; 1 Timothy 5:17–22; Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 10:28–31

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Ekev | עקב | “Consequence ” Torah Portion Reading

Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Parashah 46: ‘Ekev (Because) 7:12–11:25

12 “Because you are listening to these rulings, keeping and obeying them, Adonai your God will keep with you the covenant and mercy that he swore to your ancestors. 13 He will love you, bless you and increase your numbers; he will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground — your grain, wine, olive oil and the young of your cattle and sheep — in the land he swore to your ancestors that he would give you. 14 You will be blessed more than all other peoples; there will not be a sterile male or female among you, and the same with your livestock. 15 Adonai will remove all illness from you — he will not afflict you with any of Egypt’s dreadful diseases, which you have known; instead, he will lay them on those who hate you. 16 You are to devour all the peoples that Adonai your God hands over to you — show them no pity, and do not serve their gods, because that will become a trap for you. 17 If you think to yourselves, ‘These nations outnumber us; how can we dispossess them?’ 18 nevertheless, you are not to be afraid of them; you are to remember well what Adonai your God did to Pharaoh and all of Egypt — 19 the great ordeals which you yourself saw, and the signs, wonders, strong hand and outstretched arm by which Adonai your God brought you out. Adonai will do the same to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover, Adonai your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left and those who hide themselves perish ahead of you. 21 You are not to be frightened of them, because Adonai your God is there with you, a God great and fearsome. 22 Adonai your God will expel those nations ahead of you little by little; you can’t put an end to them all at once, or the wild animals will become too numerous for you. 23 Nevertheless, Adonai your God will give them over to you, sending one disaster after another upon them until they have been destroyed. 24 He will hand their kings over to you, and you will wipe out their name from under heaven; none of them will be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them. 25 You are to burn up completely the carved statues of their gods. Don’t be greedy for the silver or gold on them; don’t take it with you, or you will be trapped by it; for it is abhorrent to Adonai your God. 26 Don’t bring something abhorrent into your house, or you will share in the curse that is on it; instead, you are to detest it completely, loathe it utterly; for it is set apart for destruction.

“All the mitzvot I am giving you today you are to take care to obey, so that you will live, increase your numbers, enter and take possession of the land Adonai swore about to your ancestors. You are to remember everything of the way in which Adonai led you these forty years in the desert, humbling and testing you in order to know what was in your heart — whether you would obey his mitzvot or not. He humbled you, allowing you to become hungry, and then fed you with man, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, to make you understand that a person does not live on food alone but on everything that comes from the mouth of Adonai. During these forty years the clothing you were wearing didn’t grow old, and your feet didn’t swell up. Think deeply about it: Adonai was disciplining you, just as a man disciplines his child. So obey the mitzvot of Adonai your God, living as he directs and fearing him. For Adonai your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams, springs and water welling up from the depths in valleys and on hillsides. It is a land of wheat and barley, grapevines, fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food in abundance and lack nothing in it; a land where the stones contain iron and the hills can be mined for copper. 10 So you will eat and be satisfied, and you will bless Adonai your God for the good land he has given you.

(ii) 11 “Be careful not to forget Adonai your God by not obeying his mitzvot, rulings and regulations that I am giving you today. 12 Otherwise, after you have eaten and are satisfied, built fine houses and lived in them, 13 and increased your herds, flocks, silver, gold and everything else you own, 14 you will become proud-hearted. Forgetting Adonai your God — who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves; 15 who led you through the vast and fearsome desert, with its poisonous snakes, scorpions and waterless, thirsty ground; who brought water out of flint rock for you; 16 who fed you in the desert with man, unknown to your ancestors; all the while humbling and testing you in order to do you good in the end — 17 you will think to yourself, ‘My own power and the strength of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 No, you are to remember Adonai your God, because it is he who is giving you the power to get wealth, in order to confirm his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as is happening even today. 19 If you forget Adonai your God, follow other gods and serve and worship them, I am warning you in advance today that you will certainly perish. 20 You will perish just like the nations that Adonai is causing to perish ahead of you, because you will not have heeded the voice of Adonai your God.”

“Listen, Isra’el! You are to cross the Yarden today, to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, great cities fortified up to the sky; a people great and tall, the ‘Anakim, whom you know about and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of ‘Anak?’ Therefore understand today that Adonai your God will himself cross ahead of you as a devouring fire; he will destroy them and bring them down before you. Thus will you drive them out and cause them to perish quickly, as Adonai has said to you.

(iii) “Don’t think to yourself, after your God has pushed them out ahead of you, ‘It is to reward my righteousness that Adonai has brought me in to take possession of this land.’ No, it is because these nations have been so wicked that Adonai is driving them out ahead of you. It is not because of your righteousness, or because your heart is so upright, that you go in to take possession of their land; but to punish the wickedness of these nations that Adonai your God is driving them out ahead of you, and also to confirm the word which Adonai swore to your ancestors, Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov. Therefore, understand that it is not for your righteousness that Adonai your God is giving you this good land to possess.

“For you are a stiffnecked people! Remember, don’t forget, how you made Adonai your God angry in the desert. From the day you left the land of Egypt till you arrived at this place, you have been rebelling against Adonai. Also in Horev you made Adonai angry — Adonai was angry enough with you to destroy you! I had gone up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets on which was written the covenant Adonai had made with you. I stayed on the mountain forty days and nights without eating food or drinking water. 10 Then Adonai gave me the two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God; and on them was written every word Adonai had said to you from the fire on the mountain the day of the assembly. 11 Yes, after forty days and nights Adonai gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. 12 Then Adonai said to me, ‘Get up, and hurry down from here, because your people, whom you led out of Egypt, have become corrupt. So quickly have they turned aside from the way I ordered them to follow! They have made themselves a metal image!’ 13 Moreover, Adonai said to me, ‘I have seen this people, and what a stiffnecked people they are! 14 Let me alone, so that I can put an end to them and blot out their name from under heaven! I will make out of you a nation bigger and stronger than they.’ 15 I came down from the mountain. The mountain was blazing fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 I looked, and there, you had sinned against Adonai your God! You had made yourselves a metal calf, you had turned aside quickly from the way Adonai had ordered you to follow. 17 I seized the two tablets, threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes. 18 Then I fell down before Adonai, as I had the first time, for forty days and nights, during which time I neither ate food nor drank water, all because of the sin you committed by doing what was evil in the sight of Adonai and thus provoking him. 19 I was terrified that because of how angry Adonai was at you, of how heatedly displeased he was, that he would destroy you. But Adonai listened to me that time too. 20 In addition, Adonai was very angry with Aharon and would have destroyed him; but I prayed for Aharon also at the same time. 21 I took your sin, the calf you had made, and burned it up in the fire, beat it to pieces, and ground it up still smaller, until it was as fine as dust; then I threw its dust into the stream coming down from the mountain.

22 “Again at Tav‘erah, Massah and Kivrot-HaTa’avah you made Adonai angry; 23 and when Adonai sent you off from Kadesh-Barnea by saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land I have given you,’ you rebelled against the order of Adonai your God — you neither trusted him nor heeded what he said. 24 You have been rebelling against Adonai from the day I first knew you!

25 “So I fell down before Adonai for those forty days and nights; and I lay there; because Adonai had said he would destroy you. 26 I prayed to Adonai ; I said, ‘Adonai Elohim! Don’t destroy your people, your inheritance! You redeemed them through your greatness, you brought them out of Egypt with a strong hand! 27 Remember your servants Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov! Don’t focus on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or on their sin. 28 Otherwise, the land you brought us out of will say, “It is because Adonai wasn’t able to bring them into the land he promised them and because he hated them that he has brought them out to kill them in the desert.” 29 But in fact they are your people, your inheritance, whom you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm.’

10 (iv) “At that time Adonai said to me, ‘Cut yourself two stone tablets like the first ones, come up to me on the mountain, and make yourself an ark of wood. I will inscribe on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you are to put them in the ark.’ So I made an ark of acacia-wood and cut two stone tablets like the first, then climbed the mountain with the two tablets in my hand. He inscribed the tablets with the same inscription as before, the Ten Words which Adonai proclaimed to you from the fire on the mountain the day of the assembly; and Adonai gave them to me. I turned, came down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made; and there they remain; as Adonai ordered me.

“The people of Isra’el traveled from the wells of B’nei-Ya‘akan to Moserah, where Aharon died and was buried; and El‘azar his son took his place, serving in the office of cohen. From there they traveled to Gudgod, and from Gudgod to Yotvatah, a region with running streams. At that time Adonai set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark for the covenant of Adonai and to stand before Adonai to serve him and to bless in his name, as they still do today. This is why Levi has no share or inheritance with his brothers; Adonai is his inheritance, as Adonai your God had said to him.

10 “I stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as previously; and Adonai listened to me that time too — Adonai would not destroy you. 11 Then Adonai said to me, ‘Get up, and go on your way at the head of the people, so that they can enter and take possession of the land I swore to their ancestors that I would give them.’

(v) 12 “So now, Isra’el, all that Adonai your God asks from you is to fear Adonai your God, follow all his ways, love him and serve Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being; 13 to obey, for your own good, the mitzvot and regulations of Adonai which I am giving you today. 14 See, the sky, the heaven beyond the sky, the earth and everything on it all belong to Adonai your God. 15 Only Adonai took enough pleasure in your ancestors to love them and choose their descendants after them — yourselves — above all peoples, as he still does today. 16 Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart; and don’t be stiffnecked any longer! 17 For Adonai your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty and awesome God, who has no favorites and accepts no bribes. 18 He secures justice for the orphan and the widow; he loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore you are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. 20 You are to fear Adonai your God, serve him, cling to him and swear by his name. 21 He is your praise, and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things, which you have seen with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors went down into Egypt with only seventy people, but now Adonai your God has made your numbers as many as the stars in the sky!

11 “Therefore, you are to love Adonai your God and always obey his commission, regulations, rulings and mitzvot. Today it is you I am addressing — not your children, who haven’t known or experienced the discipline of Adonai your God, his greatness, his strong hand, his outstretched arm, his signs and his actions which he did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to his entire country. They didn’t experience what he did to Egypt’s army, horses and chariots — how Adonai overwhelmed them with the water of the Sea of Suf as they were pursuing you, so that they remain destroyed to this day. They didn’t experience what he kept doing for you in the desert until you arrived at this place; or what he did to Datan and Aviram, the sons of Eli’av the descendant of Re’uven — how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households, tents and every living thing in their company, there in front of all Isra’el. But you have seen with your own eyes all these great deeds of Adonai. Therefore, you are to keep every mitzvah I am giving you today; so that you will be strong enough to go in and take possession of the land you are crossing over to conquer; and so that you will live long in the land Adonai swore to give to your ancestors and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.

(vi) 10 “For the land you are entering in order to take possession of it isn’t like the land of Egypt. There you would sow your seed and had to use your feet to operate its irrigation system, as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing over to take possession of is a land of hills and valleys, which soaks up water when rain falls from the sky. 12 It is a land Adonai your God cares for. The eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

13 “So if you listen carefully to my mitzvot which I am giving you today, to love Adonai your God and serve him with all your heart and all your being; 14 then, [says Adonai,] ‘I will give your land its rain at the right seasons, including the early fall rains and the late spring rains; so that you can gather in your wheat, new wine and olive oil; 15 and I will give your fields grass for your livestock; with the result that you will eat and be satisfied.’ 16 But be careful not to let yourselves be seduced, so that you turn aside, serving other gods and worshipping them. 17 If you do, the anger of Adonai will blaze up against you. He will shut up the sky, so that there will be no rain. The ground will not yield its produce, and you will quickly pass away from the good land Adonai is giving you. 18 Therefore, you are to store up these words of mine in your heart and in all your being; tie them on your hand as a sign; put them at the front of a headband around your forehead; 19 teach them carefully to your children, talking about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up; 20 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates — 21 so that you and your children will live long on the land Adonai swore to your ancestors that he would give them for as long as there is sky above the earth.

(vii & Maftir) 22 “For if you will take care to obey all these mitzvot I am giving you, to do them, to love Adonai your God, to follow all his ways and to cling to him, 23 then Adonai will expel all these nations ahead of you; and you will dispossess nations bigger and stronger than you are. 24 Wherever the sole of your foot steps will be yours; your territory will extend from the desert to the L’vanon and from the River, the Euphrates River, to the Western Sea. 25 No one will be able to withstand you; Adonai your God will place the fear and dread of you on all the land you step on, as he told you.

Haftarah ‘Ekev: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 49:14–51:3

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah ‘Ekev: Mattityahu (Matthew) 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13; Ya‘akov (James) 5:7–11

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Tazria/Metzora | תזריע/מצורע | “She will conceive/Leper “

This Week’s Torah Reading:

Parashah 27: Tazria (She conceives) 12:1–13:59

[In regular years read with Parashah 28, in leap years read separately]

12 Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el: ‘If a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy, she will be unclean for seven days with the same uncleanness as in niddah, when she is having her menstrual period. On the eighth day, the baby’s foreskin is to be circumcised. She is to wait an additional thirty-three days to be purified from her blood; she is not to touch any holy thing or come into the sanctuary until the time of her purification is over. But if she gives birth to a girl, she will be unclean for two weeks, as in her niddah; and she is to wait another sixty-six days to be purified from her blood.

“‘When the days of her purification are over, whether for a son or for a daughter, she is to bring a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or dove for a sin offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the cohen. He will offer it before Adonai and make atonement for her; thus she will be purified from her discharge of blood. Such is the law for a woman who gives birth, whether to a boy or to a girl. If she can’t afford a lamb, she is to take two doves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; the cohen will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”

13 Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “If someone develops on his skin a swelling, scab or bright spot which could develop into the disease tzara‘at, he is to be brought to Aharon the cohen or to one of his sons who are cohanim. The cohen is to examine the sore on his skin; if the hair in the sore has turned white, and the sore appears to go deep into the skin, it is tzara‘at, and after examining him the cohen is to declare him unclean. If the bright spot on his skin is white, but it does not appear to go deep into the skin, and its hair has not turned white, then the cohen is to isolate him for seven days. On the seventh day the cohen is to examine him again, and if the sore appears the same as before and has not spread on the skin, then the cohen is to isolate him for seven more days. (LY: ii) On the seventh day the cohen is to examine him again, and if the sore has faded and hasn’t spread on the skin, then the cohen is to declare him clean — it is only a scab, so he is to wash his clothes and be clean. But if the scab spreads further on the skin after he has been examined by the cohen and declared clean, he is to let himself be examined yet again by the cohen. The cohen will examine him, and if he sees that the scab has spread on his skin, then the cohen will declare him unclean; it is tzara‘at.

“If a person has tzara‘at, he is to be brought to the cohen. 10 The cohen is to examine him, and if he sees that there is a white swelling in the skin which has turned the hair white and inflamed flesh in the swelling, 11 then it is chronic tzara‘at on his skin, and the cohen is to declare him unclean; he is not to isolate him, because it is already clear that he is unclean. 12 If the tzara‘at breaks out all over the skin, so that, as far as the cohen can see, the person with tzara‘at has sores everywhere on his body, from his head to his feet; 13 then the cohen is to examine him, and if he sees that the tzara‘at has covered his entire body, he is to pronounce the person with the sores clean — it has all turned white, and he is clean. 14 But if one day inflamed flesh appears on him, he will be unclean. 15 The cohen will examine the inflamed flesh and declare him unclean; the inflamed flesh is unclean; it is tzara‘at. 16 However, if the inflamed flesh again turns white, he is to come to the cohen. 17 The cohen will examine him, and if he sees that the sores have turned white, then the cohen is to declare clean the person with the sores; he is clean.

(LY: iii) 18 “If a person has on his skin a boil that heals 19 in such a way that in place of the boil there is a white swelling or a reddish-white bright spot, it is to be shown to the cohen. 20 The cohen is to examine it; if he sees that it appears to be more than skin-deep, and its hair has turned white, then the cohen is to pronounce him unclean — the disease of tzara‘at has broken out in the boil. 21 But if the cohen looks at it and doesn’t see any white hairs in it, and it isn’t more than skin-deep but appears faded, the cohen is to isolate him for seven days. 22 If it spreads on the skin, the cohen is to declare him unclean; it is the disease. 23 But if the bright spot stays where it was and has not spread, it is the scar of the boil; and the cohen is to declare him clean.

(RY: ii, LY: iv) 24 “Or if someone has on his skin a burn caused by fire; and the inflamed flesh where it was burned has become a bright spot, reddish-white or white, 25 then the cohen is to examine it; and if he sees that the hair in the bright spot has turned white and that it appears to be deeper than the skin around it, it is tzara‘at; it has broken out in the burn, and the cohen is to declare him unclean; it is a sore from tzara‘at. 26 But if the cohen examines it and sees no white hair in the bright spot, and it is no lower than the skin around it but looks faded, then the cohen is to isolate him for seven days. 27 On the seventh day the cohen is to examine him; if it has spread on the skin, then the cohen is to declare him unclean; it is a sore from tzara‘at. 28 But if the bright spot stays where it was and has not spread on the skin but appears faded, it is a swelling due to the burn; and the cohen is to declare him clean; because it is only a scar from the burn.

(LY: v) 29 “If a man or woman has a sore on the head or a man in his beard, 30 then the cohen is to examine the sore; if he sees that it appears to be deeper than the skin around it, with yellow, thin hair in it, then the cohen is to declare him unclean; it is a crusted area, a tzara‘at of the head or beard. 31 If the cohen examines the diseased crusted area and sees that it appears not to be deeper than the skin around it, and without any black hair in it, then the cohen is to isolate for seven days the person with the diseased crusted area. 32 On the seventh day the cohen is to examine the sore, and if he sees that the crusted area hasn’t spread, that it has no yellow hair in it, and that the crusted area is not deeper than the skin around it; 33 then the person is to be shaved, except for the crusted area itself, and the cohen is to isolate him for seven more days. 34 On the seventh day the cohen is to examine the crusted area; and if he sees that the crusted area has not spread on the skin and does not appear to be deeper than the skin around it, then the cohen is to declare him clean; he is to wash his clothes and be clean. 35 But if the crusted area spreads after his purification, 36 then the cohen is to examine him; and if he sees that the crusted area has spread on the skin, the cohen is not to look for yellow hair; he is unclean. 37 But if the crusted area’s appearance doesn’t change, and black hair grows up in it, then the crusted area is healed; he is clean; and the cohen is to declare him clean.

(RY: iii, LY: vi) 38 “If a man or woman has bright spots on his skin, bright white spots; 39 then the cohen is to examine them. If he sees that the bright spots on the skin are dull white, it is only a rash that has broken out on the skin; he is clean.

40 “If a man’s hair has fallen from his scalp, he is bald; but he is clean. 41 If his hair has fallen off the front part of his head, he is forehead-bald; but he is clean. 42 But if on the bald scalp or forehead there is a reddish-white sore, it is tzara‘at breaking out on his bald scalp or forehead. 43 Then the cohen is to examine him; if he sees that there is a reddish-white swelling on his bald scalp or forehead, appearing like tzara‘at on the rest of the body, 44 he is a person with tzara‘at; he is unclean; the cohen must declare him unclean; the sore is on his head.

45 “Everyone who has tzara‘at sores is to wear torn clothes and unbound hair, cover his upper lip and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as he has sores, he will be unclean; since he is unclean, he must live in isolation; he must live outside the camp.

47 “When tzara‘at infects an article of clothing, whether it be a woolen or a linen garment, 48 on the threads or the woven-in parts of either linen or wool, or on a hide or item made of leather; 49 then if the stain on the garment, hide, threads, woven-in parts or leather item is greenish or reddish, it is an infection of tzara‘at and is to be shown to the cohen. 50 The cohen is to examine the stain and isolate the article that has the infection for seven days. 51 On the seventh day he is to examine the stain; if the stain has spread on the garment, threads, woven-in parts or leather, whatever its use, the infection is a contagious tzara‘at; the garment is unclean. 52 He is to burn the garment, threads, woven-in parts of either wool or linen, or item of leather having the infection; for it is a contagious tzara‘at; it must be burned up completely. 53 But if, when the cohen examines it, he sees that the infection has not spread on the garment or in the threads, woven-in parts or leather item, 54 then the cohen is to order that the article having the infection be washed and isolated for seven more days. (RY: iv, LY: vii) 55 The cohen is to examine it after the stain has been washed, and if he sees that the stain has not changed color, then, even though the stain has not spread, it is unclean; you are to burn it up completely — it is rotten, no matter whether the spot is on the outside or on the inside. 56 If the cohen examines it and sees that the stain has faded after being washed, then he is to tear the stain out of the garment, leather, threads or woven-in parts. (LY: Maftir) 57 If it appears again in the garment, threads, woven-in parts or leather item, it is contagious, and you are to burn up completely the article that had the stain. 58 But if the infection is gone from the garment, threads, woven-in parts or leather item that you washed, then it is to be washed a second time, and it will be clean. 59 This is the law concerning infections of tzara‘at in a garment of wool or linen, or in the threads or the woven-in parts, or in any leather item — when to declare it clean and when to declare it unclean.

Haftarah Tazria: M’lakhim Bet (2 Kings) 4:42–5:19

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Tazria: Mattityahu (Matthew) 8:1–4, 11:2–6; Mark 1:40–45; Luke 2:22–24; 5:12–16; 7:18–23

Parashah 28: M’tzora (Person afflicted with tzara‘at) 14:1–15:33

[In regular years read with Parashah 27, in leap years read separately]

14 Adonai said to Moshe, “This is to be the law concerning the person afflicted with tzara‘at on the day of his purification. He is to be brought to the cohen, and the cohen is to go outside the camp and examine him there. If he sees that the tzara‘at sores have been healed in the afflicted person, then the cohen will order that two living clean birds be taken for the one to be purified, along with cedar-wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop leaves. The cohen is to order one of the birds slaughtered in a clay pot over running water. As for the live bird, he is to take it with the cedar-wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird slaughtered over running water, and sprinkle the person to be purified from the tzara‘at seven times. Next he is to set the live bird free in an open field. He who is to be purified must wash his clothes, shave off all his hair and bathe himself in water. Then he will be clean; and after that, he may enter the camp; but he must live outside his tent for seven days. On the seventh day he is to shave all the hair off his head, also his beard and eyebrows — he must shave off all his hair; and he is to wash his clothes and bathe his body in water; and he will be clean.

10 “On the eighth day he is to take two male lambs without defect, one female lamb in its first year without defect and six-and-a-half quarts of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with olive oil, and two-thirds of a pint of olive oil. 11 The cohen purifying him is to place the person being purified with these items before Adonai at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 12 The cohen is to take one of the male lambs and offer it as a guilt offering with the two-thirds-pint of olive oil, then wave them as a wave offering before Adonai. (LY: ii) 13 He is to slaughter the male lamb at the place in the sanctuary for slaughtering sin offerings and burnt offerings, because the guilt offering belongs to the cohen, just like the sin offering; it is especially holy. 14 The cohen is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the tip of the right ear of the person being purified, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 15 Next, the cohen is to take some of the two-thirds-pint of olive oil and pour it into the palm of his own left hand, 16 dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand and sprinkle from the oil with his finger seven times before Adonai. 17 Then the cohen is to put some of the remaining oil in his hand on the tip of the right ear of the person being purified, on the thumb of his right hand, on the big toe of his right foot and on the blood of the guilt offering. 18 Finally, the cohen is to put the rest of the oil in his hand on the head of the person being purified; and the cohen will make atonement for him before Adonai. 19 The cohen is to offer the sin offering and make atonement for the person being purified because of his uncleanness; afterwards, he is to slaughter the burnt offering. 20 The cohen is to offer the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar; thus the cohen will make atonement for him; and he will be clean.

(RY: v, LY: iii) 21 “If he is poor, so that he can’t afford to do otherwise, he is to take one male lamb as a guilt offering to be waved, to make atonement for him; two quarts of fine flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering; two-thirds of a pint of olive oil; 22 and two doves or two young pigeons, such as he can afford, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. 23 On the eighth day, he will bring them to the cohen for his purification, to the entrance of the tent of meeting before Adonai. 24 The cohen is to take the lamb of the guilt offering and the two-thirds of a pint of olive oil and wave them as a wave offering before Adonai. 25 He is to slaughter the lamb of the guilt offering; and the cohen is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the tip of the right ear of the person being purified, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 26 The cohen is to take some of the olive oil and pour it into the palm of his own left hand, 27 and sprinkle with his right hand some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before Adonai. 28 The cohen is to put some of the oil in his hand on the tip of the right ear of the person being purified, on the thumb of his right hand, on the big toe of his right foot — in the same place as the blood of the guilt offering. 29 Finally, the cohen is to put the rest of the oil in his hand on the head of the person being purified, to make atonement for him before Adonai. 30 He is to offer one of the doves or young pigeons, such as the person can afford, 31 whatever his means suffice for — the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering — with the grain offering; thus the cohen will make atonement before Adonai for the person being purified. 32 Such is the law for the person who has tzara‘at sores if he cannot afford the usual elements used for his purification.”

(RY: vi, LY: iv) 33 Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, 34 “When you have entered the land of Kena‘an which I am giving you as a possession, and I put an infection of tzara‘at in a house in the land that you possess, 35 then the owner of the house is to come and tell the cohen, ‘It seems to me that there may be an infection in the house.’ 36 The cohen is to order the house emptied before he goes in to inspect the infection, so that everything in the house won’t be made unclean; afterwards, the cohen is to enter and inspect the house. 37 He will examine the infection; and if he sees that the infection is in the walls of the house, with greenish or reddish depressions that seem to go in deeper than the surface of the wall, 38 he is to go out of the house to its door and seal up the house for seven days. 39 The cohen will come again on the seventh day and examine the house; if he sees that the infection has spread over its walls, 40 he is to order them to remove the infected stones and throw them into some unclean place outside the city. 41 Next, he is to have the inside of the house thoroughly scraped, and the scraped-off plaster is to be discarded outside the city in an unclean place. 42 Finally, other stones must be set in the place of the first stones and other plaster used to replaster the house. 43 If the infection returns and breaks out in the house after the stones have been removed and the house scraped and plastered; 44 then the cohen is to enter and examine it. If he sees that the infection has spread in the house, it is a contagious tzara‘at in the house; it is unclean. 45 He must break down the house and take its stones, timber and plaster out of the city to an unclean place. 46 Moreover, whoever enters the house at any time while it is sealed up will be unclean until evening. 47 Whoever lies down or eats in the house must wash his clothes. 48 If the cohen enters, examines and sees that the infection has not spread in the house since it was plastered; then he is to declare the house clean; because the infection is cured.

49 “To purify the house, he is to take two birds, cedar-wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop leaves. 50 He is to slaughter one of the birds in a clay pot over running water. 51 He is to take the cedar-wood, the hyssop, the scarlet yarn and the live bird and dip them in the blood of the slaughtered bird and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times. 52 He will purify the house with the blood of the bird, the running water, the live bird, the cedar-wood, the hyssop and the scarlet yarn. 53 But he is to set the live bird free outside the city in an open field; thus will he make atonement for the house; and it will be clean.

(LY: v) 54 “Such is the law for all kinds of tzara‘at sores, for a crusted area, 55 for tzara‘at in a garment, for a house, 56 for a swelling, for a scab and for a bright spot, 57 to determine when it is clean and when it is unclean. This is the law concerning tzara‘at.”

15 Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘When any man has a discharge from his body, the discharge is unclean. The discharge is unclean no matter whether it continues flowing or has stopped; it is still his uncleanness.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
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Sh’mini | שמיני | “Eighth “

Parashah 26: Sh’mini (Eighth) 9:1–11:47

On the eighth day, Moshe called Aharon, his sons and the leaders of Isra’el, and said to Aharon, “Take a male calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defect, and offer them before Adonai. Then tell the people of Isra’el, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering and a calf and a lamb, both a year old and without defect, for a burnt offering, and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before Adonai; also a grain offering mixed with olive oil — because today Adonai is going to appear to you.’” They brought what Moshe had ordered before the tent of meeting, and the whole community approached and stood before Adonai.

Moshe said, “This is what Adonai has ordered you to do, so that the glory of Adonai will appear to you.” Moshe told Aharon, “Approach the altar, offer your sin offering and burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and the people. Then present the offering of the people and make atonement for them, as Adonai ordered.” So Aharon approached the altar and slaughtered the calf of the sin offering which was for himself. The sons of Aharon presented the blood to him; and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; then he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. 10 But the fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver of the sin offering he made go up in smoke on the altar, as Adonai had ordered Moshe. 11 The meat and the skin were burned up completely outside the camp.

12 Next he slaughtered the burnt offering; Aharon’s sons brought him the blood, and he splashed it against all sides of the altar. 13 They brought him the burnt offering, piece by piece, and the head; and he made them go up in smoke on the altar. 14 He washed the inner organs and the lower parts of the legs and made them go up in smoke on top of the burnt offering on the altar.

15 Then the people’s offering was presented. He took the goat of the sin offering which was for the people, slaughtered it and offered it for sin, like the earlier sin offering. 16 The burnt offering was presented, and he offered it in the prescribed manner. (ii) 17 The grain offering was presented; he took a handful of it and made it go up in smoke on the altar, in addition to the morning’s burnt offering. 18 He slaughtered the ox and the ram, the people’s sacrifice as peace offerings; Aharon’s sons brought him the blood, which he splashed against all sides of the altar, 19 and the fat of the ox and of the ram — the fat tail, the fat which covers the inner organs, the kidneys and the covering of the liver. 20 They put the fat on the breasts, and he made the fat go up in smoke on the altar. 21 The breasts and right thigh Aharon waved as a wave offering before Adonai, as Moshe had ordered.

22 Aharon raised his hands toward the people, blessed them and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 Moshe and Aharon entered the tent of meeting, came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to all the people! (iii) 24 Fire came forth from the presence of Adonai, consuming the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

10 But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before Adonai, something he had not ordered them to do. At this, fire came forth from the presence of Adonai and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of Adonai. Moshe said to Aharon, “This is what Adonai said:

‘Through those who are near me I will be consecrated,
and before all the people I will be glorified.’”

Aharon kept silent.

Moshe called Misha’el and Eltzafan, sons of ‘Uzi’el Aharon’s uncle, and told them, “Come here, and carry your cousins away from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” They approached and carried them in their tunics out of the camp, as Moshe had said.

Then Moshe told Aharon and his sons El‘azar and Itamar, “Don’t unbind your hair or tear your clothes in mourning, so that you won’t die and so that Adonai won’t be angry with the entire community. Rather, let your kinsmen — the whole house of Isra’el — mourn, because of the destruction Adonai brought about with his fire. Moreover, don’t leave the entrance to the tent of meeting, or you will die, because Adonai’s anointing oil is on you.”

Adonai said to Aharon, “Don’t drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, neither you nor your sons with you, when you enter the tent of meeting, so that you will not die. This is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations, 10 so that you will distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; 11 and so that you will teach the people of Isra’el all the laws Adonai has told them through Moshe.”

(iv) 12 Moshe said to Aharon and to El‘azar and Itamar, his remaining sons, “Take the grain offering left from the offerings for Adonai made by fire, and eat it without leaven next to the altar, because it is especially holy. 13 Eat it in a holy place, because it is your and your sons’ share of the offerings for Adonai made by fire; for this is what I have been ordered. 14 The breast that was waved and the thigh that was raised you are to eat in a clean place — you, your sons and your daughters with you; for these are given as your and your children’s share of the sacrifices of the peace offerings presented by the people of Isra’el. 15 They are to bring the raised thigh and the waved breast, along with the offerings of fat made by fire, and wave it as a wave offering before Adonai; then it will belong to you and your descendants with you as your perpetual share, as Adonai has ordered.”

(v) 16 Then Moshe carefully investigated what had happened to the goat of the sin offering and discovered that it had been burned up. He became angry with El‘azar and Itamar, the remaining sons of Aharon, and asked, 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the area of the sanctuary, since it is especially holy? He gave it to you to take away the guilt of the community, to make atonement for them before Adonai. 18 Look! Its blood wasn’t brought into the sanctuary! You should have eaten it there in the sanctuary, as I ordered.” 19 Aharon answered Moshe, “Even though they offered their sin offering and burnt offering today, things like these have happened to me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have pleased Adonai?” 20 On hearing this reply, Moshe was satisfied.

11 (vi) Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘These are the living creatures which you may eat among all the land animals: any that has a separate hoof which is completely divided and chews the cud — these animals you may eat. 4-6 But you are not to eat those that only chew the cud or only have a separate hoof. For example, the camel, the coney and the hare are unclean for you, because they chew the cud but don’t have a separate hoof; while the pig is unclean for you, because, although it has a separate and completely divided hoof, it doesn’t chew the cud. You are not to eat meat from these or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

“‘Of all the things that live in the water, you may eat these: anything in the water that has fins and scales, whether in seas or in rivers — these you may eat. 10 But everything in the seas and rivers without both fins and scales, of all the small water-creatures and of all the living creatures in the water, is a detestable thing for you. 11 Yes, these will be detestable for you — you are not to eat their meat, and you are to detest their carcasses. 12 Whatever lacks fins and scales in the water is a detestable thing for you.

13 “‘The following creatures of the air are to be detestable for you — they are not to be eaten, they are a detestable thing: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, 14 the kite, the various kinds of buzzards, 15 the various kinds of ravens, 16 the ostrich, the screech-owl, the seagull, the various kinds of hawks, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the horned owl, the pelican, the barn owl, 19 the stork, the various kinds of herons, the hoopoe and the bat.

20 “‘All winged swarming creatures that go on all fours are a detestable thing for you; 21 except that of all winged swarming creatures that go on all fours, you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, enabling them to jump off the ground. 22 Specifically, of these you may eat the various kinds of locusts, grasshoppers, katydids and crickets. 23 But other than that, all winged swarming creatures having four feet are a detestable thing for you.

24 “‘The following will make you unclean; whoever touches the carcass of them will be unclean until evening, 25 and whoever picks up any part of their carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening: 26 every animal that has a separate but incompletely divided hoof or that doesn’t chew the cud is unclean for you; anyone who touches them will become unclean. 27 Whatever goes on its paws, among all animals that go on all fours, is unclean for you; whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening; 28 and whoever picks up its carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening — these are unclean for you.

29 “‘The following are unclean for you among the small creatures that swarm on the ground: the weasel, the mouse, the various kinds of lizards, 30 the gecko, the land crocodile, the skink, the sand-lizard and the chameleon. 31 They are unclean crawling creatures; whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean until evening. 32 Anything on which one of them falls when dead will become unclean — wooden utensil, article of clothing, leather, sacking — any utensil used for work; it must be put in water, and it will be unclean until evening; then it will be clean. (vii) 33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, whatever is in it will become unclean, and you are to break the pot. 34 Any food permitted to be eaten that water from such a vessel gets on will become unclean, and any permitted liquid in such a vessel will become unclean. 35 Everything on which any carcass-part of theirs falls will become unclean, whether oven or stove; it is to be broken in pieces — they are unclean and will be unclean for you; 36 although a spring or cistern for collecting water remains clean. But anyone who touches one of their carcasses will become unclean. 37 If any carcass-part of theirs falls on any kind of seed to be sown, it is clean; 38 but if water is put on the seed and a carcass-part of theirs falls on it, it is unclean for you.

39 “‘If an animal of a kind that you are permitted to eat dies, whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening. 40 A person who eats meat from its carcass or carries its carcass is to wash his clothes; he will be unclean until evening.

41 “‘Any creature that swarms on the ground is a detestable thing; it is not to be eaten — 42 whatever moves on its stomach, goes on all fours, or has many legs — all creatures that swarm on the ground; you are not to eat them, because they are a detestable thing. 43 You are not to make yourselves detestable with any of these swarming, crawling creatures; do not make yourselves unclean with them, do not defile yourselves with them. 44 For I am Adonai your God; therefore, consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy; and do not defile yourselves with any kind of swarming creature that moves along the ground. (Maftir) 45 For I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.

46 “‘Such, then, is the law concerning animals, flying creatures, all living creatures that move about in the water, and all creatures that swarm on the ground. 47 Its purpose is to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’”

Haftarah Sh’mini: Sh’mu’el Bet (2 Samuel) 6:1–7:17 (A); 6:1–19 (S)

Suggested readings for Parashah Sh’mini from the B’rit Hadashah: Mark 7:1–23; Acts 5:1–11; 10:1–35; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Galatians 2:11–16; 1 Kefa (1 Peter) 1:14–16

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
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