Deuteronomy 16

 

שָׁמֹור אֶת־חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב וְעָשִׂיתָ פֶּסַח לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי בְּחֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב הֹוצִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ    16:1

מִמִּצְרַיִם לָיְלָה

Deut. 16:1 Observe the month of Aviv, hold the feast of the Passover to the Lord, your God, for in the month of Aviv the Lord, your God, brought you forth from Egypt at night.

All the second-person pronouns in this chapter are singular.

 וְזָבַחְתָּ פֶּסַח לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ צֹאן וּבָקָר בַּמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר יְהוָה לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמֹו שָׁם  16:2

Deut. 16:2 “And you shall sacrifice the Passover offering to the Lord, your God, of the flock and of the herd in the place where the Lord shall choose to cause His name to dwell.”

לֹא־תֹאכַל עָלָיו חָמֵץ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תֹּאכַל־עָלָיו מַצֹּות לֶחֶם עֹנִי כִּי בְחִפָּזֹון יָצָאתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם   16:3

לְמַעַן תִּזְכֹּר אֶת־יֹום צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ

Deut. 16:3 “You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, with it -- for you came forth in haste from the land of Egypt -- so that you will remember the day of your coming forth from the land of Egypt all the days of your life.”

Scholars have often differentiated between the terms day and night, taking them literally.  When the word for day, ~Ay, appears, it is often assumed that the night is not included.  But here that cannot be assumed, and the juxtaposition of vss. 16:1 and 16:3 provides a point of view that is opposed to the general assumption that the night is not included in the day.  In v. 16:1 above, we are reminded that we left Egypt in the night.  But in this verse we are told to remember the day we came forth from Egypt.

וְלֹא־יֵרָאֶה לְךָ שְׂאֹר בְּכָל־גְּבֻלְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְלֹא־יָלִין מִן־הַבָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר תִּזְבַּח בָּעֶרֶב בַּיֹּום הָרִאשֹׁון   16:4

לַבֹּקֶר

Deut. 16:4 “And no leaven shall be visible to you in all your territory seven days, and nothing from the flesh that you shall sacrifice in the evening on the first day shall remain by morning.”

לֹא תוּכַל לִזְבֹּחַ אֶת־הַפָּסַח בְּאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ   16:5

Deut. 16:5 “You shall not be able to sacrifice the Passover offering within any of your gates that the Lord, your God, will be giving you,

כִּי אִם־אֶל־הַמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמֹו שָׁם תִּזְבַּח אֶת־הַפֶּסַח בָּעָרֶב כְּבֹוא   16:6

הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ מֹועֵד צֵאתְךָ מִמִּצְרָיִם

Deut. 16:6 but only at the place where the Lord, your God, will choose to cause His name to dwell shall you sacrifice the Passover offering in the evening after the setting of the sun, the time of your coming forth from Egypt.”

I believe that in all the bibles I have examined, the last part of this verse is mistranslated.  The phrase

                                              ~yIr'c.Mimi ^t.ace d[eAm vm,Vê,h; aAbK. br,[_'B,

is generally translated as something like “… in the evening at the setting of the sun at the season of your coming forth from Egypt.”  I find two things wrong with that translation.  First, the sacrifice cannot occur for everyone precisely at the setting of the sun.  Too many sacrifices would be taking place at once.  Aside from this logistical problem, the original Passover lamb was sacrificed at night, not at the setting of the sun.  More than likely, Moses would tell us to do the same so that we would remember when we left Egypt.  Once this problem is revealed, the second thing I find wrong with the general translation is almost self evident.  The translation season is more properly time.  After the setting of the sun was the time we departed from Egypt.

However, there’s another problem with this verse.  It seems to contradict Levi. 23:5 and Numb. 9:3, both of which state that the sacrifice should take place at dusk.  Are both those verses wrong, or is this one?  Or has the instruction changed for the period when the children of Israel would reside in the land of Israel?  Aha!  “No problem” to both questions.  This verse refers to the sacrifice itself in the evening.  Levi. 23:5 and Numb. 9:3 refer to the start of the festival at dusk.

וּבִשַּׁלְתָּ וְאָכַלְתָּ בַּמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בֹּו וּפָנִיתָ בַבֹּקֶר וְהָלַכְתָּ לְאֹהָלֶיךָ   16:7

Deut. 16:7 “And you shall roast and eat in the place in which the Lord, your God, shall choose to be, and you shall turn back in the morning and go to your tents.”

From this verse, we learn that the sacrifice was not to be eaten away from the Temple, and the roasting and eating was to be prolonged until the morning, after which we could return to our tents.  And everyone in the household was included, the women, the children, the servants, and the Levite and the stranger dwelling within our gates.

שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצֹּות וּבַיֹּום הַשְּׁבִיעִי עֲצֶרֶת לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה מְלָאכָה  16:8

Deut. 16:8 “Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly to the Lord, your God shall be; you shall conduct no business.”

These verses, from v. 16:1 to 16:8, repeat and amplify many of the verses from Exod. 12:2 to Exod. 13:8 (commandments 4 to 22), and even diminish some of them.  There they mainly pertained to the Passovers in the wilderness.  Here these verses apply to the period of the Tabernacle/Temple.  For one example of the differences, there is no solemn assembly or holy convocation on the first day at the Tabernacle/Temple, only on the seventh day.  For another, the Paschal lamb is eaten in the Tabernacle/Temple, not in the home.

שִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעֹת תִּסְפָּר־לָךְ מֵהָחֵל חֶרְמֵשׁ בַּקָּמָה תָּחֵל לִסְפֹּר שִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעֹות   16:9

Deut. 16:9 “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to number the seven weeks from the first sickle on the standing corn.”                                                     [Return to Dani. 9:24]

In Levi. 23:15 (commandment 285) the instruction is to count the seven weeks from the day of the wave offering.  Here we are told to count from the start of reaping.  Moreover, there the second-person pronouns are plural.  Here they are singular.  This is a major inconsistency as far as I am concerned.  As you may be aware by now, I believe the plural pronouns refer to individuals, while singular pronouns are addressed to the congregation or a representative body.  Both these verses can’t be right.  I see this as an error by one or another scribe -- a serious one at that.  The problem arises when we try to decide whether the omer should be counted by every Jew or only by a representative body.  Here is what I believe:  Because all the second-person pronouns in this chapter are singular, the scribe responsible for authoring or inscribing this chapter didn’t follow the normal pattern for second-person pronouns and used singular ones for addressing individuals.  Therefore, the commandment is for all Jews to observe.  Then the only remaining question is when the counting is to start.  The rabbis chose to ignore both instructions and ruled that counting the omer should start on the second day of Passover.  I believe the counting should start on the day following the Sabbath that occurs during Passover, the day of the wave offering.  At least then we are following one of the commandments (as opposed to neither of them).

וְעָשִׂיתָ חַג שָׁבֻעֹות לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִסַּת נִדְבַת יָדְךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּתֵּן כַּאֲשֶׁר יְבָרֶךְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ   16:10

Deut. 16:10 “And you shall celebrate the feast of weeks to the Lord, your God, of the abundance of the freewill offering of your hand that you shall give, according to how the Lord, your God, will have blessed you.”

וְשָׂמַחְתָּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ וְעַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתֶךָ וְהַלֵּוִי אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְהַגֵּר וְהַיָּתֹום   16:11

וְהָאַלְמָנָה אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבֶּךָ בַּמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמֹו שָׁם

Deut. 16:11 “And you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God, you and your son and your daughter and your manservant and your maidservant and the Levite who is within your gates, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the Lord, your God, shall choose to cause His name to dwell.”

Once again the wife is missing, this time from the list of those who are to celebrate Shavuoth (as well as Succoth in v. 16:14) before the Lord.

וְזָכַרְתָּ כִּי־עֶבֶד הָיִיתָ בְּמִצְרָיִם וְשָׁמַרְתָּ וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה   16:12

Deut. 16:12 “And you shall remember when you were a bondman in Egypt, and you shall mark and observe these statutes.”

חַג הַסֻּכֹּת תַּעֲשֶׂה לְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים בְּאָסְפְּךָ מִגָּרְנְךָ וּמִיִּקְבֶךָ   16:13

Deut. 16:13 “You shall celebrate the feast of tabernacles for yourself seven days, after your gathering in from your threshing floor and from your wine press.”

וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְּחַגֶּךָ אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ וְעַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתֶךָ וְהַלֵּוִי וְהַגֵּר וְהַיָּתֹום וְהָאַלְמָנָה אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ   16:14

Deut. 16:14 “And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your manservant and your maidservant and the Levite and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates.”

שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תָּחֹג לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר יְהוָה כִּי יְבָרֶךְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכֹלָ   16:15

תְּבוּאָתְךָ וּבְכֹל מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ וְהָיִיתָ אַךְ שָׂמֵחַ

Deut. 16:15 “Seven days you shall feast to the Lord, your God, in the place that the Lord shall choose, for the Lord, your God, shall bless you in all your yield and in all the work of your hands, and you shall be truly joyful.”

שָׁלֹושׁ פְּעָמִים בַּשָּׁנָה יֵרָאֶה כָל־זְכוּרְךָ אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר יִבְחָר בְּחַג הַמַּצֹּות    16:16

וּבְחַג הַשָּׁבֻעֹות וּבְחַג הַסֻּכֹּות וְלֹא יֵרָאֶה אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהוָה רֵיקָם

Deut. 16:16 “Three times in a year every male of yours shall see the countenance of the Lord, your God, in the place that He shall choose, on the feast of unleavened bread and on the feast of weeks and on the feast of tabernacles, and he shall not see the countenance of the Lord empty handed,

אִישׁ כְּמַתְּנַת יָדֹו כְּבִרְכַּת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן־לָךְ   16:17

Deut. 16:17 each after the gift of his ability according to the blessing of the Lord, your God, that He gives you.”

שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן־לְךָ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת־הָעָם   16:18

מִשְׁפַּט־צֶדֶק

Deut. 16:18 “You shall set judges and officials for yourself in all your cities that the Lord, your God, will be giving you for your tribes, and of righteous judgment they shall judge the people.”

לֹא־תַטֶּה מִשְׁפָּט לֹא תַכִּיר פָּנִים וְלֹא־תִקַּח שֹׁחַד כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר עֵינֵי חֲכָמִים וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִם   16:19

Deut. 16:19 “You shall not pervert judgment; you shall not take notice of persons.  And you shall not accept a gift, for the gift can blind the eyes of wise men and perverts the words of righteous men.”                                                                                                                       [Return to Mala. 2:9]

צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ   16:20

Deut. 16:20 “Justice, justice shall you pursue!  So that you may live, and occupy the land that the Lord, your God, will be giving you.”

לֹא־תִטַּע לְךָ אֲשֵׁרָה כָּל־עֵץ אֵצֶל מִזְבַּח יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה־לָּךְ   16:21

Deut. 16:21 “You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the Lord, your God, that you might make for yourself.”

וְלֹא־תָקִים לְךָ מַצֵּבָה אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵא יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ   16:22

Deut. 16:22 “And you shall not set up a pillar for yourself, which the Lord, your God, hates.”

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

451. When in the promised land, you shall count seven weeks

         from the start of spring reaping.    V. 16:9

452. On the three festivals no male shall appear before the Lord empty

        handed.    V. 16:16

453. When in the promised land, you shall appoint judges and

        officials for yourselves to judge you.    V. 16:18

 

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