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Shemos/Exodus  18:1 - 20:23

Chapter 18

1 Jethro, the minister of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses, heard everything that God did to Moses and to Israel, His people — that Hashem had taken Israel out of Egypt.  2 Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, took Zipporah, the wife of Moses, after she had been sent away;  3 and her two sons - of whom the name of one was Gershom, for he had said, "I was a sojourner in a strange land";  4 and the name of the other was Eliezer, for "the God of my father came to my aid, and He saved me from the sword of Pharaoh."

5 Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, came to Moses with his sons and wife, to the Wilderness where he was encamped, by the Mountain of God.  6 He said to Moses, "I, your father-in-law Jethro, have come to you, with your wife and her two sons with her."

7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and he prostrated himself and kissed him, and each inquired about the other's well-being; then they came to the tent.  8 Moses told his father in law everything that HASHEM had done to Pharaoh and Egypt for Israel's sake — all the travail that had befallen them on the way — and that HASHEM had rescued them.

9 Jethro rejoiced over all the good that HASHEM had done for Israel, that He had rescued it from Egypt.  10 Jethro said, "Blessed is HASHEM, Who has rescued you from the hand of Egypt and from the hand of Pharaoh, Who has rescued the people from under the hand of Egypt.  11 Now I know that HASHEM is the greatest of all the gods, for in the very matter in which the Egyptians had conspired against them . . . !"  12 Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses took an elevation-offering and feast offerings for God; and Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eat bread with the father in-law of Moses before God.

13 It was on the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood by Moses from the morning until the evening.  14 The father-in-law of Moses saw everything that he was doing to the people, and he said, "What is this thing that you do to the people? Why do you sit alone with all the people standing by you from morning to evening?"

15 Moses said to his father-in law, "Because the people come to me to seek God.  16 When they have a matter, one comes to me, and I judge between a man and his fellow, and I make known the decrees of God and His teachings."

17 The father-in-law of Moses said to him, "The thing that you do is not good.  18 You will surely become worn out — you as well as this people that is with you — for this matter is too hard for you, you will not be able to do it alone.  19 Now heed my voice, I shall advise you, and may God be with you. You be a representative to God, and you convey the matters to God.

20 You shall caution them regarding the decrees and the teachings, and you shall make known to them the path in which they should go and the deeds that they should do.  21 And you shall discern from among the entire people, men of accomplishment, God-fearing people, men of truth, people who despise money, and you shall appoint them leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens.  22 They shall judge the people at all times, and they shall bring every major matter to you, and every minor matter they shall judge, and it will be eased for you, and they shall bear with you.  23 If you do this thing — and God shall command you — then you will be able to endure, and this entire people, as well, shall arrive at its destination in peace."

24 Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law, and did everything that he had said.  25 Moses chose men of accomplishment from among all Israel and appointed them heads of the people, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens.  26 They judged the people at all times; the difficult thing they would bring to Moses and the minor thing they themselves would judge.

27 Moses sent off his father-in-law, and he went to his land.

Chapter 19

1 In the third month from the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, on this day, they arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai.  2 They journeyed from Rephidim and arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai and encamped in the Wilderness; and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain.

3 Moses ascended to God, and Hashem called to him from the mountain, saying, "So shall you say to the House of Jacob and relate to the Children of Israel.  4 'You have seen what I did to Egypt, and that I have borne you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Me.

5 And now, if you hearken well to Me and observe My covenant, you shall be to Me the most beloved treasure of all peoples, for Mine is the entire world.  6 You shall be to Me a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the Children of Israel."

7 Moses came and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all these words that Hashem had commanded him.  8 The entire people responded together and said, "Everything that Hashem has spoken we shall do!" Moses brought back the words of the people to Hashem.

9 Hashem said to Moses, "Behold! I come to you in the thickness of the cloud, so that the people will hear as I speak to you, and they will also believe in you forever." Moses related the words of the people to Hashem.

10 Hashem said to Moses, "Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their clothing.  11 Let them be prepared for the third day, for on the third day Hashem shall descend in the sight of the entire people on Mount Sinai.  12 You shall set boundaries for the people roundabout, saying, 'Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely die.  13 A hand shall not touch it, for he shall surely be stoned or thrown down; whether animal or person he shall not live; upon an extended blast of the shofar, they may ascend the mountain.' "

14 Moses descended from the mountain to the people. He sanctified the people and they washed their clothing.  15 He said to the people, "Be ready after a three-day period; do not draw near a woman."

16 On the third day when it was morning, there was thunder and lightning and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the sound of the shofar was very powerful, and the entire people that was in the camp shuddered.  17 Moses brought the people forth from the camp toward God, and they stood at the bottom of the mountain.  18 All of Mount Sinai was smoking because Hashem had descended upon it in the fire; its smoke ascended like the smoke of the furnace, and the entire mountain shuddered exceedingly.  19 The sound of the shofar grew continually much stronger; Moses would speak and God would respond to him with a voice.

20 Hashem descended upon Mount Sinai to the top of the mountain; Hashem summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses ascended.  21 Hashem said to Moses, "Descend, warn the people, lest they break through to Hashem to see, and a multitude of them will fall.  22 Even the Kohanim who approach Hashem should be prepared, lest Hashem burst forth against them."

23 Moses said to Hashem, "The people cannot ascend Mount Sinai, for You have warned us, saying, 'Bound the mountain and sanctify it.' "

24 Hashem said to him, "Go, descend. Then you shall ascend, and Aaron with you, but the Kohanim, and the people — they shall not break through to ascend to Hashem, lest He burst forth against them."  25 Moses descended to the people and said [it] to them.

Chapter 20

1 God spoke all these statements, saying:

2 I am Hashem, your God, Who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.

3 You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence.  4 You shall not make yourself a carved image nor any likeness of that which is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the water beneath the earth.  5 You shall not prostrate yourself to them nor worship them, for I am Hashem, your God -- a jealous God, Who visits the sin of fathers upon children to the third and fourth generations, for My enemies;  6 but Who shows kindness for thousands [of generations] to those who love Me and observe My commandments.

7 You shall not take the Name of Hashem, your God, in vain, for Hashem will not absolve anyone who takes His Name in vain.

8 Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.  9 Six days shall you work and accomplish all your work;  10 but the seventh day is Sabbath to Hashem, your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, your animal, and your convert within your gates;  11 for in six days Hashem made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Hashem blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.

12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days will be lengthened upon the land that Hashem, your God, gives you.

13 You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness against your fellow.

14 You shall not covet your fellow's house. You shall not covet your fellow's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your fellow.

15 The entire people saw the thunder and the flames, the sound of the shofar and the smoking mountain; the people saw and trembled and stood from afar.  16 They said to Moses, "You speak to us and we shall hear; let God not speak to us lest we die."

17 Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for in order to elevate you has God come; so that awe of Him shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin."  18 The people stood from afar and Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.

19 Hashem said to Moses, "So shall you say to the Children of Israel, 'You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.  20 You shall not make [images of] what is with Me; gods of silver and gods of gold shall you not make for yourselves.

21 " 'An Altar of earth shall you make for Me, and you shall slaughter near it your elevation-offerings and your peace-offerings, your flock and your herd; wherever I permit My Name to be mentioned I shall come to you and bless you.  22 And when you make for Me an Altar of stones, do not build them hewn, for you will have raised your sword over it and desecrated it.  23 You shall not ascend My Altar on steps, so that your nakedness will not be uncovered upon it.' "

 


Haftarah for Yisro




 
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