Exact matches only
//  Main  //  Menu

☰︎ Menu | 🔍︎ Search  //  Main  //   👂︎ Public Readings, Sources, and Cantillation   //   Weekly Torah and Haftarah Readings   //   Annual Cycle   //   Sefer Devarim   //   Parashat Nitsavim   //   📜 פָּרָשַׁת נִצָּבִים | Parashat Nitsavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20), color-coded according to its narrative layers

📜 פָּרָשַׁת נִצָּבִים | Parashat Nitsavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanḥuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017) and his website, the Sources of Biblical Narrative. As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.


Most of the book of Deuteronomy (sefer Devarim) is considered the composite of three layers of redaction, ‘D1,’ ‘D2,’ and ‘Dp.’ Together, these layers (commonly referred to as the ‘Deuteronomist’) are thought to have formed by a complex process that reached probably from the 7th century BCE to the early 5th.

⬛ This strata is primarily responsible for incorporating the law code of Deuteronomy into the Pentateuch. D1, as it is called, also adds a layer of redaction concerned with theodicy in the books of Joshua-Kings. D1 appears here in BLACK text.

⬛ This strata, called D2, shares a particularly non-Judean perspective following the split between the north (Ephraim/Yisrael) and the south (Yehudah) after the reign of Shlomo haMelekh, a perspective that was ignored by D1 (and successive authors). In Deuteronomy, D2 adds hortatory (sermons) to D1’s narrative introduction at the beginning of Deuteronomy (the focus of which is the observation of the commandments and divine justice), and otherwise supplements D1’s work. (A few verses in Parashat Bo in the book of Exodus are also attributed to D2.) D2 appears here in RUST-BROWN text.

⬛ This strata “reflects the strength and demands of the Jerusalem priesthood” following upon the reforms of King Yoshiyahu in the mid- to late 7th century BCE. The third Deuteronomist (and the latest) is the most easily identified, since they are the Deuteronomist most interested in Priestly themes such as purity, proper sacrifice, and the priests. This third Deuteronomist seems to have confined his additions to the book of Deuteronomy (almost exclusively confining himself to hortatory and laws). This layer, referred to as ‘Dp’ (for ‘Priestly’), appears here in DARK GREEN text.

Parashat Nitsavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) in the annual Torah reading cycle is the eighth parashah in Sefer Devarim. It is preceded by parashat Ki Tavō (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8). Parashat Vayelekh (Deuteronomy 31:1-30), follows it.


Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
כט ט אַתֶּ֨ם נִצָּבִ֤ים הַיּוֹם֙ כֻּלְּכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ י טַפְּכֶ֣ם נְשֵׁיכֶ֔ם וְגֵ֣רְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּקֶ֣רֶב מַחֲנֶ֑יךָ מֵחֹטֵ֣ב עֵצֶ֔יךָ עַ֖ד שֹׁאֵ֥ב מֵימֶֽיךָ׃ יא לְעׇבְרְךָ֗ בִּבְרִ֛ית יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ וּבְאָלָת֑וֹ אֲשֶׁר֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ כֹּרֵ֥ת עִמְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם׃ שני יב לְמַ֣עַן הָקִֽים־אֹתְךָ֩ הַיּ֨וֹם ׀ ל֜וֹ לְעָ֗ם וְה֤וּא יִֽהְיֶה־לְּךָ֙ לֵֽאלֹהִ֔ים כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּר־לָ֑ךְ וְכַאֲשֶׁ֤ר נִשְׁבַּע֙ לַאֲבֹתֶ֔יךָ לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹֽב׃
29 9 “You are standing today—all of you—before 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah: your leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Yisrael, 10 Your children and your women and the stranger who dwells in your encampments, from the choppers of your wood to the drawers of your water. 11 For you to cross over into the covenant of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah, and into Their oath—that 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah is making with you today. 12 In order that you may be established today for [Hashem] as a people, and They will be for you as Elohim, just as [Hashem] said to you, and as They did swear to your ancestors, to Avraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaaqov.”
יג וְלֹ֥א אִתְּכֶ֖ם לְבַדְּכֶ֑ם אָנֹכִ֗י כֹּרֵת֙ אֶת־הַבְּרִ֣ית הַזֹּ֔את וְאֶת־הָאָלָ֖ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ יד כִּי֩ אֶת־אֲשֶׁ֨ר יֶשְׁנ֜וֹ פֹּ֗ה עִמָּ֙נוּ֙ עֹמֵ֣ד הַיּ֔וֹם לִפְנֵ֖י יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ וְאֵ֨ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֵינֶ֛נּוּ פֹּ֖ה עִמָּ֥נוּ הַיּֽוֹם׃
13 “Not with you alone am I doing this: making this covenant we speak of and this oath—this dread oath. 14 I am making it with the one who is present here in this place who with us is standing today, before 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 our elo’ah, and also with the ones who are not in fact here with us today.”
שלישי טו כִּֽי־אַתֶּ֣ם יְדַעְתֶּ֔ם אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־יָשַׁ֖בְנוּ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וְאֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־עָבַ֛רְנוּ בְּקֶ֥רֶב הַגּוֹיִ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר עֲבַרְתֶּֽם׃ טז וַתִּרְאוּ֙ אֶת־שִׁקּ֣וּצֵיהֶ֔ם וְאֵ֖ת גִּלֻּלֵיהֶ֑ם עֵ֣ץ וָאֶ֔בֶן כֶּ֥סֶף וְזָהָ֖ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר עִמָּהֶֽם׃ יז פֶּן־יֵ֣שׁ בָּ֠כֶ֠ם אִ֣ישׁ אוֹ־אִשָּׁ֞ה א֧וֹ מִשְׁפָּחָ֣ה אוֹ־שֵׁ֗בֶט אֲשֶׁר֩ לְבָב֨וֹ פֹנֶ֤ה הַיּוֹם֙ מֵעִם֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ לָלֶ֣כֶת לַעֲבֹ֔ד אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֖י הַגּוֹיִ֣ם הָהֵ֑ם פֶּן־יֵ֣שׁ בָּכֶ֗ם שֹׁ֛רֶשׁ פֹּרֶ֥ה רֹ֖אשׁ וְלַעֲנָֽה׃ יח וְהָיָ֡ה בְּשׇׁמְעוֹ֩ אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֨י הָאָלָ֜ה הַזֹּ֗את וְהִתְבָּרֵ֨ךְ בִּלְבָב֤וֹ לֵאמֹר֙ שָׁל֣וֹם יִֽהְיֶה־לִּ֔י כִּ֛י בִּשְׁרִר֥וּת לִבִּ֖י אֵלֵ֑ךְ לְמַ֛עַן סְפ֥וֹת הָרָוָ֖ה אֶת־הַצְּמֵאָֽה׃ יט לֹא־יֹאבֶ֣ה יְהֹוָה֮ סְלֹ֣חַֽ לוֹ֒ כִּ֣י אָ֠ז יֶעְשַׁ֨ן אַף־יְהֹוָ֤ה וְקִנְאָתוֹ֙ בָּאִ֣ישׁ הַה֔וּא וְרָ֤בְצָה בּוֹ֙ כׇּל־הָ֣אָלָ֔ה הַכְּתוּבָ֖ה בַּסֵּ֣פֶר הַזֶּ֑ה וּמָחָ֤ה יְהֹוָה֙ אֶת־שְׁמ֔וֹ מִתַּ֖חַת הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ כ וְהִבְדִּיל֤וֹ יְהֹוָה֙ לְרָעָ֔ה מִכֹּ֖ל שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כְּכֹל֙ אָל֣וֹת הַבְּרִ֔ית הַכְּתוּבָ֕ה בְּסֵ֥פֶר הַתּוֹרָ֖ה הַזֶּֽה׃
15 “Indeed you do know that we dwelt in the land of Mitsrayim, and how it was that we passed through amidst the nations that you encountered. 16 You saw their abominations and their things most foul[1] See discussion by Robert Alter. —fetishes of wood and stone, and of silver and gold, that were with them. 17 Lest there be found among you a man or a woman or even a family or a tribe of whom their heart turns away today from 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 our elo’ah, by going to serve the elohim of these nations; lest there be among you a stalk that should bear fruit of gall and wormwood. 18 And this will occur when one hears the words of this oath—this dreadful oath—and blesses oneself in his heart by saying, “Shalom will be with me, in spite of the fact that in the stubbornness of my heart I do walk, with the result of utter ruin for the watered as well as the parched”[2] Targum Yonatan translates this idiomatic phrase, “so that he will add presumption to the sins of ignorance.” Everett Fox: “sweeping away the watered and the parched (alike).“  19 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 will not consent—Hashem won’t be willing—to forgive him, because this is what will occur: like smoke, the wrath of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 and Their zeal will burn against the man, and there will fall upon him the entire curse that is written in the scroll that is here. Blotted out by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 will be his name from under the heavens. 20 Singled out by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 for adversity among all the tribes of Yisrael, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant that are written down in the Sefer haTorah we see here.”
כא וְאָמַ֞ר הַדּ֣וֹר הָאַחֲר֗וֹן בְּנֵיכֶם֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר יָק֙וּמוּ֙ מֵאַ֣חֲרֵיכֶ֔ם וְהַ֨נׇּכְרִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָבֹ֖א מֵאֶ֣רֶץ רְחוֹקָ֑ה וְ֠רָא֠וּ אֶת־מַכּ֞וֹת הָאָ֤רֶץ הַהִוא֙ וְאֶת־תַּ֣חֲלֻאֶ֔יהָ אֲשֶׁר־חִלָּ֥ה יְהֹוָ֖ה בָּֽהּ׃ כב גׇּפְרִ֣ית וָמֶ֘לַח֮ שְׂרֵפָ֣ה כׇל־אַרְצָהּ֒ לֹ֤א תִזָּרַע֙ וְלֹ֣א תַצְמִ֔חַ וְלֹא־יַעֲלֶ֥ה בָ֖הּ כׇּל־עֵ֑שֶׂב כְּֽמַהְפֵּכַ֞ת סְדֹ֤ם וַעֲמֹרָה֙ אַדְמָ֣ה וּצְבֹיִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר֙ הָפַ֣ךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה בְּאַפּ֖וֹ וּבַחֲמָתֽוֹ׃ כג וְאָֽמְרוּ֙ כׇּל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם עַל־מֶ֨ה עָשָׂ֧ה יְהֹוָ֛ה כָּ֖כָה לָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֑את מֶ֥ה חֳרִ֛י הָאַ֥ף הַגָּד֖וֹל הַזֶּֽה׃ כד וְאָ֣מְר֔וּ עַ֚ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָזְב֔וּ אֶת־בְּרִ֥ית יְהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹתָ֑ם אֲשֶׁר֙ כָּרַ֣ת עִמָּ֔ם בְּהוֹצִיא֥וֹ אֹתָ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ כה וַיֵּלְכ֗וּ וַיַּֽעַבְדוּ֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲו֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם אֱלֹהִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־יְדָע֔וּם וְלֹ֥א חָלַ֖ק לָהֶֽם׃ כו וַיִּחַר־אַ֥ף יְהֹוָ֖ה בָּאָ֣רֶץ הַהִ֑וא לְהָבִ֤יא עָלֶ֙יהָ֙ אֶת־כׇּל־הַקְּלָלָ֔ה הַכְּתוּבָ֖ה בַּסֵּ֥פֶר הַזֶּֽה׃ כז וַיִּתְּשֵׁ֤ם יְהֹוָה֙ מֵעַ֣ל אַדְמָתָ֔ם בְּאַ֥ף וּבְחֵמָ֖ה וּבְקֶ֣צֶף גָּד֑וֹל וַיַּשְׁלִכֵ֛ם אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ אַחֶ֖רֶת כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃
21 “Then there will be said by the generation(s) that are to come: “Your children who will arise after you, and the foreigner that will come from a land far away when they will see all of the plagues dealt to that land and its illnesses placed by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 upon it. 22 how sulpher and salt have burned all the soil, so it cannot be sown; that nothing will sprout there, that there will not come up even grass. Just like the destruction of Sədom and Amora, and the cities Admah and Tsəvoyim, which were overturned by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 in Their anger and in Their great fury.” 23 Then will ask all the nations, “For what reason indeed did 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 do such a thing to this land? Why such blazing heat, such anger so great as this?” 24 They will answer, “It is because they abandoned the covenant of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄, the elo’ah of their fathers, that [Hashem] made with them, when [Hashem] brought them out from the land of Mitsrayim. 25 And they went and served other elohim and bowed down to them; elohim whom they had not known, that were not apportioned to them. 26 And flared up the anger of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 against that land, bringing upon it all of the curses that are written in the scroll we have here. 27 They were plucked up by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 from their land, in anger and fury, and in great rage. [Hashem] exiled them to another land, as it is to this day.””
כח הַנִּ֨סְתָּרֹ֔ת לַיהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ וְהַנִּגְלֹ֞ת לָ֤ׄנׄוּׄ וּׄלְׄבָׄנֵׄ֙יׄנׄוּׄ֙ עַׄד־עוֹלָ֔ם לַעֲשׂ֕וֹת אֶת־כׇּל־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ {ס}
28 “Hidden things belong to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 our elo’ah. But things that are revealed are for us and for our children forever, so that we should keep all of the words of this Torah here.”
רביעי (שני) ל א וְהָיָה֩ כִֽי־יָבֹ֨אוּ עָלֶ֜יךָ כׇּל־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה הַבְּרָכָה֙ וְהַקְּלָלָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תִּי לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ֙ אֶל־לְבָבֶ֔ךָ בְּכׇ֨ל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֧ר הִדִּיחֲךָ֛ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ שָֽׁמָּה׃ ב וְשַׁבְתָּ֞ עַד־יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֣ בְקֹל֔וֹ כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם אַתָּ֣ה וּבָנֶ֔יךָ בְּכׇל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכׇל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃ ג וְשָׁ֨ב יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־שְׁבוּתְךָ֖ וְרִחֲמֶ֑ךָ וְשָׁ֗ב וְקִבֶּצְךָ֙ מִכׇּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר הֱפִֽיצְךָ֛ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ שָֽׁמָּה׃
30 1 “And it will be when there come upon you all the words of which I speak, the blessing and the curse that I am setting before you, and you take them to your heart, among all the nations the places to which you have been driven by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah—who sent you there; 2 and you return to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah, and hearken to Their voice, in accordance with all that I command you this day, both you and your children, with all your heart and all your soul. 3 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 will bring you back—𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah will restore your fortunes, and show you compassion. They will turn back and collect you from all the peoples—those among whom you had been scattered by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah there.”
ד אִם־יִהְיֶ֥ה נִֽדַּחֲךָ֖ בִּקְצֵ֣ה הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם מִשָּׁ֗ם יְקַבֶּצְךָ֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ וּמִשָּׁ֖ם יִקָּחֶֽךָ׃ ה וֶהֱבִיאֲךָ֞ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֛רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יָרְשׁ֥וּ אֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ וִֽירִשְׁתָּ֑הּ וְהֵיטִֽבְךָ֥ וְהִרְבְּךָ֖ מֵאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ׃ ו וּמָ֨ל יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־לְבָבְךָ֖ וְאֶת־לְבַ֣ב זַרְעֶ֑ךָ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ בְּכׇל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכׇל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ לְמַ֥עַן חַיֶּֽיךָ׃
4 “Even if you were driven to the ends of the heavens, from there indeed you will be gathered by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah. From there he will take you. 5 You will then be brought by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah into the land that was occupied by your ancestors, and possess it. [Hashem] will prosper you and increase you more than your fathers. 6 Then will be circumcised by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah your heart, and the heart of your children, that you will love 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.”
חמישי (שלישי) ז וְנָתַן֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ אֵ֥ת כׇּל־הָאָל֖וֹת הָאֵ֑לֶּה עַל־אֹיְבֶ֥יךָ וְעַל־שֹׂנְאֶ֖יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר רְדָפֽוּךָ׃ ח וְאַתָּ֣ה תָשׁ֔וּב וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֖ בְּק֣וֹל יְהֹוָ֑ה וְעָשִׂ֙יתָ֙ אֶת־כׇּל־מִצְוֺתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם׃ ט וְהוֹתִֽירְךָ֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ בְּכֹ֣ל ׀ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יָדֶ֗ךָ בִּפְרִ֨י בִטְנְךָ֜ וּבִפְרִ֧י בְהֶמְתְּךָ֛ וּבִפְרִ֥י אַדְמָתְךָ֖ לְטֹבָ֑ה כִּ֣י ׀ יָשׁ֣וּב יְהֹוָ֗ה לָשׂ֤וּשׂ עָלֶ֙יךָ֙ לְט֔וֹב כַּאֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֖שׂ עַל־אֲבֹתֶֽיךָ׃ י כִּ֣י תִשְׁמַ֗ע בְּקוֹל֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֤ר מִצְוֺתָיו֙ וְחֻקֹּתָ֔יו הַכְּתוּבָ֕ה בְּסֵ֥פֶר הַתּוֹרָ֖ה הַזֶּ֑ה כִּ֤י תָשׁוּב֙ אֶל־יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכׇל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכׇל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃ {ס}
7 “Then will place 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah all of those threats that I mentioned upon your enemies—those who hate you—those who pursue you. 8 And you will return and you will hearken to the voice of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 and you will observe all of Their commandments—those that I am commanding you this day. 9 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 will grant you abundance—𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah—in all of your endeavors: in the work of your hands, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your domesticated-animals, and in the fruit of your land, for good. For indeed, again will 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 take delight in you for good, just as Hashem delighted in your forebears… 10 provided that you do hearken to the voice of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah, and observe Their commandments and Their laws, that are written down in the Sefer haTorah we have here, if you return to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah with all your heart and with all your soul.”
ששי יא כִּ֚י הַמִּצְוָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם לֹא־נִפְלֵ֥את הִוא֙ מִמְּךָ֔ וְלֹ֥א רְחֹקָ֖ה הִֽוא׃ יב לֹ֥א בַשָּׁמַ֖יִם הִ֑וא לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲלֶה־לָּ֤נוּ הַשָּׁמַ֙יְמָה֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה׃ יג וְלֹא־מֵעֵ֥בֶר לַיָּ֖ם הִ֑וא לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲבׇר־לָ֜נוּ אֶל־עֵ֤בֶר הַיָּם֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה׃ יד כִּֽי־קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖ לַעֲשֹׂתֽוֹ׃ {ס}
11 “Indeed the commandment that I speak of, the one that I am enjoining upon you today, is not too wondrous for you. Not far away is it! 12 Not up in the heavens is it, that you should say: “Who will go up for us into heaven, and retrieve it for us, that we may hear it and perform it?” 13 Not across the ocean is it, that you should say: “Who will cross over for us—across the ocean, and get it for us, that we may hear it and perform it?” 14 Rather, close to you is the word—quite close, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it!”
שביעי ומפטיר (רביעי) טו רְאֵ֨ה נָתַ֤תִּי לְפָנֶ֙יךָ֙ הַיּ֔וֹם אֶת־הַֽחַיִּ֖ים וְאֶת־הַטּ֑וֹב וְאֶת־הַמָּ֖וֶת וְאֶת־הָרָֽע׃ טז אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֣י מְצַוְּךָ֮ הַיּוֹם֒ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ לָלֶ֣כֶת בִּדְרָכָ֔יו וְלִשְׁמֹ֛ר מִצְוֺתָ֥יו וְחֻקֹּתָ֖יו וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֑יו וְחָיִ֣יתָ וְרָבִ֔יתָ וּבֵֽרַכְךָ֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בָּאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֥ה בָא־שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ׃
15 “Behold! I have set before you this day, on the one hand life and goodness. on the other hand death and evil. 16 In that I am commanding you this day that you should love 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah, to walk in Their ways, and to observe Their commandments, Their laws, and Their statutes, that you survive and you flourish, and you are blessed by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah in the land, of which you are going there to possess it.”
יז וְאִם־יִפְנֶ֥ה לְבָבְךָ֖ וְלֹ֣א תִשְׁמָ֑ע וְנִדַּחְתָּ֗ וְהִֽשְׁתַּחֲוִ֛יתָ לֵאלֹהִ֥ים אֲחֵרִ֖ים וַעֲבַדְתָּֽם׃ יח הִגַּ֤דְתִּי לָכֶם֙ הַיּ֔וֹם כִּ֥י אָבֹ֖ד תֹּאבֵד֑וּן לֹא־תַאֲרִיכֻ֤ן יָמִים֙ עַל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתָּ֤ה עֹבֵר֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן לָב֥וֹא שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ׃
17 “But if you stray in your heart, and you do not hearken; if you wander off, if you should bow down to elohim, and you serve them, 18 I declare before you this day, you will be lost—you will perish, not prolonging your days upon the fertile-earth—the fertile-earth for which you are crossing the Yarden to enter into and possess.”
יט הַעִדֹ֨תִי בָכֶ֣ם הַיּוֹם֮ אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָ֒רֶץ֒ הַחַיִּ֤ים וְהַמָּ֙וֶת֙ נָתַ֣תִּי לְפָנֶ֔יךָ הַבְּרָכָ֖ה וְהַקְּלָלָ֑ה וּבָֽחַרְתָּ֙ בַּחַיִּ֔ים לְמַ֥עַן תִּֽחְיֶ֖ה אַתָּ֥ה וְזַרְעֶֽךָ׃ כ לְאַֽהֲבָה֙ אֶת־יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֥עַ בְּקֹל֖וֹ וּלְדׇבְקָה־ב֑וֹ כִּ֣י ה֤וּא חַיֶּ֙יךָ֙ וְאֹ֣רֶךְ יָמֶ֔יךָ לָשֶׁ֣בֶת עַל־הָאֲדָמָ֗ה אֲשֶׁר֩ נִשְׁבַּ֨ע יְהֹוָ֧ה לַאֲבֹתֶ֛יךָ לְאַבְרָהָ֛ם לְיִצְחָ֥ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹ֖ב לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶֽם׃ {פ}
19 “I call to witness against you this day the heavens and the earth life and death I place before you, the blessing and the curse, So do choose life, if you would live—both you and your offspring. 20 By loving 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 your elo’ah, hearing Their voice, and cleaving to Them. For [Hashem] is your life, and the length of your days, that you may dwell on the fertile-earth that was sworn by 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 unto your fathers, to Avraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaaqov, that [Hashem] would give to them!”

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Len Fellman from his collection of transtropilized parashot, without including a number of innovations intended for readers listening to and/or chanting his text. (For Fellman’s completely transtropilized text along with idiomatic “padded” text separated out as greyed text, please consult his source.) Fellman writes:

I favor literal translations (e.g. “cut a covenant”) to call attention to Hebrew idioms, and towards simpler (even if less accurate) words (e.g. Ex. 12:7 “beam above the door” rather than “lintel”) to be easier to follow. If my readings provoke a discussion of the Hebrew, I consider that as justification for using less-than-idiomatic English. I try to find just the right balance between “literalness” and “listenable-ness”. A primary goal is throwing light on the Hebrew syntax….The English translations I mostly use (besides several scholarly commentaries) are the following:

  • Aryeh Kaplan, The Living Torah (1981) (also my source for proper names & transliterations)
  • Richard Elliott Friedman, The Bible With Sources Revealed (2003)
  • Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses (1997)
  • The Stone Edition Tanach (1996)
  • JPS Hebrew-English Tanach, (2nd Ed. 2000), along with Orlinsky, ‘Notes on the New Translation of the Torah’ (1969)
  • Robert Alter, The Five Books of Moses (2004)
  • Commentaries in the Anchor Bible series
  • Rotherham, The Emphasized Bible (1902)
  • The Jerusalem Bible (1966) (also my source for topic headings)
  • The New King James Bible (1982)

In my adaptation of Len’s work, I mostly re-Hebraize divine names, place names, and personal names. I also use gender-neutral pronouns and circumlocutions in place of default Hebrew male pronouns and the terms ‘God/gods’ (e.g. singular ‘they/their’ and Hashem instead of ‘he/him/his’). In place of “beasts” or “animals” for behemah, I specify “domesticated animals” unless the text offers its own specificity. In place of “soil” for adamah, I prefer “fertile-earth” (as distinct from arets — earth, which includes non-arable land). Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes. (To buy a print copy of the complete translation of The Schocken Bible vol. 1: The Five Books of Moses, visit Penguin/Random House.) —Aharon Varady




1See discussion by Robert Alter.
2Targum Yonatan translates this idiomatic phrase, “so that he will add presumption to the sins of ignorance.” Everett Fox: “sweeping away the watered and the parched (alike).



Comments, Corrections, and Queries