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R'eih

English Translation

R'eih

See [This Day I Set Before You Blessing and Curse]
Deuteronomy
11:26–16:17

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)

English translation of the Torah portion Reih Deuteronomy11:26] See, this day I set before you blessing and curse: 27] blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Eternal your God that I enjoin upon you this day; 28] and curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Eternal your God, but turn away from the path that I enjoin upon you this day and follow other gods, whom you have not experienced. 29] When the Eternal your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and possess, you shall pronounce the blessing at Mount Gerizim and the curse at Mount Ebal.— 30] Both are on the other side of the Jordan, beyond the west road that is in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah—near Gilgal, by the terebinths of Moreh.

31] For you are about to cross the Jordan to enter and possess the land that the Eternal your God is assigning to you. When you have occupied it and are settled in it, 32] take care to observe all the laws and rules that I have set before you this day.

12:1] These are the laws and rules that you must carefully observe in the land that the Eternal, God of your ancestors, is giving you to possess, as long as you live on earth.

2] You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess worshiped their gods, whether on lofty mountains and on hills or under any luxuriant tree. 3] Tear down their altars, smash their pillars, put their sacred posts to the fire, and cut down the images of their gods, obliterating their name from that site.

4] Do not worship the Eternal your God in like manner, 5] but look only to the site that the Eternal your God will choose amidst all your tribes as God’s habitation, to establish the divine name there. There you are to go, 6] and there you are to bring your burnt offerings and other sacrifices, your tithes and contributions, your votive and freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks. 7] Together with your households, you shall feast there before the Eternal your God, happy in all the undertakings in which the Eternal your God has blessed you.

8] You shall not act at all as we now act here, each [householder] as he pleases, 9] because you have not yet come to the allotted haven that the Eternal your God is giving you. 10] When you cross the Jordan and settle in the land that the Eternal your God is allotting to you, and [God] grants you safety from all your enemies around you and you live in security, 11] then you must bring everything that I command you to the site where the Eternal your God will choose to establish the divine name: your burnt offerings and other sacrifices, your tithes and contributions, and all the choice votive offerings that you vow to the Eternal. 12] And you shall rejoice before the Eternal your God with your sons and daughters and with your male and female slaves, along with the [family of the] Levite in your settlements, for he has no territorial allotment among you.

13] Take care not to sacrifice your burnt offerings in any place you like, 14] but only in the place that the Eternal will choose in one of your tribal territories. There you shall sacrifice your burnt offerings and there you shall observe all that I enjoin upon you. 15] But whenever you desire, you may slaughter and eat meat in any of your settlements, according to the blessing that the Eternal your God has granted you. The impure and the pure alike may partake of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. 16] But you must not partake of the blood; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.

17] You may not partake in your settlements of the tithes of your new grain or wine or oil, or of the firstlings of your herds and flocks, or of any of the votive offerings that you vow, or of your freewill offerings, or of your contributions. 18] These you must consume before the Eternal your God in the place that the Eternal your God will choose—you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, and the [family of the] Levite in your settlements—happy before the Eternal your God in all your undertakings. 19] Be sure not to neglect the [family of the] Levite as long as you live in your land.

20] When the Eternal enlarges your territory, as promised, and you say, “I shall eat some meat,” for you have the urge to eat meat, you may eat meat whenever you wish. 21] If the place where the Eternal has chosen to establish the divine name is too far from you, you may slaughter any of the cattle or sheep that the Eternal gives you, as I have instructed you; and you may eat to your heart’s content in your settlements. 22] Eat it, however, as the gazelle and the deer are eaten: the impure may eat it together with the pure. 23] But make sure that you do not partake of the blood; for the blood is the life, and you must not consume the life with the flesh. 24] You must not partake of it; you must pour it out on the ground like water: 25] you must not partake of it, in order that it may go well with you and with your descendants to come, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the Eternal.

26] But such sacred and votive donations as you may have shall be taken by you to the site that the Eternal will choose. 27] You shall offer your burnt offerings, both the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the Eternal your God; and of your other sacrifices, the blood shall be poured out on the altar of the Eternal your God, and you shall eat the flesh.

28] Be careful to heed all these commandments that I enjoin upon you; thus it will go well with you and with your descendants after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Eternal your God.

29] When the Eternal your God has cut down before you the nations that you are about to enter and dispossess, and you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, 30] beware of being lured into their ways after they have been wiped out before you! Do not inquire about their gods, saying, “How did those nations worship their gods? I too will follow those practices.” 31] You shall not act thus toward the Eternal your God, for they perform for their gods every abhorrent act that the Eternal detests; they even offer up their sons and daughters in fire to their gods. 13:1] Be careful to observe only that which I enjoin upon you: neither add to it nor take away from it.

2] If there appears among you a prophet or a dream-diviner, who gives you a sign or a portent, 3] saying, “Let us follow and worship another god”—whom you have not experienced—even if the sign or portent named to you comes true, 4] do not heed the words of that prophet or that dream-diviner. For the Eternal your God is testing you to see whether you really love the Eternal your God with all your heart and soul. 5] It is the Eternal your God alone whom you should follow, whom you should revere, whose commandments you should observe, whose orders you should heed, whom you should worship, and to whom you should hold fast. 6] As for that prophet or dream-diviner, such a one shall be put to death for having urged disloyalty to the Eternal your God—who freed you from the land of Egypt and who redeemed you from the house of bondage—to make you stray from the path that the Eternal your God commanded you to follow. Thus you will sweep out evil from your midst.

7] If your brother, your own mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your closest friend entices you in secret, saying, “Come let us worship other gods”—whom neither you nor your ancestors have experienced— 8] from among the gods of the peoples around you, either near to you or distant, anywhere from one end of the earth to the other: 9] do not assent or give heed to any of them. Show no pity or compassion, and do not cover up the matter; 10] but take that person’s life. Let your hand be the first to put that person to death, followed by the hand of the rest of the people. 11] Stone that person to death for having sought to make you stray from the Eternal your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 12] Thus all Israel will hear and be afraid, and such evil things will not be done again in your midst.

13] If you hear it said, of one of the towns that the Eternal your God is giving you to dwell in, 14] that some scoundrels from among you have gone and subverted the inhabitants of their town, saying, “Come let us worship other gods”—whom you have not experienced— 15] you shall investigate and inquire and interrogate thoroughly. If it is true, the fact is established—that abhorrent thing was perpetrated in your midst— 16] put the inhabitants of that town to the sword and put its cattle to the sword. Doom it and all that is in it to destruction: 17] gather all its spoil into the open square, and burn the town and all its spoil as a holocaust to the Eternal your God. And it shall remain an everlasting ruin, never to be rebuilt. 18] Let nothing that has been doomed stick to your hand, in order that the Eternal may turn from a blazing anger and show you compassion, and in compassion increase you as promised on oath to your fathers— 19] for you will be heeding the Eternal your God, obeying all the divine commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, doing what is right in the sight of the Eternal your God.

14:1] You are children of the Eternal your God. You shall not gash yourselves or shave the front of your heads because of the dead. 2] For you are a people consecrated to the Eternal your God: the Eternal your God chose you from among all other peoples on earth to be a treasured people.

3] You shall not eat anything abhorrent. 4] These are the animals that you may eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat; 5] the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, the mountain sheep, 6] and any other animal that has true hoofs which are cleft in two and brings up the cud—such you may eat. 7] But the following, which do bring up the cud or have true hoofs which are cleft through, you may not eat: the camel, the hare, and the daman—for although they bring up the cud, they have no true hoofs—they are impure for you; 8] also the swine—for although it has true hoofs, it does not bring up the cud—is impure for you. You shall not eat of their flesh or touch their carcasses.

9] These you may eat of all that live in water: you may eat anything that has fins and scales. 10] But you may not eat anything that has no fins and scales: it is impure for you.

11] You may eat any pure bird. 12] The following you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, and the black vulture; 13] the kite, the falcon, and the buzzard of any variety; 14] every variety of raven; 15] the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, and the hawk of any variety; 16] the little owl, the great owl, and the white owl; 17] the pelican, the bustard, and the cormorant; 18] the stork, any variety of heron, the hoopoe, and the bat.

19] All winged swarming things are impure for you: they may not be eaten. 20] You may eat only pure winged creatures.

21] You shall not eat anything that has died a natural death; give it to the stranger in your community to eat, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people consecrated to the Eternal your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

22] You shall set aside every year a tenth part of all the yield of your sowing that is brought from the field. 23] You shall consume the tithes of your new grain and wine and oil, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks, in the presence of the Eternal your God, in the place where [God] will choose to establish the divine name, so that you may learn to revere the Eternal your God forever. 24] Should the distance be too great for you, should you be unable to transport them, because the place where the Eternal your God has chosen to establish the divine name is far from you and because the Eternal your God has blessed you, 25] you may convert them into money. Wrap up the money and take it with you to the place that the Eternal your God has chosen, 26] and spend the money on anything you want—cattle, sheep, wine, or other intoxicant, or anything you may desire. And you shall feast there, in the presence of the Eternal your God, and rejoice with your household.

27] But do not neglect the [family of the] Levite in your community, for he has no hereditary portion as you have. 28] Every third year you shall bring out the full tithe of your yield of that year, but leave it within your settlements. 29] Then the [family of the] Levite, who has no hereditary portion as you have, and the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your settlements shall come and eat their fill, so that the Eternal your God may bless you in all the enterprises you undertake.

15:1] Every seventh year you shall practice remission of debts. 2] This shall be the nature of the remission: all creditors shall remit the due that they claim from their fellow [Israelites]; they shall not dun their fellow [Israelites] or kin, for the remission proclaimed is of the Eternal. 3] You may dun the foreigner; but you must remit whatever is due you from your kin.

4] There shall be no needy among you—since the Eternal your God will bless you in the land that the Eternal your God is giving you as a hereditary portion— 5] if only you heed the Eternal your God and take care to keep all this Instruction that I enjoin upon you this day. 6] For the Eternal your God will bless you as promised: you will extend loans to many nations, but require none yourself; you will dominate many nations, but they will not dominate you.

7] If, however, there is a needy person among you, one of your kin in any of your settlements in the land that the Eternal your God is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kin. 8] Rather, you must open your hand and lend whatever is sufficient to meet the need. 9] Beware lest you harbor the base thought, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is approaching,” so that you are mean and give nothing to your needy kin—who will cry out to the Eternal against you, and you will incur guilt. 10] Give readily and have no regrets when you do so, for in return the Eternal your God will bless you in all your efforts and in all your undertakings. 11] For there will never cease to be needy ones in your land, which is why I command you: open your hand to the poor and needy kin in your land.

12] If a fellow Hebrew man—or woman—is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall set him free. 13] When you set him free, do not let him go empty-handed: 14] Furnish him out of the flock, threshing floor, and vat, with which the Eternal your God has blessed you. 15] Bear in mind that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and the Eternal your God redeemed you; therefore I enjoin this commandment upon you today.

16] But should he say to you, “I do not want to leave you”—for he loves you and your household and is happy with you— 17] you shall take an awl and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall become your slave in perpetuity. Do the same with your female slave. 18] When you do set either one free, do not feel aggrieved; for in the six years you have been given double the service of a hired worker. Moreover, the Eternal your God will bless you in all you do.

19] You shall consecrate to the Eternal your God all male firstlings that are born in your herd and in your flock: you must not work your firstling ox or shear your firstling sheep. 20] You and your household shall eat it annually before the Eternal your God in the place that the Eternal will choose. 21] But if it has a defect, lameness or blindness, any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Eternal your God. 22] Eat it in your settlements, the impure among you no less than the pure, just like the gazelle and the deer. 23] Only you must not partake of its blood; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.

16:1] Observe the month of Abib and offer a passover sacrifice to the Eternal your God, for it was in the month of Abib, at night, that the Eternal your God freed you from Egypt. 2] You shall slaughter the passover sacrifice for the Eternal your God, from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Eternal will choose to establish the divine name. 3] You shall not eat anything leavened with it; for seven days thereafter you shall eat unleavened bread, bread of distress—for you departed from the land of Egypt hurriedly—so that you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt as long as you live. 4] For seven days no leaven shall be found with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh of what you slaughter on the evening of the first day shall be left until morning.

5] You are not permitted to slaughter the passover sacrifice in any of the settlements that the Eternal your God is giving you; 6] but at the place where the Eternal your God will choose to establish the divine name, there alone shall you slaughter the passover sacrifice, in the evening, at sundown, the time of day when you departed from Egypt. 7] You shall cook and eat it at the place that the Eternal your God will choose; and in the morning you may start back on your journey home. 8] After eating unleavened bread six days, you shall hold a solemn gathering for the Eternal your God on the seventh day: you shall do no work.

9] You shall count off seven weeks; start to count the seven weeks when the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10] Then you shall observe the Feast of Weeks for the Eternal your God, offering your freewill contribution according as the Eternal your God has blessed you. 11] You shall rejoice before the Eternal your God with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the [family of the] Levite in your communities, and the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your midst, at the place where the Eternal your God will choose to establish the divine name. 12] Bear in mind that you were slaves in Egypt, and take care to obey these laws.

13] After the ingathering from your threshing floor and your vat, you shall hold the Feast of Booths for seven days. 14] You shall rejoice in your festival, with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the [family of the] Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your communities. 15] You shall hold a festival for the Eternal your God seven days, in the place that the Eternal will choose; for the Eternal your God will bless all your crops and all your undertakings, and you shall have nothing but joy.

16] Three times a year—on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the Feast of Weeks, and on the Feast of Booths—all your males shall appear before the Eternal your God in the place that [God] will choose. They shall not appear before the Eternal empty-handed, 17] but each with his own gift, according to the blessing that the Eternal your God has bestowed upon you.

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary, copyright (c) 2016 by CCAR Press. All rights reserved. Translation of Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy from NJPS © 1962, 1985, 1999; CJPS © 2006. Used and adapted by CCAR Press with permission from The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press. No part of this translation may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, distributed, or be transmitted without express written permission from the Central Conference of American Rabbis. For permission, please contact CCAR Press.