they will not be stricken by the plague when they are counted.
Everyone included in the census must give a half shekel. This
shall be by the sanctuary standard, where a shekel is 20 gerahs.
It is half of such a shekel that must be given as an offering to
HaShem. Every man over 20 years old shall be included in this
census and give this offering to HaShem.
may not give more, and the poor may not give less than this half
shekel. It is an offering to HaShem to atone for your lives.
You will take this atonement money from the Israelites and use it
for making the Communion Tent. It will thus be a remembrance for
the Israelites before HaShem to atone for your lives.
spoke to Moses saying: Make a copper washstand along with a copper
base for it. Place it between the altar and the Communion Tent,
and fill it with water for washing.
his sons must was their hands and feet from this washstand.
If they are not to die, they must wash with the water of this
washstand before entering the Communion Tent or approaching the
altar to perform the divine service, presenting a fire offering to
HaShem. If they are not to deserve death, they must first wash
their hands and feet. This shall be for Aaron and his descendants
a law for all time, for all generations.
spoke to Moses, saying: You must take the finest fragrances, 500
shekels of distilled myrrh, two half portions, each consisting of
250 shekels of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant
cane, and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary
standard, along with a gallon of olive oil.
into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made
by a skilled perfumer, made especially for the sacred anointing
it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, the table
and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense
altar, the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand
and its base. You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of
holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. You
must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests
the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing
oil to Me for all generations. Do not pour it on the skin of any
unauthorized person, and do not duplicate it with a similar
formula. It is holy, and it must remain sacred to you. If a
person blends a similar formula, or places it on an unauthorized
person, he shall be cut off spiritually from his people.
said to Moses: Take fragrances such as balsam, onycha, galbanum,
and pure frankincense, all of the same weight, as well as other
mixture into incense, as compounded by a master perfumer,
well-blended, pure and holy. Grind it very finely, and place it
before the Ark of Testimony in the Communion Tent where I
with you. It shall be holy of holies to you.
duplicate the formula of the incense that you are making for
personal use, since it must remain sacred to HaShem. If a person
makes it to enjoy its fragrance, he shall be cut off spiritually
from his people.
HaShem spoke to Moses, saying:
have selected Betzalel son of Uri son of Chur, of the tribe of
Judah, by name. I
have filled him with a divine spirit, with wisdom, understanding
and knowledge, and with the talent for all types of
will be able to devise plans as well as work in gold, silver and
stones to be set, carve wood, and do other work. I
have also given him Oholiav son of Achisamakh of the tribe of Dan
as an assistant. Besides this, I have placed wisdom in the
heart of every naturally talented person.
thus make all that I have ordered, the
Communion Tent, the Ark for the Testimony, the ark cover to go on
it, all the utensils for the tent, the
table and its utensils, the pure gold menorah and all its
utensils, the incense altar, the
sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its
packing cloths, the sacred vestments for Aaron the priest, the
vestments that his sons wear to serve, the
anointing oil, and the incense for the sanctuary. They will thus
do all that I command.
HaShem told Moses
speak to the Israelites and say to them: You must
still keep My sabbaths. It is a sign between Me and you for all
generations, to make you realize that I, HaShem, am making you holy.
Therefore keep the Sabbath as something sacred to you. Anyone
doing work [on the Sabbath] shall be cut off spiritually from his
people, and therefore, anyone violating it shall be put to death. Do
your work during the six week days, but keep Saturday as a Sabbath
of sabbaths, holy to HaShem. Whoever does any work on Saturday shall
be put to death.
Israelites shall thus keep the Sabbath, making it a day of rest
for all generations, as an eternal covenant.
is a sign between Me and the Israelites that during the six
weekdays God made heaven and earth, but on Saturday, He ceased
working and withdrew to the spiritual.
Meanwhile, the people began to realize that Moses was taking a
long time to come down from the mountain. They gathered around
Aaron and said to him, "Make us an oracle to lead us. We have no
idea what happened to Moses, the man who brought us out of
the rings off the ears of your wives and children," replied Aaron.
"Bring them to me."
the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He
took the rings from the people, and had someone form the gold
in a mold, casting it into a calf. Some of the people began to
say, "This, Israel, is your god, who brought you out of
Aaron saw this, he built an altar before the calf. Aaron made
an announcement and said, "Tomorrow, there will be a festival to
Getting up early the next morning,
the people sacrificed burnt
offerings and brought peace offerings. The people sat down to eat
and drink, and then got up to enjoy themselves.
HaShem declared to Moses,
"Go down, for the people whom you brought out
of Egypt have become corrupt. They
have been quick to leave the way that I ordered them to follow,
and they have made themselves a cast-metal calf. They have bowed
down and offered sacrifice to it, exclaiming, 'This, Israel, is
your god, who brought you out of Egypt."
HaShem then said to Moses,
"I have observed the people, and they are an
unbending group. Now
do not try to stop Me when I unleash my wrath against them to
destroy them. I will then make you into a great nation."
Moses began to plead before
the Lord. He said, "O G-d, why
unleash Your wrath against Your people, whom you brought out of
Egypt with great power and a show of force? Why
should Egypt be able to say that You took them out with evil
intentions, to kill them in the hill country and wipe them out
from the face of the earth. Withdraw Your display of anger, and
refrain from doing evil to Your people. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You swore to
them by Your very essence, and declared that You would make their
descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky, giving their
descendants the land You promised, so that they would be able to
occupy it forever."
HaShem refrained from doing the evil that He planned for His people.
Moses turned around, and began going down the mountain with the
two Tablets of Testimony in his hand. They were tablets written on
both sides, with the writing visible from either side.
Tablets were made by HaShem and written with G-d's script engraved on
Joshua heard the sound of the people rejoicing, and he said to
Moses, "It sounds as though there is a battle going on in the
is not the song of victory," replied Moses, "nor the
the defeated. What I hear is just plain singing."
he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses
displayed anger, and threw down the tablets that were in his hand,
shattering them at the foot of the mountain. He
took the calf that the people had made, and burned it in fire,
grinding it into fine powder. He then scattered it on the water,
and made the Israelites drink it.
Moses said to Aaron,
"What did the people do to you, that you
allowed them to commit such a great sin?"
not be angry," replied Aaron, "but you must realize that
the people have bad tendencies. They
said to me, Make an oracle to lead us, since we do not know what
happened to Moses, the man who took us out of Egypt. When
I responded to them, 'Who has gold?' they took it off and gave it
to me. I threw the gold into the fire and the result was this
Moses realized that the people had actually been restrained. Aaron
had restrained them, doing only a small part of what the outspoken
ones had demanded.
Moses stood up at the camp's entrance and announced,
for HaShem, join me!" All the Levites gathered around him.
said to them, "This is what HaShem, Lord of Israel, says: Let each
man put on his sword, and go from one gate to the other in the
camp. Let each one kill all those involved in the idolatry,
even his own brother, close friend, or relative."
Levites did as Moses had ordered, and approximately 3,000 people
were killed that day.
"Today you can be ordained as a tribe dedicated to HaShem
with a special blessing. Men have been willing to kill even
their own sons and brothers at HaShem's command."
next day, Moses said to the people, "You have committed a terrible
sin. Now I will go back up to HaShem and try to gain atonement for
Moses went back up to
HaShem, and he said, "The people have committed
a terrible sin by making a golden idol. Now,
if You would, please forgive their sin. If not, You can blot me
out from the book that You have written."
HaShem replied to Moses,
"I will blot out from My book those who have
sinned against Me. Now
go; you still have to lead the people to the place that I
described to you. I will send My angel before you. Still, when I
grant special providence to the people, I will take this sin of
theirs into account."
HaShem then struck the people with a plague because of the calf that
Aaron had made.
Hashem declared to Moses,
"You and the people you took out of Egypt will
have to leave this place and go to the land regarding which I
swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that I would give it to their
will send an angel ahead of you, and drive out the Canaanites,
Amorites, Hittites, Perizites, Hivites and Yebusites. You
will thus go to a land flowing with milk and honey. However, I
will not go with you, since you are an unbending people, and I may
destroy you along the way."
they heard this bad news, the people began to mourn. They stopped
HaShem told Moses to say to the Israelites,
"You are an unbending people.
In just one second I can go among you and utterly destroy you. Now
take off your jewelry and I will know what to do with you."
From that time
at Mount Horeb on, the people no longer wore their
took his tent and set it up outside the camp at a distance. He
called it the Meeting Tent. Later, whoever sought HaShem would go
to the Meeting Tent outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise,
and each person would stand near his own tent, gazing at Moses
until he would come to his tent. When
Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and
stand at the tent's entrance, and HaShem would speak to Moses.
the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tent's
entrance, the people would rise, and each one would bow down at
the entrance of his tent. HaShem would speak to Moses face to face, just as a person speaks to a
close friend. Moses would then return to the camp. But his aid,
the young man, Joshua son of Nun, did not leave the tent.
Moses said to
HaShem, "You told me to bring these people to the
Promised Land, but You did not tell me whom You would send with
me. You also said that You know me by name and that You are
pleased with me. Now, if You are indeed pleased with me, allow me to know Your
ways, so that I will know how to remain pleasing to You. Also,
You must confirm that this nation is Your people."
presence will go and lead you," replied HaShem.
"If Your presence does not accompany us, do not
make us leave this place. Unless You accompany us, how can it be known that I and Your
people are pleasing to You? But if You do, I and your people
will be distinguished from every nation on the face of the
HaShem said to Moses,
"Since you have been pleasing to Me and I know you
by name, I will also fulfill this request of yours."
"Please let me have a vision of Your
Glory," begged Moses.
"I will make all My good pass before you, and
reveal the Divine Name in your presence. But still, I will have
mercy and show kindness to whomever I desire. You cannot have a vision of My Presence. A man
cannot have a vision of Me and still exist. I have a special place where you can stand on the
rocky mountain. When
My glory passes by, I will place you in a crevice in the mountain,
protecting you with My power until I pass by. I
will then remove My protective power, and you will have a vision
of what follows from My existence. "
HaShem said to Moses,
"Carve out two tablets for yourself, just like the
first ones. I will write on those tablets the same words that were
on the first tablets that you broke. Be
ready in the morning, so that you will be able to climb Mount
Sinai in the morning and stand waiting for Me on the mountain
man may climb up with you, and no one else may appear on the
entire mountain. Even the cattle and sheep may not graze near the
carved out two stone tablets like the first. He then got up early
in the morning and climbed Mount Sinai, as HaShem had commanded him,
taking the two stone tablets in his hand. HaShem revealed Himself in a cloud, and it stood there with
Moses. Moses called out in HaShem's name.
HaShem passed by before
Moses and proclaimed, "G-d, G-d, Omnipotent,
merciful and kind, slow to anger, with tremendous resources of
love and truth. He
remembers deeds of love for thousands of generations, forgiving
sin, rebellion and error. He does not clear those who do not
repent, but keeps in mind the sins of the fathers to their
children and grandchildren, to the third and fourth
quickly bowed his head and prostrated himself. He
said, "If You are indeed pleased with me, HaShem, let my Lord go
among us. This nation may be unbending, but forgive our sins and
errors, and make us Your own."
HaShem said: I will make a covenant before all your people, and will do
miracles that have never been brought into existence in all the
world, among any nation. All the people among whom you dwell
will see how fearsome are the deeds that I, HaShem, am doing with
very careful with regard to what I am instructing you today. I
will drive the Amorites, Canaanites, Hivites, Perizzites, Hittites
and Yebusites out before you. Be
most careful not to make a treaty with the people who live in the
land where you are coming, since they can be a fatal trap to you. You
must shatter their altars, break down their sacred pillars, and
cut down their Asherah trees. Do
not bow down to any other god, for HaShem is known as one who demands
exclusive worship, and He does indeed demand it. Be careful that you not make a treaty with
the people who live in
the land. When they practice their religion and sacrifice to their
gods, they will invite you, and you will end up eating their
will then allow their daughters to marry your sons, and when their
daughters worship their gods, they will lead your sons to follow
their religion. Do
not make any cast metal idols. Keep
the Festival of Matzahs. Eat matzahs for seven days as I
commanded, in the designated time in the month of standing grain.
It was in the month of standing grain that you left Egypt. The
first-born initiating every womb is Mine. Among all your
livestock, you must separate out the males of the first-born
cattle and sheep. The
first-born of a donkey must be redeemed with a sheep, and if it is
not redeemed, you must decapitate it. You must also redeem every
first-born among your sons. Do not
appear before Me empty-handed. You
may work during the six weekdays, but on Saturday, you must stop
working, ceasing from all plowing and reaping. Keep
the Festival of Shavuoth through the first fruits of your wheat
harvest. Also keep the Harvest Festival soon after the year
changes. Three times each year, all your males shall thus present
themselves before HaShem, Lord of Israel. When
I expel the other nations before you and extend your boundaries,
no one will be envious of your land when you go to be seen in
HaShem's presence three times each year. Do
not slaughter the Passover sacrifice with leaven in your
possession. Do not allow the Passover sacrifice to remain
overnight until morning. Bring the first fruits of your land to the Temple of
HaShem. Do not eat meat cooked in milk even that of its own
Returns with the Tablets
HaShem said to Moses,
"Write these words down for yourself, since it is
through these words that I have made a covenant with you and
Moses remained there with
HaShem on the mountain for 40 days and
40 nights without eating bread nor drinking water. HaShem wrote the
words of the covenant, consisting of the Ten Commandments, on the
Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two Tablets of the
Testimony in his hand. As Moses descended from the mountain, he
did not realize that the skin of his face had become luminous when
HaShem had spoken to him.
Aaron and all the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses' face was
shining with a brilliant light, they were afraid to come close to
him. Moses summoned them, and when Aaron and all the community leaders
returned to him, Moses spoke to them. After that, all the Israelites approached, and
Moses gave them
instructions regarding all that HaShem had told him on Mount Sinai.
Moses finished speaking with them, he placed a hood over his face.
Whenever Moses came before
HaShem to speak with Him, he would remove
the hood until he was ready to leave. He would then go out and
speak to the Israelites, telling them what he had been
Israelites would see that the skin of Moses' face was glowing
brilliantly. Moses would then replace the hood over his face until
he would once again speak with HaShem.
VaYakhel Exodus 35:1
I Kings 7.40-50
(Sephardi Tradition: I Kings 7.13-26)