The Journey’s Of The Sons of Israel - Masei מַסְעֵי

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)



Succoth - סֻכֹּתָה camp #1. 17

Etham camp #2. 19

Pi Hahiroth - פִּי הַחִירֹת camp #3. 20

Marah camp #4. 24

Elim camp #5. 27

Red Sea camp #6. 29

Sin camp #7. 29

Dophkah camp #8. 31

Alush camp #9. 31

Rephidim camp #10. 32

Desert of Sinai camp #11. 35

Kibroth Hattaavah camp #12. 37

Chazeroth camp #13. 37

Rithmah camp #14. 38

Rimmon Perez camp #15. 39

Livnah camp #16. 39

Rissah camp #17. 39

Kehelathah or Mak’helath camp #18. 39

Shepher camp #19. 40

Haradah camp #20. 40

Makheloth camp #21. 40

Tahath camp #22. 41

Terah camp #23. 41

Mithcah camp #24. 41

Chashmonah camp #25. 41

Moseroth camp #26. 41

Bene Jaakan camp #27. 42

Chor Haggidgad camp #28. 42

Yotvathah camp #29. 42

Avronah camp #30. 42

Ezion Geber camp #31. 43

Kadesh camp #32. 43

Hor camp #33. 43

Tzalmonah camp #34. 44

Punon camp #35. 45

Oboth camp #36. 45

Iye Abarim camp #37. 45

Divon Gad camp #38. 45

Almon Diblathaim camp #39. 46

B’hari Abarim camp #40. 46

Moab camp #41. 46

Beth Yeshimoth - camp #42. 47

Parasha Motsei: 49

Musings. 49

In The Nazarean Codicil 50

The Beginning and The End. 50

In the Genealogy of Mashiach. 51

In the Genealogy of Mashiach – Second look. 53

Triennial Torah Cycle. 54

In Targum Yonatan. 58

In The Psalms. 60

Rabbi Jacobson. 64

Birth Pangs. 79

Silence. 82

Triplets. 84

The Omer 88

Camps & Sefirot 89

Miscellaneous Ideas. 90



In this study I would like to learn about the parasha called Maseiמַסְעֵי. In the Triennial, or Septennial, torah cycle, we read this portion on the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Shevat (late winter) in the Tishri cycle, and around the second Shabbat of Nachamu, the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Ab (mid-summer), in the Nisan cycle. These two festivals are very mystical and are intimately linked, as we saw in the study titled: RAINS. In the annual Torah cycle this parasha is normally read during the three weeks between Tammuz 17 and Tisha B’Av.


The Journey of Israel as they prepared to leave Egypt and be born as a nation, till the time that they were ready to enter the promised land, is a forty year journey that has profound ramifications for all of the Bne Israel. These journeys are very special to HaShem:


Yiremiyahu (Jeremiah) 2:2 I remember the kindness of your youth, the love of your bridal days, that you followed Me into the wilderness, to a land where nothing grows.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 9:18-19 On HaShem’s instructions the Children of Israel would travel; and on HaShem’s instructions they would camp; the whole time that the cloud stayed over the Mishkan they would remain encamped. And when the cloud stayed a long time over the Mishkan, the Children of Israel would keep HaShem’s restriction and not travel.


In this study I would like to understand the journeys of the Bne Israel as enumerated in parashat Masei - Bamidbar (Numbers) chapter 33.


As we study this fantastic section, we shall see that this was not only the journey of that generation, but the journey of the last generation as well. These are the stages of our redemption! Rabbenu Bachya explains that during the final redemption many Jews will go out in the desert and pass through these places, and HaShem will sustain them and direct them as He did for the Israelites in the desert. The double mentioning of “their starting points”, in verses one and three, is an allusion to the two Exoduses, first from the Egyptian exile, and then the final exile.


Why did the Torah record this boring list of forty-two places[1] where the Bne Israel camped in the wilderness? The Midrash tells us one of the purposes for the recording of these journeys in the Torah:


Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XXIII:1 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: ‘During all those forty years that you spent in the wilderness I did not make it necessary for you to escape, but I cast your enemies down before you by merely being with you. Nay, more! There were numerous snakes, fiery serpents, and scorpions there’; as it says, The... wilderness, wherein were serpents, fiery serpents, and scorpions (Deut. VIII, 15) ‘yet I did not allow them to harm you.’ For this reason the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: ‘ Write down the stages by which Israel journeyed in the wilderness, in order that they shall know what miracles I wrought for them.’


The Midrash goes on to tell us another reason for recording these journeys in the Torah:


Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XXIII:3 THESE ARE THE STAGES (XXXIII, 1). It is like the case of a king whose son was ill. He took him to a certain place to cure him. On their return journey his father began to recount all the stages, saying: ‘Here we slept; here we cooled ourselves; here you had a headache.’ So the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: ‘Recount to them all the places where they provoked Me.’ Consequently it says, THESE ARE THE STAGES, etc.


Rashi also provides us with the reason for recording these journeys in the Torah:


Why were these journeys recorded? To make the Omnipresent’s benevolence known. For, although He decreed to move them about and cause them to wander in the wilderness, do not say that they wandered and were moved about from journey to journey all forty years, and had no rest--- for there are only forty-two journeys here. Subtract fourteen, all of which took place during the first year, before the decree, from their journey from Rameses until they reached Rithmah, from where the spies were dispatched, as it is said, “after, the people journeyed from Chatzeroth, etc. Send, for yourself, men, etc.,” and here it says, “they journeyed from Chatzeroth and camped at Rismah,” you learn that it was in the desert of Paran. Exclude, further, from there, eight journeys which took place after Aharon’s death, from Mount Hor to the plains of Moav, during the fortieth year, it is found that, throughout the thirty eight years, they took only twenty journeys.[2]


The fact that the Midrash records more than one reason for recording the journeys and Rashi tells us a third reason, suggests that there is more to these journeys than meets the eye. Further, we need to ask another similar question: What is the reason for these forty-two stops in the desert? There is a mystical concept that the purpose of these encampments was for the Children of Israel to release and gather the sparks of holiness which are trapped in the desert’s emptiness. Each of these stopping places correspond to a letter of HaShem’s forty-two letter Name[3] (The first forty-two letters of the Torah), and so by gathering the sparks from each place a little more of HaShem’s Name, His recognition in the world, is revealed.[4]


Three thousand years later, the Jewish People are still journeying, a hundred years here, two hundred there. On their journeys through Spain, England, China, and America, etc., the Jewish people “extract” and redeem the sparks of holiness which are trapped throughout the world. When this process is complete, Mashiach will gather all the Jewish People to the land of Israel and HaShem will be revealed to be the One True G-d. “On that day, HaShem will be One, and His Name, One“.[5]


The whole trip the Bne of Israel take from Mitzrayim (Egypt) to the Promised Land is understood spiritually as a metaphor for the journey that we all take from leaving the straits of the birth canal, to the many years of our life that we spend trying to do the right thing (traveling in the desert and messing up for forty years), to the moment of our own death (The Promised Land).


Each Jew’s life may be analyzed in terms of these forty-two journeys of Bne Israel from Egypt to Israel. In other words, it is possible to identify each person’s journey through life with the forty-two stages of the journey described in this chapter.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:1-2 “These are the journeys of Bne Israel who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions under the hand of Moshe and Aharon. Moshe wrote motza’aihem / their goings- forth le’masai’hem / according to their journeys . . . and these are masai’hem / their journeys le’motza’aihem / according to their goings-forth.”


R’ Shlomo Halberstam z”l[6] asks: What is added by “motza’aihem / their goings-forth”? The main focus of the parasha appears to be on Bne Israel’s journeys! Also, what is added by mentioning that Bne Israel went forth from Egypt? Surely we already know this! Finally, why is the order of the words reversed, first “motza’aihem / their goings-forth le’masai’hem / according to their journeys” and then “masai’hem / their journeys le’motza’aihem / according to their goings-forth”?


Our parasha alludes to all of the major exiles that Bne Israel were destined to undergo in their history: The initial letters of “Eleh masei Bne Israel” / “These are the journeys of Bne Israel” allude to the four exiles of the Jewish people: alef-Edom (Rome - our current exile); mem-Madai (Persia); bet-Bavel (Babylon); and yud-Yavan (Greece). But the verse also alludes to our redemption.


In light of all of the above, we can answer the questions we posed, says R’ Halberstam. The word “motza’aihem / their goings- forth” alludes to the future “goings-forth” of Bne Israel, i.e., our future redemptions. The placement of “masai’hem / their journeys” before “le’motza’aihem / according to their goings-forth” alludes to the fact that our constant travels in exile hasten the eventual “going-forth.” And, lest one lose faith in the redemption because of our suffering, Moshe mentioned that Bne Israel already went forth from Egypt. Surely, then, we will be redeemed again.[7]


And these are their journeys according to their starting places (Num.33:2) The Hebrew word for starting places or departures (motza’eihem) comes from the same root as descendants, alluding to the future redemption and the ingathering of the exiles that will occur in the Messianic era. At that time, all forty-two journeys made by the Children of Israel in the desert will be duplicated by the Jewish people as they make their way back to the Land of Israel.[8]


Sefat Emet, a great Chassidic master explains, that each of these forty-two places offered its unique challenges to the Jewish people. In each place, the Jewish people were afforded the opportunity to accomplish a specific tikkun, a spiritual “repair”. Furthermore, the Sefat Emet observes, the Torah juxtaposes the listing of these encampments to a reference to the Jewish people’s leaving Egypt. This was to indicate, he explains, that just as the Israelites’ leaving Egypt had eternal consequences for the Jewish people, so the challenges that the Jewish people met at their forty-two encampments also greatly impacted Jewish history. Ultimately, the Sefat Emet writes we all have various stations, good and bad, we travel through on our journeys through life. Each has its purposes and challenges that can help us ultimately achieve the tikkunim, the repairs we must accomplish on our souls.


Abarbanel teaches that since most of the place names here occur nowhere else in the Tanach,[9] it appears that they were given by the Israelites to commemorate specific events.


Rabbenu Bachya explains, that the Israelites’ existence in the desert was, for the most part, sedentary. Some twenty-two of their forty-two encampments in the wilderness were established in the first and last of the forty years and of the remaining thirty-eight years, half of them, some nineteen years, were spent in one place, Kadesh, which means “a holy one“.


The forty-two journeys, therefore, relate to forty-two states of leaving Mitzrayim (personal or national restrictions and confinements), before we reach the true and ultimate freedom of Jericho, the Messianic redemption.


These stages are not only a record of the past, but also an allusion to the future exiles and the ultimate redemption through Mashiach.


In the Torah’s listing of all forty-two campsites, this is the first time that we ever heard of many of these places. Just like we tell a story by citing the highlights, the various narratives we have read from the time Bne Israel left Egypt up until now has been a recounting of highlights. If no grand transcending event took place then there was no need to mention it in the first place. Why does the Torah list all the camp sites now? Assuming that there are no wasted words in Torah, and that every word has a meaning, how do we derive meaning from this list?


HaShem has many names. Among the shorter names that HaShem has is two lettered Hebrew name Eil (Aleph Lamed) or Adonai (yod hay vav hay). According to the Mystics, Adonai (spelled with the letters Yod Yod) is really the entire Hebrew alphabet twice. Each letter Yod embodies the entire alphabet, hence the number forty-two (two times 21). These forty-two camp sites are synonymous with Bne Israel’s forty-two stages of spiritual development, spiritual awareness and getting to know HaShem. Each location was another opportunity for Bne Israel to grow spiritually. For example, the 19th century European commentator, The Chatam Sofer explained that when Bne Israel, traveled to and camped at Kovrot Hataiva (literally “burial of desire“), they learned to confront the animalistic desires that are part of being human. By recognizing and confronting these desires, we acknowledge our human-ness and our continued striving towards holiness. When Bne Israel traveled to and camped at Chatzerot (literally “courtyards”). Bne Israel learned that this ephemeral world was merely a courtyard to Olam HaBa, the World to Come. This journey was not merely a physical journal of packing up camp and shlepping to the next truck stop. This was a spiritual journey where Bne Israel grew and learned to incorporate the spiritual into the physical world and into their collective consciousness.


It is no coincidence that the annual Parashat Masei coincides every year with the three weeks of mourning (for the Temple) between Tammuz 17 and Av 9, for these are the Torah portions of exile.


Journeys 1 through 11 were in the first year following the Exodus, journeys 32-42 in the fortieth year, meaning that there were nineteen journeys in the intervening thirty-eight years. According to the Midrash, 19 of these 38 years were spent in Kadesh, and the other 19 wandering through the desert.


Rabbenu Bachya tells us that “All the predictions of our prophets concerning the redemption of the future clearly indicates that this redemption will largely reflect earlier redemptions. The more we know about the redemption from Egypt, etc., the better we can picture how the redemption of the future will develop.”


The Baal Shem Tov teaches that the forty-two journeys in the wilderness – from Egypt to Israel – reflect the forty-two journeys or phases that each person experiences throughout life. “These are the journeys of the Israelites, who had left Egypt“ on the way to the Promised Land: All the forty-two journeys are about freeing ourselves and transcending the constraints and limitations (Mitzrayim) of our material existence which conceals the Divine, subduing and sublimating the harsh “wilderness” of selfish existence, and discovering the “Promised Land” – a life of harmony between body and soul.


These forty-two journeys allow us to align our lives to the compass a higher rhythm, as defined by the forty-two journeys in the Torah, and actually create a strategy that rides and taps into these rhythms.


Read By One Reader[10]


“Our sages provide a hint regarding the great things comprehended by this listing of the stopping stations by pointing out that the total of forty-two journeys counted correspond to the Explicit Name. The Torah begins with this Name - from “In the beginning...” (Genesis 1:1) to “which God created to make” (Genesis 2:3), six letters for each of the seven days of the creation, and it ends with His Name, thus linking the conclusion of the Torah to its beginning, by means of the Holy Name.”[11]


The fourteenth century Hakham David ben Yosef Abudraham[12] pointed out that the entire Song at the Sea,[13] the entire Ten Commandments,[14] and the listing of the forty-two camping places[15] must be read in their entirety, without being subdivided to accommodate several aliyot. The forty-two camping places were read in their entirety because it is symbolic of the Divine Name comprised of forty-two letters.


For this reason, the reader may not break up the reading containing this listing of the stops; he must include them all in one reading when an individual is called up to the Torah.[16]




Annual Torah Cycle readings for Bamidbar chapter 33:


Torah:                         Bamidbar 33:1 – 36:13

Haftarah:         Yerimiyahu 2:4-28; 3:4

                        [Yerimiyahu 2:4-28; 4:1-2]


The triennial, or septennial, Torah cycle readings for Bamidbar chapter 33:


Torah:             Bamidbar 33:1-56

Ashlamatah:   Yeshayahu 11:16 – 12:6; 14:1-2

Tehillim:         Tehillim 106:19-27

Nazarean Codicil: Mk 13:24-31, Lk 21:25-28 Lk 21:29-33, Rm 8:1-11, Mt. 25:1-13


In the triennial cycle, we read Bamidbar 33 on the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Av and on the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Shevat. This suggests a connection to these two minor festivals.


Consider the following:


25th of Adar, Adam was concieved.

Tu B’Shebat is forty days earlier.

25th of Elul, Adam was created.

Tu B’Ab is forty days earlier.


The above relationship suggests the the stages of Bamidbar 33 are intimately related to birth and conception. It is as though the fetus traverses these journeys and then when the baby is born, he also traverses these stages.


For more on this facinating subject, see:  http://www.betemunah.org/tubav.html#_Toc345272753




The following table and map gives a list of the forty-two stops:





Strong’s #

Strong’s Definition


Succoth - סכת

Temporary Shelters




Etham - אתם



With them: their plowshare


Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Mouth of Freedom


Place where sedge grows


Marah - מרה





Elim - אילם

Mighty men, Trees, Rams


Palms (plural of “ram”)


Reed Sea - סוף ים

Reed Sea

3220 / 5488

Sea of Reeds


Sin - סין

Desert of Clay


Thorn or Clay


Dophkah - דפקה





Alush - אלוש



I will knead (bread)


Rephidim - רפידם



Rests or Stays or Resting Places


Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר





Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of Craving


Graves of Lust


Chazeroth - חצרת





Rithmah - רתמה





Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Spreading Pomegranate Tree


Pomegranate of the breach


Livnah - לבנה

White Brick




Rissah - רסה

Well Stpped Up With Stones




Kehelathah - קהלתה





Shapher - הר־שפר





Haradah - חרדה





Makheloth - מקהלת



Place of Assembly


Tahath - תחת



The Under Part


Terah - תרח





Mithcah - מתקה

Sweet Delight




Chashmonah - חשמנה





Moseroth - מסרות





Bene Yaakan - יעקן בני

Wise Son


Sons of Twisting


Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

Hole of the Cleft


Cavern of the Gidgad


Yotvathah - יטבתה





Avronah - עברנה





Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Giant’s Backbone


Backbone of a Man


Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש





Hor - הר ההר





Tzalmonah - צלמנה





Punon - פונן





Oboth - אבת





Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Cover In Copulation




Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Sorrowing Overcomers


Wasting Troop


Almon Diblathaim –

 דבלתימה עלמן

Cake of Pressed Figs


Concealing the Two Cakes


Abarim - הרי העברים

Regions Beyond


Region Beyond


Moab - ערבת מואב

Mother’s Father


Of His Father


Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

House of The Desolaton


House of The Desolation

207 words


The following chart shows that nearly all of the stages are mentioned twice in Bamidbar 33. The first time they are prefixed with a ב and the second time they are prefixed with a מ. In ALBaM gematria a מ substitutes for a ב. As we mentioned before, the numerical value of מב is forty-two. This gives us a second connection to the forty-two letter name of HaShem and our forty-two journeys:








Succoth - סכת





Etham - אתם





Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

על־פי החירת

מפני החירת



Marah - מרה





Elim - אילם





Reed Sea - סוף ים





Sin - מדבר־סין





Dophkah - דפקה





Alush - אלוש





Rephidim - רפידם





Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

במדבר סיני

ממדבר סיני



Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

בקברת התאוה

מקברת התאוה



Chazeroth - חצרת





Rithmah - רתמה





Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

ברמן פרץ

מרמן פרץ



Livnah - לבנה





Rissah - רסה





Kehelathah - קהלתה





Shapher - הר־שפר





Haradah - חרדה





Makheloth - מקהלת





Tahath - תחת





Terah - תרח





Mithcah - מתקה





Chashmonah - חשמנה





Moseroth - מסרות





Bene Yaakan - יעקן בני

בבני יעקן

מבני יעקן



Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

בחר הגדגד

מחר הגדגד



Yotvathah - יטבתה





Avronah - עברנה





Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

בעצין גבר

מעצין גבר



Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

במדבר־צן הוא קדש




Hor - הר ההר

בהר ההר

מהר ההר



Tzalmonah - צלמנה





Punon - פונן





Oboth - אבת





Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

בעיי העברים

מעיי העברים



Divon Gad - גד דיבן

בדיבן גד

מדיבן גד



Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

בעלמן דבלתימה

מעלמן דבלתימה



Abarim - הרי העברים

בהרי העברים

מהרי העברים



Moab - ערבת מואב

בערבת מואב




Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית


מבית הישמת






The first fourteen journeys take the Bne Israel from Mitzrayim to the southern border of Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) where the spies are sent out.


Succoth - סכת

Etham - אתם

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Marah - מרה

Elim - אילם

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Sin - סין

Dophkah - דפקה

Alush - אלוש

Rephidim - רפידם

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Chazeroth - חצרת

Rithmah - רתמה


The next fourteen journeys take us away from eretz Israel. This analogous to going into exile.


Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Livnah - לבנה

Rissah - רסה

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Shapher - שפר

Haradah - חרדה

Makheloth - מקהלת

Tahath - תחת

Terah - תרח

Mithcah - מתקה

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Moseroth - מסרות

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר


In this last set of fourteen journeys we are on our final approach to Eretz IsraelGan Eden.


Yotvathah - יטבתה

Avronah - עברנה

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Hor - הר

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Punon - פונן

Oboth - אבת

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

Abarim - עברים

Moab - מואב

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית


A free excerpt from the Kehot Publication Society's Chumash Bemidbar/Book of Numbers with commentary

based on the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.



From The Living Torah, by Aryeh Kaplan:



From The Living Torah, by Aryeh Kaplan:


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:1-2 These are the stages in the journey of the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) when they came out of the Constricted Place (Egypt[17]) by divisions under the leadership of the one who was Drawn Out of Water[18] (Moshe) and the Light Bringer[19] (Aaron). At HaShem’s command the one who was Drawn Out of Water (Moshe) recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages:


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. 4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which HaShem had smitten among them: upon their gods also HaShem executed judgments. 5 And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth.


Ve’eleh (these) are the stages of the People of Israel when they went forth out of the land of Egypt”. The Gematria of Ve’elehthese, is forty-two, and there are forty-two stages in the journeying of Israel through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.


RASHI:  1 These are the journeys Why were these journeys recorded? To inform us of the kind deeds of the Omnipresent, for although He issued a decree to move them around [from place to place] and make them wander in the desert, you should not say that they were moving about and wandering from station to station for all forty years, and they had no rest, because there are only forty-two stages. Deduct fourteen of them, for they all took place in the first year, before the decree, from when they journeyed from Rameses until they arrived in Rithmah, from where the spies were sent, as it says, ―Then the people journeyed from Hazeroth [and camped in the desert of Paran](12:16); ―Send out for yourself men...(13:2), and here it says, ―They journeyed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah, teaching us that it [Rithmah] was in the desert of Paran. Subtract a further eight stages which took place after Aaron’s death—from Mount Hor to the plains of Moab—during the fortieth year, and you will find that throughout the thirty-eight years they made only twenty journeys. I found this in the commentary of R. Moshe (Hadarshan) [the preacher] (Mid. Aggadah). R. Tanchuma expounds it in another way. It is analogous to a king whose son became sick, so he took him to a far away place to have him healed. On the way back, the father began citing all the stages of their journey, saying to him, ―This is where we sat, here we were cold, here you had a headache etc. -[Mid. Tanchuma Massei 3, Num. Rabbah 23:3]


Ramban’s remez comments:[20]


Shemot (Exodus) 15:1 THESE ARE THE JOURNEYS. After the vengeance [executed] upon Midian, concerning which the Holy One, blessed be He, told Moses, afterwards shalt thou be gathered unto thy people, and after Moses had apportioned the land of Sihon and Og [to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Menasheh] and they had built the [previously] mentioned cities, he set his mind to write down [the various stages of] the journeyings [in the desert]. His intention in so doing was to inform [future generations] of the loving kindnesses of the Holy One, blessed be He, towards them, for even though He had decreed upon them that they had to move about and wander around in the wilderness, you should not think that they were continually wandering and moving around from place to place without any rest; for throughout all this long [period of] time they only went on forty-two journeys as the Rabbi — Rashi — wrote, [citing] the words of Rabbi Moshe the Preacher.[21]


And the Rabbi [Moshe ben Maimon] added in the Moreh Nebuchim[22] another [explanation as to the] benefit [that we derive] from knowledge [of these stages], saying: “There was a very great necessity in mentioning the [stages of the] journeyings. For [although] the miracles and wonders that were done were [recognized as] true ones by all who saw them, in later times these events would be matters of hearsay, and those who hear about them [then] might deny them altogether. Now among the greatest miracles and wonders [related] in the Torah is Israel’s survival in the wilderness for forty years, and finding the manna every day, although these places [where they stayed] are very far from cultivated settlements, and are not natural habitat for human beings, not being a place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates, and the Torah states, Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink.[23] All these [matters] are signs of events of a miraculous nature which were seen by [the human] eye. But the Creator blessed be He, knew that these wonders will be subject to the process which occurs to [all] historical events — that those who hear them will not believe them; and they will think [about these events] that the sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness was [in a place] near the cultivated settlement, where people can live there, such as the deserts in which the Arabs live today, or [that they stayed in] places where there was plowing and harvesting, or where there were grasses and plants suitable for human consumption, and that there were wells of water in those places. Therefore in order to remove from people’s hearts all such thoughts, and to firmly establish [the truth of] all these miracles, [He recorded] as a [permanent] memorial the [stages of their] journeyings [in the wilderness], so that the future generations would see them and acknowledge the great wonders [entailed] in keeping people alive in such places for forty years.” All these are his words [i.e., the words of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon].


Thus the writing down [the stages of] the journeyings was a commandment of G-d, either for the reasons mentioned above or for some other reasons, [for] a purpose the secret of which has not been revealed to us. For [the expression] by the commandment of the Eternal is connected with [the beginning of that verse], And Moses wrote unlike the opinion of Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra who wrote that it is connected with according to their journeys * for Scripture has already informed us of this [fact, saying]: according to the commandment of the Eternal they remained encamped, and according to the commandment of the Eternal they journeyed.


Succoth - סֻכֹּתָה camp #1


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:3 The children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites[24]) set out from the treasure city - Born of Ra[25] – Son of the Sun[26] (Rameses[27]) on the fifteenth day of the first month[28] (the first day of the Feast of unleavened bread – It became the first month BECAUSE of this event.), the day after the Passover. They marched out boldly[29] in full view of all the Constricted ones (Egyptians), Who were burying all their firstborn[30], whom HaShem had struck down among them; for HaShem had brought judgment on their G-ds[31]. The children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) left the treasure city - born of Ra (Rameses[32]) and camped at the place of shelters (Succoth camp #1). - Nisan 15, 2448. [33]


Since they requested permission to live in Goshen (v.4) and Pharaoh replied that they should live there (v.6), Joseph obviously complied with Pharaoh’s order. If so, the land of Rameses, which was the best of the land, was surely part of Goshen.[34]


Rav Samuel ben Hofni Gaon refers us to “Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail”.[35] This too proves that the children of Israel lived in Goshen.[36]


Ibn Ezra and Rabbenu Avraham ben HaRambam also write that Rameses was part of Goshen. In addition Ibn Ezra (v.1) points out that Rameses, the city that they built for Pharaoh,[37] where no Israelites actually lived, but which was a store city.


Targum Jonathan,[38] however, identifies both these cities as Pelusium, a city at the extreme northeast of the Nile Delta. According to Sefer Hazikkaron,[39] Rashi agrees with Targum Jonathan’s comment that Rameses and Raamses are identical.


Rameses – That is [part] of the land of Goshen.[40]


Bereshit (Genesis) 41:45 the priest of On – On = Ionu in ancient Egyptian, the centre of worship of the sun-god Ra. Its sacred name was Per-Ra, “House of Ra,” which was translated into Greek as Heliopolis. It is seven miles north of the present Cairo, and “Cleopatra’s Needle” which stands in Central Park came from there. Poti Per-Ra which means “given of Per-Ra,” can thus literally mean “the priest of On.” See 41:50, 46:20; Radak on Ezekiel 30:17. Also see Jeremiah 43:13.[41] 


Bereshit (Genesis) 47:11 Rameses region – This was in Goshen.[42] Some sources identify it with Pelusium, a city at the extreme Northeast of the Nile delta;[43].[44] Others identify it with Hero-opolis,[45] which may be Avaris, the ancient Hyksos capital,[46] identified with Typho’s City.[47] Josephus himself, however, clearly identifies Rameses with Heliopolis,[48] and this opinion is shared by Saadia Gaon.[49]


Shemot (Exodus) 1:11 Ra’amses – See Gen. 47:11. There, however, the area was named Rameses, while here it is Ra’amses.[50] It is identified as Pelusium commanding the entrance to Egypt.[51] Others identify it as Qantir.[52]


Shemot (Exodus) 12:37 Rameses – See Genesis 47:11. This is distinct from Ra’amses mentioned in 1:11.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:3 left Ra’meses


15th of the first month – Nisan 15. See Shemot (Exodus) 12:6. This was the 15th of Nisan 2448, or, according to Jewish tradition, March 25, 1313 b.c.e.[53]


Shemot (Exodus) 12:37 - From Ramses to Succoth.


[The distance between them] was 120 miles but they came there in a moment, as it is said: “And I carried you on eagles’ wings”.[54]


Shemot (Exodus) 13:20 They journeyed from Succoth.


On the second day, for on the first day they had come from Ramses to Succoth.


1. It was here that the Israelites first experienced happiness for their miraculous redemption.


QUESTION: Why does it repeat that they journeyed from Ramses, only mentioning the encampment in Succoth the second time?


ANSWER: Describing HaShem’s loving care of the Jewish people, the Torah says, “You have seen what I did to Egypt and that I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me” (Shemot 19:4). What did HaShem mean when He said “And brought you to me”?


According to Targum Yonatan ben Uziel, on the night of Pesach when the Jews were to eat their Pesach-offering, HaShem took them on clouds from Ramses and brought them to Mount Moriah, where the Bet HaMikdash was to be built, and there they ate their Pesach-offering. Immediately afterwards, He returned them to Egypt and the following morning they left Ramses.


Consequently, the Jews journeyed twice from Ramses. The first was a short trip, after which they immediately returned to Egypt, and after the second departure from Ramses, they encamped in Succoth.


1. It was here that the Israelites were first protected by the clouds of Glory. - Targum Yonathan


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:5. And the sons of Israel went forth from Pelusin, and encamped in Sukkoth, a place where they were protected by seven glorious clouds.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan Exodus 13:20 And they journeyed from Succoth, the place where they had been covered with the clouds of glory, and sojourned in Ethan, which is on the side of the desert.


According to Talmudic tradition,[55] Sukkoth was 120 or 130[56] Hebrew miles from Rameses. This is 102 or 110 miles. If it is assumed that Rameses was identical with Heliopolos, then this would set Sukkoth along the gulf of Suez or in the northern Sinai Peninsula. If Rameses is Pelusium, it could be in approximately the same area. In general, this is a three day journey.[57]


Josephus[58] says, …which he calls Latopolis, but had its name Succoth from the children of Israel pitching their tents there; for the word signifies tents or tabernacles.


Etham camp #2


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:6 They left the place of Temporary Shelters (Succoth) and camped at “From them, or Their plowshare” - Contemplation[59] (Etham[60] camp #2), on the edge of the desert.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:6. And they removed from Sukkoth, and encamped in Etham, on the side of the wilderness.


Shemot (Exodus) 13:20 And they journey from Succoth, and encamp in Etham at the extremity of the wilderness,


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:6 And they journey from Succoth, and encamp in Etham, which is in the extremity of the wilderness;


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:7 and they journey from Etham, and turn back on Pi-Hahiroth, which is on the front of Baal-Zephon, and they encamp before Migdol.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:8 And they journey from Pi-Hahiroth, and pass over through the midst of the sea, into the wilderness, and go a journey of three days in the wilderness of Etham, and encamp in Marah.


The journey took place on 16 Nissan, the second day of Passover. On the first day, they had travelled from Rameses to Succoth (Rashi).


Shemot (Exodus) 13:20 – Etham - See Numbers 33:6,7. In Numbers 33:8 , we see that after crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites were again in Etham. If we say that the “Red Sea” is the gulf of Suez, this would indicate that Etham was to the north-east of the gulf. The Israelites went into this area, and then turned back (see 14:1)and went along the west coast of the gulf, crossing the sea back to Etham. Some identify Etham with the Shur Desert (Ibn Ezra; se 15:22). Significantly, in ancient Egyptian, “etam” means “seashore.” Some identify Etham with the Egyptian “Chetem,” which denotes a fortress. There was a Chetem near Pelusium, just west of Lake Sirbonis.[61]


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:8 - Apparently the Etham Desert compassed both sides of the northern Red Sea.[62]


Pi Hahiroth - פִּי הַחִירֹת camp #3


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:7 They left “From them, or Their plowshare” - Contemplation (Etham), turned back to the Mouth of Freedom[63] - RedemptionFreedom Valley[64] (Pi Hahiroth camp #3), to the east of the Lord of the North[65] (Baal Zephon) or Hidden (covered) Lord, and camped near the Tower[66] (Migdol).


1. The Jewish people escaped from a place the Torah refers to as “Pi Cheirot” [Shemot (Exodus) 14:2], the Mouth of (or valley of) Freedom. And to where did we escape after the spectacular annihilation of the most powerful army in the world? The “midbar” (desert) which, with a slight vowel change spells the word, “medabehr,” which means, “speaking.”


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:7 They removed from Etham, and returned unto Pumey Hiratha, which lie in front of the idol of Zephon, and encamped before Migdol. [JERUSALEM. And removing from Etham. they returned to the caravansaries of Hiratha, which are in front of the idols.]


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Shemot (Exodus) 14:2. Speak to the sons of Israel, that they return back, and encamp before the Mouths of Hiratha, as they lie, created after the manner (likeness) of the children of men, male and female, and their eyes open to them: it is the place of Tanes, which is between Migdol and the sea, before the idol Zephon (Typhon), that is left of all the idols of Mizraim. For the Mizraee will say, More excellent is Baal Zephon than all idols, because it is left, and not smitten; and therefore will they come to worship it, and will find that you are encamped near unto it, on the border of the sea.

[JERUSALEM. And they will return and encamp before the caravansaries of Hiratha, between Migdol and the sea, before the idol of Zephon, you will encamp over against it.]


Rashi also provided us with some insights:


Rashi’s Commentary for: Shemot (Exodus) 14:2 and let them turn back to their rear. They approached nearer to Egypt during the entire third day in order to mislead Pharaoh, so that he would say, “They are astray on the road,” as it is said: “And Pharaoh will say about the children of Israel...”.[67]


and encamp in front of Pi- hahiroth That is Pithom [one of the cities built by the Israelites, Exod 1:11], but now it was called Pi-hahiroth, since there they [the Israelites] became free men (בְּנֵי חוֹרִין). They [the Hiroth] are two high upright rocks, and [because there is] the valley between them [this] is called the mouth (פִּי) of the rocks.-[from Mechilta]


in front of Ba’al Zephon [Only] this was left from all the Egyptian deities in order to mislead them [the Egyptians], so they would say that their deity is powerful. Concerning this [tactic] Job explained: “He misleads nations and destroys them”.[68]


The Torah provides us some insights as to what transpired at this location.


Shemot (Exodus) 14:1-31 And HaShem spake unto Moses, saying, 2  Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. 3  For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 4  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am HaShem. And they did so. 5  And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? 6  And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: 7  And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 8  And HaShem hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. 9  But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto HaShem. 11  And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. 13  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of HaShem, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14  HaShem shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 15 And HaShem said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 16  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 17  And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18  And the Egyptians shall know that I am HaShem, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 19  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and HaShem caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch HaShem looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for HaShem fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 26  And HaShem said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 27  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and HaShem overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. 29  But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30  Thus HaShem saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. 31  And Israel saw that great work which HaShem did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared HaShem, and believed HaShem, and his servant Moses.


The first hint of Techiyat HaMaitim[69] is found in Bereshit:


Bereshit (Genesis) 1:9 And G-d said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And G-d called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and G-d saw that it was good.


Chazal, our Sages, have taught that the words, “let the dry land appear” are extra words and are not required. They are not required because it is obvious that if the water is gathered together in one place, then obviously the dry land would appear.


Chazal also teach that the dry land was the place for man. Without the dry land there was no possibility for man to exist. Dry land is the possibility for man to exist. Once man has a place, then it is possible for man to be. Thus the creation of man is dependent on dry land.


In the same way, the re-creation of man in Techiyat HaMaitim is made possible by dry land. Thus we see that the hint to Techiyat HaMaitim is found in the crossing of the Yam Suf:


Shemot (Exodus) 14:21 And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea; and HaShem caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.


Chazal also teach that the waters of creation agreed to split at the Yam Suf, in the day of creation when they were separated from the dry land. This is also a hint in creation to the splitting of the Yam Suf because of the extra words, “let the dry land appear”.


Techiyat HaMaitim, is seen clearly after kyriat Yam Suf, the splitting of the Reed sea. After the Benei Israel crossed the Yam Suf, they sang the song of Moshe:


Shemot (Exodus) 15:1 Then Moshe and the children of Israel chose to sing this song to HaShem, and spake, saying, I will sing unto HaShem, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 HaShem is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my G-d, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s G-d, and I will exalt him. 3 HaShem is a man of war: HaShem is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, HaShem, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, HaShem, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who is like unto thee, HaShem, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, HaShem, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. 17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, HaShem, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 18 HaShem shall reign for ever and ever. 19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and HaShem brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Yisrael went on dry land in the midst of the sea.


Shemot (Exodus) 15:1 Then Moshe and the children of Israel chose to sing this song to HaShem


After kyriat Yam Suf, Moshe sang a song of praise and gratitude to HaShem. But in describing that event, the Torah doesn’t say, “Moses sang,” (shar) but rather, “Moses will sing” (yashir).[70]


The verb “to sing” is spelled as yashir, which is the way to write the verb in the future tense according to the rules of Hebrew grammar. The Rabbis found a hint to the resurrection buried in this apparently inappropriate selection of the future tense to describe a past event. Taken literally, the text says that Moses and the children of Israel will sing this song in the future.


Chazal, our Sages, interpret this as a prophecy; Moses and the children of Israel actually will sing this song at the time of the resurrection of the dead. Thus the song of our Parsha, a song of thanksgiving to HaShem offered by the Jewish people for having been granted the miracle of the splitting of the sea is actually the song of the resurrection; the very same song that the people experiencing the resurrection will be inspired to sing.[71]


‘... the redeemed ones sang’. The fact that six hundred thousand people should sing in unison a song which none of them had ever heard before is amazing. It can only be understood by explaining that they all reached a level of Ruach haKodesh (that HaShem spoke from the mouth of each one of them).


The word used here to mean “sing”, Yashir, is in the future tense, indicating that this song will be used again at the time of Techiyat HaMaitim, which will happen along with Mashiach’s coming. The book of Revelation tells us about this tenth song, the song of Moshe:


Revelation 15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of G-d. 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of G-d. 3 And they sing the song of Moshe the servant of G-d, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord G-d Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.


From here we can see reference in the Nazarean Codicil to the resurrection of the dead which will take place in the time of redemption. At that time, “Moshe will sing,” once again praises to HaShem.


Micah 7:15 According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Mitzrayim will I shew unto him marvelous things.


The prophet Micah tells us that the Exodus was only a preparation for (and a mild example of) the redemption through Mashiach. This leads us to a very sobering idea: In Mitzrayim, 80 percent of the Benei Israel, The Children of Israel, were not interested in leaving Mitzrayim with Moshe. Additionally, the vast majority of the Benei Yisrael chose to stay in exile in Babylon rather than return with Ezra back to Israel.


Marah camp #4


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:8 They left the mouth of the gorges - Freedom Valley[72] (Pi Hahiroth) and passed through the sea into the desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert “from them” (Etham), they camped at the place of Bitterness (Marah camp #4).


1. They crossed the Red Sea on Nisan 21, 2448.[73]


2. The water was bitter at Marah - Shemot (Exodus) 15:23. Nisan 24, 2448[74]


3. The Lord made a decree and law for them, there He tested them, at Marah - Shemot (Exodus) 15:25. There is an opinion that the command to observe the Sabbath was given here.


Shemot (Exodus) 15:22 And Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. {That is, Bitterness.} 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying: ‘What shall we drink?’ 25 And he cried unto HaShem; and HaShem taught him a tree, and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet. There He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them; 26 and He said: ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of HaShem thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His eyes, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am HaShem that healeth thee.’


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Shemot (Exodus) 15:22 And Mosheh made Israel go forward from the sea of Suph, and they went forth into the wilderness of Chalutsa. [JERUSALEM. The way of Chalutsa.] And they journeyed three days in the desert, empty of instruction, and found no water. And they came to Marah, but could not drink the waters of Marah because they were bitter; therefore he called the name of it Marah. And the people murmured against Mosheh, saying, What shall we drink? [JERUSALEM. And the people contended.] And he prayed before the Lord, and the Lord showed him the bitter tree of Ardiphne; and lie wrote upon it the great and glorious Name, and cast it into the midst of the waters, and the waters were rendered sweet. And there did the Word of the Lord appoint to him the ordinance of the Sabbath, and the statute of honouring father and mother, the judgments concerning wounds and bruises., and the punishments wherewith offenders are punished; and there he tried (them) with the tenth trial, and said, If you will truly hearken to the Word of the Lord your God, and do that which is right before Him, and will listen to His precepts and keep all His statutes, all those evil things that I laid upon the Mizraee I will not lay upon thee: but if thou wilt transgress against the word of the law, upon thee shall they be sent. If thou convert, I will remove them from thee; for I am the Lord thy Healer. [JERUSALEM. 25. And Mosheh prayed before the Lord, and the Word of the Lord showed him the tree of Ardiphne, and he cast it into the midst of the waters, and the waters were made sweet. There did the Word of the Lord show unto him statutes and orders of judgment, and there He tried him with trials in the tenth trial. 26. For I am the Lord who healeth thee by My Word.] And they came to Elim; and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, a fountain for each tribe; and seventy palm‑trees, corresponding with the seventy elders of Israel: and they encamped there by the waters. [JERUSALEM. And they came to Elim, where were twelve fountains of water, answering to the twelve tribes of Israel, and seventy palm‑trees, answering to the seventy elders of the sanhedrin of Israel.]


Shabbath 87b [In respect] of their encamping. R. Aha b. Jacob said: [In respect] of their journeying. Now, they disagree about [the precept of] the Sabbath [as communicated to them at at Marah, for it is written, [Observe the Sabbath day ... ] as the Lord my God commanded thee, whereon Rab Judah commented in Rab’s name: As he commanded thee at Marah. One Master holds: They were commanded concerning the Sabbath [in general], but not concerning tehumin[75]. Whilst the other Master holds: They were commanded concerning tehumin too.


Sanhedrin 56b ‘Social laws.’ Were then the children of Noah bidden to observe these? Surely it has been taught: The Israelites were given ten precepts at Marah, seven of which had already been accepted by the children of Noah, to which were added at Marah social laws, the Sabbath, and honouring one‘s parents; ‘Social laws,’ for it is written, There [sc. at Marah] he made for them a statute and an ordinance; ‘the Sabbath and honouring one‘s parents’. for it is written, As the Lord thy God commanded thee! — R. Nahman replied in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: The addition at Marah was only in respect of an assembly, witnesses, and formal admonition. If so, why say ‘to which were added social laws‘? — But Raba replied thus: The addition was only in respect of the laws of fines. But even so, should it not have been said, ‘additions were made in the social laws‘? — But R. Aha b. Jacob answered thus: The Baraitha informs us that they were commanded to set up law courts in every district and town. But were not the sons of Noah likewise commanded to do this? Surely it has been taught: Just as the Israelites were ordered to set up law courts in every district and town, so were the sons of Noah likewise enjoined to set up law courts in every district and town! — But Raba answered thus: The author of this Baraitha [which states that social laws were added at Marah] is a Tanna of the School of Manasseh, who omitted social laws and blasphemy [from the list of Noachian precepts] and substituted emasculation and the forbidden mixture [in plants, ploughing. etc.]. For a Tanna of the School of Manasseh taught: The sons of Noah were given seven precepts. viz., [prohibition of] idolatry, adultery, murder, robbery, flesh cut from a living animal, emasculation and forbidden mixtures. R. Judah said: Adam was prohibited idolatry only, for it is written, And the Lord God commanded Adam. R. Judah b. Bathyra maintained: He was forbidden blasphemy too. Some add social laws. With whom does the following statement of Rab Judah in the name of Rab agree: viz., [God said to Adam,] I am God, do not curse Me; l am God, do not exchange Me for another; I am God, let My fear be upon you? — This agrees with the last mentioned [who adds social laws to the list].


Horayoth 8b From the day that the Lord gave commandments, and onward throughout your generations;1 which is the commandment that was spoken at the very beginning? Surely it is that of idolatry. But did not a Master state that Israel was given ten commandments at Marah! — But the best proof is that given at first.


Rashi says that “at Marah the Bne Israel were given a few of the sections of the Torah, so that they be involved in them.” The term sheyit’asku, “to be involved,” implies an intellectual pursuit, and not necessarily a behavioral commitment. This follows the teaching in the Talmud that Marah is the source upon which public reading of the Torah is based:


Baba Kamma 82a ‘That the law be read [publicly] on Mondays and Thursdays.’ But was this ordained by Ezra? Was this not ordained even before him? For it was taught: ‘And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water, upon which those who expound verses metaphorically said: water means nothing but Torah, as it says: Ho, everyone that thirsteth come ye for water. It thus means that as they went three days without Torah they immediately became exhausted. The prophets among them thereupon rose and enacted that they should publicly read the law on Sabbath, make a break on Sunday, read again on Monday, make a break again on Tuesday and Wednesday, read again on Thursday and then make a break on Friday so that they should not be kept for three days without Torah.’


And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water, upon which those who expound verses metaphorically said: Water means nothing but Torah, as it says: Everyone that thirsts, come for water (Isaiah 55:1). It thus means that as they went three days without Torah they immediately became exhausted. The prophets among them thereupon rose and enacted that they should publicly read the law on Shabbat, make a break on Sunday, read again on Monday, make a break again on Tuesday and Wednesday, read again on Thursday and then make a break on Friday so that they should not be kept for three days without Torah.


Philo taught that: “All the people stood at a distance [at Mt. Sinai], but Moses went up to the cloud, knowing that God was there.[76] Then God said to him His judgments and His statues,[77] and He kept him with him forty days and forty nights. And there He commanded him many things and He showed him the Tree of Life from which He cut [a piece] and he received it and cast it into Marah, and the waters of Marah were made sweet.[78] And it followed them in the wilderness for forty years… And He commanded him concerning the tabernacle and the ark of the Lord and the sacrifice of whole burnt offerings and of incense.”[79]


So, too, do we find this same Tree of Life in the Zohar:


Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 27a  But if he transgresses the law, they are watered from the bitterness of the tree of evil, which is the evil inclination, and all his limbs are full of bitterness; but when the members of the body are kept holy from the side of good, it may be said of them that “they came to Marah and were not able to drink waters from Marah, for they were bitter” (Ex. XV, 23). Similarly, the study of the Talmud is bitter compared with that of the esoteric wisdom, of which it is said, “And God showed him a tree” (Ibid.); this is a tree of life, and through it “the waters were sweetened”.


How are the events at Marah related to the Sabbath commandment? To sweeten bitters waters, one should take sweet wood NOT bitter wood and throw it into the waters. Thus the logic of Sabbath is that we should work on Sabbath, but, just the opposite is actually true. It is rest that derives the profit of Shabbat. It is the shabbat which enlivens the other six days. It is the shabbat which fixes up the other six days.


4. The people murmured against Moshe because of water here.[80] This is one of two such murmurings. The other was at Rephidim.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:8. And from the caravansaries of Hiratha they removed, and passed through the midst of the sea, and went upon the shore of the sea, collecting onyx stones and pearls. Afterwards they proceeded three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and encamped in Marah.


Midrash Rabbah - Exodus XLIII:3 When Israel came to Marah, it is said, And they came to Marah (Ex. XV, 23).[81] Moses began to criticise within himself, saying: ‘Why were these waters created? What earthly use is there in them? Would it not have been better if they had not been created? ‘ God knew, however, the thoughts of his heart, and said: ‘Thou must not think thus! Have not I created them, and is there anything in this world which serves no useful purpose? No, I will teach thee what thou shalt say: say thus: “ Do Thou make that which is bitter sweet.”‘ Whence do we know that God taught him to speak thus? Because see what is written: And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet (ib. 25). Note it does not say wayyarehu (and He showed him), but ‘ wayyorehu ‘, and ‘ wayyorehu ‘ means ‘ and He taught him ‘, as it says, And he taught me (wayyoreni), and said unto me (Prov. IV, 4), and also, And He hath put in his heart that he may teach--lehoroth (Ex. XXXV, 34). Moses made a mental note of this advice of God, though he did not actually carry it out into practice at the time.[82] And for what occasion did he reserve it? When Israel came to the wilderness and God sought to destroy him, Moses said to Him: ‘ Lord of the Universe! Thou dost intend to destroy them utterly! Thou wouldst completely annihilate them from the world! Didst Thou not tell me in Marah: ‘‘Pray with the words: ‘Turn into sweetness that which is bitter’? “ Do Thou now, therefore, sweeten Israel’s bitterness and heal them.’ That is the meaning of WAYYEHAL MOSHEH.[83] R. Abin said in the name of R. Levi b. Prata: Because we had in the days of Moses one who could make sweet for us our bitterness, does it say, WAYYEHAL MOSHEH.; but in the days of Daniel we had no one to sweeten our bitterness, for it says, Yet have we not entreated (hillinu) the favour of the Lord our God (Dan. IX, 13).


Finally, we realize that, after all, this section is dominated by water!  Where did they come from when they began their thirsty, three-day journey?  The sea!  The sea which had split for them and towered above them.  They were surrounded by water, surrounded by Torah, immersed in an exhilarating, overwhelming, miraculous encounter with HaShem.  They sang with joy at the glory of it all.


Elim camp #5


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:9 They left the place of bitterness (Marah) and went to the Palm tree place[84] (Strength according to Hakham Shlomo Riskin) (Elim camp #5), where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there[85].


1.     They camped near the water[86] - Shemot (Exodus) 15:27 (On the shore of ... Targum Yonathan)


Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 62b ‘It has been said at that hour Israel was perfected below according to her prototype above, for it is written, “and they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water and threescore and ten palm trees” (Ex. xv, 27). Now the Holy Tree [Tr. note: Tifereth.] spreads to twelve boundaries on the four quarters of the earth, and to seventy branches closely intertwined, so that what was above should have here its counterpart below.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:9. And they removed from Marah, and came to Elim; in Elim were twelve fountains of water for the twelve tribes, and seventy palm trees, answering to the seventy sages; and they encamped there by the waters. [JERUSALEM And they removed from Marah and came to Elim: in Elim were twelve fountains of water, answering to the twelve tribes of Israel, and seventy palm trees, answering to the seventy elders of the Sanhedrin of Israel; and they encamped there.]


Elim means strength; those who live by the laws of the Sabbath, the seven Noahide laws of morality, and the principle of parental fealty can never be overwhelmed by bitter waves of obliteration. These laws are a necessary introduction for the twelve tribes of Israel, comparable to twelve wells of life-giving water, and are a necessary condition for the seventy nations of the world, symbolized by the seventy date trees, to further their march towards redemption.


Ramban’s Commentary for:[87]  Shemot (Exodus) 15:27 - AND THERE WERE TWELVE SPRINGS OF WATER, AND THREE SCORE AND TEN PALM TREES. It is not such a significant matter that seventy palm trees are found in a certain place. In the lowlands, a thousand and more palm trees can be found in one location, and springs of abundant water are springing forth in valleys and hills,[88] and Scripture does not mention them at all! [Why then are these springs and palm trees singled out here?]


Now Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra explained that Scripture narrates that they came to a good place which was unlike Marah. In Elim, there were many springs, and the waters were sweet and good, since palm trees cannot thrive in soil where the waters are bitter. It is for this reason that Scripture says here and they encamped there, because on account of it, they stayed there for more days than in the other places they passed through. In the section of Eleh Mas’ei,[89] however, Scripture does not relate anything about Marah, and yet it states, And they journeyed from Marah, and came unto Elim; and in Elim were twelve springs of water, and three score and ten palm trees, and they encamped there,[90] and a description of a place at such length is not found there about any of the places they traversed!


Now Rashi wrote: “Twelve springs of water, a number corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel, were ready for them. And seventy palm trees — these corresponded to the seventy elders.” But I do not know the nature of this preparation, i.e., whether it was done for them by a miracle just for that time. I have however, seen here in the Mechilta: “Rabbi Eleazar of Modaim said: ‘On the very day that the Holy One, blessed be He, created His world, He created twelve springs corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel, and seventy palm trees corresponding to the seventy elders.’ “ Scripture thus tells that each tribe encamped beside his spring and the elders sat in their shade praising G-d for them, because He had prepared for them [such a restful place] in a land of drought. Our Rabbis have yet another explanation in the Midrash of Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah[91] on this verse, which is wonderful in our eyes.[92]


What significance there is in this story of the wells and the date trees. Furthermore, what possible benefit could 70 trees give to 6 million people?


There is a Mechilta which explains the significance of this story, the springs represent the 12 tribes of Israel and the trees represent the 70 elders of Israel. What is the point of this mechilta, though? Is it simply coming to teach us that Israel has 12 tribes and 70 elders!? That is self evident! Rather, it must be teaching us something more.


In truth, there is a great lesson to be learned. When the twelve tribes left Egypt, they left as distinct units. Every tribe had its own place and its own flag. The Ari HaKadosh tells us that each tribe even had its own window in the sky for its prayers to pass through.


The potential surely existed for each tribe to separate from the others and declare itself a distinct and separate unit - this would cause the Torah, heaven forbid, to become 12 different Torot, and the nation to be split into 12 different nations! By the same token, the seventy elders were all men of stature and great wisdom, each with his own students and school. Each one also had his own distinct style of learning. The potential surely existed for each elder to declare that only he possessed the truth and the true interpretations of the Torah. This could have, heaven forbid, turn the Torah into seventy Torot. However, all of this did not happen, and it is symbolized by the wells and the palm trees.


There was significance of Bne Israel arriving at Elim. In Hebrew, the letters of this place stand for "Our father Jacob has not died."


One should know that to all of the tribes their was one father! His sprit was in all of them and served to connect them as a nation. All of the tribes declared to Jacob at the end of his life: "Hear, Israel, HaShem is our G-d, HaShem is one" It is true that each tribe is its own well, but it can not separate from the other wells. In Elim, all 12 springs were in the same place to show that the entire nation could partake of them! The date trees also were a symbol of unity. The roots of a date tree, our rabbis tell us, do not spread out, they are unified.


This symbolizes the unanimity of our sages when it comes to issues of Torah - even though there is the potential for disparity.


Red Sea camp #6


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:10 They left the Palm Tree place (Elim) and camped by the Yam Suf The Reed Sea (Red Sea[93] camp #6).


Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 50a For “Suph” suggests “soph”, an end, namely the end of the grades of the supernal powers.’


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:10. And they removed from Elim, and camped on the banks of the Sea of Suph;


Sin camp #7


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:11 They left the Reed Sea and camped in the Desert of clay (Sin camp #7).


1. They arrived on the 15th day of the second month - Iyar (second Passover) – Shemot (Exodus) 16:1


2. They grumbled about the lack of meat - Shemot (Exodus) 16:3


3. HaShem brought them quail in the evening - Shemot (Exodus) 16:13


4. HaShem brought them bread from heaven in the morning – Shemot (Exodus) 16:13-14


5. The Israelites first observed the Sabbath here.[94] Shemot (Exodus) 16:27


Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XLVIII:12 AND ABRAHAM HASTENED INTO THE TENT UNTO SARAH, AND SAID: MAKE READY QUICKLY THREE MEASURES OF FINE MEAL (XVIII, 6). R. Abiathar said: She baked nine measures in all, three of cakes, three of habiz, and three of pastries. KNEAD IT, AND MAKE CAKES (UGOTH).[95] It was the season of Passover. Jonah and R. Levi in the name of R. Hama b. R. Hanina said: The wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Alush are one and the same. [The change of name to Alush teaches this]: On account of whose merit were Israel privileged to have the manna given to them? On account of [the merit of Abraham who said]: LUSHI (KNEAD IT), AND MAKE CAKES.[96]


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:11. and they removed from the banks of the sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin;


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for: Shemot (Exodus) 16:1 And the whole congregation of Israel journeyed from Elim, and came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the month of Iyar, the second month from their going forth from the land of Mizraim. 2. And on that day the bread which they had brought out of Mizraim was finished. And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Mosheh and against Aharon in the desert. 3. And the sons of Israel said to them, Would that we had died by the Word of the LORD in the land of Mizraim, when we sat by the cisterns of meat, and ate bread and had enough! Why have you brought us out into this wilderness to kill all this congregation with hunger? 4. ¶ And the LORD said to Mosheh, Behold, I will cause the bread which has been laid up for you from the beginning to descend from heaven: and the people will go out and gather the matter of a day by the day, that I may try them whether they will keep the commandments of My Law or not. 5. And on the sixth day they will prepare what they set before them to eat on the day of the Sabbath; and they will mix in the houses and communicate in their dwellings, so that by carrying this to that, they may have double of that which they gather from day to day.


Ramban’s Commentary for:[97]  Shemot (Exodus)  16:1 AND THEY TOOK THEIR JOURNEY FROM ELIM, AND ALL THE CONGREGATION OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL CAME UNTO THE WILDERNESS OF SIN. Scripture speaks briefly here, for when they journeyed from Elim, they pitched by the Red Sea, and they journeyed from the Red Sea, and they pitched in the wilderness of Sin,[98] since this great wilderness extended from Elim to Sinai. Thus, when they travelled from Elim, they camped beside the Red Sea in that wilderness. Then they journeyed from the edge of the sea and entered into the midst of the wilderness, making the stages of Dophkah and Alush[99] and then they journeyed from Alush, which is in the wilderness of Sinai, and they pitched in Rephidim.[100]


In the opinion of our Rabbis,[101] the manna began falling in Alush. When the Israelites saw that they were journeying and camping in the wilderness — in Dophkah and Alush — and had not come out of it, they became frightened and began murmuring. This is the meaning of the verse, And they murmured... in the wilderness,[102] for they had not murmured when they came there but only after they were there in the wilderness [for an extended period of time].


THE WILDERNESS OF SIN WHICH IS BETWEEN ELIM AND SINAI. The reason for this [geographic   description] is to distinguish between this wilderness of Sin and the other wilderness, Tzin, written with the letter tzade, where the Israelites came in the fortieth year [of their stay in the wilderness] and Miriam died there.[103] This is why Scripture mentions there, And they pitched in the wilderness of Tzinthe same is Kadesh,[104] in order to differentiate it [from the wilderness of Sin mentioned here].


Dophkah camp #8


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:12 They left the Desert of clay (Sin) and camped at the Attack[105] place (Dophkah camp #8).


Dophkah is the place where their “hearts beat” (in fear) for lack of bread.[106]


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:12. thence to Dopheka, Kerak Takiph (the strong tower),


Alush camp #9


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:13 They left the knocking place (Dophkah) and camped at the Powerful City[107] - wild place[108] - (Alush[109] camp #9).


Midrash Rabbah – Bereshit (Genesis) XLVIII:12 The wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Alush[110] are one and the same. [The change of name to Alush teaches this]: On account of whose merit were Israel privileged to have the manna given to them? On account of [the merit of Abraham who said]: LUSHI (KNEAD IT), AND MAKE CAKES.[111]


The Jerusalem Targum on Bereshit 25:18 and on Shemot 15:22 translate Shur and the desert of Shur by Alush.


Seder Olam 5[112] says, “From Elim they travelled to Alush as it is said (Exodus 16:1): “They travelled from Elim and the entire congregation of the Bne Israel arrived at the wilderness of Sin” (that is Alush) “on the 15th day of the second month after the Exodus”, which was on a Sabbath.


The Talmud notes that it was built by Sheshai, one of the giants of Hebron (Bamidbar 13:22; Yoma 10a):


Yoma 10a And Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai the children of Anak, were there. A Tanna taught: ‘Ahiman’, i.e., the most skilful of the brethren; ‘Sheshai’, ie, he made the ground [he stepped on] like pits; ‘Talmai’, i.e.,he made the ground full of ridges. Another comment: Ahiman built Anath, Sheshai built Alush; Talmai built Talbush. [They were called] ‘the children of Anak’, because they lorded it over the sun by reason of their height.


They arrived on Iyar 15, 2448 (Pesach Sheni).[113]


Rephidim camp #10


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:14 They left the powerful city - wild place (Alush[114]) and camped at the railing or Weakness place (lax in Torah study) (Rephidim camp #10), where there was no water for the people to drink[115].


1. There was no water to drink - Shemot (Exodus) 17:1


2.     Moshe strikes the rock at Horeb and water came out - Shemot (Exodus) 17:6


3.     “Why was it called Shittim?” He said, “Shittim was its actual name.” Rebi Yehoshua said, “[It was called this] because they were involved in something senseless (shtus).”[116]


4. This place was called Massah and Meribah because the people quarreled and tested HaShem - Shemot (Exodus) 17:7


5. The Amalekites attacked the Israelites here - Shemot (Exodus) 17:8. One interesting point as to why Amalekh without provocation attacks the nation of Israel in their way to freedom is that given by the name where this incident took place - “Refidim.” The name “Refidim” indicates that the Israelites had become lax “RAFAH” in their faith (they became weak (reefu) in Torah.” - Bechorot 5b). As a result of this shortcoming Amalek was able to attack. The Israelites were RAFAH (Lax) in the Torah. That is, they did not ask for Torah just as they asked for bread and water. Since the entire point of the Exodus was that they would receive the Torah, their first complaint should have been, “Why is it taking so long before HaShem gives us His Torah?” But we see that no such complaint was ever made.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan Shemot (Exodus) 17:8 And Amalek came from the land of the south and leaped on that night a thousand and six hundred miles; and on account of the disagreement which had been between Esau and Jakob, he came and waged war with Israel in Rephidim, and took and killed (some of the) men of the house of Dan; for the cloud did not embrace them, because of the strange worship that was among them.


6. Joshua is to remember the Amalekite attack – Shemot (Exodus) 17:14


Targum Pseudo Jonathan Shemot (Exodus) 17:9-14 And Mosheh said to Jehoshua, Choose such men as are strong in the precepts, and victorious in fight; and go, under the Cloud of glory, and set battle in array against the hosts of Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand, prepared with fasting, with the righteous fathers of the chiefs of the people, and the righteous mothers who are like the hills, with the rod with which the miracles have been wrought from before the Lord, in my hand. 10. And Jehoshua did as Mosheh had bidden him, to wage war with Amalek. And Mosheh, and Aharon, and Hur went up to the top of the height. 11. And it was, when Mosheh lifted up his hands in prayer, that the house of Israel prevailed; and when he rested his hand from praying, that the house of Amalek prevailed. [Jerusalem. And it was that when Mosheh lifted up his hands in prayer, the house of Israel prevailed; and when his hands declined from prayer, Amalek prevailed; and (Israel) fell. in the line of battle.] 12. And the hands of Mosheh were heavy, because the conflict was prolonged till the morrow, and the deliverance of Israel was not prepared on that day; and he could not hold them up in prayer; on which account he would have afflicted his soul. And they took a stone, and placed it under him, and he sat upon it; and Aharon and Hur supported his hand, this the one, and that the other; and his hands were outstretched with firmness, (or, fidelity,) in prayer and fasting, until the going down of the sun. [Jerusalem. And the hands of Mosheh were lifted up in prayer.] 13. And Jehoshua shattered Amalek, and cut off the heads, of the strong men of his people, by the mouth of the Word of the Lord, with the slaughter of the sword. 14. And the Lord said unto Mosheh, Write this memorial in the book of the elders that were of old, and these words in the hearing, of Jehoshua, that blotting, I will blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.


Rashi on Shemot 17:9 Pick for us men who know how to counteract witchcraft, because the Amalekites were sorcerers.


Rashi on Shemot 17:12 until sunset For the Amalekites calculated the hours [i.e., the time] with their astrology [to determine] in what hour they would be victorious, but Moses caused the sun to stand still and confused the hours.-[from Tanchuma 28]


RASHI: on Shemot 17:16 For there is a hand on the throne of the Eternal Heb. כּיִ-יָד עַל-כֵּס יָהּ . The hand of the Holy One, blessed be He, was raised to swear by His throne, to have a war and [bear] hatred against Amalek for eternity. Now what is the meaning of כּסֵ [as opposed toִֵ אכּס and also [why is] the Divine Name divided in half? [I.e., why is the Name יהָּ used instead of יהְ והָ ?] [The answer is that] the Holy One, blessed be He, swore that His Name will not be complete and His throne will not be complete until the name of Amalek is completely obliterated. And when his name is obliterated, the Divine Name will be complete, and the throne will be complete, as it is said: “The enemy has been destroyed; swords exist forever ( נצחֶַל )” (Ps. 9:7); this [who they are referring to] is Amalek, about whom it is written: “and kept their fury forever (נצחֶַ)” (Amos 1:11).”And You have uprooted the cities-their remembrance is lost” (Ps. 9:7) [i.e., Amalek‘s obliteration]. What does it say afterwards? “And the Lord ( ויַהוהָ ) shall sit forever” (Ps. 9:8); thus [after Amalek is obliterated] the Name is complete. “He has established His throne (וֹ כּסִאְ) for judgment” (Ps. 9:8). Thus the throne is complete [i.e., thus the throne, here spelled with an “aleph,” is now complete].-[from Midrash Tanchuma, end of Ki Theitzei]


Rashi on Shemot 19:2 They journeyed from Rephidim Why did [Scripture] have to repeat and explain from where they had journeyed? Did it not already state (Exodus 17:1) that they were encamped in Rephidim? It is known that they journeyed from there. But [it is repeated] to compare their journey from Rephidim to their arrival in the Sinai desert. Just as their arrival in the Sinai desert was with repentance, so was their journey from Rephidim with repentance.-[from Mechilta]


Rashi on Shemot 19:2 They (written: he) camped opposite the mountain - k’ish echad, b’leiv echad — like a single person with a single heart.


7. Moshe built an altar and called it “ HaShem is my banner: - Shemot (Exodus) 17:15


Targum Pseudo Jonathan Shemot (Exodus) 17:15 And Mosheh built an altar, and called the name of it, The Word of the Lord is my banner; for the sign which He has wrought (in this) place was on my behalf. 16. And he said, Because the Word of the Lord hath sworn by the throne of His glory, that He by His Word will fight against those of the house of Amalek, and destroy them unto three generations; from the generation of this world, from the generation of the Mashiach, and from the generation of the world to come. [JERUSALEM. And he said, The oath has come forth from beneath the throne of the Great One, of all the world the Lord; the first king who will sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the sons of Israel, Shaul, the son of Kish, will set the battle in array against the house of Amalek, and will slay them; and those of them that remain will Mordekai and Esther destroy. The Lord has said by His Word that the memory of Amalek will perish to the age of ages.]


8. They arrived Iyar 23, 2448.[117]


9. They arrived Iyar 23, 2448.[118]


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:14. Rephidim, where, because their hands were (raphin) neglectful of the words of the law, there was no water for the people to drink;


Ramban’s comments:[119]


Shemot (Exodus) 17:1 [14.]AND THEY PITCHED IN REPHIDIM, AND THERE WAS NO WATER FOR THE PEOPLE TO DRINK. Scripture [here] does not mention the miracle [that occurred] with the water in Marah,[120] nor the [daily] wonder of manna [which took place] in the wilderness of Sin.[121] But [it mentioned the giving of water at Rephidim] because this episode at Rephidim was an important event, since they tried G-d [there], and that place was therefore called Massah (Trying) and Meribah (Strife),[122] wherein He was sanctified in their presence by bringing forth water for them out of the rock,[123] and it was there that they were attacked by the Amalekites.[124] Therefore He [only] described it here in brief, [saying], and there was no water for the people to drink, since it was the place which was recognized and known by this [fact].


Shemot (Exodus) 17:1 AND ALL THE CONGREGATION OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL JOURNEYED FROM THE WILDERNESS OF SIN, BY THEIR STAGES, ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT OF THE ETERNAL, AND THEY ENCAMPED IN REPHIDIM. Scripture is stating that they journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, where they were encamped after they had set out from Elim,[125] and covered various stages of their journey in accord with G-d’s command. Afterwards, they encamped in Rephidim. Scripture thus relates briefly here that when they first journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, they pitched in Dophkah, and afterwards in Alush, and from Alush they came to Rephidim.[126] This is the meaning of the expression here, by their stages, since there were many stages by which they came from the wilderness of Sin to Rephidim, and they did not reach it on the first journey. Scripture, however, [omits all these various stages here] because its only concern is to explain their murmuring. At the beginning of their arrival in that wilderness [of Sin], they complained for bread, and now they quarreled [with Moses] over water, [as it is said], and there was no water for the people to drink. When they came to that place and did not find fountains of water, they at once quarreled with Moses. This is the meaning of the expression, Wherefore the people did quarrel with Moses,[127] for the murmurings mentioned in places where Scripture says, and they murmured,[128] mean complaints, i.e., that they were declaring their grievances about their condition, saying, “What shall we do? What shall we eat, and what shall we drink?” But vayarev (and he quarreled) means that they did actually make quarrel with Moses, coming to him and saying, “Give us water, you and Aaron your brother, for you are responsible, our blood is upon you.” And Moses said to them, “Why quarrel you with me? Wherefore do you try the Eternal?[129] This quarrel is to test G-d, that is, whether He can give you water.[130] If you will hold your peace and let me alone and instead pray to Him, perhaps He will answer you.” And indeed, it was their intent to try [G-d], as Scripture says, And the name of the place was called Massah (Trying) and Meribah (Quarrel), because of the quarrel of the children of Israel and because they tried the Eternal, saying: Is the Eternal among us, or not?[131] Then their anger against him relented,[132] and for a day or two, they were supplied by the waters in their vessels. But afterwards, the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses,[133] something like the complaints they made whenever they wanted something, saying, Wherefore have you brought us up out of Egypt?[134] When Moses saw that they thirsted for water, then he prayed to G-d and recounted before Him his distress when they first quarrelled with him.[135]


Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra said that there were two groups: one that quarreled [with Moses because they had no water to drink], and one [that had water which they brought from Alush, the place where they were encamped before coming to Rephidim,[136] but] who tested G-d [to see if He would give them water]. The correct interpretation is as I have explained.


Pesiqta deRab Kahana Pisqa Twelve Another interpretation of the verse. Through sloth the roof sinks in, [and through indolence the house leaks] (Qoh. 10:18): The passage speaks of Israel when they came to Rephidim. For what is written in that regard?  They set out from Rephidim and entered the wilderness of Sinai, [where they encamped, pitching their tent opposite the Mountain]. Why was the name of that place called Rephidim? Because their hands were "slothful" about committing transgression ["slothful" in Hebrew is similar to Rephidim].


Through sloth the roof sinks in: The LORD came down to Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain (Ex. 19:20).


...and through indolence the house leaks: Because the Israelites were "slothful" about committing transgressions, the house leaked. What is written thereafter? The earth shook, also the heaven opened up, and also the clouds dripped water (Judges 5:4). When did all these things take place? It was on the day of the giving of the Torah. In the third month [after Israel had left Egypt, they came to the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and entered the wilderness of Sinai, where they encamped, pitching their tent opposite the Mountain. Moses went up the mountain of God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, 'Speak thus to the house of Jacob and tell this to the sons of Israel: You have seen with your own eyes what I did to Egypt and how I have carried you on eagles' wings and brought you here to me. If only you will now listen to me and keep my covenant, then out of all peoples you shall become my special possession; for the whole earth is mine. You shall be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation'] (Exodus 19:1-6).



Desert of Sinai camp #11


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:15 They left the railing or baluster place (Rephidim) and camped in the the Hatred Place[137] - (Desert of Sinai camp #11).


“And they traveled from Rephidim” - the place where Amalek met and fought with them, because, our Sages tell us, they suffered a “Rifyon Yadayim,” a weakness. What sort of weakness? A weakness in Torah learning.


1. They arrived on 1 Sivan, 2448 (May 9, 1313 b.c.e.), and remained almost a year, until 20 Iyar, 2449 (May 17, 1312 b.c.e.); Bamidbar 10:11.[138]


2. They left on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year – Bamidbar (Numbers) 10:11


4.     They traveled from Rephidim and came to the Sinai Desert, and they camped in the desert; they (written: he, in the singular) camped opposite the mountain. (Shemot (Exodus) 19:2)


5.     The top of Sinai was shrouded with the clouds of glory. For the next five days Moshe ascended the maountain, descended, told the people the words of the Omnipresent, and returned their answer to to the Omnipresent. In the third month, on the sixth of the month, the ten commandments were given to them on a Sabbath Day.[139]


6.     On the Seventh Day after the Ten Commandments, Moses ascended the Mountain as it is said (Ex. 24:16): ‘The glory of the Eternal dwelt on Mount Sinai and the cloud covered it for seven days”, to purify him, “and He called to Moses on the seventh day from amidst the cloud.” (v. 18) “He ascended the Mountain; Moses staid on the Mountain for forty days and forty nights”. On the 17th of Tammuz he descended, broke the tablets (Ex. 32:30) “and on the next day, Moses said to the people: You have committed a grave sin”. He ascended on the 18th of Tammuz and asked for mercy on Israel as it is written (Deut. 9:18): “I fell down before the Eternal the forty days and forty nights that I fell down because the Eternal had said to destroy you”. At that moment, the Eternal showed pleasure with Israel and said to Moses to quarry the second tablets and to ascend as it is said (Deut. 10:1): “At that time, the Eternal said to me: quarry for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones, ascend the Mountain to me, and make yourself a wooden chest”.


7.     (Num. 1:1): "The Eternal spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tabernacle, on the first of the second month in the second year: (Num. 1:2) count the heads on the entire congregation of the children of Israel, (Num. 1:3) those twenty years old and older, every man of military age in Israel. (Num. 1:4) With you shall be one man from each tribe, each one being a family head". After that (Num. 4:1) "distinguish the persons from the family of Qehat"; after that (Num. 4:22) "distinguish the persons from the family of Gershon"; after that (Num. 4:29) "distinguish the persons from the family of Merari"; after that (Num. 4:49) "by the order of the Eternal they were put into office by Moses". On the fourteenth of Iyar the impure by corpses did slaughter the Passover sacrifice as it is said (Num. 9:6-11): "there were people who were impure by a human corpse . . . These people said to [Moses] . . . The Eternal said to Moses, saying: every person that will be impure by a human corpse or on a trip far away, for you or for future generations, shall make a Passover for the Eternal". (Num. 10:11): "It was in the second year in the second month on the twentieth of the month that the Cloud rose from the Tabernacle". It follows that they stayed in the wilderness of Sinai from 12 months minus 10 days2. It says (Num. 33:2): "Moses wrote down the starting places of their journeys".


Rashi on Shemot 19:2 and Israel encamped there Heb. וַיִּחַן, [the singular form, denoting that they encamped there] as one man with one heart, but all the other encampments were [divided] with complaints and with strife.-[from Mechilta]


The fact that the Torah referred to the entire Jewish nation in the singular, Rashi says, was to allude to the tremendous unity inspired by the awesome event of Kabballat HaTorah (Receiving the Torah). But why here? Why did the Torah feel compelled to inform us of this phenomenon here? The reason is because such unity is not merely a measure of social harmony, it is also the measure of objectivity, an imperative for receiving Torah ... the way HaShem wants it to be received.


Kibroth Hattaavah camp #12


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:16 They left the Desert of Sinai and camped at the Graves of Craving[140] (Kibroth Hattaavah camp #12).


1. The people ate quail for an entire month – Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:31


2. It was so named because they buried those who craved other food – Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:34


3. Those who craved other food were struck by a plague from HaShem – Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:33-34.


4. They set out from the wilderness of Sinai, came to the Graves of Desire, and stayed there for 30 days as it says (Num. 11:19-20): "Not one day shall you eat and not two days . . . but a full month . . ."[141]



Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:15. thence to the Graves of those who desired flesh;


In this place, Moshe anointed new Elders. The first Elders died at the time of the golden calf. These Elders were chosen because they were the Jewish over-seers in Egypt who took the punishment of the Jews. This portion is found in Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:24-30. They were anointed at this time because the Bne Israel were about to be punished for rebelling against HaShem, and they needed the Elders to again help them bear their punishment. In the Triennial Torah cycle, this portion [BaMidbar (Numbers) 11:16 - 12:16[142]]  is read on the first Shabbat after Pesach, in the Tishri cycle, and on Shabbat Nachamu 6, near the middle of Elul.


The Question: Why was the place where those who complained against HaShem named Kivrot HaTaavah [“the graves of the desire“] rather than Kivrot HaMitavim [“the graves of those who craved”]?


The Answer: The Maayanah Shel Torah cites the Binah L’Itim as explaining that it was not only the people who craved meat and wanted to return to Egypt who were buried there, but also the craving itself that was laid to rest. Everyone present who witnessed the punishment meted out to those who had complained was purged of his craving. Hence, the burial of those who craved also resulted in the burial of the craving itself, which is why the site was named Kivrot HaTaavah [“the graves of the desire“].


Kivrot HaTa'avah[143] corresponds to the sefira of chochma, for they buried there the people who lusted. Meaning to say, when a person attains the level of chochma, he loses all his [material] desires in his great attachment to HaShem.[144]


Chazeroth camp #13


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:17 They left the graves of Craving (Kibroth Hattaavah) and camped at the Courtyards[145] (Chazeroth camp #13).


1. Miriam and Aaron grumbled against Moshe because he separated from his wife. – Bamidbar (Numbers) 12:1-2


2. Miriam was confined outside the camp for 7 days due to leprosy – Bamidbar (Numbers) 12:15


3.  They set out from the Graves of Desire and came to Hazerot and stayed there for seven days as it is said (Num. 12:15) "Miryam was locked up for seven days".[146] 


4. Moshe speaks to the Israelites in the fortieth year. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 1:1


5. Some say that this is where Korach rebelled. (Rashi on Devarim 1:1 )


6. They arrived on Sivan 22, 2449.


7. According to Rashi, these stops were made before the sin of the spies in the first year of the exodus.


8. The Mishkan was first built after the 12th journey. It will travel with the Bne Israel for the next thirty stops.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:17. thence to Hazeroth, where Miriam the prophetess was struck, with leprosy;


In the Triennial Torah cycle, this portion [BaMidbar (Numbers) 11:16 - 12:16[147]] is read on the first Shabbat after Pesach, in the Tishri cycle, and on Shabbat Nachamu 6, near the middle of Elul.


Rithmah camp #14


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:18 They left the Courtyard (Chazeroth) and camped at the Wasteland[148] Smoldering[149] place (Rithmah[150] camp #14).


This station is not mentioned by name in Shemot (Exodus), but the events chronicled in Shemot (Exodus) chapter 16 occurred there.


1. This is Kadesh (a holy one) Barnea.[151] This is synonymous with Paran.[152] The spies were sent out from here. Bamidbar (Numbers) 13:1-3


2. They arrived on Sivan 29, 2449. Some say that they remained here for 19 years. - Seder Olam 8, from Devarim (Deuteronomy) 1:46, according to Ramban on 20:1; Chizzkuni). See Bamidbar, 33:36. They were thus in Rithmah until 2468 (1293 b.c.e.).


3. (Rashi; Midrash Aggadah; Baal HaTurim cf. Tehillim 120:4). Some say that this was a place where many broom (rothem) trees grew (Targum Yonathan; cf. 1 Melachim 19:4, Iyov [Job] 30:4).


4. They set out from Hazerot and came to the wilderness of Paran. On the 28th of Sivan did Moses send out the spies as it is said (Num. 13:20): "the days were those of the ripening of early grapes". (Num. 13:25): "They returned from touring the land after forty days", this was the Ninth of Ab, hence, one has to say that on the Ninth of Ab our forefathers incurred the decree that they would not enter the Land. After the spies was the quarrel with Qorah and his being swallowed up [by the earth] as it is said (Num. 16:14): "Not even to a land dripping with milk and honey did you lead us". (Num. 32:10): "Then the rage of the Eternal was kindled against Israel" and it is said (Deut. 2:14): "The time that we went from Qadesh Barnea until we crossed Wadi Zered was 38 years". Nineteen years they were wandering to and fro and Nineteen years they dwelt in Qadesh Barnea as it is said (Deut. 1:46): "You dwelt at Qadesh a long time, equal to the time that you dwelt".  All way stations together were forty-two way stations.[153]


5. The word “Rithmah” denotes desolation and waste, as in, “...into a desolate field,” “they have turned Jerusalem into desolation.” HaShem will punish you with arrows from above and smoldering flame from Gehinom below. (Rashi there) ‘Rithmah’ is from, “smoldering - רתמים.”


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:18. thence to Rithema, the place of many juniper trees;


RASHI: 18 Rithmah Heb. רִתְמָּה , so named because of the slander of the spies, for it says, ―What can He give you, and what can He add to you, you deceitful tongue? Sharpened arrows of a mighty man, with coals of brooms רְתָּמִים (Ps. 120:3-4). -[Mid. Aggadah]


Rimmon Perez camp #15


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:19 They left the Desolation place (Rithmah) and camped at the Spreading, or heavy fruited, Pomegranate Tree[154] (Rimmon Perez camp #15).


1.     They arrived here in 2468


2. Or Rimmon Paretz (Septuagint). ‘Spreading Pomegranate Tree,’ or ‘Heavy-fruited Pomegranate’. They were now heading south toward the Gulf of Aqaba; circumscribing the Seir Mountains (Devarim 2:1). Some say that they traveled through the Moab Desert.[155]


3. A rimmon is a pomegranate, which is often associated with Torah, since the sages found a correlation between a pomegranate’s “613” seeds and the 613 commandments said to be found in the Torah. Peretz is the word for breach-making. When the Israelites say, “We will hear and we will do,” they have made a leap of faith into the breach, for the sake of Torah.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:19. thence to Rumana, whose fruit is hard;


Livnah camp #16


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:20 They left the Spreading, or heavy fruited, Pomegranate Tree (Rimmon Perez) and camped at the Brick[156] place. (Livnah camp #16).


1. The boundaries were all marked with building bricks - Targum Yonathan


2. Livnah comes from the root meaning “white,” which is often associated with purity.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:20. thence to Libnah, whose borders are built of bricks (Iibnetha);


Rissah camp #17


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:21 They left the White Brick (Livnah) and camped at the Well Stopped Up With Stones[157] - ruin - (Rissah camp #17).


1. Or, ‘Beth Rissah’[158]; ‘Ressan’ (Septuagint). In Arabic, ‘rissah’ denotes a well stopped up with stones.


2. From the root r-s-s, meaning moist, or dew, this is symbolic of the people’s washing of their clothes (which according to the sages included immersion in a mikveh).


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:21. thence to Beth Rissa;


Kehelathah or Mak’helath camp #18


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:22 They left the Well Stopped Up With Stones - ruin - (Rissah) and camped at the place of the Assembly (Kehelathah or Mak’helath camp #18).


1. Since there were eighteen stops between Rithmah and Kadesh, the Israelites spent on the average of one year at each stop. Therefore, this occurred approximately in 2471 (1290 b.c.e.).


2. Or, ‘Mak’helath’[159]. Some say that this was the place of Korach’s rebellion (Targum Yonathan; Baal HaTurim).


3. From the root k-h-l meaning community, the Israelites become a true community at the moment they stood present at Sinai before the revelation.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 26:9 And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against HaShem: 10 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:22. thence to Kebelath, where Korach and his companions banded together against Mosheh and Aharon;


Shepher camp #19


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:23 They left the assembly place (Kehelathah) and camped at the beautiful mountain[160] (Shepher camp #19).


1. Or, ‘Shafer’ (cf. Septuagint). Literally, ‘beautiful mountain.’ Some say that it was a mountain with beautiful fruit (Targum Yonathan).


2. This name can be read as either, “Bright Mountain”—which is symbolic of the fire and lightning which accompanied the revelation, or better yet, Har Shofar, “Shofar Mountain”!


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:23. thence to the mountain whose fruit is good;


Haradah camp #20


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:24 They left the beautiful mountain[161] (Shepher) and camped at the place of Terror[162] (Haradah camp #20).


1. ‘Trembling’ This is where they trembled because of the plague.[163]


2. The word haradah in Hebrew means “fear” (see Bereshit 26:33). The word “makheloth” can be associated with the word “hakhel,” which means “gathered together” and the word “tachat” can mean “lowering down.” Thus, the Torah is teaching that “vayise’u meichareidah”, the Jewish people can journey away and not have to fear retribution for their iniquities if “vayachanu bemakheloth”, they are encamped in unity. However, if “vayise’u mimakheloth”, they journey away from their unity, and disharmony and animosity prevails, then “vayachanu betachat”, they will be encamped at a lower level, and, HaShem forbid, they will be punished for any iniquities which were previously not taken into consideration.


3. This same root is used in this pivotal verse to describe the trembling of the Israelites at the awesomeness of the moment of revelation.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:24. thence to Harada, where they were confounded by the evil plague;


Makheloth camp #21


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:25 They left the fearful place (Haradah) and camped at the place of the Assemblies[164] (Makheloth camp #21).


1. This is said to be a place of assembly (Targum Yonathan), possibly where the miracle of Aaron’s rod occurred (Bamidbar 17:17; 17:24). It might have also been a place of praising HaShem (cf. Tehillim 68:27, 26:12). Some say that it was the place where a demonstration occurred (Baal HaTurim; cf. Bamidbar 16:3; 20:2).


2. Once again, we see the Hebrew root for community / gathering.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:25. thence to Makheloth, the place of congregation;


Tahath camp #22


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:26 They left the place of the assemblies (Makheloth) and camped at the Lowlands[165] (Tahath camp #22).


1. Identified with ‘Kataath’ (Septuagint). Some say that tachath is an improper noun, denoting the lowlands of Mak’heloth.[166]


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:26. thence to the lower Makheloth;


Terah camp #23


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:27 They left the bottom (Tahath) and camped at Ibex place[167] (Terah camp #23).


1. Or Tarach. This was the name of Abraham’s father (Bereshit 11:25; Following Semitic cognates, terach denotes a kind of ibex, and this was possibly a place where such animals were found.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:27. thence to Tharach,


Mithcah camp #24


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:28 They left the Ibex place (Terah) and camped at the place of Sweet delight[168] or Sweetness[169] (Mithcah camp #24).


1. This was a place with good fresh water. Targum Yonathan


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:28. and Muka, whose waters were sweet;


Chashmonah[170] camp #25


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:29 They left the place of sweetness (Mithcah) and camped at the Ambassador[171] [Lit. armed, but related as well to the word “fifty”[172]] (Chashmonah[173] camp #25).


1. The Chasmonian family came from here. Middoth 1:6; Shabbath 21b


2. See Psalms 68:32, Joshua 15:27. In Tehillim 68:32, the Septuagint translates chashman as ‘ambassador.’ Chashmonah is identified with Selmonah.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:29. thence to Hasmona;


Moseroth camp #26


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:30 They left the place of fruitfulness (Chashmonah[174]) and camped at the Chastisement[175] place (Moseroth camp #26). The Targum calls this location Motseroth.[176]


1. From the word mussar, ‘chastisement.’ It is thus seen as a place of chastisement or rebellion. In Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6; we find the Israelites going from Beney Yaakan to Moserah; and according to tradition, the Israelites returned as far as Moserah after Aaron’s death. This was an act of rebellion, and a large number of Israelites were killed.[177]


2. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6 The Israelites traveled from the wells of the Jaakanites to Moserah. There Aaron died and was buried, and Eleazar his son succeeded him as priest[178].


3. From the root meaning inherited tradition.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:30. thence to Meredotha, the place of rebellion (or chastisement);


Bene Jaakan camp #27


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:31 They left the place of Correction (Moseroth) and camped at the place of the Wells of the Narrow Path[179], or Wells of Distress[180] (Bene Jaakan camp #27).


1. From Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6 we know that there were wells here.


2. Beeroth Beney Yaakan, ‘Wells of the Sons of Yaakan’ in Deuteronomy 10:6; Banaea in Septuagint. Yaakan was a Horite; see Bereshit 36:27; 1 Chronicles 1:42. Others render this, ‘wells of distress’ (Targum Yonathan), or ‘wells of the narrow pass’ (Commentary on Targum Yonathan).


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:31. thence to BereHaktha,


Chor Haggidgad camp #28


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:32 They left the wise son place - wells of the narrow path (Bene Jaakan[181]) and camped at Hole of Gidgad[182] (Chor Haggidgad camp #28).


1. Gad means “good fortune” – Bereshit (Genesis) 30:11


2.     ‘Hole of Gidgad,’ or ‘Clefts of Gidgad’. Gudgad in Devarim 10:7[183].


3.     The Septuagint has ‘Gadgad Mountain.’


4.     Rashi indicates that Gudgod is Hor-Haggidgad.[184]


5.     From the route g-d-d, which means to penetrate, or make inroads upon.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:32. Gudgad, at the Rocks,


Yotvathah camp #29


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:33 They left the hole of the cleft (Hor Haggidgad) and camped at the place of Pleasantness (Yotvathah camp #29).


1. A place described as having flowing brooks. A good calm place.[185]


2. Yatbah in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:7.


3. From the root y-t-v, meaning good.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:33. Jotebath, a good and quiet place;


Avronah camp #30


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:34 They left the pleasant place (Yotvathah) and camped at the A Good Calm place[186] (Avronah camp #30).


1. This is translated as a ‘river crossing’ or ‘ford,’ megisathah in Aramaic (Targum Yonathan; cf. Targum on 21:11, Jeremiah 22:20). This may be where they crossed the Aravah wadi on the way to Elath (cf. Devarim 2:8).


2. From the same root as our namesake, IvrimHebrews / Border-Crossers.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:34. thence to the Fords;


Ezion Geber camp #31


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:35 They left the place of transition (Avronah) and camped at the Giant’s backbone - Rooster’s crow[187] or city (Ezion Geber camp #31).


1. Port and shipyard for Solomon - 1 Melachim (Kings) 9:26, II Divre HaYamim (Chronicles) 8:17


2. See also 1 Melachim (Kings) 22:49


3. ‘Rooster’s Crow!’ K’rakh Tarngul in Aramaic (Targum Yonathan; Commentary ad loc.) or, ‘Rooster City.’ It is a town on the Gulf of Aqaba, some 2 miles east of Elath (cf. Devarim 2:8, 1 Melachim 9:26). The Israelites therefore had headed south from Kadesh Barnea to the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.


4. From the roots meaning strong and tree.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:35. thence to Tarnegolla, the tower of the cock;


Kadesh camp #32


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:36 They left the giant’s backbone - rooster’s crow or city (Ezion Geber[188]) and camped at the Sanctuary (Kadesh camp #32), in the Desert of the crag - to prick - (Zin). The Targum calls this location Kedem.[189]


1. Spring of judgment - Genesis 14:7


2. Waters of Meribah (strife) - Numbers 20:12-14, 20:24, Numbers 27:14, and Deuteronomy 32:51


3. Miriam died here. Numbers 20:1.


4. They arrived on Nisan 1, 2484


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:36. thence to the wilderness of Zin; at the Iron Mount, which is Rekem;


Hor camp #33


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:37 They left the sanctuary (Kadesh) and camped at Mountain of mountains (Hor camp #33), on the border of the red place (Edom). The Targum calls this location Mount Umanom.[190]


1. It had what looked like a mountain on top of a mountain. Bemidbar rabbah 19:16


2. See Bamidbar 20:22, 26, 21:4. Also see Bamidbar 34:6.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:38-40 At HaShem’s command the enlightened one (Aaron2) the priest went up the mountain of mountains (Hor), where he died on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) came out of the Constriction Place[191] (Egypt). The enlightened one (Aaron[192]) was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on the mountain of mountains (Hor). The humiliated (Canaanite) king of a fugitive place (Arad), who lived in the parched place (Negev) of the humiliated one (Canaan), heard that the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) were coming.


1. Av 1, 2448


2. See also Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6-7


3. Aaron was three years older than Moshe. Shemot (Exodus) 7:7


4. King of Arad See Bamidbar 21:1.


The Targum tells us that the following event took place here:


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 21:1 And Amalek, who had dwelt in the south, and changed, and came and reigned in Arad, heard that the soul of Aharon was at rest, that the pillar of the Cloud which for his sake had led the people of the house of Israel had been taken up, and that Israel was coming by the way of the explorers to the place where they had rebelled against the Lord of the world. For, when the explorers had returned, the children of Israel abode in Rekem, but afterward returned from Rekem to Motseroth, in six encampments during forty years, when they journeyed from Motseroth, and returned to Rekem by the way of the explorers, and came unto Mount Umanom, where Aharon died; (and,) behold, he came and arrayed battle against Israel, and captured some of them with a great captivity. [JERUSALEM. And when the Kenaanite, king Arad, who dwelt in the south, heard that Aharon was dead, that holy man on account of whose merit the Cloud of Glory had protected Israel; that the pillar of the Cloud had been taken up; and that the prophetess Mizraim was dead, on whose account the well had flowed, but had (since) been hidden; he answered and said, You servants of war, come and let us set battle in line against Israel; for we will find the way by which the explorers came up. Therefore they set battle in line against Israel, and carried away some of them with a great captivity.]


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:37. thence to Mount Umano, on the borders of the Land of Edom.


Tzalmonah camp #34


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:41 They left the mountain of mountains (Hor) and camped at a place of Shadiness (Tzalmonah camp #34).


1. This is where the people began complaining again. 21:5, Targum Yonathan


2. They were again heading south toward the Gulf of Aqaba (Bamidbar 21:4, Ibn Ezra, Chizzkuni ad loc.).


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:41. And they removed from Mount Umano, and encamped in Zalmona, a place of thorns, and narrow (or squalid), in the land of the Edomaee; and there the soul of the people was distressed on account of the way;


Ramban’s comments:


41. AND THEY JOURNEYED FROM MOUNT HOR, AND PITCHED IN ZALMONAH. These places - Zalmonah and Punon[193] — were by the way of the Red Sea circling the land of Edom, and the soul of the people became impatient because of the way,[194] and they [therefore] spoke against G-d, and Moses[195] on the way, and G-d sent against them the fiery serpents whilst they were travelling and when they rested in camp. Then Moses made the serpent of brass, which they carried upon a pole[196] all the way, and [kept it] when they encamped in Zalmonah and Punon, and it was not removed from them until they pitched in Oboth.[197] Therefore Scripture there, in narrating this episode [of the fiery serpents, above in Chapter 21], did not mention the name of the place [from which they set forth again, i.e., Zalmonah and Punon] and [merely] stated, And the children of Israel journeyed, and pitched in Oboth,[198] without saying “and they journeyed from such-and-such a place and pitched in Oboth” as it does with all the [other stages of their] journeyings. This is because the matter [of the brass serpent] continued throughout this way — from the time that they journeyed from Mount Hor until they pitched in Oboth, and they journeyed from Oboth and pitched in Ije-abarim.[199] From there they journeyed and they pitched in Divon-gad, and then in Almon-diblathaim, and [finally] in the mountains of Abarim,[200] [all these] being places in the valley of Zered.[201]


Punon camp #35


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:42 They left the shady place (Tzalmonah) and camped at Perplexity (Punon camp #35).


1. This is where the Israelites were bitten by poisonous snakes. 21:6, Targum Yonathan.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:42. thence to Punon, where the Lord sent burning serpents among them, and their cry went up to heaven.


Oboth camp #36


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:43 They left perplexity (Punon) and camped at Necromancer (Oboth camp #36).


1. See Bamidbar (Numbers) 21:10.


The Targum gives us some insights about this location:


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:43. And they removed to Oboth;


Iye Abarim camp #37


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:44 They left necromancer (Oboth) and camped at the ruins of those who Passage of the fords[202] - Ruins of the Passes[203] (Iye Abarim camp #37), on the border of the mother’s father (Moab).


1. See Bamidbar 21:11. Or, ‘crossing fords’ (Targum), or, ‘desolate mounds’ (Rashi).


RASHI:  44 the ruins of Abarim Heb. עִיּי הָּעֲבָּרִים , an expression denoting waste and ruins, as ―into a heap (לְעִי ) in the field (Micah 1:6); ―they have turned Jerusalem into heaps (לְעִיִּים ) (Ps. 79:1).


The Targum gives us some insights about this location:


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Bamidbar (Numbers) 21:11-12 and they journeyed from Oboth, and encamped in the plain of Megistha, in a desert place which looks toward Moab from the rising of the sun. Thence they journeyed and encamped in a valley abounding in reeds, osiers, and mandrakes.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:44. thence to the passage of the Fords, on the border of the Moabaee;


Divon Gad camp #38


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:45 They left the ruins of those who cover in copulation - desolate passes (Iyim) and camped at the place of the Place of fortune[204] (Divon Gad camp #38).


1. Dibon Gad was allotted to the tribe of Gad, Numbers 32, although it was listed in the tribe of Reuben in Joshua 13:15-17.


2. Gad means “good fortune” – Bereshit (Genesis) 30:11. This was a place of good fortune. Targum Yonathan.


3. Some say that this was on the Zared brook where all of the offending generation were now dead. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 2:14


4. This is Av 15, 2488 - Taanith 30b, two weeks after Aaron’s death.


5. Some identify Divon Gad with Vahev (see Bamidbar 21:14) and Matanah (Bamidbar 21:18; Adereth Eliahu).


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:45. thence to Dibon, the place of fortune;


Almon Diblathaim camp #39


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:46 They left the place of the sorrowing overcomers (Dibon Gad) and camped towards a Cake of pressed figs (Almon Diblathaim camp #39).


1. 2 Melachim 20, and Yeshiyahu (Isaiah) 38, tell the story of Hezekiah’s recovery after being cured by HaShem, using a cake of figs.


2. Some say that this is also on the Zared Brook (Ramban). Others identify it with Matanah (Ibn Ezra), where Eshed Nachal, Beer, Matanah and Nachaliel are all in the Almon Divlathaymah area (Ibn Ezra on Bamidbar 21:18). Others say that it is on Nachaliel (Lekach Tov on Bamidbar 21:19), or the far side of the Arnon in Bamidbar 21:13 (Chizzkuni). It may be related to Almon in Joshua 21:18, Beth Divlathayim in Jeremiah 48:22, or Divlah in Ezekiel 6:14.


3. It is mentioned in the Book of G-d’s Wars, “As an outside boundary, I have given [to you] the brooks of Arnon, as well as the valley’s waterfall by Moav’s boundary, which turns at the fortress (ayin-raish) settlement.” (Bamidbar [Numbers] 21:14-15)


This is where the tremendous miracle took place just before the Jewish people entered Eretz Israel. According to the Midrash, the Amorites were all set to ambush the Jewish people upon entry into the land. However, as they waited inside the caves, high up in the mountains, HaShem caused the opposite mountains with their protrusions to approach and crush the Amorites to death.


What is significant about all of this here is that the result was shirah by the Jewish people. Shirah is the ultimate expression of the recognition of the hand of HaShem in the affairs of man, and particularly, of the Jewish people. It is the very hakoret hatov, recognition of the good, that Adam HaRishon failed to show just after he ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:46. thence to Almon Diblathaimah, where the well was hidden from them, because they had forsaken the words of the law, which are as delicious as figs (diblatha);


B’hari Abarim camp #40


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:47 They left the direction of a cake of pressed figs (Almon Diblathaim) and camped in the Mountains of the Passes (B’hari Abarim camp #40), near a Babylonian diety (Nebo).


1. N’vo in Hebrew. This is where Moshe died. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:49-50


2. See Bamidbar (Numbers) 27:12. Some identify this with Matanah (Bamidbar 21:18; Chizzkuni) or Bamoth (Lekach Tov on Bamidbar 21:18).


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:47. thence to the Mount Ibraee, in front of the place of the burial of Mosheh;


Moab camp #41


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:48 They left the mountains of the region beyond (Abarim) and camped on the plains of the Mother’s father (Moab camp #41) by the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) across from the moon place (Jericho[205]).


Jericho (יריחו) the Jews’ point of entry into Eretz Israel is associated with Mashiach, who is described[206] as דמורח ודאין , “judging the worthy with his sense of smell (ריח).”


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:48. thence they removed and encamped in the fields of Moab, by Jordan, near Jericho;


Beth Yeshimoth - camp #42


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:49 There on the plains of the mother’s father (Moab) they camped along the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) from House of The Desolations[207] (Beth Yeshimoth - camp #forty-two) to the meadow of the acacias (Abel Shittim – Avel Shittim means “a flatland of Shittim”[208]).


1. Balaam attempted to curse Israel at Abel Shittim in Micah 6:5 and Bamidbar (Numbers) 22-24. Joshua camped here - Joshua 2:1 and 3:1. Phineas spears fornicators in front of Israel here - Numbers 25. This area was renowned for it’s date groves and grain fields -Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 2, page 62


2. Shittim Plain[209]. Some say that an avel is a desolate plain[210]. This is Shittim mentioned in 25:1; and was the last stop before crossing the Jordan (Joshua 2:1, 3:1). It may be related to Avel Mitzraim in Bereshit 50:11.


3. The Talmud notes that Avel Shittim is 12 mil from Beth HaYeshimoth (Eruvin 55b; Yerushalmi, Shevi’ith 6:1; Rashi). It would therefore appear that the Israelites were camped between the Ujemi Brook, just north of the Dead Sea, and the Abu Araba stream, some five miles to the north. The plain between the Jordan and the Aravah mountains there is approximately twelve mil wide, the width of the Israelite camp.


RASHI:  49 from Beth-jeshimoth to Abel-shittim This teaches you that the extent of Israel’s camp was twelve mil [a mil equaling approximately 3500 ft.] for Rabbah bar bar Channah said, ―I myself saw that place [and it is three parasangs (12 mil) square].-[Eruvin 55b]


RASHI:  Abel-shittim The plain of Shittim was called Abel.


Sanhedrin 106a Balaam advised Balak to ensnare the children of Israel with them. He said to him: “Their G-d hates promiscuity, and they are very partial to linen. Come, and I will advise you what to do. Erect for them tents enclosed by hangings, and place in them harlots, old women without, young women within, to sell them linen garments.”


So he erected curtained tents from the snowy mountain (Hermon) as far as Beth ha-Yeshimoth, and placed harlots in them -- old women on the opuside, young women within. And when an Israelite ate, drank, and was merry, and issued forth for a stroll in the market place, the old woman would say to him, ‘Do you desire linen garments?” The old woman offered it at its current value, but the young one for less. This happened two or three times. After that she would say to him, “You are now like one of the family; sit down and choose for yourself.” Gourds of Ammonite wine lay near her, and at that time Ammonite and heathen wine had not yet been forbidden. Said she to him: “Would you like to drink a glass of wine?” Having drunk, his passion was inflamed and he exclaimed to her, “Yield to me!” Thereupon she brought forth an idol from her bosom and said to him, “Worship this.”


Recall that Balak, at Bilaam’s instruction, offered fourteen sacrifices on three different altars, for a total of forty-two sacrifices. These forty-two were offered at the forty-second journey of the Children of Israel.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:50-52 On the plains of the mother’s father (Moab) by the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) across from the moon (Jericho)[211] HaShem said to Moshe, “Speak to the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) and say to them: ‘When you cross the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) into the humiliated place (Canaan), Drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.


1. “The plains of Moab” and “this side of the Jordan” are both names that describe the same physical location. And yet, each name has a different connotation:


“The plains of Moab” identifies the location by its connection to the land of Moab. “This side of the Jordan,” by contrast, associates it with the land of Israel, identifying it as lying on the eastern shore of the Jordan river, with the rest of the land of Israel lying toward the west.


“The plains of Moab”[212] is symbolic of the exile and its completion; “this side of the Jordan” is symbolic of our preparation for Mashiach’s imminent arrival. Indeed, “this side of the Jordan” is a most appropriate name with which to characterize our present transitional period, for it corresponds to the Jews’ heightened state of anticipation in the fortieth year of their going out of Egypt.


Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:49. and they encamped by the Jordan, from Bethjeshimon unto the plain of Sillan in the fields of Moab.


Leaving Egypt (Mitzraim) means constantly leaving all constrictions (mitzarim), even the spiritual levels acquired yesterday. And both Yarden and Yeraicho allude to the last stop; the revelation of Mashiach. Yarden because it says of him “He will rule (Yared) from sea to sea (Tehillim 72:8), Yereacho because he will Judge by his sense of smell[213].


Ramban’s remez comments:


53. AND YE SHALL DRIVE OUT THE INHABITANTS OF THE LAND, AND DWELL THEREIN; FOR UNTO YOU HAVE I GIVEN THE LAND TO POSSESS IT. In my opinion this is a positive commandment,[214] in which He is commanding them to dwell in the Land and inherit it, because He has given it to them and they should not reject the inheritance of the Eternal.[215] Thus if the thought occurs to them to go and conquer the land of Shinar or the land of Assyria or any other country and to settle therein, they are [thereby] transgressing the commandment of G-d. And that which our Rabbis have emphasized, the significance of the commandment of settling in the Land of Israel, and that it is forbidden to leave it [except for certain specified reasons], and [the fact] that they consider a woman who does not want to emigrate with her husband to live in the Land of Israel as a “rebellious [wife],”[216] and likewise the man[217] — the source of all these statements is here [in this verse] where we have been given this commandment, for this verse constitutes a positive commandment.[218] This commandment He repeats in many places, such as Go in and possess the Land.[219] Rashi, however, explained: “And ye shall drive out the inhabitants of the Land — [if] you dispossess it of its inhabitants, then ye willbe able to dwell therein, and to remain there, but if not, you will not be able to remain in it.” But our interpretation [of the verse] is the principal one.


Parasha Motsei[220]:


This parsha is the end of the fourth book, Bamidbar. It also contains within it a summary of the entire forty years in the desert, including all the locations the Jewish people camped at, FORTY-TWO in all, starting with Ramses. At first thought the number forty-two may not be significant, but the Pri Tzaddik is quick to point out that forty-two is the number of letters found in the special and holy Name of HaShem that prophets used to pronounce and meditate on when going into a state of prophecy. Therefore, the Pri Tzaddik teaches, these forty-two stops correspond to this forty-two letter Name.


However, what is the significance of this correspondence?


We know that each camp the Jewish people established throughout their forty years in the desert was not merely a place to become rejuvenated; they were places to become reJEWvenated. In other words, each journey represented a new path to an even higher level of spiritual growth and connection to Torah, and each camp was the time and place to integrate that new level. This way, when it came time to leave, the Jewish people were a new people, or, rather, the same people on a higher level. This was a process of growth that was to continue until the Jewish people simultaneously reached perfection and the Land of Israel.


This, the Pri Tzaddik[221] points out, is also an analogy for life. Everyone has forty-two “stops” to make on his way to personal spiritual completion, for which he was put here on the earth. What that forty-second level will look like for each person will be different, but it means the same thing for all of us: spiritual completion.


Thus, whenever the concept of “forty-two“ comes up, it usually alludes to an opportunity to become more spiritually elevated. This is why the prayer Ana b’koach (“Please with the strength ...”) is found in all siddurim before Pesukei D’Zimrei (Introductory Psalms), and Lecha Dodi erev Shabbat, at times that we are ripe for spiritual elevation. And, as the Kabballists point out, Ana b’koach is made up of seven stanzas each with six words, whose forty-two letter acrostic alludes to HaShem’s forty-two letter Name.




I wonder if we can derive any info from the forty-two journey’s of the Bne Israel and the Sefirat HaOmer count on the forty-second day?


Forty-two days - Six Weeks of the Omer

Malchut she’be’Yesod


Forty-two days, which are six weeks, of the Omer. The emotional attribute to work on and refine today is Malchut she’b’Yesod. Malchut is the attribute of nobility and sovereignty. Yesod is bonding and unity.


In The Nazarean Codicil


1 Corinthians 10:1-11 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moshe in the cloud and in the sea; And did all