5ה׳
1 א

וְאַחַ֗ר בָּ֚אוּ מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאַהֲרֹ֔ן וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה כֹּֽה־אָמַ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שַׁלַּח֙ אֶת־עַמִּ֔י וְיָחֹ֥גּוּ לִ֖י בַּמִּדְבָּֽר׃

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Let My people go that they may celebrate a festival for Me in the wilderness.”

2 ב

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר פַּרְעֹ֔ה מִ֤י יְהוָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶשְׁמַ֣ע בְּקֹל֔וֹ לְשַׁלַּ֖ח אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לֹ֤א יָדַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה וְגַ֥ם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֹ֥א אֲשַׁלֵּֽחַ׃

But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should heed Him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.”

3 ג

וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֱלֹהֵ֥י הָעִבְרִ֖ים נִקְרָ֣א עָלֵ֑ינוּ נֵ֣לֲכָה נָּ֡א דֶּרֶךְ֩ שְׁלֹ֨שֶׁת יָמִ֜ים בַּמִּדְבָּ֗ר וְנִזְבְּחָה֙ לַֽיהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ פֶּ֨ן־יִפְגָּעֵ֔נוּ בַּדֶּ֖בֶר א֥וֹ בֶחָֽרֶב׃

They answered, “The God of the Hebrews has manifested Himself to us. Let us go, we pray, a distance of three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He strike us with pestilence or sword.”

4 ד

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵהֶם֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרַ֔יִם לָ֚מָּה מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאַהֲרֹ֔ן תַּפְרִ֥יעוּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם מִמַּֽעֲשָׂ֑יו לְכ֖וּ לְסִבְלֹתֵיכֶֽם׃

But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you distract the people from their tasks? Get to your labors!”

5 ה

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר פַּרְעֹ֔ה הֵן־רַבִּ֥ים עַתָּ֖ה עַ֣ם הָאָ֑רֶץ וְהִשְׁבַּתֶּ֥ם אֹתָ֖ם מִסִּבְלֹתָֽם׃

And Pharaoh continued, “The people of the land are already so numerous, and you would have them cease from their labors!”

6 ו

וַיְצַ֥ו פַּרְעֹ֖ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא אֶת־הַנֹּגְשִׂ֣ים בָּעָ֔ם וְאֶת־שֹׁטְרָ֖יו לֵאמֹֽר׃

That same day Pharaoh charged the taskmasters and foremen of the people, saying,

7 ז

לֹ֣א תֹאסִפ֞וּן לָתֵ֨ת תֶּ֧בֶן לָעָ֛ם לִלְבֹּ֥ן הַלְּבֵנִ֖ים כִּתְמ֣וֹל שִׁלְשֹׁ֑ם הֵ֚ם יֵֽלְכ֔וּ וְקֹשְׁשׁ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם תֶּֽבֶן׃

“You shall no longer provide the people with straw for making bricks as heretofore; let them go and gather straw for themselves.

8 ח

וְאֶת־מַתְכֹּ֨נֶת הַלְּבֵנִ֜ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֵם֩ עֹשִׂ֨ים תְּמ֤וֹל שִׁלְשֹׁם֙ תָּשִׂ֣ימוּ עֲלֵיהֶ֔ם לֹ֥א תִגְרְע֖וּ מִמֶּ֑נּוּ כִּֽי־נִרְפִּ֣ים הֵ֔ם עַל־כֵּ֗ן הֵ֤ם צֹֽעֲקִים֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר נֵלְכָ֖ה נִזְבְּחָ֥ה לֵאלֹהֵֽינוּ׃

But impose upon them the same quota of bricks as they have been making heretofore; do not reduce it, for they are shirkers; that is why they cry, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God!’

9 ט

תִּכְבַּ֧ד הָעֲבֹדָ֛ה עַל־הָאֲנָשִׁ֖ים וְיַעֲשׂוּ־בָ֑הּ וְאַל־יִשְׁע֖וּ בְּדִבְרֵי־שָֽׁקֶר׃

Let heavier work be laid upon the men; let them keep at it and not pay attention to deceitful promises.”

10 י

וַיֵּ֨צְא֜וּ נֹגְשֵׂ֤י הָעָם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרָ֔יו וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ אֶל־הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר פַּרְעֹ֔ה אֵינֶ֛נִּי נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם תֶּֽבֶן׃

So the taskmasters and foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh: I will not give you any straw.

11 יא

אַתֶּ֗ם לְכ֨וּ קְח֤וּ לָכֶם֙ תֶּ֔בֶן מֵאֲשֶׁ֖ר תִּמְצָ֑אוּ כִּ֣י אֵ֥ין נִגְרָ֛ע מֵעֲבֹדַתְכֶ֖ם דָּבָֽר׃

You must go and get the straw yourselves wherever you can find it; but there shall be no decrease whatever in your work.”

12 יב

וַיָּ֥פֶץ הָעָ֖ם בְּכָל־אֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם לְקֹשֵׁ֥שׁ קַ֖שׁ לַתֶּֽבֶן׃

Then the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.

13 יג

וְהַנֹּגְשִׂ֖ים אָצִ֣ים לֵאמֹ֑ר כַּלּ֤וּ מַעֲשֵׂיכֶם֙ דְּבַר־י֣וֹם בְּיוֹמ֔וֹ כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר בִּהְי֥וֹת הַתֶּֽבֶן׃

And the taskmasters pressed them, saying, “You must complete the same work assignment each day as when you had straw.”

14 יד

וַיֻּכּ֗וּ שֹֽׁטְרֵי֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֣מוּ עֲלֵהֶ֔ם נֹגְשֵׂ֥י פַרְעֹ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר מַדּ֡וּעַ לֹא֩ כִלִּיתֶ֨ם חָקְכֶ֤ם לִלְבֹּן֙ כִּתְמ֣וֹל שִׁלְשֹׁ֔ם גַּם־תְּמ֖וֹל גַּם־הַיּֽוֹם׃

And the foremen of the Israelites, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten. “Why,” they were asked, “did you not complete the prescribed amount of bricks, either yesterday or today, as you did before?”

15 טו

וַיָּבֹ֗אוּ שֹֽׁטְרֵי֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּצְעֲק֥וּ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר לָ֧מָּה תַעֲשֶׂ֦ה כֹ֖ה לַעֲבָדֶֽיךָ׃

Then the foremen of the Israelites came to Pharaoh and cried: “Why do you deal thus with your servants?

16 טז

תֶּ֗בֶן אֵ֤ין נִתָּן֙ לַעֲבָדֶ֔יךָ וּלְבֵנִ֛ים אֹמְרִ֥ים לָ֖נוּ עֲשׂ֑וּ וְהִנֵּ֧ה עֲבָדֶ֛יךָ מֻכִּ֖ים וְחָטָ֥את עַמֶּֽךָ׃

No straw is issued to your servants, yet they demand of us: Make bricks! Thus your servants are being beaten, when the fault is with your own people.”

17 יז

וַיֹּ֛אמֶר נִרְפִּ֥ים אַתֶּ֖ם נִרְפִּ֑ים עַל־כֵּן֙ אַתֶּ֣ם אֹֽמְרִ֔ים נֵלְכָ֖ה נִזְבְּחָ֥ה לַֽיהוָֽה׃

He replied, “You are shirkers, shirkers! That is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’

18 יח

וְעַתָּה֙ לְכ֣וּ עִבְד֔וּ וְתֶ֖בֶן לֹא־יִנָּתֵ֣ן לָכֶ֑ם וְתֹ֥כֶן לְבֵנִ֖ים תִּתֵּֽנּוּ׃

Be off now to your work! No straw shall be issued to you, but you must produce your quota of bricks!”

19 יט

וַיִּרְא֞וּ שֹֽׁטְרֵ֧י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֹתָ֖ם בְּרָ֣ע לֵאמֹ֑ר לֹא־תִגְרְע֥וּ מִלִּבְנֵיכֶ֖ם דְּבַר־י֥וֹם בְּיוֹמֽוֹ׃

Now the foremen of the Israelites found themselves in trouble because of the order, “You must not reduce your daily quantity of bricks.”

20 כ

וַֽיִּפְגְּעוּ֙ אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאֶֽת־אַהֲרֹ֔ן נִצָּבִ֖ים לִקְרָאתָ֑ם בְּצֵאתָ֖ם מֵאֵ֥ת פַּרְעֹֽה׃

As they left Pharaoh’s presence, they came upon Moses and Aaron standing in their path,

21 כא

וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם יֵ֧רֶא יְהוָ֛ה עֲלֵיכֶ֖ם וְיִשְׁפֹּ֑ט אֲשֶׁ֧ר הִבְאַשְׁתֶּ֣ם אֶת־רֵיחֵ֗נוּ בְּעֵינֵ֤י פַרְעֹה֙ וּבְעֵינֵ֣י עֲבָדָ֔יו לָֽתֶת־חֶ֥רֶב בְּיָדָ֖ם לְהָרְגֵֽנוּ׃

and they said to them, “May the LORD look upon you and punish you for making us loathsome to Pharaoh and his courtiers—putting a sword in their hands to slay us.”

22 כב

וַיָּ֧שָׁב מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶל־יְהוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י לָמָ֤ה הֲרֵעֹ֙תָה֙ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה שְׁלַחְתָּֽנִי׃

Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why did You bring harm upon this people? Why did You send me?

23 כג

וּמֵאָ֞ז בָּ֤אתִי אֶל־פַּרְעֹה֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר בִּשְׁמֶ֔ךָ הֵרַ֖ע לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה וְהַצֵּ֥ל לֹא־הִצַּ֖לְתָּ אֶת־עַמֶּֽךָ׃

Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has dealt worse with this people; and still You have not delivered Your people.”

Exodus 5:4 שמות ה׳:ד׳
1 א

[למה תפריעו העם בטל ממצות פרעה] לכו לסבלתיכם הטעם מפני מה זכו שבטיו של לוי להיות חפשי משעבוד מצרים, כששעבדו מצרים בישראל מתחלה היה פרעה משעבד עצמו עמהם כדי שיתאמצו במלאכה כדדרשינן בפרך בפה רך באותה שעה נזכר שבטו של לוי מה שצוה יעקב בשעת פטירתו שלא ישאהו לוי לפי שהיה עתיד לשאת את ארון קודש ולא רצה לשעבד את עצמו ולא הכריחם פרעה, מיום ההוא והלאה הוקבע להיות משועבד כל מי ששעבד עצמו. ועוד נמצא באגדה, אברהם מסר כל קבלת התורה ליצחק ויצחק ליעקב ויעקב ללוי ולוי וזרעו הושיבו ישיבות במצרים ולפי שלא היו יודעים שום מלאכה ולא נסו בה רק בתורה היה כל עסקיהם לא נשתעבדו במצרים.

!לכו לסבלותיכם, “go back to your labours! “The reason why the tribe of Levi had been exempted from performing slave labour when the Egyptians first began to enslave the Israelites was that Pharaoh pretended to share that burden with them in order to encourage them to perform these labours for patriotic reasons, building fortifications against potential invaders. This is how the sages interpreted the word: בפרך in Exodus 1,13, i.e. as meaning: בפה רך, “spoken softly.” Pharaoh had appealed to their loyalty and told them that by performing this labour they could prove that they were loyal Egyptians citizens. The Jews of then [as we know only too well from all the Jews serving in the German Kaiser’s army in the first world war, 12000 of them giving their lives for the aggressive designs of Germany, Ed.] were only too eager to prove their loyalty, not suspecting how they would be exploited. At that time the tribe of Levi remembered what their founding father Yaakov had said to them on his death bed, that Levi was not to be one of his pall bearers as that tribe was destined in the future to carry the Holy Ark on its shoulders. They therefore declined at the time to participate in the building of fortifications, and Pharaoh did not make an issue of this as also the Egyptians had a caste of priests who Joseph during the years of famine had completely excused from any taxation. Furthermore, we found a Midrash according to which Avraham already taught his son Yitzchok the whole Torah (the written Torah that would be given to the Israelites in the desert) Yitzchok in turned transmitted it to Yaakov, and Yaakov to Levi, who in turn transmitted it to his direct descendants. Seeing that these people had not learned any vocation, they were not physically suitable to perform the kind of physical labour the other tribes were used to. They were therefore rewarded by G-d not to have to share this burden with their brethren. (Compare Torah shleymah by Rabbi M. Kasher item 32 on our verse.) According to that, Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron not to try his patience and be content that they, being Levites, were not required to do slavelabour.