ויעבור. ואל תתמה בעבור שהשם קורא השם כי הוא לבדו יודע ודעת וידוע וזה דבר עמוק הוא מאד. אמר הגאון כי השם הראשון דבק עם ויקרא ואלו היה כן למה לא דבקו בעל הטעמים. והנכון כי השם שתי פעמים כמו אברהם אברהם יעקב יעקב משה משה ככה תקרא וכתוב. כי שלש עשרה מדות הם. והגאון אמר כי השם הנכבד במספר אם כן אינו מדה והשנית שהוא אדון וזאת טעות כי הנכתב אינו אדון. רק כנוי הוא כפי המדבר דרך כבוד. ורב נסים אמר כי מלת ארך אפים ב' מדות לטובים ולרעים גם זה איננו נכון. כי לא תוסיף המדה בעבור שנוי האדם. ועוד כי השם הוא ארך אפים לרשעים ולא לאשר לא חטאו. והנה ונקה מדה בפני עצמה. עד הנה מספר י"ג מדות ועל דרך הפשט ונקה לא ינקה מדה אחת. כי ונקה שם הפעל היא. כמו אם ענה תענה אותו. רק למדנו ממלת ונקה לא ינקה שהוא לשובבים רק לשבים ינקה כדברי הנביאים. על כן הושמה מלת ונקה ממספר המדות. ומלת פוקד עון אבות גם היא מדת רחמים. ודע כי שבעה הם בגדי כהונה ובעבור שהציץ כמו תכשיט הכניסו במספר. והנה אחד עשר שבטים נולדו בפדן ארם ובנימין לבדו נולד בארץ כנען. והנה כתוב על כלם אלה בני יעקב אשר יולדו לו בפדן ארם. כי אחר הרבים הלך ולא חשש להוציא האחד וככה בשבעים נפש ירדו אבותיך מצרימה. ומנשה ואפרים לא ירדו כי שם נולדו. והנה השם הנכבד הכניסוהו במדות והוא שם העצם. וכבר הזכרתי בפ' ואלה שמות כי פעמים הוא שם התאר ופעמים מדה והם שתים. AND THE LORD PASSED BY. Do not be amazed that the Lord called out, “the Lord,” for God alone is the knower, the content of his thought, and the object of his thought.28God proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord, because He and what He knows, in this case the Lord, are one and the same. This is a very difficult concept.29Maimonides devotes chapter 68 of the first part of The Guide of the Perplexed towards explaining this concept. See p. 163 of Shlomo Pines’ translation. Saadiah Gaon says that the first Lord30In the phrase, The Lord, the Lord. is connected to and proclaimed.31Saadiah reads our verse as follows: “And the Lord passed by before him, and the Lord proclaimed: The Lord.” Now if this is so, then why didn’t the master of the cantillical notes32The individual who placed the cantillical notes in the Torah. I.E. does not identify this individual. connect them?33The cantillical notes connect va-yikra (and proclaimed) to the preceding word, panav. It does not connect it to Adonai, which follows. Actually, Scripture repeats the Lord’s name twice in our verse in the same manner that it repeats Abraham’s name in Abraham, Abraham (Gen. 22:11); Jacob’s name in Jacob, Jacob (Gen. 46:2); Moses’ name in Moses, Moses (Ex. 3:4).34In all these cases the name is repeated for emphasis. Our verse is to be similarly read.35The names are connected to each other; i.e., our verse is to be read: The Lord, the Lord. It is written36In Rabbinic literature. that there are thirteen attributes.37In verses 6 and 7. See Rosh Ha-Shanah 17b. Saadiah Gaon said that the Lord’s glorious name38In the phrase “and the Lord proclaimed.” See note 31. is included in the number. If so, then it is not an attribute.39The term Lord in the phrase “and the Lord proclaimed” is a proper name. Hence it should not be counted among the attributes. He also says that the second time the divine name40YHVH. is mentioned, it means Lord.41Our verse reads, va-yikra, YHVH YHVH. Saadiah interprets this as, and YHVH proclaimed Adonai (Lord). According to Saadiah Gaon, YHVH YHVH (The Lord, the Lord) counts as two attributes. However, this is an error, for our verse does not read “Lord.”42Our verse does not read Adonai. See note 41. The term Lord is an honorific substitute used by the reader.43Whenever a reader of Scripture comes across the divine name YHVH, he reads it as Adonai (Lord). Rabbi Nissim says that the phrase long-suffering44Hebrew, erekh appayim. is really two attributes. God is long-suffering to the good and God is long-suffering to the bad. This too is incorrect, for an attribute is not to be added because of a change of persona.45The attribute does change because of the type of person to whom it is applied. Furthermore, God is long-suffering to the wicked,46The sinner. not to the ones who have not sinned against Him.47There is no reason for God to be long-suffering to the righteous. There is thus not even a change in persona. Observe. Ve-nakkeh (clear) is an attribute unto itself.48The phrase reads, ve-nakkeh lo yenakkeh (and that will by no means clear the guilty), which literally means clear, He shall not clear. Now “clear” is an attribute of mercy. He shall not clear is not an attribute of mercy. Hence the rabbis separated the two. See next note. The thirteen attributes end here.49According to Saadiah Gaon and Rabbi Nissim. So Krinsky and Weiser. However, their interpretation is questionable because I.E. himself later notes that the 13 attributes end with ve-nakkeh. Hence this comment may be taken as a general statement. According to the plain meaning of the text, ve-nakkeh lo yenakkeh50Literally, clear, He shall not clear. (and that will by no means clear the guilty) (v. 7) is one attribute,51One might take the phrase ve-nakkeh lo yenakkeh as referring to two attributes. See Yoma 86a, which interprets ve-nakkeh as referring to those who repent and lo yenakkeh to those who do not repent. for ve-nakkeh (clear) is an infinitive.52Clear, He shall not clear, is another way of saying, He shall surely not clear, for when Scripture wants to emphasize a point it couples an infinitive with an imperfect. It is similar to anneh (afflict) in anneh53Anneh is an infinitive. te’anneh oto54Literally, afflict, thou shalt afflict him. (if thou afflict them in any wise) (Ex. 22:22). Ve-nakkeh lo yenakkeh teaches that God will by no means clear the rebellious. God forgives only those who repent, as the prophets teach.55The prophets teach that God forgives those who repent. Hence ve-nakkeh lo yenakkeh (and that will by no means clear the guilty) must apply only to those who do not repent. The word ve-nakkeh was therefore counted as one of the thirteen attributes.56Ve-nakkeh is short for ve-nakkeh lo yenakkeh. The phrase poked avon avot (visiting the iniquity of the fathers) (v. 7) is also an attribute of mercy.57I.E. apparently considers it a continuation of ve-nakkeh lo yenakkeh; i.e., God does not clear the wicked, but he visits their sins on their children if their children are evil. So Filwarg. Filwarg interprets thus because I.E. considers ve-nakkeh as the last of the 13 attributes. Note that there are seven priestly garments.58See Ex. 28:4. However, the plate59Hebrew, tzitz, the plate worn on the forehead of the high priest. See Ex. 28:36-38. was counted among the priestly garments60The rabbis speak of eight priestly garments. because it is similar to an ornament. Look. Eleven tribes61That is, ancestors of the tribes. The reference is to the 12 sons of Jacob. were born in Paddan-aram. Benjamin alone was born in the land of Canaan.62Gen. 35:16-19. However, Scripture writes concerning all of them, These are the sons of Jacob, that were born to him in Paddan-aram (Gen. 35:26). It does so because Scripture speaks of the majority.63I.E. comments thus because he wants to prepare the reader for his next point, namely, that there are only 12 attributes. It is not concerned with excluding the one exception.64See I.E. on Gen. 35:26. Scripture similarly states, Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons (Deut. 10:22). However, Manasseh and Ephraim65Manasseh and Ephraim are listed among the 70 who descended to Egypt in Gen. 46:20. did not descend to Egypt, for they were born there.66See I.E. on Gen. 46:23. Now, they included the Lord’s revered name among the attributes even though it is a proper name.67Thus when the rabbis speak of 13 attributes they speak of the majority of the attributes, for the first “Lord” is not an attribute. It is a proper name. I have already mentioned in the Torah portion Ve-Ellah Shemot that the name YHVH (Lord) is at times an adjective68But not an attribute (Weiser). and at times an attribute.69See I.E. on Ex. 3:15. Vat. Ebr. 38 reads: “The name YHVH is at times an adjective, that is, an attribute.” This reading is superior to the ones in the printed texts. The Lord, the Lord (YHVH YHVH) are two attributes.
ומלת אל שלישית. [GOD.] The word El (God) is the third attribute.
רחום. רביעית. MERCIFUL. Rachum (merciful) is the fourth attribute.
וחנון. חמישית. AND GRACIOUS. Chanun (gracious) is the fifth attribute.
ארך אפים ששית. LONG-SUFFERING. Erekh appayim (long-suffering) is the sixth attribute.
ורב חסד. שביעית. AND ABUNDANT IN GOODNESS. Rav chesed (abundant in goodness) is the seventh attribute. The word rav (abundant) is also connected to the word emet (truth).70Our verse reads, ve-rav chesed ve-emet (and abundant in goodness and truth). According to I.E. this should be read as if written, and abundant in goodness, and abundant in truth.
ומלת רב. תשרת בעבור אחרת. ורב אמת. שמינית: TRUTH. Rav emet (abundant in truth) is the eighth attribute.
נוצר חסד לאלפים. תשיעית. KEEPING MERCY UNTO THE THOUSANDTH GENERATION. Notzer chesed la-alafim (keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation) is the ninth attribute.
נושא עון. עשירית. FORGIVING INIQUITY. Nose avon (forgiving iniquity) is the tenth attribute.
ונושא פשע. אחת עשרה. TRANSGRESSION. Nose pesha (forgiving transgression) is the eleventh attribute.71Our verse reads, nose avon va-fesha ve-chatta’ah (forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin). I.E. believes that this should be interpreted as if written, forgiving iniquity, forgiving transgression, and forgiving sin.
ונושא חטאה. שתים עשרה. SIN. Nose chatta’ah (forgiving sin) is the twelfth attribute.
ונקה. שלש עשרה. CLEAR. Ve-nakkeh (and clear) is the thirteenth attribute.
וה' שהוא תואר כולל הנכבדים והגויות ועליונים ושפלים: [THE LORD.]72After listing the 13 attributes I.E. goes on to explain them. The name of the Lord, when an adjective, includes angels73Literally, the glorious ones. and humans, those above and those below.74This may be taken to mean that the meaning of Lord is: Lord over the spirits and the bodies, Lord of those above and those below. However, see I.E. on Gen. 1:16: God is one. He is the creator of all. He is all.
ואל. כמו תקיף שיעשה הנכון בחכמה: GOD. The term El (God) means powerful. He wisely does that which is proper.
ורחום. כדרך כרחם אב על בנים שישמרם שלא יפלו: MERCIFUL. As in Like as a father hath mercy75J.P.S. renders compassion. upon his children (Ps. 103:13). He watches over them so that they do not fall.
וחנון. כדרך כי חנון אני להושיע מי שנפל ולא יוכל קום: GRACIOUS. As in for I am gracious (Ex. 22:26), to save the one who falls and is unable to rise.76I.E. interprets chanun (gracious) to mean compassionate.
ארך אפים שלא יכעוס מהרה על הרשע. LONG-SUFFERING. He does not become quickly angry at the wicked.
ורב חסד. לצדיק ולרשע. AND ABUNDANT IN GOODNESS. To the righteous and the wicked.
ורב אמת. שימלא ויקיים דברו: ABUNDANT IN TRUTH. He fulfills and keeps His word.