שִׁבְטוֹ שֶׁל בִּנְיָמִין וְיָרַד לַיָּם תְּחִילָּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שָׁם בִּנְיָמִין צָעִיר רֹדֵם אַל תִּקְרֵי רֹדֵם אֶלָּא רָד יָם וְהָיוּ שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה רוֹגְמִים אוֹתָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה רִגְמָתָם the tribe of Benjamin and descended into the sea first, as it is stated: “There is Benjamin, the youngest, ruling them [rodem]” (Psalms 68:28). Do not read it as: “Ruling them [rodem]”; rather, read it as: Descending [red] into the sea [yam]. And the princes of the tribe of Judah were stoning them [rogmim otam] for plunging in first and not in the proper order, as it is stated in the continuation of the verse: “The princes of Judah, their council [rigmatam]” (Psalms 68:28).
לְפִיכָךְ זָכָה בִּנְיָמִין הַצַּדִּיק וְנַעֲשָׂה אוּשְׁפִּיזְכָן לַגְּבוּרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וּבֵין כְּתֵפָיו שָׁכֵן Therefore, Benjamin the righteous was privileged to serve as host to the Divine Presence of the Almighty, as the Temple was built in the territory of Benjamin, as it is stated in Moses’ blessing for the tribe of Benjamin: “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; He covers him all the day, and He rests between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12).
אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי יְהוּדָה לֹא כָּךְ הָיָה מַעֲשֶׂה אֶלָּא זֶה אוֹמֵר אֵין אֲנִי יוֹרֵד תְּחִילָּה לַיָּם וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֵין אֲנִי יוֹרֵד תְּחִילָּה לַיָּם קָפַץ נַחְשׁוֹן בֶּן עַמִּינָדָב וְיָרַד לַיָּם תְּחִילָּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר סְבָבֻנִי בְכַחַשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וּבְמִרְמָה בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וִיהוּדָה עֹד רָד עִם אֵל Rabbi Yehuda said to Rabbi Meir: That is not how the incident took place. Rather, this tribe said: I am not going into the sea first, and that tribe said: I am not going into the sea first. Then, in jumped the prince of Judah, Nahshon ben Amminadab, and descended into the sea first, accompanied by his entire tribe, as it is stated: “Ephraim surrounds Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit, and Judah is yet wayward toward God [rad im El]” (Hosea 12:1), which is interpreted homiletically as: And Judah descended [rad] with God [im El].
וְעָלָיו מְפֹרָשׁ בַּקַּבָּלָה הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי אֱלֹהִים כִּי בָאוּ מַיִם עַד נָפֶשׁ טָבַעְתִּי בִּיוֵן מְצוּלָה וְאֵין מׇעֳמָד וְגוֹ׳ אַל תִּשְׁטְפֵנִי שִׁבֹּלֶת מַיִם וְאַל תִּבְלָעֵנִי מְצוּלָה וְגוֹ׳ And in this regard, the tradition, i.e., the Writings, explicates Nahshon’s prayer at that moment: “Save me, God; for the waters are come in even unto the soul. I am sunk in deep mire, where there is no standing…let not the water flood overwhelm me, neither let the deep swallow me up” (Psalms 69:2–3, 16).
בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה הָיָה מֹשֶׁה מַאֲרִיךְ בִּתְפִלָּה אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יְדִידַיי טוֹבְעִים בַּיָּם וְאַתָּה מַאֲרִיךְ בִּתְפִלָּה לְפָנַי אָמַר לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם וּמָה בְּיָדִי לַעֲשׂוֹת אָמַר לוֹ דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִסָּעוּ וְאַתָּה הָרֵם אֶת מַטְּךָ וּנְטֵה אֶת יָדְךָ וְגוֹ׳ At that time, Moses was prolonging his prayer. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: My beloved ones are drowning in the sea and you prolong your prayer to me? Moses said before Him: Master of the Universe, but what can I do? God said to him: “Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward. And you, lift up your rod and stretch out your hand” (Exodus 14:15–16).
לְפִיכָךְ זָכָה יְהוּדָה לַעֲשׂוֹת מֶמְשָׁלָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הָיְתָה יְהוּדָה לְקׇדְשׁוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל מַמְשְׁלוֹתָיו מָה טַעַם הָיְתָה יְהוּדָה לְקׇדְשׁוֹ וְיִשְׂרָאֵל מַמְשְׁלוֹתָיו מִשּׁוּם דְּהַיָּם רָאָה וַיָּנֹס For this reason, because Nahshon and the tribe of Judah went into the sea first, the tribe of Judah merited to govern Israel, as it is stated: “Judah became His sanctuary, Israel His dominion. The sea saw it and fled” (Psalms 114:2–3). The baraita interprets the verses in this manner: What is the reason that Judah became His sanctuary and Israel came under His dominion? It is because “the sea saw it and fled.”
תַּנְיָא רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן יַעֲקֹב אוֹמֵר אִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹמַר לֵוִי לְמַטָּה שֶׁכְּבָר נֶאֱמַר לְמַעְלָה וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹמַר לְמַעְלָה שֶׁכְּבָר נֶאֱמַר לְמַטָּה § The Gemara returns to discussing the blessing and curses. It is taught in a baraita (Tosefta 8:9) that Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says: It is impossible to say that the tribe of Levi stood below, between the two mountains, as it is already stated that they were above, in the verse: “These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people when you have passed over the Jordan: Simeon and Levi and Judah” (Deuteronomy 27:12). And it is impossible to say that they stood above on the mountain because it is already stated: “And all of Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on this side of the Ark and on that side before the priests the Levites” (Joshua 8:33). This shows that the Levites stood below, between the mountains, with the Ark.
הָא כֵּיצַד זִקְנֵי כְּהוּנָּה וּלְוִיָּה לְמַטָּה וְהַשְּׁאָר לְמַעְלָה רַבִּי יֹאשִׁיָּה אוֹמֵר כׇּל הָרָאוּי לְשָׁרֵת לְמַטָּה וְהַשְּׁאָר לְמַעְלָה How is this possible? Only the Elders of the priesthood and the Levites stood below, and the rest of the Levites stood above on the mountain. Rabbi Yoshiya says: Any Levite who was fit to serve in the Temple stood below, between the mountains, and the rest of the tribe, who were too young or too old to serve in the Temple, stood above on the mountain.
רַבִּי אוֹמֵר אֵלּוּ וְאֵלּוּ לְמַטָּה הֵן עוֹמְדִים הָפְכוּ פְּנֵיהֶם כְּלַפֵּי הַר גְּרִיזִים וּפָתְחוּ בִּבְרָכָה כְּלַפֵּי הַר עֵיבָל וּפָתְחוּ בִּקְלָלָה מַאי עַל עַל בְּסָמוּךְ Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Both the Levites and the Israelites were standing below. They turned to face Mount Gerizim and opened with a blessing, and then they turned toward Mount Ebal and opened with a curse. Therefore, what is the meaning of the verse: “These shall stand on [al ] Mount Gerizim to bless the people” (Deuteronomy 27:12)? “Al” means adjacent to the mountain but not actually on the mountain itself.
כִּדְתַנְיָא וְנָתַתָּ עַל הַמַּעֲרֶכֶת לְבוֹנָה זַכָּה רַבִּי אוֹמֵר עַל בְּסָמוּךְ אַתָּה אוֹמֵר עַל בְּסָמוּךְ אוֹ אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא עַל מַמָּשׁ כְּשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר וְסַכֹּתָ עַל הָאָרֹן הֱוֵי אוֹמֵר עַל בְּסָמוּךְ As it is taught in a baraita that discusses the shewbread: “And you shall put pure frankincense on [al ] each row” (Leviticus 24:7). Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: “Al” in this instance means adjacent to. Do you say that “al” means adjacent to, or perhaps it carries only its literal meaning of “on”? When it says in the verse: “And you shall screen the Ark [al haAron] with the curtain” (Exodus 40:3), the word “al” cannot mean on, as the curtain that separated the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies was not placed on top of the Ark, but near it. Therefore, you must say that “al” means adjacent to.
הָפְכוּ פְּנֵיהֶם כְּלַפֵּי הַר גְּרִיזִים וּפָתְחוּ בִּבְרָכָה כּוּ׳ תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן בָּרוּךְ בִּכְלָל בָּרוּךְ בִּפְרָט אָרוּר בִּכְלָל אָרוּר בִּפְרָט לִלְמוֹד וּלְלַמֵּד לִשְׁמוֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת הֲרֵי § It is stated in the mishna: They turned to face Mount Gerizim and opened with a blessing: Blessed be the man who does not make a graven or molten image (see Deuteronomy 27:15), and these people and those people, i.e., the two groups standing on either mountain, answered: Amen. Then they turned to face Mount Ebal and opened with the curse: “Cursed be the man who makes a graven or molten image” (Deuteronomy 27:15), and these people and those people answered: Amen. The Sages taught (Tosefta 8:10): The blessings and curses include a general blessing for one who fulfills the entire Torah, and a particular blessing for each individual statement mentioned in the blessings and curses. Likewise, there is a general curse for one who does not fulfill the entire Torah and a particular curse for each individual statement. And for each of the blessings and curses there is a mitzva to learn and to teach, and to keep and to perform. Consequently,