Sotah 37a:7-10סוטה ל״ז א:ז׳-י׳
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37aל״ז א
1 א

שבטו של בנימין וירד לים תחילה שנאמר (תהלים סח, כח) שם בנימין צעיר רודם אל תקרי רודם אלא רד ים והיו שרי יהודה רוגמים אותם שנאמר (תהלים סח, כח) שרי יהודה רגמתם

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).

2 ב

לפיכך זכה בנימין הצדיק ונעשה אושפיזכן לגבורה שנאמר (דברים לג, יב) ובין כתפיו שכן

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).

3 ג

אמר לו רבי יהודה לא כך היה מעשה אלא זה אומר אין אני יורד תחילה לים וזה אומר אין אני יורד תחילה לים קפץ נחשון בן עמינדב וירד לים תחילה שנאמר (הושע יב, א) סבבוני בכחש אפרים ובמרמה בית ישראל ויהודה עוד רד עם אל

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].

4 ד

ועליו מפרש בקבלה (תהלים סט, ב) הושיעני אלהים כי באו מים עד נפש טבעתי ביון מצולה ואין מעמד וגו' (תהלים סט, טז) אל תשטפני שבולת מים ואל תבלעני מצולה וגו'

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).

5 ה

באותה שעה היה משה מאריך בתפלה אמר לו הקב"ה ידידיי טובעים בים ואתה מאריך בתפלה לפני אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם ומה בידי לעשות אמר לו (שמות יד, טו) דבר אל בני ישראל ויסעו ואתה הרם את מטך ונטה את ידך וגו'

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).

6 ו

לפיכך זכה יהודה לעשות ממשלה בישראל שנאמר (תהלים קיד, ב) היתה יהודה לקדשו ישראל ממשלותיו מה טעם היתה יהודה לקדשו וישראל ממשלותיו משום דהים ראה וינוס

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.”

7 ז

תניא רבי אליעזר בן יעקב אומר אי אפשר לומר לוי למטה שכבר נאמר למעלה ואי אפשר לומר למעלה שכבר נאמר למטה

§ 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.

8 ח

הא כיצד זקני כהונה ולויה למטה והשאר למעלה רבי יאשיה אומר כל הראוי לשרת למטה והשאר למעלה

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.

9 ט

רבי אומר אלו ואלו למטה הן עומדים הפכו פניהם כלפי הר גריזים ופתחו בברכה כלפי הר עיבל ופתחו בקללה מאי (דברים כז, יב) על על בסמוך

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.

10 י

כדתניא (ויקרא כד, ז) ונתת על המערכת לבונה זכה רבי אומר על בסמוך אתה אומר על בסמוך או אינו אלא על ממש כשהוא אומר (שמות מ, ג) וסכות על הארון הוי אומר על בסמוך

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.

11 יא

הפכו פניהם כלפי הר גריזים ופתחו בברכה כו' תנו רבנן ברוך בכלל ברוך בפרט ארור בכלל ארור בפרט ללמוד וללמד לשמור ולעשות הרי

§ 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,