Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh. In the name of
HaShem, Lord of the Hebrews, they said to him, "How long will you refuse to submit to Me? Let My people leave
and serve Me. If you refuse to let My people leave, I will bring locusts to your territories tomorrow.
They will cover every visible speck of land, so that you will not be able to see the ground, and they
will eat all that was spared for you by the hail, devouring every tree growing in the field.
They will fill your palaces, as well as the houses of your officials and of all Egypt. It will be
something that your fathers and your fathers' fathers have never seen, since the day they were in the
With that, Moses turned his back and left Pharaoh. Pharaoh's officials said to him,
"How long will this man continue to be a menace to us? Let the men
go, and let them serve their Lord. Don't you yet realize that Egypt is being
Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh.
"Go serve HaShem your Lord," he said. "But exactly who will
"Young and old alike will
go," replied Moses. "We will go with our sons and our daughters, with our
sheep and cattle. It is a festival for all of us."
HaShem only be with you just as I will let you leave with your
children!" replied Pharaoh. "You must realize that you will be confronted by evil.
But that's not the way it will be. Let the males
go and worship HaShem, if that's really what you want!"
With that, he had them expelled from his presence.
Locusts: The Eighth Plague
said to Moses, "Extend your hand over Egypt to bring the locusts, and they will emerge on Egypt.
They will eat all the foliage in the land that was spared by the
Moses raised his hand over Egypt, and all that
day and night, HaShem made an east wind blow over the land. When morning came, the east wind was carrying
The locusts invaded Egypt, settling on all
Egyptian territory. It was a very severe plague. Never before had there been such a locust plague, and
never again would the like be seen. The locusts covered the entire surface of the
land, making the ground black. They ate all the plants on the ground and all the fruit on the trees, whatever
had been spared by the hail. Nothing green remained on the trees and plants throughout all Egypt.
Pharaoh hastily summoned Moses and Aaron.
"I have committed a crime," he said, "both to
HaShem your Lord and to you. Now forgive my offense just this one more time.
Pray to HaShem your Lord! Just take this death away from me!"
Moses left Pharaoh's presence and prayed to
HaShem. HaShem turned the wind around, making it into a very strong west wind. It carried away the
locusts, and plunged them into the Red Sea. Not a
single locust remained within all Egypt's borders. But once again,
HaShem made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let the Israelites leave.
Darkness: The Ninth Plague
said to Moses, "Reach out toward the sky with your hand, and there will be darkness in Egypt.
The darkness will be clear."
Moses lifted his hand toward the sky, and there
was an opaque darkness in all Egypt, lasting for three days. People could not see each other, and no one left
his place for three days. The Israelites, however, had light in the areas where they lived.
Pharaoh summoned Moses.
"Go!" he said. "Worship! Even your
children can go with you. Just leave
your sheep and cattle behind."
"Will you then provide us with sacrifices and
burnt offerings so that we will be able to offer them to HaShem?"
asked Moses. "Our livestock must also go along with us. Not a
single hoof can be left behind. We must take them to serve HaShem our Lord, since we do not know what we will
need to worship HaShem until we get there."
made Pharaoh stubborn, and he was no longer willing to let the
Israelites leave. "Leave my presence!" said Pharaoh to
Moses. "Don't dare see my face again! The day you appear before me, you will die!"
say," replied Moses. "I will not see your face
Preparations for the Final Plague
said to Moses, "There is one more plague that I will send against Pharaoh and Egypt. After that, he
will let you leave this place. When he lets you leave, he will actually drive you out of here.
Now speak to the people discreetly, and let each man request from his friend gold and silver articles.
Let every woman make the same request of her friends. "
gave the people status among the Egyptians. Moses was also very highly respected in Egypt, both by
Pharaoh's officials and by the people.
Death of the First-Born
to Pharaoh in HaShem's name, "Around midnight, I will go out in the midst of Egypt.
Every first-born in Egypt will die, from the first-born of Pharaoh sitting on his throne, to the
first-born of the slave girl behind the millstones. Every first-born animal
will also die. There will be a great cry of anguish throughout all Egypt. Never before has there been anything like
it, and never again will there be the like. But among the Israelites, a dog will not even
whine because of man or beast. You will then realize that HaShem is making a miraculous distinction between
Egypt and Israel. All your officials here will come and bow down to me. They will say, 'Leave! You and all your
followers!' Only then will I leave."
He left Pharaoh
said to Moses, "Pharaoh will not listen to you. This is so that I will be able to do all the more
wonders in Egypt."
Moses and Aaron had done all these wonders
before Pharaoh. Still, because HaShem had made Pharaoh obstinate, he would not let the Israelites leave his
HaShem said to Moses and Aaron "This month shall be the head month to you. It
shall be the first month of the year. Speak to the entire community of Israel, saying:
On the tenth of this month, every man must take a lamb for each extended family, a lamb for each household.
If the household is too small for a lamb, then he
and a close neighbor can obtain a lamb together, as long as it is for specifically designated individuals.
Individuals shall be designated for a lamb according to how much each one will eat.
You must have a flawless young animal, a one-year-old male. You can take it from the sheep or
from the goats. Hold it in safekeeping until the fourteenth day of this month.
The entire community of Israel shall then slaughter their
sacrifices in the afternoon. They must take the blood and place it on the two
doorposts and on the beam above the door of the houses in which they will eat
the sacrifice. Eat the sacrificial meat during the night, roasted over fire. Eat it with matzah and bitter
herbs. Do not eat it raw or cooked in water, but only roasted over fire, including its head, its legs, and
its internal organs. Do not leave any of it over until morning.
Anything that is left over until morning must be burned in fire. You must eat it with your waist belted, your
shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and you must eat it in haste. It is the Passover (Pesach)
offering to me. I will pass through Egypt on that night, and I
will kill every first-born in Egypt, man and beast. I will perform acts of judgment against all the
gods of Egypt. I alone am HaShem. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses
where you are staying. I will see the blood and pass you by. There will not be any deadly plague
among you when I strike Egypt. This day must be one that you will remember. You
must keep it as a festival to HaShem for all generations. It is a law for all time that you must celebrate it.
Eat matzah for seven days. By the first day, you must have your homes cleared of all leaven.
Whoever eats leaven from the first day until the seventh day will have his soul cut off from Israel.
The first day shall be a sacred holiday, and the seventh day shall
also be a sacred holiday. No work may be done on these days. The only
work that you may do is that which is needed so that everyone will
be able to eat. Be careful regarding the matzahs, for on this
very day I will have brought your masses out of Egypt. You must carefully keep this day for all generations;
it is a law for all times. evening, until the night of the 21st day of the month,
you must eat only matzahs. During these seven days, no leaven may be
found in your homes. If someone eats anything leavened his soul shall be cut off from the community of
Israel. This is true whether he is a proselyte or a person born into the nation.
You must not eat anything leavened. In all the areas where you live, eat matzahs."
Moses summoned the elders of Israel, and said to
them, "Gather the people and get yourselves sheep for your families, so that you will be able to
slaughter the Passover sacrifice. You will then have to take a bunch of hyssop
and dip it into the blood that will be placed in a basin. Touch the beam over the door and the two
doorposts with some of the blood in the basin. Not a single one of you may go out the door of his house
until morning. HaShem will then pass through to strike Egypt. When he sees the blood over the door and on the two
doorposts, HaShem will pass over that door, and not let the force of destruction enter your houses to strike.
You must keep this ritual as a law, for you and your children forever.
When you come to the land that HaShem will give you, as He promised, you must
also keep this service. Your children may then ask you, 'What is this
service to you?' You must answer, 'It is the Passover service to
HaShem. He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians, sparing our
The people bent their heads and prostrated themselves. The Israelites went and did as
HaShem had instructed Moses and Aaron. They did it exactly.
The Final Plague
It was midnight.
HaShem killed every first-born in Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh, sitting on his
throne, to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as every first-born animal.
Pharaoh stayed up that night, along with all his officials and all the rest of Egypt. There was a great
outcry, since there was no house where there were no dead.
Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the
night. "Get moving!" he said. "Get out from among my
people - you and the Israelites! Go! Worship just as you demanded!
Take your sheep and cattle, just as you said! Go! Bless me
The Egyptians were also urging the people to
hurry and leave the land. 'We are all dead men!' they were saying.
The people took their dough before it could rise. Their leftover dough was wrapped in their robes
and placed on their shoulders. The Israelites also did as Moses had said.
They requested silver and gold articles and clothing
from the Egyptians. HaShem made the Egyptians respect the people, and
they granted their request. The Israelites thus drained Egypt of its wealth.
The Israelites traveled from Rameses toward
Sukkoth. There were about 600,000 adult males on foot, besides the children.
A great mixture of nationalities left with them. There were also sheep and cattle, a huge
amount of livestock.
Israelites baked the dough that they had brought out of Egypt into
matzah, since it had not risen. They had been driven out of Egypt and could not delay, and they had not prepared
any other provisions.
The lifestyle that the Israelites endured in
Egypt had thus lasted 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, all of
left Egypt in broad daylight. There was a night of vigil for HaShem,
preparing to bring them out of Egypt. This night remains for the
Israelites a vigil to HaShem for all generations.
said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the law of the Passover sacrifice:
No outsider may eat it. If a man buys a slave for cash and circumcises
him, then the slave can eat it. But if a gentile is a temporary resident or a
hired hand, he may not eat the Passover sacrifice. It must be eaten by a single group. Do not
bring any of its meat out of the group. Do not break any of its bones.
The entire community of Israel must keep this ritual. When a proselyte joins you and wants to offer
the Passover sacrifice to HaShem, every male in his household must be circumcised. He may then join in
the observance, and be like a native-born Israelite. But no uncircumcised man may eat
the sacrifice. The same law shall apply both for the native-born
Israelite and for the proselyte who joins you."
All the Israelites did as
HaShem had instructed Moses and Aaron. They did it exactly.
On that very day, HaShem took the Israelites out of Egypt in organized groups.
Remembering the Exodus
spoke to Moses, saying, "Sanctify to Me every first-born that initiates
the womb among the Israelites. Among both man and
beast, it is Mine."
Moses said to the
people "Remember this day as the time you left Egypt, the place of slavery, when
HaShem brought you out of here with a show of force. No leaven may be eaten.
You left this day, in the month of standing grain. There will come a time when
HaShem will bring you to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites,
Hivites and Yebusites. Eat matzahs for seven days, and make the seventh
day a festival to HaShem. Since matzahs must be eaten for these seven
days, no leaven may be seen in your possession. No leaven may be seen in all your territories.
On that day, you must tell your child, 'It is because of this that
HaShem acted for me when I left Egypt."
words must also be a sign on your arm and a reminder in the center of your head.
HaShem's Torah will then be on your tongue. It was with a show of strength that
HaShem brought you out of Egypt. This law must therefore be kept at its
designated time from year to year.
Consecration of the First-Born
There will come a time when
HaShem will have brought you to the land of the Canaanites, which he
promised you and your ancestors, and he will have given it to you.
You will then bring to HaShem every first-born that initiates the womb. Whenever you have a young
firstling animal, the males belong to HaShem. Every firstling donkey must be redeemed with a
sheep. If it is not redeemed, you must decapitate it.
You must also redeem every first-born among your sons. Your child may later ask you, 'What is this?'
You must answer him, 'With a show of power, HaShem brought us out of Egypt, the place of
slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us leave, HaShem
killed all the first-born in Egypt, man and beast alike. I therefore sacrifice to
HaShem all male firstling animals, and redeem all the first-born of my sons.'
words shall also be a sign on your arm and an insignia in the center of your head.
All this is because HaShem brought us out of Egypt with a show of strength.
BeShalach Exodus 13:17
(Sephardi Tradition: Judges 5.1-31)