Devarim (Pisqa'ot 1-25)

Pisqa’ 12

Pisqa’ 121


“How should I alone bear your trouble?” (Dt.1:12)

This teaches that

they were troublesome.

If one saw the other prevailing in a lawsuit, he would say:

I have more witnesses to bring!

I have more evidence to bring!

I move to postpone the case until tomorrow!

I move to add judges!

Therefore it is said:

“Your trouble” (Dt.1:12)—

indicating that they were troublesome.


“And your burden” (Dt. 1:12)—

this teaches that

they sowed cynicism2[among the people].

If Moses arose early, they would say:

Why has the son of Amram seen fit to depart?

Perhaps he’s got no peace at home!

If Moses arose late, they would say:

Why has the son of Amram seen fit not to leave?

Do you think he’s deliberating on your behalf?

Rather, he’s planning ways to impose upon you

the onerous rulings3 of the House of On.4

And this is in line with what is said:

“Along with Dathan and Abiram . . .and On b. Peleth, the sons of Reuben” (Nu.16:1)—

Therefore it is said:

“And your burden”—

this teaches that

they sowed cynicism [among the people].


“And your quarrel” (Dt.1:12)—

this teaches that they were disputatious.

One of them would offer a sel`a for an item worth two,

two in order to get one worth three.

Therefore it is said:

“and your quarrel” (Dt.1:12)—

this teaches that they were disputatious.


Another word:

“Your trouble, and your burden, and your quarrel” (Dt.1:12).

If Moses would arise early, they said:

why has the son of Amram seen fit to leave so quickly,

while his children and household

are picking the choicest manna?

If Moses would leave late, they said:

he has eaten, drunk wine, and is now napping!

If Moses walked in the middle of the path, they said:

he wants us to rise before him!

If he walked to the sides, they said:

it is our practice to rise before an elder,

yet he wants to uproot it from us!

Moses replied to them:

I walked in the middle and failed to satisfy you;

I walked to the sides and failed to satisfy you! 6

  1. H:36; JN1:42-43
  2. ‘Apiqorosim: literally, “disciples of Epicurus.” By extension, “skeptics,” especially in regards to the restoration of the dead to life. See M. San.10:1. Here, the usage is: “sowers of doubt in communal (rabbinic) authority.”
  3. makhshavot qashot wekhamurot .The text is uncertain, with some texts replacing these words with qal qakhomer, “logical arguments.” See RH, Pardo and TA ad loc., and F:20,n.5.
  4. H:396, Pisqa’ 12, n.4 regards the House of On as symbolizing oppressive Egyptian justice. In which case, the next reference to “On b. Peleth” equates the rebellious Korahites with Egyptian injustice.
  5. Finkelstein (F:21, l.3) notes that the material in smaller type is missing in several mss and may be unreliable testimony to the text of SD.
  6. F:21 notes that the text in smaller type is poorly attested in the textual tradition.