Pisqa’ 328

Pisqa’ 3281


“Who ate the fat of their sacrificial-offerings” (Dt.32:38)—

[these are provisions extorted by Rome’s army].

For we gave them a food allowance,

we supplied an allowance for personal expenses,

and raised funds for an allowance of salt.

“Let them arise and help you!” (Dt.32:38)—

“Let them arise and help you help yourselves (ya`azeru ‘etkhem)”

is not written:

Rather, what is written?

“Let Him . . . help you (ya`azerchem)2

[since you have abandoned the Holy One,

you can expect no help from Him].


R. Nehemiah says:

This [verse, “where are their gods?”]

recalls the Wicked Titus,

the son of Vespasian’s wife

[who challenged the Holy One’s apparent inaction].

He once entered the Most Holy,

and slashed two altar Veils

with his sword, saying:

If He is in fact God,

let Him file an objection!3


“Who ate the fat of their sacrificial-offerings” (Dt.32:38)—

                                                     [Titus4] claimed that

Moses misguided these [gentiles] by saying to them:

Build for yourselves an altar,

and place Holocaust-offerings upon it,

and offer Libation-offerings along with it,

according to what is stated:

“One sheep shall you prepare for the morning

and the second prepare for the evening . . . and its Libation-offering” (Nu.28:4-7)—

[and eat the fat covering their innards]!5

“Let them arise and help you! Let Him be your shield!” (Dt.32:38)—

The Blessed Holy One pardons everything.

But for desecration of the Name,

He takes immediate retribution.

  1. H:339;JN2:373.
  2. MT’s consonantal text omits the waw, permitting the possibility of reading the verb in the singular, as in my transliteration from the Hebrew.
  3. Cf. ARNB.7.
  4. The speaker’s identity is unclear. I follow H:339 and JN2:373 identifying Titus.
  5. The point is obscure, and my speculative solution is one of many. Instructions for the Holocaust-offering at Lv.1:8-9 are clear that the fats surrounding the innards are not to be eaten, but must be immolated on the altar. So perhaps Moses’s deception lies in misinforming about the disposition of the proscribed fats. Hammer surmises: “probably, Titus implied . . . Moses and Aaron ate the sacrifices they commanded and thus deceived the people.’ (H:503, Pisqa’ 328, n.6).