Pisqa’ 332

Pisqa’ 3321


“I’ll intoxicate (‘ashkir)2 my arrows with blood” (Dt.32:42)—

Now, is it really possible

for arrows to become drunk (yishtakru) from blood?

Rather, the point is:

Here I am, intoxicating (mashkir) others

with what my arrows accomplish

[by spilling blood]!

“While my sword consumes (t’ochal)3 flesh” (Dt.32:42)—

Now, is it really possible

for a sword to eat (t’ochal) flesh?

Rather, the point is:

Here I am, nourishing (ma’achil) others

from what my sword accomplishes!


And so, continuing [this theme,] He states:

“Now, as for you, spawn of Adam! . . .

Speak to every winged bird and to every beast of the field” (Ezek.39:17).

And, continuing:

“And eat fat to satiety, and drink blood to drunkenness . . . ” (Ezek.39:19).

And, moreover:

“The flesh of the valiant shall you eat . . .” (Ezek.39:18),

And, furthermore:

Fill up at my table, you horses, charioteers,

champions, and every sort of warrior . . . ” (Ezek.39:20).4

And, similarly:

“The sword of HASHEM is full of blood, slick from fat” (Is.34:6)—

Now, why is this?

“For a sacrificial feast (zevakh) to HASHEM is offered in Botzra,

And a great slaughter (tevakh)5 in the land of Edom” (Is.34:6)

“With the blood of corpses (khalelei) and captives” (Dt.32:42)—

for what they did to the corpses (khalelei) of My people.

And, similarly, He says:

“If only my head were water or my eyes a fountain of tears,

I would weep day and night

for the slain (khalelei) of the daughter of My people!” (Jer.8:23).

[And, continuing:]

“And captives” (shivyah; Dt.32:42)—

for what they did to the captives (shevi) of My people.


And, similarly, He says:

“They will capture their captors,

and persecute their oppressors” (Is.14:2).

“From the wild-haired heads of the enemy” (Dt.32:42)—

when the Blessed Holy One exacts retribution from the nations,

He doesn’t bring it upon them for their own actions alone.

Rather, for their actions, and those of their ancestors,

from Nimrod and onward.

But when He brings favor upon Israel,

He brings it for their own good deeds and those of their ancestors,

from Abraham, and onward.

Another word:

“From the wild-haired ( par`ot) heads of the enemy” (Dt.32:42)—

why did they think it fair

to assign to Pharaoh (par`oh)

responsibility for all the retributions?

Because he was the first to subjugate Israel.

  1. H:341-342; JN2:379-380.
  2. The root, sh-k-r ( “to intoxicate”) underlies the key verbs.
  3. The root in question is ‘-k-l (“to eat”).
  4. Cf. Mechilta Ishmael, paskha’,12.
  5. The midrashist takes advantage of the biblical assonance of zevakh and tevakh.