Niv

1. A. Returning to the matter (GWPH): "Speak to the children of Israel" (Lev. 1:2).

B. R. Yudan in the name of R. Samuel b. R. Nehemiah [B-P = Pesiqta de R. Kahana Sheqalim 15:2-17]: "The matter may be compared to the case of a king who had an undergarment, concerning which he instructed his servant, saying to him, 'Fold it, shake it out, and be careful about it!'

C. "He said to him, 'My lord, O king, among all the undergarments that you have, [why] do you give me such instructions only about this one?'

D. "He said to him, 'It is because this is the one that I keep closest to my body.'

E. "So too did Moses say before the Holy One, blessed be he, 'Lord of the Universe: Among the seventy distinct nations that you have in your world, [why] do you give me instructions only concerning Israel? [For instance,] "Command the children of Israel" [Num. 28:2], "Say to the children of Israel" [Ex. 33:5], "Speak to the children of Israel"' [Lev. 1:2].

F. "He said to him, 'The reason is that they stick close to me, in line with the following verse of Scripture: "For as the undergarment cleaves to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel"'" (Jer. 13:11).

G. Said R. Abin, "[The matter may be compared] to a king who had a purple cloak, concerning which he instructed his servant, saying, 'Fold it, shake it out, and be careful about it!'

H. "He said to him, 'My Lord, O king, among all the purple cloaks that you have, [why] do you give me such instructions only about this one?'

I. "He said to him, 'That is the one that I wore on my coronation day.'

J. "So too did Moses say before the Holy One, blessed be he, Lord of the Universe: 'Among the seventy distinct nations that you have in your world, [why] do you give instructions to me only concerning Israel? [For instance,] "Say to the children of Israel," "Command the children of Israel," "Speak to the children of Israel."'

K. "He said to him, 'They are the ones who at the [Red] Sea declared me to be king, saying, "The Lord will be king"'" (Ex. 15:18).

L. Said R. Berekhiah, "[The matter may be compared to an elder, who had a hood [signifying his office as Elder], concerning which he instructed his disciple, saying to him, 'Fold it, shake it out, and be careful about it!'

M. "He said to him, 'My lord, Elder, among all the hoods that you have, [why] do you give me such instructions only about this one?'

N. "He said to him, 'It is because that is the one that I wore on the day on which I was officially named an Elder.'

O. "So too did Moses say before the Holy One, blessed be he, Lord of the Universe: 'Among the seventy distinct nations that you have in your world, [why] do you give instructions to me only concerning Israel?'

P. He said to him, "[It is because] they accepted my dominion on them at Mount Sinai, saying, 'Whatever the Lord has spoken we shall do and we shall hear'" (Ex. 24:7).

2. A. Said R. Yudan, "Now take note of how the Holy One, blessed be he, cherishes Israel.

B. "For he makes mention of them five times in a single verse of Scripture, in line with the following verse: 'And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons [from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting, and to make atonement for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel in case the people of Israel should come near the sanctuary]'" (Num. 8:19).

II:V

1. A. Said R. Simeon b. Yohai, "[The matter may be compared] to a king who had an only son. Every day he would give instructions to his steward, saying to him, 'Make sure my son eats, make sure my son drinks, make sure my son goes to school, make sure my son comes home from school.'

B. "So every day the Holy One, blessed be he, gave instructions to Moses, saying, 'Command the children of Israel,' 'Say to the children of Israel,' 'Speak to the children of Israel.'"

2. A. Said R. Judah b. R. Simon, "[The matter may be compared] to a person who was sitting and making a crown for the king. Someone passed by and said to him, 'What are you doing?'

B. "He replied, 'Making a crown for the king.'

C. "He said to him, 'Whatever [precious stones] that you can affix [to the crown] you should affix, put on emeralds, put on jewels, put on pearls. For that crown is going to be put on the head of the king.'

D. "So too did the Holy One, blessed be he, say to Moses, 'In whatever way you can praise Israel, give that praise, if you can magnify them, do it, if you can adorn them, do it. Why? Because through [Israel] I am going to be glorified.' [That is] in line with the following verse of Scripture: 'And he said to me, You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified'" (Is. 49:3).

1. A. R. Joshua of Sikhnin in the name of R. Levi: "Even the Scriptures paid honor to Israel.

B. "That is in line with the following verse of Scripture: 'When any man of you brings an offering' [Lev. 1:2],

C. "Now when [Scripture] proceeds to yet another [but less praiseworthy] topic, [how does it phrase matters?] 'When a man of you has on the flesh of his skin' is not written, but rather, 'When man will have on the flesh of his skin is rising'" (Lev. 13:2).

D. R. Samuel b. R. Nehemiah made two points [in this same manner]:

E. "It is written, 'But there shall be no needy among you' [Deut. 15:4].

F. "Now when [Scripture] proceeds to yet another [but less praiseworthy] topic, [how does it phrase matters?]

G. " 'For there shall be no needy in your midst' is not written here, but rather, 'from the midst of the land'" (Deut. 15:11).

H. R. Samuel b. R. Nehemiah made yet another point [in the same manner]:

I. "It is written, 'These shall stand to bless the people on Mount Gerizim' [Deut. 27:12],

J. "Now when [Scripture] proceeds to yet another [but less praiseworthy] topic, [how does it phrase matters?]

K. " 'These will stand to curse the people' is not written here, but rather, '. . . these will stand concerning (L) the curse'" (Deut. 27:13).

2. A. R. Berekhiah, R. Helbo, and R. Ami in the name of R. Ilai: "Not only so, but when punishment comes into the world, the righteous overcome it, in line with that which is written, 'These shall stand against (L) the curse'" (Deut. 27:13).

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