"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Middah K’neged Middah

Measure for measure * reaping what you sow * what comes around goes around * poetic justice * reciprocity:

Measure for Measure in the Tanach

The word “HaShem” is used on this page as a way to say God’s Eternal Name. “HaShem” means, “Ha = The” “Shem = Name”. In most English translations of the Bible, God’s Eternal Name is translated “The LORD” with capital letters.

Ten of the 12 Spies who went up to Caanan to spy out the land stirred the people up by giving an evil report about the land.

Then they said:

Bamidbar / Numbers 13

31 But the men who went up with him said, “We are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.

So, just as they said “we are unable to go up” – HaShem (The LORD) made them UNABLE:

Bamidbar/Numbers 14

36. As for the men whom Moses had sent to scout the Land, who returned and caused the entire congregation to complain against him by spreading [a slanderous] report about the Land”

37. the men who spread an evil report about the Land died in the plague, before the Lord.

Caleb gave a good report about the land and about HaShem (The LORD)’s ability to give it to them.

Bamidbar / Numbers 13

30. Caleb silenced the people to [hear about] Moses, and he said, “We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it.”

As a measure for measure reward HaShem (The LORD) gave Caleb the very same land that he himself had spied out.

Bamidbar / Numbers 14

24. But as for My servant Caleb, since he was possessed by another spirit, and he followed Me, I will bring him to the land to which he came, and his descendants will drive it[s inhabitants] out.

We know Caleb spied out the area of Hebron because of this verse:

Bamidbar / Numbers 13

22. They went up in, the south, and he came to Hebron, and there were Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of the giant. Now Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan of Egypt.

We find out that Caleb actually receives this land in Yehoshua/Joshua

Yehoshua / Joshua 14

12. And now, give me this mountain, of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the ‘Anakim were there, and that the cities were big and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord spoke.”

13. And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.

14. Hebron, therefore, became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he fulfilled the will of the Lord God of Israel.

The 12 spies were in the land of Israel 40 days. The people believed the evil report of the 10 and said:

Bamidbar/Numbers Chapter 14

1. The entire community raised their voices and shouted, and the people wept on that night.

2. All the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the entire congregation said, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this desert.

3. Why does the Lord bring us to this land to fall by the sword; our wives and children will be as spoils. Is it not better for us to return to Egypt?”

HaShem (The LORD) decreed their punishment Measure for Measure:

Bamidbar / Numbers Chapter 14

28. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘if not as you have spoken in My ears, so will I do to you.

29. In this desert, your corpses shall fall; your entire number, all those from the age of twenty and up, who were counted, because you complained against Me.

30. You shall [not] come into the Land concerning which I raised My hand that you would settle in it, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

31. As for your infants, of whom you said that they will be as spoils, I will bring them [there], and they will come to know the Land which You despised.

32. But as for you, your corpses shall fall in this desert.

33. Your children shall wander in the desert for forty years and bear your defection until the last of your corpses has fallen in the desert.

34. According to the number of days which you toured the Land forty days, a day for each year, you will [thus] bear your iniquities for forty years; thus you will come to know My alienation.

All the men of that generation between the ages of 20 and up died in the wilderness and the rest of the Children of Israel wandered 1 year for every day that the spies had been gone.

But we find another blessing for Caleb in the book of Yehoshua/Joshua.

Not only did Caleb not die in the wilderness, he didn’t even grow weak with age!!!

Yehoshua / Joshua – Chapter 14

10. And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness; and now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old.

11. I am still as strong this day as I was on the day that Moses sent me; as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

Bamidbar / Numbers 14:1. The entire community raised their voices and shouted, and the people wept on that night.

The Jewish Sages tell us that this night, the night the people cried was the 9th day of the month of Av – Tisha B’Av a “day of weeping for all generations”

This is a list of terrible things that have happen to the Jew on this day throughout history from http://www.ou.org/yerushalayim/tishabav/tishabav.html

  1. The sin of the spies caused HaShem (The LORD) to decree that the Children of Israel who left Egypt would not be permitted to enter the land of Israel;
  2. The first Temple was destroyed 586 B.C.E.;
  3. The second Temple was destroyed 70 C.E.;
  4. Betar, the last fortress to hold out against the Romans during the Bar Kochba revolt in the year 135, fell, sealing the fate of the Jewish people.
  5. One year after the fall of Betar, the Temple area was plowed.
  6. In 1492, King Ferdinand of Spain issued the expulsion decree, setting Tisha B’Av as the final date by which not a single Jew would be allowed to walk on Spanish soil.
  7. World War I – which began the downward slide to the Holocaust – began on Tisha B’av.

A list of a few verses which describe the principle of middah keneged middah.

Shemot / Exodus – Chapter 20

5. You shall neither prostrate yourself before them nor worship them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a zealous God, Who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, upon the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me,

6. and [I] perform loving kindness to thousands [of generations], to those who love Me and to those who keep My commandments.

Shemos/Exodus – Chapter 21

24. an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot,

25. a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise. (The sages have taught these are teaching about a monetary amount of damages, not an actual body mutilation)

Vayikra / Leviticus – Chapter 26

14. But if you do not listen to Me and do not perform all these commandments,

15. and if you despise My statutes and reject My ordinances, not performing any of My commandments, thereby breaking My covenant

16. then I too, will do the same to you; I will order upon you shock, consumption, fever, and diseases that cause hopeless longing and depression. You will sow your seed in vain, and your enemies will eat it.

Bamidbar / Numbers – Chapter 14

28. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘if not as you have spoken in My ears, so will I do to you.

Bamidbar/Numbers – Chapter 32

23. But, if you do not do so, behold, you will have sinned against the Lord, and be aware of your sin which will find you.

Bamidbar/Numbers – Chapter 33

55. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.

56. And it will be that what I had intended to do to them, I will do to you.

Devarim / Deuteronomy – Chapter 7

10. And He repays those who hate Him, to their face (in his lifetime), to cause them to perish; He will not delay the one who hates Him, but he will repay him to his face (in his lifetime).

In the notes to the Stone Edition Chumash it says the following about this verse:

Even the wicked deserve reward for their good deeds, and God does not deprive anyone of what is rightly his. So the wicked are rewarded, but they will not share the bliss of the World to Come; instead, God rewards them quickly, in this world, so that they will not survive to enjoy the great rewards that await the righteous. (Rashi)

Shemot / Exodus – Chapter 21

13 But one who did not stalk [him], but God brought [it] about into his hand (had caused it to come to his hand), I will make a place for you to which he shall flee.

In the notes to the Stone Edition Chumash it says the following about this verse:

It is a fundamental principle of the Torah that events are not haphazard. Always there is the guiding hand of God. “Sudden, coincidental” happenings only seem to be so. . . . it indicates that he (the person who did the accidental killing) must have committed some sin or crime that went unpunished, and that his current victim must have been guilty of a capital offense that went undetected. . . God was squaring the accounts.

I will say this is a hard teaching to wrap your brain around.

Miriam waited for her brother:

Shemos/Exodus – Chapter 2

4. His sister (Miriam) stood from afar, to know what would be done to him (Moses).

The entire camp of the Children of Israel waited for Miriam when she was set outside the camp because of tzaraas:

Bamidbar / Numbers – Chapter 12

15. So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not travel until Miriam had entered.

He cut off the thumbs and toes of kings

Shoftim/Judges – Chapter 1

6. And Adoni-bezek fled, and they pursued him: and they caught him and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.

His thumbs and toes were cut off

7. And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered (food) under my table; as I have done, so has God punished me.” And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

The Egyptians drowned the Jews in the Nile:

Shemot / Exodus – Chapter 1

22. And Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the Nile, and every daughter you shall allow to live.”

HaShem (The LORD) drowned the Egyptians measure for measure.

Shemos / Exodus – Chapter 14

26. Thereupon, the Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea, and let the water return upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen

27. So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and toward morning the sea returned to its strength, as the Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord stirred the Egyptians into the sea.

28. And the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, the entire force of Pharaoh coming after them into the sea; not even one of them survived.

Hannah prayed for one son, and promised to give him back to HaShem (The LORD).

Shmuel / 1 Samuel 1:11. And she vowed a vow, and said: to Lord of Hosts, if You will look upon the affliction of Your bondswoman, and You will remember me, and You will not forget Your bondswoman and You will give Your bondswoman a man-child, and I shall give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.

Measure for measure HaShem (The LORD) accepts Hannah’s son and in return gives her 3 sons and 2 daughters.

Shmuel / 1 Samuel 2:21. For the Lord remembered Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the lad Samuel grew up with the Lord.

Jericho walls fall down during Joshua’s time, walls rebuilt during Ahab’s kingship

Yehoshua / Joshua – Chapter 6

26. And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that rises up and builds this city, Jericho; with (the loss of) his first-born shall he lay its foundation, and with (the loss of) his youngest son shall he set up its gates.

Melachim I / 1 Kings – Chapter 16

34. During his days(Ahab’s), Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; with Abiram his firstborn, he laid its foundation, and with Seguv his youngest son, he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord that He had spoken through Joshua, the son of Nun

Shoftim / Judges – chapter 9

Abimelech killed his brothers on one stone:

5. And he (Abimelech) went to his father’s house, to Oprah, and killed his brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal (Gideon), seventy men upon one stone; but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid.

Abimelech was killed by a stone.

52. And Abimelech came up to the tower, and fought against it. And he went close to the door of the tower to burn it with fire.

53. And a certain woman cast a piece of an upper millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and crushed his skull.

54. And he called hastily to the young man, his weapon bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” And his young man pierced him, and he died.

“Poetic Justice” middah k’neged middah style.

Mishlei / Proverbs Chapter 26

27. He who digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone – it will return to him.

Rashi Commentary:

He who digs a pit For example, Balaam, who persuaded Balak to cause Israel to sin and caused twenty-four thousand of them to fall. He came to Midian to demand his pay and was slain by Israel.

and he who rolls That is to say that whoever places a stumbling block will ultimately stumble on it.

and he who rolls a stone He rolls it from place to place so that people will stumble on it. The Aggadah (Tanhuma Buber, Vayera 28, see footnote 157) interprets it in reference to Abimelech, who slew his seventy brothers on one stone and his end was that he died by a stone, as it is said (Jud. 9:53): “And a certain woman cast a piece of an upper millstone upon Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull.”

Melachim I / 1 Kings – Chapter 17

HaShem (The LORD) told Elijah find a poor widow and she would feed him. When he saw her he asked her:

10. And he rose and went to Zarephath, and he came to the entrance of the city, and behold there was a widow gathering wood. He called her and said, “Please take to me a little water in a vessel and I shall drink.”

11. And she went to take, and he called her and said, “Take to me a morsel of bread in your hand.”

But the widow was so poor she had only a small handful of flour.

12. And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, if I have a cake, [nothing] but a handful of flour and a little oil in a flask. Behold, I am gathering two pieces of wood and I will come and make this for myself and for my son, and we will eat it, and we will die.”

13. Elijah said to her, “Do not fear. Come and do as you said, but first make for me a small cake from there and bring it out to me, and for you and your son make last.

14. For thus has spoken the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The pitcher of flour shall not end nor will the flask of oil be diminished until the day the Lord gives rain upon the land.’

15. She went and did as Elijah had said, and she and he and her household ate [many] days.

16. The pitcher of flour did not end neither did the flask of oil diminish as the word of the Lord which He had spoken through Elijah.

The people called Kenite were the descendants of Moses father-in-law Jethro. For the kindness they gave to the Children of Israel, King Saul spared them when he went up against the Amalek.

Shmuel I / 1 Samuel – Chapter 15

6. And Saul said to the Kenite, “Turn away and go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them, and you did kindness with all the children of Israel, when they went up out of Egypt.” And the Kenites turned away from amidst Amalek.

Rashi’s commentary:

to the Kenites the descendants of Jethro, who were residing in the wilderness of Judea, in the south of Arad, who went to Jabez to learn Torah, Arad being Amalek. The Canaanite king of Arad was Amalek, for it is stated: “the dweller of the South” (Num. 21:1), and “Amalek dwells in the Southland” (ibid. 12:29).

with all the children of Israel for Moses, Aaron, and all the elders of Israel partook of his (Jethro’s) repast (Ex. 18:12). (The Scripture, therefore) considers it as though he had done kindness with all the children of Israel.

Shmuel II / 2 Samuel – Chapter 6

David danced before the Lord when he brought up the Aron/Ark to Jerusalem:

14. And David danced with all his might before the Lord; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

One of his wives, Michal, saw this and was disgusted with him:

16. And [as] the ark of the Lord came [into] the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul peered through the window, and she saw the king David hopping and dancing before the Lord; and she loathed him in her heart.

20. And David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and she said, “How honored was today the king of Israel, who exposed himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as would expose himself one of the idlers.

She tried to embarrass David for exposing himself and she had no child after this.

23. And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death.

Gehazi wanted to take something from Naaman – “measure for measure” Elisha gave him something from Naaman.

Melachim II / 2nd Kings – Chapter 5

Elisha told Naaman what to do so HaShem (The LORD) would heal him of his leprosy. Naaman dipped himself in the Jordon seven times and was healed. When he came back to Elisha, Naaman wanted to give him a great present of silver and changes of clothes.

Elisha refused the presents and sent Naaman away in peace.

But Elisha’s servant wanted what Naaman had.

20. And Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “Here my master has stopped Naaman, this Aramean, from giving, by not taking from his hand what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him.”

Gehazi got two talents of silver and hid it in his house. But, Elisha knew about it and “measure for measure” – Gehazi wanted to take something from Naaman and Elisha gave him something:

27. Now Naaman’s zaraath (leprosy) shall cling to you and to your children forever.” And he went away from before him, stricken with zaraath, [white] as snow.

Yosef / Joseph spoke lashon hara against ten of his brothers.

Bereshis/Genesis – Chapter 37

2. These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father.

Joseph was put into prison in Egypt and according to the Jewish sages served 1 year for each of his brothers, 10 years. And he served an additional 2 years for putting his trust in the chief butler to get him out instead of HaShem (The LORD). I get this information from a Torah.org article.

We know Joseph was 17 years old when he was sold by his brothers (Gen. 37:2). And we know Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh (Gen 41:46).

Rashi tells us about more that happened to Joseph “middah keneged middah”: Any evil he (Joseph) saw in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he would tell his father: 1) that they ate limbs from living animals, 2) that they demeaned the sons of the handmaids by calling them slaves, and 3) that they were suspected of illicit sexual relationships. For these three [tales] he was punished:


  1. For [the report that his brothers ate] limbs from living animals, “they slaughtered a kid” (Gen. 37:31) when they sold him, and did not eat it alive.
  2. For the report that he told about them that they called their brothers slaves, “Joseph was sold as a slave” (Ps. 105:17),
  3. and concerning the illicit sexual relationships that he told about them, “his master’s wife lifted her eyes, etc.” (Gen. 39:7)



Eve and Adam took HaShem (The LORD)’s fruit

Gen 3:6. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to make one wise; so she took of its fruit, and she ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Measure for measure – their fruit was taken from them:

Gen 4:8 . . . Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him.

Gen 4:16 And Cain went forth from before the Lord, and he dwelt in the land of the wanderers, to the east of Eden.

A synonym for “priestly garments” is “middos”

The “Akeidas Yitzchak” points our attention to the synonym that we find in the Torah for “bigdei kehunah“:  The word is “middos“, which also translates as measurements.  The priestly garments had to be perfectly fitted to the measurements of the kohain that wore them.  Thus, the word “middah” translates as garment and also as measurement.

Character traits are called “middos”

In Lashon Hakodesh, however, the word middos is commonly used to denote character traits.  They are called  middos, measurements  because a person must carefully measure all of his personality traits and adjust them in order to achieve functional balance as he strives for  spiritual perfection.

Here’s another definition of Middah, Midah, Mida from OU.org

“Midah” – (f.; pl. “Midot); characteristic or attribute; Divine or human, a measure; as in “Shlosh Esray Midot,” the Thirteen Attributes of HaShem (The LORD);

or as in the principle that HaShem (The LORD) rewards and punishes “Midah K’neged Midah,” “Measure for Measure;” or as in “Al pi din Torah, Sochayr Yehudi Tzarich le-hishtamesh bemishkalim u-midot yesharim,” “According to the Law of the Torah, a Jewish merchant must use honest weights and measures.”

K’neged (Kaf – Nun – Gimmel – Dalet)

neged/nagad (Nun Gimmel Dalet) is the root: in front of, before, to contridict, be against, corresponding to, parallel to.

Kaf: “as, like, according to”

the word k’neged which is the root neged modified by the letter kaf is found only two times in the whole Tanach. Genesis 2:18 and Genesis 2:20.

Judaica Press – a helpmate (ezer) opposite him (k’negdo)
Stone Edition
– a helper (ezer) corresponding to him (k’negdo)

Another way to understand the word k’neged is to see how it is understood from another famous Hebrew phrase.

talmud Torah k’neged kulam which means: “the study of Torah is equal to all” [the commandments]

talmud (study) Torah (Torah) k’neged (equal) kulam (them all)

k’neged is a counterweight – picture k’neged as a weight that is put on an old fashioned scale to balance it.

Middah K’neged Middah, the reward and punishment is the counterweight that balances the books. The only thing we really don’t know is the actual “weight” of a mitzvah or a sin. The “counterweighted” reward could be for thousands of generations, while the “counterweighted” punishment could be for only three or four generations. We can’t really know until Olam HaBa (THE WORLD TO COME).

The evil Ahab King of Israel wanted to buy a vineyard from Naboth, but Naboth refused to sell it to him. Ahab’s evil wife Jezebel made a plot to kill Naboth. The plot worked and Naboth was killed.

Ahab went to the field to take it and HaShem (The LORD) told Elijah to say this to him:

Melachim I / 1st Kings – Chapter 21:19 . . . Thus said the Lord; “In the place that the dogs have licked the blood of Naboth, shall the dogs lick your blood, even yours!”

Middah k’neged middah

Melachim I / 1st Kings – Chapter 22

34. A man drew his bow innocently and hit the king of Israel between the scales and the coat of mail, and he said to his charioteer, “Turn your hand and carry me out of the camp for I have become sick.”
35. The battle became more intense that day and the king was standing in the chariot against the Arameans. He died at evening and the blood of his wounds ran out into the inside of the chariot.
36. A cry passed through the camp as the sun went down saying, “Everyone to his city, every person to his country.”
37. And the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried the king in Samaria
38. And he washed the chariot at the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked his blood, and they washed the weapons there as according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.

The above was not all the “middah k’neged middah” that HaShem (The LORD) did for Ahab’s sin. After Ahab died, his son Jehoram became king. Jehoram was killed in the same vineyard of Naboth.

Melachim II / 2nd Kings – Chapter 9

21. And Jehoram said, “Hitch up!” And he hitched up his chariot. And Jehoram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah, went out each in his own chariot; they went out toward Jehu, and they found him in the territory of Naboth the Jezreelite.

24. And Jehu put all his strength into his bow, and he hit Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow protruded from his heart, and he fell to his knees in his chariot

25. And he said to Bidkar, his officer, “Pick him up! Throw him into the territory of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for remember that you and I were riding together after Ahab his father, when the Lord pronounced this prophecy upon him:

26. ‘Did I not see the blood of Naboth and the blood of his children last night?’ says the Lord. ‘I shall requite you in this plot,’ says the Lord. And now, pick [him] up and throw him into this plot according to the word of the Lord.” I forgot to add that both Naboth and his children were killed. I get this from Rashi and from the above verse

So Ahab killed father and children and his life and the lives of his children were also taken.

Melachim II / 2 Kings – Chapter 10

1. Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria, . . .

7. And it came to pass when the letter reached them, that they took the king’s sons and slaughtered [them], seventy men; and they placed their heads in pots and sent them to him to Jezreel.

This is not all. If you remember, Jezebel used the high men of the city in her plot to kill Naboth. So look what happened to them.

11. And Jehu slew all those remaining of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all the notables and his relatives and his priests until he did not leave over a survivor.

Measure for measure for Jezebel

Melachim I / 1 Kings – Chapter 21

23. And also concerning Jezebel, the Lord spoke saying, ‘The dogs will eat Jezebel in the valley of Jezreel

She thought herself high and mighty, but she came to be as DUNG.

Melachim II / 2 Kings – Chapter 9

33. And he said, “Push her out!” And they pushed her out, and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled her.

34. And he came and ate and drank; and he said, “Attend to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.”

35. And they went to bury her, but they did not find of her save the skull, the feet, and the palms of the hands.

36. And they returned and told him: and he said, “It is God’s word which he spoke through his prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh.

37. And Jezebel’s corpse shall be as dung upon the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one will say, “This is Jezebel.’ “

Jezebel set up a trap to kill a man named Neboth so her husband the king could have Neboth’s vineyard.

1 Kings – Chapter 21

9 And she (Jezebel) wrote in the letters, saying: ‘Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people;

10 and set two men, base fellows, before him, and let them bear witness against him, saying: Thou didst curse God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone סקלhim, that he die.’

Jezebel’s evil plan was carried out and Neboth was stoned to death.

What is Stoning?

stoning punishment (called Skila סקילה in Hebrew) in different terms than the stereotypical notion of hurling rocks at an immobile defendant/victim. Rather, the defendant is brought to the top of a large scaffold, and thrown off. After that (if the defendant was not already dead) very large rocks were dropped on top of the defendant.

Measure for Measure

Jezebel had Neboth stoned and measure for measure, Jezebel was herself “stoned”

2 Kings – Chapter 9

30 And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her eyes, and attired her head, and looked out at the window.

31 And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said: ‘Is it peace, thou Zimri, thy master’s murderer?’

32 And he lifted up his face to the window, and said: ‘Who is on my side? who?’ And there looked out to him two or three officers.

33 And he said: ‘Throw her down.’ So they threw her down; and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses; and she was trodden under foot.

Daniel – Chapter 1

Taking the hostages:

3. Then the king said to Ashpenaz, his chief officer, to bring from the Children of Israel, from the royal seed, and from the nobles.

The assimilation process begins:

5. The king allotted them a daily portion of the king’s food and of the wine that he drank, and to train them for three years, and at the end thereof, they would stand before the king.

The REFUSAL TO DISOBEY G-d’s Commandments:

6. Now there were among them, from the Judahites, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

8. Daniel resolved not to be defiled by the king’s food or by the wine he drank; so he requested of the king’s chief officer that he should not be defiled.

G-d’s first intervention because of Daniel’s resolve:

9. God granted Daniel kindness and mercy before the chief officer.
10. And the chief officer replied to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who allotted your food and your drink, for why should he see your faces troubled more than the youths like you? And you will forfeit my head to the king.”
11. And Daniel answered the steward whom the chief officer had appointed for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
12. “Now test your servants for ten days, and let them give us some pulse that we should eat, and water that we should drink
.(pulse is a type of grain)
13. And let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be seen by you, and as you will see, so do with your servants.”
14. He heeded them in this matter and tested them for ten days

G-d’s additional interventions because they stayed true to their commandments:

15. And at the end of the ten days, they looked handsomer and fatter than all the youths who ate the king’s food.
16. And the steward would carry away their food and the wine they were to drink and give them pulse.

17. And to these youths, the four of them, God gave knowledge and understanding in every script and wisdom, and Daniel understood all visions and dreams.

18. And at the end of the days that the king ordered to bring them, the chief officer brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. 
19. And the king spoke with them, and of all of them, no one was found to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and they stood before the king.

Shmuel I / 1 Samuel – Chapter 11

King Saul, in his first act as king, came to help the people who were surrounded in the city of Jabesh-gilead.

Nahash the Ammonite wanted to  “gouge out the right eye” of all the people of Jabesh-gilead. King Saul saved them from this disgrace.

Measure for Measure – Middah K’neged Middah

When King Saul was found dead on the battlefield many years later, the Philistines took his body and desecrated it. When the people of Jabesh-gilead heard about it . . .

Shmuel I / 1 Samuel – Chapter 31

11. And the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead heard about him, that which the Philistines had done to Saul.

12. And all the brave men rose and went all night and took Saul’s body and his sons’ bodies from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned (for) them there.

13. And they took their bones and buried them under the tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.

“hashgacha pratit” or “hashgacha pratis”

This is the Hebrew term for “personal Divine Providence” or “constant Divine intervention”. My definition would be this: the seemingly “chance happening or event” that we find meaning in, sometimes only much latter, is really not a coincidence at all, it is HaShem (The LORD) directing our path.

Both “middah k’neged middah” (measure for measure) and “hashgacha pratis” (divine providence) are seen in this example:

Melachim II / 2 Kings – Chapter 8

Now, the following is the “middah k’neged middah” because the woman had in Chapter 4 verses 8-10 provided a place for Elisha to stay in her home. Now HaShem (The LORD) was going to restore her home to her.

1. Now Elisha had spoken to the woman whose son he had revived, saying, “Get up and go, you and your household, and sojourn in a place suitable for you to sojourn, for the Lord has decreed a famine, and it is destined to come upon the land for seven years.”

2. And the woman got up and did according to the word of the man of God: and she and her household went, and she sojourned in the land of Philistines for seven years.

3. And it came about at the end of seven years that the woman returned from the land of Philistines; and she went out to complain to the king about her house and about her field.


This is the “hashgocha pratis” part of the story. By “chance” the king is talking to Gehazi about the woman – when guess who comes in . . .

4. Now the king was speaking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Please tell me all the great things that Elisha performed.”

5. And it was that he was telling the king that he revived the dead, that the woman whose son he had revived complained to the king about her house and about her field. And Gehazi said, “My lord the king, this is the woman and this is her son whom Elisha revived.”

6. And the king asked the woman and she told him: and the king appointed for her one eunuch, saying, “Return all her property, and all the produce of the field from the day she left the land until now.”

I wrote above about the fact that the Shunemitess woman provided a home for Elisha and God returned her home to her.

I didn’t see something else in this story.

The woman and her husband had no son. A son is also refered to as a “house”. So HaShem (The LORD) gave her a “house” in Israel because she gave the man of God a place in her house.

Melachim II – Chapter 4

14. And he said, “Now what can we do for her? ” And Gehazi said, “Indeed, she has no son, and her husband is old.”

15. And he said, “Summon her,” and he summoned her, and she stood at the doorway.

16. And he said, “At this time next year, when you will be alive like now, you will be embracing a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God, do not fail your maidservant.”

17. And the woman conceived and bore a son, at this time a year later, which Elisha had spoken to her.

G-d makes a person aware of his fellow’s deficiency for the sole reason that he can do something about it, this is all that person would perceive –the fact of his fellow’s problem and what he could do to resolve it. To also sense another’s guilt and lowliness is completely unnecessary; on the contrary, it only hinders his ability to reach out to him in a loving and tolerant manner.

Thus, if he also senses his fellow’s degradation, he must conclude that this aspect of the experience also serves a purpose. Divine providence has provided him with a mirror with which to discern his own shortcomings.

The Three Sons of Noah

This idea is expressed in the Torah’s account of Noah’s drunkenness and the response it evoked in his three children:

“Noah began to work the land, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and lay exposed in his tent. Cham… saw the shame of their father, and told his two brothers outside. Shem and Japheth took the garment, placed it upon their shoulders, walked backwards, and covered the shame of their father; their faces were backward, andthe shame of their father they did not see.”

What is meant with the words “the shame of their father they did not see”? Do we not already know this from the (twice-repeated) fact that they turned “their faces backward”? But the Torah wishes to stress that the different ways in which the sons of Noah reacted to the knowledge that their father lay drunk and exposed in his tent mirrored their own spiritual states.

Cham’s own decadence was reflected in his vision of his father’s debasement.

But when Shem and Japeth were made aware of their father’s state, their reaction lay solely in what they must now do to correct the situation: not only did they avoid physical sight of their father’s degradation, they also did not perceive his guilt or disgrace.

The shame of their father, they simply did not see.

The lesson of “middah k’neged middah” is very clear in two similar chapters in the Bible. Chapter 14 of Bamidbar/Numbers and Chapter 8 of Shmuel I/1st Samuel.

In both chapters the children of Israel speak their own doom into the ears of HaShem (The LORD) and measure for measure He does to them as they have spoken in His ears.

Shmuel I / 1st Samuel – Chapter 8

5. And they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now, set up for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

20. And also we shall be like all the nations, and our king will judge us, go forth before us and wage our wars.”


Samuel warned the people what a king would do to them, but they insisted.

HaShem (The LORD) heard their speech and gave them exactly what they said.



21. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he spoke to them in the ears of the Lord.

22. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice, and you shall make them a king.”



Bamidbar/Numbers – Chapter 14

1. The entire community raised their voices and shouted, and the people wept on that night.

2. All the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the entire congregation said, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this desert.

3. Why does the Lord bring us to this land to fall by the sword; our wives and children will be as spoils. Is it not better for us to return to Egypt?”

4. They said to each other, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt!”


HaShem (The LORD) heard their speech and gave them exactly what they said.

28. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘if not as you have spoken in My ears, so will I do to you.

Here is an obvious example of Middah K’neged Middah.

Esther – Chapter 7

9. Then said Harbonah, one of the chamberlains before the king, “Also, behold the gallows that Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke well for the king, standing in Haman’s house, fifty cubits high!” And the king said, “Hang him on it!” 10. And they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king’s anger abated.

Esther – Chapter 4

13. And Mordecai ordered to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine to yourself that you will escape in the king’s house from among all the Jews.

14. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and rescue will arise for the Jews from elsewhere, and you and your father’s household will perish; and who knows whether at a time like this you will attain the kingdom?”

This is truly one the most profound verses in the entire Tanach.

There are two important lessons here that I can see.

1. Middah Keneged Middah – We can choose to serve Him or suffer the consequences.

. . . For if you persist in keeping silent at a time like this . . . while you and your father’s house will perish.

2. Hashgocha protis – God has a plan

relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place . . . And who knows whether it was just for such a time as this that you attained the royal position!

Even if you will not do it, HaShem (The LORD) will find a way to accomplish His plan, with you or without you. And every blessing you have may be yours not because you are special, but because He has given you this to accomplish His plan.

I find this to be one of the MOST important verses in all of Scripture. It says, I created you for a reason, but I give you the choice of cooperating or going another direction. If you cooperate, then all will be well with you. If you do not cooperate, that will be too bad for you, but your role will still be accomplished. I will simply take care of it through other means.

In other words, God’s Will will be done, but you have the free choice to be a part of it…or not!

Bereishit / Genesis 18:1  – Three angels visited Avraham

Avraham tells someone (Ishmael) to bring his guests some water

Bereishit / Genesis 18:4 “Let some water be brought . . .”

But Avraham says he will get the bread himself

Bereishit / Genesis 18:5 “I will fetch a morsel of bread . . .”

Middah K’neged Middah

HaShem (The LORD) tells someone (Moshe, Moses) to provide water for Israel

Bamidbar / Numbers 20:8 . . . You (Moshe) shall bring forth water for them from the rock and give the congregation and their livestock to drink.”


But HaShem (The LORD) Himself provides the “bread”

Shemot / Exodus 16:4 So the Lord said to Moses, Behold! I am going to rain down for you bread from heaven

Yaakov/Jacob fooled Yitschak/Isaac with a goat (the hair)

Bereishit / Genesis 27:16 And the hides of the kids (goats) she put on his hands and on the smoothness of his neck.

Yaakov/Jacob was fooled by a goat (the blood)

Bereishit / Genesis 37:31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and they slaughtered a kid, and they dipped the coat in the blood.

Yosef/Joseph’s brothers imprisoned him in a pit

Bereishit / Genesis 37:24 And they took him and cast him into the pit; now the pit was empty there was no water in it.

Yosef imprisoned them all for three days

Bereishit / Genesis 42:17 Then he herded them into a ward for a three-day period.

Yosef imprisoned Simeon until the other brothers returned. The Jewish sages say he did this because Simeon was the one who actually through Yosef in the pit. Yosef lets the natural choice of the oldest brother, Reuben, go to repay him for saving his life.

Bereishit / Genesis 42:23 . . . He (Yosef) took Simeon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes.

Yehuda/Judah hurt his father Yaakov/Jacob with the words “haker na”

Bereishit / Genesis 37:32 And they sent the fine woolen coat, and they brought [it] to their father, and they said, “We have found this; now recognize (haker-na)whether it is your son’s coat or not”

Yehuda/Judah was hurt when Tamar used the same words to him

Bereishit / Genesis 38:25 She (Tamar) was taken out, and she sent to her father in law, saying, “From the man to whom these belong I am pregnant,” and she said, “Please recognize (haker-na) whose signet ring, cloak, and staff are these?”


Yehuda sentenced Tamar to be burned in the fire for harlotry – Bereishis/Genesis 38:24

Yehuda/Judah saves Tamar and her unborn children, Peretz/Perez and Zarach/Zerah, from burning in the fire when she proves to him that he is the father and he was the one who had wronged her by denying his son to her.

By repenting, Judah saves his descendants from burning in the fire. And not just any descendants – Peretz/Perez was the direct ancestor of David.

Middah k’neged middah

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were from the house of Judah:

Daniel 1:6 Among them were, from the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Daniel 1:7 And the chief officer gave them names: he called Daniel Belteshazzar, Hananiah Shadrach, Mishael Meshach, and Azariah Abed-nego.

As everyone knows, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were saved out of the fiery furnace.

Daniel – Chapter 3

23. And these men, the three of them, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell into the burning, fiery furnace, bound.

24. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was bewildered and stood up in haste. He shouted and said to his leaders, “Did I not cast three men into the fiery furnace, bound?” They answered and said to the king, “The king is true.”

25. He called out and said, “Behold, I see four free men walking in the midst of the fire, and there is no wound upon them, and the form of the fourth one is like [that of] an angel.”

26. Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the gate of the burning, fiery furnace. He shouted and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, the servants of the Most High God! Step out and come!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire.

Yehuda/Judah (the Lion) saves his brother Yosef’s life in the pit, by suggesting they sell him to the Ishmaelites.

Bereishit / Genesis 37:27 Come, let us sell him (Joseph) to the Ishmaelites, but our hand shall not be upon him, for he is our brother, our flesh.” And his brothers hearkened.

Yehuda/Judah’s descendant Daniel is not harmed in the pit of Lions:

Daniel 6:23-24

23. My God sent His angel, and he closed the mouths of the lions and they did not hurt me because a merit was found for me before Him, and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

24. Then it pleased the king exceedingly, and he ordered to lift Daniel up out of the pit, and Daniel was lifted up out of the pit, and no injury was found on him because he believed in his God.

Balak the grandfather of Ruth, who is the grandmother of David.

Why did Balak merit this honor?

I will deviate from my normal format on this thread on this post, because the “middah k’neged middah” on this is a little more complicated. The quote is from this article.

The Birkat Avraham, a commentary on the Torah, suggests that in order for an individual to have a parashah named after him, he must be unique and of great merit. . . .

But when we look at this week’s parashah, Parashat Balak, it doesn’t seem to fit the pattern he established. Balak, King of Moav, hired Bilaam to curse the Jewish People so he could defeat them in battle. What redeeming qualities could he possibly have? Perhaps we need a new theory to explain the “parashahs-named-after-individuals’.

The Birkat Avraham, however, does account for this parashah’s name within his theory, and provides us with a beautiful insight while doing so. He directs us to the Talmud in Massechet Sotah (47a) which teaches that a person should always occupy themselves with Torah and mitzvot even though it is “Lo Lishmah” – not for the sake of performing the mitzvah. We are told that even if someone does a mitzvah without wanting to fulfill it, or performs it for an ulterior motive, it is still important that the mitzvah be done for it may well lead them to perform the mitzvot “lishmah” – for their own sake.

The gemara proves this through none other than Balak. Balak offered forty-two sacrifices to HaShem (The LORD) in order to curse the Jewish People; and yet, despite his evil motives, his offering of these sacrifices caused him to merit having Ruth as a granddaughter. Ruth, the great grandmother of King David, and the ancestor of Moshiach himself, has Balak on her family tree. All of the merit of Ruth, King David, King Shlomo and Moshiach thereby stems from their ancestor Balak and the mitzvah he performed.

The Birkat Avraham’s lesson is inspiring: even when we perform the mitzvot against our inclination or will, even when we do them for the wrong reasons, we still fulfill the mitzvah and merit its reward. Balak, enemy of the Jewish People and ancestor of our Redeemer, proves this to us.

Balak gave the sacrifices with such “purity” of heart that he merited a descendant who would offer up thousands of sacrifices. King Solomon.

Avraham was willing to sacrifice his son Yitzchak.

10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife, to slaughter his son.

Middah k’neged middah

16. And he said, “By Myself have I sworn, says the Lord, that because you have done this thing and you did not withhold your son, your only one,

17. That I will surely bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand that is on the seashore, and your descendants will inherit the cities of their enemies.

18. And through your children shall be blessed all the nations of the world, because you hearkened to My voice.”


A note on the topic of reward for good as opposed to punishment for evil

In the Stone Edition comments on Shemot / Exodus 20:5-6 the following is written:

God shows kindness for thousands of generations . . . Thus, the reward for good deeds is five hundred times as great as the punishment for sin (Tosefta, Sotah3:4)

Yitzchak/Isaac wanted to bless Esav the one he loved, but the better son (Yaakov) was substituted by deception.

Yaakov/Jacob wanted to marry the one he loved – Rachel, but the woman (Leah) who would bare, Levi (the family of Moses and Aaron) and Judah (the family of David and Soloman) was substituted to him by deception.

Jacob switched the older and younger siblings when his father Isaac was “in the dark” (blind)’

so too the younger (Rachel) and older (Leah) siblings were later switched when he was in the dark (Jacob’s wedding night).

“the saving of a single life was the equivalent of saving the entire world” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).

Shemot / Exodus 1:15 Now the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one who was named Shifrah, and the second, who was named Puah.

We all know the story, Pharaoh told the midwives to kill the male babies, but they feared God and didn’t do it. They not only didn’t do what he commanded they “caused/enabled the boys to live!” (v. 17)

The name of Shifrah “comes from a Hebrew root that means, “the capacity to make something better, or to improve its quality.” Shifrah “beautified” the babies. The name Puah“comes from a Hebrew root that implies a particular gift of speech. Rashi comments that Puah was able to soothe a crying baby to sleep with her special way of talking.”

measure for measure.

Shemot / Exodus 1:21 And it was because the midwives feared God that He made them houses

What were the houses?
Rashi says this: The houses of the priesthood, the Levitic family, and the royal family, which are called houses, as it is written: And he built the house of the Lord and the house of the king, (I Kings 9:1)

Shifrah had another name it was Yocheved/Jochebed the mother of Moses and Aaron and who was granted to be the mother of the HOUSE of the Kohanim/Levites.

Puah had another name too, it was Miriam the sister of Moses, who according to the Jewish sages was the direct ancester of David King of Israel. Miriam married Calev (Sifri Beha’alotcha 78). She produced Betzalel, from whom David issued (Shemot Rabbah 48:4).

They saved the lives of other women’s babies, and HaShem (The LORD) gave them the honor of being the mother’s of the two great Houses of Israel.

The 10 Plagues on Egypt from Rabbi Sampson Raphael Hirsch

Bereishit / Genesis 15:13 And He said to Abram, “You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers (exile) in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave (servitude) them and oppress (persecution) them, for four hundred years.

The 10 Plagues on Egypt are “payback” for the three above.


In the first plague of each triplet (plagues 1, 4 and 7) the Egyptians who exiled the Jewish people, will experience exile themselves:

  • Plague 1: The Nile–-the most identifiable feature of Egypt will turn blood–Egypt will no longer be Egypt!
  • Plague 4: Wild animals will overtake Egypt,
  • Plague 7: Hail will fall on the warm climate of Egypt.


In the second plague of each triplet (plagues 2,5 and 8) the Egyptians will experience “enslavement.”

  • Plague 2: The Egyptians will be subservient to the timorous frog,
  • Plague 5: The animals will die and the Egyptians will have to clear the land.
  • Plague 8: The locust will enslave the Egyptians.


In the third plague of each triplet (plagues 3,6 and 9) the Egyptians will experience physical “persecution,” they will be subjected to

  • Plague 3: Lice.
  • Plague 6: Boils.
  • Plague 9: Darkness–incarceration!

HaShem (The LORD) calls Betzalel to be the master craftmen of the Mishkan. When God calls him He mentions both his father Uri and his grandfather, Chur/Hur.

  • Shemot / Exodus 35:30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel: ‘See, the LORD hath called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
  • Shemos/Exodus 35:31 And He hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.

Before Moses goes up to the Mountain of God for 40 days, he appoints Aharon/Aaron and Chur/Hur to be in charge.

Shemot / Exodus 24:14. And to the elders he said, “Wait for us here until we return to you, and here Aaron and Chur/Hur are with you; whoever has a case, let him go to them.”

Rashi commentsHur He was Miriam’s son, and his father was Caleb the son of Jephunneh, as it is said: “and Caleb took to himself Ephrath, and she bore to him Hur” (I Chron. 2:19). Ephrath was Miriam, as is stated in Sotah (11b).

But when we get to the story of the sin of the Golden Calf (Chapter 32) there is no mention of Chur.

The sages say Chur was killed when he protested the making of the Golden Calf, his Grandson Betzalel is given the honor of being the master craftsman of the Mishkan. The Mishkan was given to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf. Chur is given the honor of having his name mentioned beside his grandson.

HaShem (The LORD) tells Ahab that his whole house will be cut off. But, when Ahab humbles himself, HaShem (The LORD) only brings the evil on him first, so he doesn’t live to see the destruction of his house and wife. Is even partial teshuva that powerful?

Melachim I / 1 Kings – 21:27. And it was when Ahab heard these words, that he tore his garments and put sackcloth on his flesh and he fasted, and he lay in the sackcloth and walked slowly.

28. And it was the word of the Lord to Elijah the Tishbite saying:

29. “Have you seen that Ahab is submissive to me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; in the days of his son I will bring the disaster on his house.”


Devarim / Dueteronomy 7:10And He repays those who hate Him, to their face (in his lifetime), to cause them to perish; He will not delay the one who hates Him, but he will repay him to his face (in his lifetime).

In the notes to the Stone Edition Chumash:
Even the wicked deserve reward for their good deeds, and God does not deprive anyone of what is rightly his. So the wicked are rewarded, but they will not share the bliss of the World to Come; instead, God rewards them quickly, in this world, so that they will not survive to enjoy the great rewards that await the righteous. (Rashi)

Change the Way You Live

As you read the stories and examples on this site, you might get the overwhelming feeling of dread as you think about some of the things you’ve done and how they might be “middah k’neged middah” returned to you.

HaShem (The LORD) rewards and punishes measure for measure.

So, is the situation hopeless? Or, Can we do something to change the verdict?

We really don’t know the actual “weight” of a mitzvah or a sin.

The only thing we do know is some mitzvah’s have a great weight:

“Teshuva (Return, Repent), Tefillah, (Prayer) and Tzedakah (Charity, Justice ) avert the bad decree.”

“the world stands on three things: Torah, service [of God], and acts of human kindness.”

In the Stone Edition comments on Shemos/Exodus 20:5-6 the following is written:

God shows kindness for thousands of generations . . . Thus, the reward for good deeds is five hundred times as great as the punishment for sin (Tosefta, Sotah 3:4)

The answer is found in:

Ezekiel / Yechezkiel – Chapter 18

From the Stone Edition

21. As for the wicked man, if he repents from all his sins that he committed, and he observes all My decrees and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

22. All his transgressions that he committed will not be remembered against him; he shall live because of the righteousness that he did.

23. Do I desire at all the death of the wicked man? – the word of the Lord HaShem (The LORD) Elohim. Is it not rather his return from his ways, that he might live?

31. Cast off from upon yourselves all your transgressions through which you have transgressed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, O House of Israel?

32. For I do not desire the death of the one who should die – the word of the Lord HaShem (The LORD) Elohim. Turn [yourselves] back and live!

How can we do this?

HaShem (The LORD) has provided a way to GROW our righteousness.

The Chain Reaction of Our Actions

Perkei Avot 4:2 – “mitzvah goreret mitzvah”

Ben Azzai says: “Run to [perform even] an easy mitzvah , and flee from sin; for one mitzvah brings about another mitzvah, and one sin brings about another; for the reward of a mitzvah is the mitzvah , and the reward of a sin is a sin.”

Even when we do a easy mitzvah, we are rewarded by being able to do another mitzvah. One act of obedience leads to the ability to preform another.

Sefer HaChinuch #16

Know that a person is governed by his actions. His heart and all his thoughts are influenced by the actions that he is involved in be they good or bad.

Even a wicked man whose thoughts are concentrated on doing evil all day, if he should start studying Torah and Mitzvot, even if he is not doing it for G-ds sake, he will start acting in a more positive manner. This is because the heart goes after the deeds.

The same holds true, concerning a righteous man, who lives according to the Torah and Mitzvot, but makes a living from dubious transactions, or if for example he is forced by the King or ruler to deal in such dubious matters, he will eventually be transformed from a righteous man to an evil one.

Don’t lose heart! by Rabbi Rambo

The Midrash teaches us (Koheles Raba, ch. 7) that tshuva, prayer, and charity are capable of cancelling an evil edict.

My own father of blessed memory came down with 4 different types of the nasty big C – in his lung, in his joints, in his bone marrow, and in his blood. Then, in 1992, the doctors at NIH said he had 3 more weeks to live. My father came from a non-religious household, but he had a wonderful Jewish heart and was very proud of his son the baal tshuva rabbi. I asked him to do three easy mitzvas, one in the area of tshuva, a second in the area of prayer, and a third in the area of charity. My Pop agreed to throw away his razor blades and shave with an electric razor (tshuva), to say Shma Yisrael every morning after washing his hands (prayer), and to give charity every single day. He lived for another nine years.

Read the similar story of King Hezekiah in Melachim II 2 Kings – Chapter 20

With the measure that a man uses to measure, they measure to him.

Samson went after [the desire of] his eyes [Delilah](Judges 16:4), therefore the Philistines put out his eyes.

Judges 16:21 And the Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison-house.

Absalom gloried in his hair, therefore he was hanged by his hair.

2 Samuel 18:9 And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David. And Absalom was riding upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth, and his head caught hold of the terebinth, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went on.

Devarim/Deuteronomy – Chapter 5

16. Honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you, in order that your days be lengthened, and that it may go well with you on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you.

Our parents give us life, and middah k’neged middah, if we honor them, HaShem (The LORD) “lengthens” life.

Devarim/Deuteronomy – Chapter 19

False Witness


16. If a false witness rises up against a man, to bear perverted testimony against him,

17. Then the two men between whom the controversy exists shall stand before the Lord, before the kohanim and the judges who will be in those days.

18. And the judges shall inquire thoroughly, and behold, the witness is a false witness; he has testified falsely against his brother;

19. then you shall do to him as he plotted to do to his brother, and you shall [thus] abolish evil from among you.


Devarim / Deuteronomy – Chapter 22

Sending away the Mother Bird



6. If a bird’s nest chances before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground, and [it contains] fledglings or eggs, if the mother is sitting upon the fledglings or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother upon the young.

7. You shall send away the mother, and [then] you may take the young for yourself, in order that it should be good for you, and you should lengthen your days.

The very next verse is interesting.

Devarim / Deuteronomy – Chapter 22

8. When you build a new house, you shall make a guard rail for your roof, so that you shall not cause blood [to be spilled] in your house, that the one who falls should fall from it [the roof].

Rashi’s comment’s:

When you build a new house, [you shall make a guard-rail for your roof] If you have fulfilled the commandment of,“sending away [the mother bird from her] nest,” you will eventually build a new house and fulfill the commandment of guard-rail,

because [the fulfillment of] one commandment pulls along with it [an opportunity to fulfill] another commandment [i.e., one commandment leads to another].

You will then come to [possess] a vineyard, a field, and fine clothes. Therefore, these passages are juxtaposed [that is, those just discussed, and the ensuing passages pertaining to vineyards, fields, and garments].

See also verses 9 – 12 of this chapter.


Devarim / Deuteronomy – Chapter 23

HaShem (The LORD) gives you the “interest” that you didn’t charge your brother.



21. You may [however,] give interest to a gentile, but to your brother you shall not give interest, in order that the Lord, your God, shall bless you in every one of your endeavors on the land to which you are coming to possess.

Devarim / Deuteronomy – Chapter 15

Release the debts of your bother, and HaShem (The LORD) will release you from poverty.

1. At the end of seven years you will make a release.

2. And this is the manner of the release; to release the hand of every creditor from what he lent his friend; he shall not exact from his friend or his brother, because time of the release for the Lord has arrived.

3. From the foreigner you may exact; but what is yours with your brother, your hand shall release.

4. However, there will be no needy among you, for the Lord will surely bless you in the land the Lord, your God, is giving you for an inheritance to possess.

5. However, if you hearken to the voice of the Lord, your God, to be careful to do all this commandment, which I am commanding you today.

6. For the Lord, your God, has blessed you, as He spoke to you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.


Devarim / Deuteronomy – Chapter 24

19. When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to take it; it shall be [left] for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord, your God, will bless you in all that you do.

See also verses 20-22.

What we SAY is brought to us “middah k’neged middah”

Mishlei / Proverbs – Chapter 18

20. With the fruit of his mouth does a man’s stomach become sated; with the produce of his lips he is sated.
21. Death and life are in the hand of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its produce.

This lesson is clearly taught in the story of the spies:

Bamidbar/Numbers 14:28. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘if not as you have spoken in My ears, so will I do to you.

Mishlei / Proverbs – Chapter 21

13. He who stops up his ear from the cry of a poor man – he, too, will cry out and not be answered.

Mishlei / Proverbs – Chapter 19

17. He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him his reward.

Rashi’s comment:

He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him his reward When he becomes ill and is close to death, his charity defends him before the Divine standard of justice, saying, “The poor man’s soul was struggling to leave him because of hunger, and this one sustained it. I, too, will return his soul to him.”

Mishlei / Proverbs – Chapter 3

Give HaShem (The LORD) from your barns and He will fill your barns

9. Honor the Lord from your substance and from the first of all your grain,
10. and your barns shall be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Devarim / Deuteronomy – Chapter 15

Open your hand to the needy, and HaShem (The LORD) will bless the work of your hands.

7. If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you shall not close your hand from your needy brother.

8. Rather, you shall open your hand to him, and you shall lend him sufficient for his needs, which he is lacking.

9. Beware, lest there be in your heart an unfaithful thought, saying, “The seventh year, the year of release has approached,” and you will begrudge your needy brother and not give him, and he will cry out to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin to you.

10. You shall surely give him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him; for because of this thing the Lord, your God, will bless you in all your work and in all your endeavors.

Moses told the Tribes of Reuben and Gad, that they could have the land east of the Jordan, but they must first cross over and help their brothers take possession of their inheritance.

Then he said:

Bamidbar / Numbers Chapter 32

23. But, if you do not do so, behold, you will have sinned against the Lord, and be aware of your sin which will find you.

Devarim / Deuteronomy Chapter 19

16. If a false witness rises up against a man, to bear perverted testimony against him, 17. Then the two men between whom the controversy exists shall stand before the Lord, before the kohanim and the judges who will be in those days. 18. And the judges shall inquire thoroughly, and behold, the witness is a false witness; he has testified falsely against his brother;

19. then you shall do to him as he plotted to do to his brother, and you shall [thus] abolish evil from among you.

Devarim / Deuteronomy Chapter 25

14. You shall not keep in your house two different ephah measures, one large and one small.

Rashi Commentary

You shall not keep Heb. לא יהיה לך, literally, “You will not have.” That is, the verse literally reads: “If you keep… two different weights, you will not have.” This teaches us that] if you do this, You will not have anything! – [Sifrei 25:162] [However,]

15. [Rather,] you shall have a full and honest weight, [and] a full and honest ephah measure, in order that your days will be prolonged on the land which the Lord, your God, gives you.

Rashi Commentary

you shall have a full and honest weight [Literally, “If you keep a full and honest weight, you will have.” That is to say,] if you do this, you will have much. — [Sifrei 25:162]

Devarim / Deuteronomy Chapter 32

21. They have provoked My jealousy with a non god, provoked My anger with their vanities. Thus, I will provoke their jealousy with a non people, provoke their anger with a foolish [vile] nation.

The Stone Edition Comments:

Israel angered God by worshiping deities that had no power or value. Measure for measure, God will let them be defeated and subjugated by nations that have no cultural or moral worth, nations that exist solely to exact retribution against Israel.

People don’t listen to HaShem (The LORD) and He will not listen to them.

Mishlei / Proberbs Chapter 1

24. Since I called you and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one listened, 
and you have made nothing of all my advice, and you did not desire my reproof 
I, too, will laugh at your calamity, I will scoff when what you fear comes
when your fear comes like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind; when trouble and straits come upon you. 
Then they will call me, and I will not answer; they shall seek me, and they shall not find me. 
Because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; 
they did not desire my advice, they despised all my reproof- 
they will eat of the fruit of their way, and from their counsels they will be sated,

Mishlei / Proberbs Chapter 5

22. His iniquities shall trap the wicked man, and he shall be hanged with the ropes of his sin.

Mishlei / Proberbs Chapter 10

24. The dread of a wicked man – that will befall him, but the desire of the righteous He will grant.

Rashi commentary:

The dread of a wicked man that will befall him What he fears will befall him. The generation of the Dispersion said, “Lest we scatter” (Gen. 11:4), and their end was that it is written (ibid. 8), “And the Lord scattered them from there.”

Here is a verse that is similar to the above, in that Job, who was not wicked, but was considered good by HaShem (The LORD) (Job 1:1), never the less continuously FEARED his blessed life would come to destruction.

Iyov / Job Chapter 3

24. For the thing I feared has befallen me, and what I dreaded is coming upon me.

Rashi Commentary:

the thing I feared: All my life, I stood in fear of this, as I said (1:5): “Now it would come about, when the cycle of the feasting would days be over, etc.” What I dreaded – Behold!

25. I was not at ease, neither was I quiet, and I did not rest, yet trouble came.

Rashi Commentary:

I was not at ease: from this worry, and behold, trouble has come.

Here is “middah k’neged middah” described in poetic beauty.

Mishlei/Proverbs Chapter 26

2. Like a wandering sparrow and like a flying swallow, so will a vain curse come home.

Rashi Commentary:

Like a wandering sparrow that wanders: and like a swallow that returns to its nest, so…

will a vain curse come home: to the one who uttered it with his mouth.

Mishlei/Proverbs Chapter 28

27. He who gives to a poor man will suffer no want, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

Rashi Commentary:

He who gives to a poor man charity.

will suffer no want (to give him much charity.) And so it is with the teacher who does not withhold Torah from his pupil.

Jethro gave bread to a stranger; HaShem (The LORD) gave the children of Jethro the Bread of Life (Torah)

Kohelet/Ecclesiastes – Chapter 1

1. Send forth your bread upon the surface of the water, for after many days you will find it.

Rashi Commentary:

Send forth your bread upon the surface of the water: Do goodness and kindness to a person about whom your heart tells you that you will never see him again, like a person who casts his food upon the surface of the water.

for after many days you will find it: Days will yet come, and you will receive your recompense. Note what is said about Jethro (Exod. 2:20): “Call him that he should eat bread,” and he thought that he (Moses) was an Egyptian and that he would never see him again. What was his end? He became his son- in-law and reigned over Israel and brought him under the wings of the Shechinah, and his sons and grandsons merited to sit in the Chamber of Hewn Stone.

Bread of Life is the Torah – Devarim 8:3 “. . . man does not live by bread alone, but rather by, whatever comes forth from the mouth of the Lord does man live.”

I want to show you some Hebrew words: Don’t worry if you don’t read Hebrew, just look at the similarity of the letters.

This is the Hebrew word for Riches/Wealth = OSHER


Now let’s look at a few words related to the word TEN = ESER

Ten = eser (Hebrew)


Tithing = aser (Hebrew)


Tithes = masar


Now a saying from the Pirkei Avot 3:17

Translation: Tithes are a fence for Riches.

מעשׂרות סיג לעשׁר

The word in Red above is Maasrot (tithes)

The word in Green above is l’osher (riches)

The words for tithe (giving to God) are spelled with the same letters as Riches/Wealth (God giving to us – see 1 Samuel 2:7)

Malachi – Chapter 3

10. Bring all the tithes into the storage house, and let it be sustenance in My Temple. Test Me, if you will, with this, says HaShem (The LORD), Master of Legions, [see] if I do not open up for you the windows of the heavens and pour out upon you blessing without end.

When we “maser” (tithe)


HaShem (The LORD) gives us “osher” (riches/wealth)


Now let’s look at Jacob:

Bereishit / Genesis – Chapter 28

20. And Jacob uttered a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and He will guard me on this way, upon which I am going, and He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear;
21. And if I return in peace to my father’s house, and the Lord will be my God;
22. Then this stone, which I have placed as a monument, shall be a house of God, and everything that You give me, I will surely tithe (aser aasrenu) to You.

Now let’s look at the result (middah k’neged middah) of Jacob’s vow:

Bereishit / Genesis – Chapter 32

10. And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord, Who said to me, ‘Return to your land and to your birthplace, and I will do good to you.’
11. I have become small from all the kindnesses and from all the truth that You have rendered Your servant, for with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps.

Jacob had NOTHING but a staff when he made his vow to tithe (maser) to HaShem (The LORD), now Jacob had been given so much OSHER (Riches) by HaShem (The LORD) that he could divide it into two camps.

The Talmud (Baba Kama 92a) says that one who prays for another will be granted that thing first. Just like water running through a pipe, the person praying becomes the pipe through which the blessing flows to the other person. The blessing first runs through the one praying on the way to its destination.

We see in the Torah, that when Abraham prayed for Avimelech to be blessed with children, immediately thereafter his wife Sarah conceived and bore a son Isaac (Genesis 21:1-2). Through Abraham feeling Avimelech’s pain and having compassion on him, God responded to Abraham’s pain.

Bereishit / Genesis – Chapter 3

Adam’s wife brought death to the world, but Adam covered her sin by naming her Chava (lifegiver).

Adam covered his wife with her name.

20. And the man named his wife Eve (Chava), because she was the mother of all life.

Measure for Measure HaShem (The LORD) covered their nakedness.

21. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife shirts of skin, and He dressed them.

I got this “middah k’neged middah” insight from here:

“Rav Moshe Wolfson, Mashgiach in Yeshivas Torah V’Da’as, explains that at first glance, Adam’s choice of the name Chava seems like a cover-up for her real essence, the one who brought death to the world. Says Rav Wolfson, that was precisely Adam’s intention. He covered up for his wife’s mistake and gave her a name that we lovingly give to our daughters today. Did Adam do the right thing? HaShem (The LORD) himself affirms that! The very next verse says, “And HaShem (The LORD) made for Adam and his wife garments of skin and he clothed them” (Bereishis 3:21). Since Adam covered for his wife, HaShem (The LORD), midoh k’neged middoh, (in the same fashion) covered them.”

Bamidbar / Numbers – Chapter 12


1. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses regarding the Cushite woman he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.

10. The cloud departed from above the Tent, and behold, Miriam was afflicted with tzara’ath, [as white] as snow. Then Aaron turned to Miriam and behold, she was afflicted with tzara’ath.

15. So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not travel until Miriam had entered.

Measure for measure – middah k’neged middah

Loshon Hara (Evil Speech) causes a division between people – and the punishment – Tzara’as – causes the sinner to be separated from all the people.

The Waters of Noah

In Yeshayahu – Isaiah 54:9 the flood that destroyed the world is called the “waters of Noah”.

Why did HaShem (The LORD) name this terrible event the “waters of Noah”?

What did Noah do or not do to have the flood named after him?

Bereishit – Genesis Chapter 6

14. Make for yourself an Ark . . .

In the verse just before this verse (v. 13), HaShem (The LORD) told Noah that He was going to “destroy [everyone] from the earth.” Now HaShem (The LORD) tells Noah to “make for yourself” an Ark. Why does He say “make for yourself“?

There are at least two different ways you can interpret this phrase. One is you build this Ark yourself, with your own hands.

Here is another way to interpret this phrase:

“Make an Ark to symbolize your own behavior. You remained aloof from your compatriots, instead of chastising them and trying to save them by improving their conduct. Now, you will isolate yourself in an Ark with beasts and animals” (Alshich) from the Stone Chumash commentary.

The Flood was called the “waters of Noah” because Noah did nothing to save his neighbors.

Noah was called to “aseh lecha tebat” “build for yourself an ark” and he obeyed HaShem (The LORD)’s commandment. He was called “righteous in his generations”. What does “in his generations” mean? Was Noah only called righteous in comparison to the generations that he lived in? In other words, was he just the only one who would keep the letter of HaShem (The LORD)’s law in his generation?

To answer that question, let’s look at another person in the Bible who was told to do something “lecha” “for yourself”. That person is Abraham. God told Abram to “Lech Lecha” “go, for yourself” and “I will make you a great nation” and “all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.”

What did HaShem (The LORD) mean by these words? I think there are many answers to this question, but I think we can narrow it down to the difference between Abraham and Noah. Abraham not only obeyed the commandments of God, he taught others to do the same (Gen 18:19). Abraham spent his life teaching others. He would show strangers hospitality and then teach them about HaShem (The LORD). Even before God told Abram to “go for yourself”, Abraham and Sarah had “made” souls in Haran by converting people to faith in HaShem (The LORD) (Gen. 12:5). Noah “made” an Ark to save himself and he was alone, Abraham “made” souls to save others.

Middah k’neged middah “all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by [Abraham]”

Middah k’neged middah the horrible flood that wiped the surface of the earth is called the “waters of Noah”.

Elijah believed he was the only one left that observed the Covenant.

Melachim I/1st Kings – Chapter 19

10. And he said: “I have been zealous for the Lord, the God of Hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant. They have torn down Your altars and they have killed Your prophets by the sword, and I have remained alone, and they seek my life to take it.

HaShem (The LORD) told Elijah there was yet 7,000 faithful.

Melachim I/1st Kings – Chapter 19

18. And I will leave over in Israel seven thousand, all the knees that did not kneel to the Baal and every mouth that did not kiss him.”

Because Elijah said there was no others who were faithful, HaShem (The LORD) gave Elijah’s job as Prophet to Elisha.

Measure for Measure – Middah K’neged Middah

Elijah said “the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant.”

HaShem (The LORD) said, “Upon your life, wherever people will observe the Holy Covenant, THAT IS, CIRCUMCISION, you shall be present.”
this quote is from the Zohar translation here, scroll down to paragraph 85

Even today, the faithful Jews still leave the door open and a place is set at the table for Elijah.

Tehillim / Psalms – Chapter 52

  1. For the conductor, a maskil of David.
  2. When Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul and said to him, “David came to the house of Ahimelech.”
  3. Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man? God’s kindness is constant.
  4. Your tongue plots destruction, as a sharpened razor, working deceit.
  5. You loved evil more than good, falsehood more than speaking righteousness forever.
  6. You loved all destructive words, a deceitful tongue.
  7. God, too, shall tear you down forever; He will break you and pluck you from [your] tent, and uproot you from the land of the living forever.
  8. And righteous men will see and fear, and laugh at him.
  9. “Behold the man who does not place his strength in God and trusts his great wealth; he strengthened himself in his wickedness.”


Who was this Doeg?

He was the “chief of [King] Saul’s shepherds” (1 Sam 21:8). Further, we are told in 1 Sam. 22:9 that Doeg was “appointed over Saul’s servants”. David tells us in Psalm 52:9 that Doeg is a man who “trusts his great wealth”.

The Hebrew name “Doeg” comes from the verb “daag” “to be anxious, fearful, afraid”, so Doeg might have been a man who made others “anxious, fearful and afraid’.

So Doeg was wealthy, powerful and possibly a man who caused others to be afraid.

What did Doeg do that made David write this Psalm?

Doeg commited the sin of Lashon Hara which caused a chain of events that led to the almost total destruction of the family of the priest Achimelech.

We can learn even more about Doeg by looking at Hebrew root words with the letter combination of Dalet – Gimel.

As you can see, the Dalet – Gimel combination seems to carry the idea of something waving back and forth like the tail of a “fish”. And from the idea of “fish” comes the idea of multiplying, increasing, growing.

1 Samuel 22:16 – Saul tells Achimelech he must die.

1 Samuel 22:17 Saul’s men do not consent to kill Achimelech, so . . .

1 Samuel 22:18 Saul tells Doeg to do it. But in this verse, Doeg’s name is spelled differently.

Now look at the different spellings of Doeg in chapter 21 and chapter 22 of 1 Samuel.

The spelling of Doeg in chapter 22 looks more like the Hebrew word for “fisherman” – 

You are caught like a fish

Because of this spelling change, Rashi comments that Saul said to Doeg:

“You are caught like a fish. You informed on them. You slay them.”

So Doeg kills 85 priests, then goes to the city of Nob and kills man and woman, child and sucking, ox, donkey and sheep (1 Sam 22:19). Doeg’s lashon hara has caused the near total destruction of the family of Achimelech, only one son named Abiathar escapes.

Measure for Measure

In Psalm 52, David writes the destructive words of Doeg will come back to him, and Doeg will be uprooted from the land of the living and lose his place in the world to come.

What Doeg did to Achimelech and his family, would be done to him, middah k’neged middah.

Bereishit / Genesis – Chapter 6

11. Now the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth became full of robbery.

12. And God saw the earth, and behold it had become corrupted, for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth.

13. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth has become full of robbery because of them, and behold I am destroying them from the earth.

17. And I, behold I am bringing the flood, water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which there is the spirit of life, from beneath the heavens; all that is upon the earth will perish.

Hebrew Play on Words

In Hebrew all the words in red above are from the same root.

How are “being corrupted” and “being destroyed” related?

Many words that have the letter combination “Shin – Chet” have the idea of “being lowered

As you can see, to corrupt is to bring down, to destroy is to bring down, to be buried in a pit is to bring down

Look at the Hebrew below, all the words in the above verses are forms of “shachat“:

Measure for Measure

The generation of the flood lowered” “shachat themselves and the whole Earth with their great sins.

Middah K’neged Middah – HaShem (The LORD) lowered” “shachat the whole Earth beneath the waters of the flood.

Mishlei / Proverbs – Chapter 10

24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him . . .

They feared being scattered, and their fear came upon them.

Bereishit / Genesis – Chapter 11

4 And they said: ‘Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad [form of פוץ] upon the face of the whole earth.’

8 So the LORD scattered them abroad [form of פוץ] from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.

9 Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad[form of פוץ] upon the face of all the earth.

All words above are forms of the Hebrew verb “poots” PEY-VAV-TSADIE – to scatter

Middah K’neged Middah is not always about punishment, sometimes it is about a FULL reward

Rut / Ruth – Chapter 2

10. And she fell on her face and prostrated herself to the ground, and she said to him, “Why have I pleased you that you should take cognizance of me, seeing that I am a foreigner?”

11. And Boaz replied and said to her, “It has been told to me all that you did for your mother-in-law after your husband’s death, and you left your father and your mother and your native land, and you went to a people that you did not know before.

12. May the Lord reward your deeds, and may your reward be full from the Lord God of Israel, under Whose wings you have come to take shelter.”

Look at the word above – be full

In Hebrew this word is “sh’-le-mah“, and here is how it is spelled without the vowel points:

As you know, Ruth married Boaz and –

Rut / Ruth – Chapter 4

21 . . . and Boaz begot Obed; 22 and Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

And as you know, King David begot Solomon.

Solomon in Hebrew is “Shlomo” – Here is “Shlomo” “Solomon” written in Hebrew:

As you can see, without the vowel points, the two words are exactly the same. Ruth’s full reward was that she would be the direct maternal ancestor of King David and King Shlomoand from their descendants, The Mashiach himself.

Mishlei / Proverbs – Chapter 10

We learned the first part of this verse in the post about “scattering” above:

24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him . . .

Now let’s use Boaz blessing on Ruth to learn the second part:

24 . . . and the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

Bereishit – Genesis – Chapter 49

5. Simeon and Levi are brothers; stolen instruments are their weapons. (see note below)


6. Let my soul not enter their counsel; my honor, you shall not join their assembly, for in their wrath they killed a man, and with their will they hamstrung a bull.

7. Cursed be their wrath for it is mighty, and their anger because it is harsh. I will separate them throughout Jacob, and I will scatter them throughout Israel.

Simeon and Levi joined together to kill Shechem and Hamor (Bereishit – Genesis 34:25), they also joined together to advise the killing of Joseph (Bereishit – Genesis 37:20) (see note below)

Measure for Measure

Separate and scatter

Because Simeon and Levi joined together in conspiracy and violence, their tribes would be divided or scattered when their descendants came into the land.

The tribe of Simeon did not receive a separate inheritance in the Land of Israel, their cities were within the inheritance of Judah (Yehoshua – Joshua 19:1-9)

The tribe of Levi did not receive a separate inheritance in the Land, they were given cities scattered throughout Israel (Yehoshua – Joshua chapter 21).


Rashi’s comment on Simeon and Levi plotting the killing of Joseph.

Simeon and Levi are brothers [They were] of one [accord in their] plot against Shechem and against Joseph: �So they said one to the other, ��So now, let us kill him�� � (Gen. 37:19f). Who were �they� ? If you say [that it was] Reuben or Judah, [that cannot be because] they did not agree to kill him. If you say [that it was] the sons of the maidservants, [that cannot be because] their hatred [toward him] was not [so] unmitigated [that they would want to kill him], for it is stated: �and he was a lad [and was] with the sons of Bilhah� (Gen. 37:2). [It could not have been] Issachar and Zebulun [because they] would not have spoken before their older brothers. [Thus,] by necessity [we must say that] they were Simeon and Levi, whom their father called �brothers.� – [from Gen. Rabbah, Shitah Chadashah]


Other ways to translate “stolen instruments are their weapons.”

Others translate the verse, ‘They are at home with instruments of crime’ (Rashi; Ralbag; Bereshith Rabbah 98); or ‘They plot with instruments of violence'(Septuagint).
Also the Stone Edition – “their weaponry is a stolen craft” because this is the trait of Esau’s descendants not Jacob’s.

As you have spoken in My Ears, so will I do to you

Moses sent for Dathan and Aviram to try to stop the rebellion of Korach.

They said they would not GO UP

Bamidbar – Numbers – Chapter 16

12. Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not go up.

Rashi’s comment

We will not go up Their own mouths caused them to stumble, [to say] that they would have only a downfall. – [Mid. Tanchuma Korach 6, Num. Rabbah 10]


Bamidbar – Numbers – Chapter 16

25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.

31 And it came to pass, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground did cleave asunder that was under them.

32 And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

33 So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit; and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the assembly.

They Asked for a King

Shaul (name)King Saul (Shaul)

Shmuel I / 1st Samuel – Chapter 8

Like All the Nations

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah.

5 And they said unto him: ‘Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’

6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said: ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

Forewarn Them about the Manner of the King

7 And the LORD said unto Samuel: ‘Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be king over them.

8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, in that they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice; howbeit thou shalt earnestly forewarn them, and shalt declare unto them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.’

The name “Shaul” is derived from the verb “shaal – to ask

10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.

Verses 11-18 are warnings telling exactly what the future kings would do

11 And he said: ‘This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them unto him, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and they shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint them unto him for captains of thousands, and captains of fifties; and to plow his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and the instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters to be perfumers, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

17 He will take the tenth of your flocks; and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king whom ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not answer you in that day.’

Samuel spoke their words in the ears of the LORD

19 But the people refused to hearken unto the voice of Samuel; and they said: ‘Nay; but there shall be a king over us;

20 that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.’

21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he spoke them in the ears of the LORD

Measure for Measure, they asked for a king and they got everything that came with that request.

22 And the LORD said to Samuel: ‘Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.’ And Samuel said unto the men of Israel: ‘Go ye every man unto his city.’

Now look at this similar quote from:

Bamidbar/Numbers – Chapter 14

28. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘if not as you have spoken in My ears, so will I do to you.

‘Go up, thou baldhead; go up, thou baldhead.’

Melachim II / 2 Kings – Chapter 2

23 And he went up from thence unto Beth-el; and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him: ‘Go up, thou baldhead; go up, thou baldhead.’

24 And he looked behind him and saw them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tore forty and two children of them.

There are many people who use this story to try to prove that HaShem, blessed be His Name, is cruel or unfair. However, to understand this story you can not take it out of the context of the blessings and cursings promised by HaShem (The LORD) in the Torah (Leviticus chapter 26, Deuteronomy chapter 28).

When we look at these blessings and cursings it is obvious that the punishment of sending the bears was against the parents of the children as much as it was against the children themselves.

The children were making fun of a prophet of God and challenging him to “go up” like Elijah had done in this same chapter.

Why would they have done this?

Obviously, they had not been taught by their parents to respect HaShem’s Laws and His chosen messengers. Their parents had treated the teaching and obeying of HaShem’s Laws with causal indifference. Because of this attitude, their children also thought it OK to treat God’s prophet with disrespect.

In Vayikra / Leviticus – Chapter 26, HaShem warns the people what would happen to them if they treated His Laws with indifference:

Vayikra / Leviticus – 26:21 If you are indifferent to Me and lose the desire to obey Me, I will again increase the punishment for your sins sevenfold.

Vayikra / Leviticus – 26:22 I will send wild beasts among you, killing your children, destroying your livestock, and reducing your population, so that the roads will become deserted.

The word indifferent above is also translated as

In the Stone Edition – If you behave casually with Me

JPS – And if ye walk contrary unto Me

Judiaca Press – And if you treat Me as happenstance

In the Stone Edition notes to Vayikra / Leviticus – 26:21 there is a clue to why this story is middah k’neged middah.

Ibn Ezra, Rambam, and R’ Bachya render with happenstance, meaning that the people will refuse to recognize that their misfortunes were Divinely ordained[and that, if carefully and objectively analyzed, the punishments could be seen to fit the crime, and therefore, as a clear message to repent (Or HaChaim)]. Instead, they will insist that everything was a coincidence, the result of natural causes.

The “mothers” of these children had not taught them, so HaShem sends two “She bears” or “MOTHER bears” to teach the parents that their “causal indifference” toward HaShem had lost the blessing of safe and healthy children promised in Vayikra / Leviticus – chapter 26:

3. If you will follow My decrees, and observe My commandments and perform them . . .

6. . . . I will cause wild beasts to withdraw from the land

9. I will turn My attention to you, I will make you fruitful and increase you . . .”



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