The gemarra states that Moshe did three things of his own accord, and Hashem concurred (Shabbos 87a; Yevamos 62a; Shemos Rabbah 46:3 (slightly different list); Avos D'Rabbi Nosson 2:3 (lists four, the three from the gemarra and the extra one from Shemos Rabbah)).

Chazal also tell us that Hashem told Moshe to warn Pharaoh that the firstborn will die "bachatzos halailah", at the stroke of midnight1. Instead, Moshe said "kachatzos halailah", approximately at midnight (Brachos 4a).

The above list doesn't include this occurrence. Do any commentaries note that this is another case that was left out, or explain why? Or do any say that Hashem in fact did not concur with this change, and why?

1 This is the simple understanding of the gemarra, starting from Berachos 3b, the understanding of Tosafos (Berachos 3b), Maharsha (ad loc.), Rabbeinu Bachaye, Mizrachi (according to the Levush), Maskil L'Dovid, Tzeidah LaDerech, and Ba'er Heitev. Cf. Levush and Be'er BaSadeh, who are appalled at the suggestion that Moshe changed what Hashem said, and assert Hashem told Moshe to say kachatzos.

  • Where did God tell Moshe to say "bachatzos halailah"?
    – Double AA
    Aug 16, 2022 at 18:45
  • @DoubleAA thanks for enlightening me. Added sources.
    – robev
    Aug 16, 2022 at 19:38
  • It seems to me the simple answer to your question is just God didn't tell Moshe how to say it and Moshe chose to say כחצות for the reason in the gemara. Every prophet speaks in his own style.
    – Double AA
    Aug 16, 2022 at 19:43
  • @DoubleAA ?? Moshe spoke face-to-face with Hashem, so he didn't need to paraphrase or interpret, he just quoted word for word what Hashem said (Sifrei Bamidbar 153:2, brought by Rashi to Numbers 30:2)
    – robev
    Aug 16, 2022 at 19:48
  • If God wanted Moshe to use certain words He definitely could ensure he did. That doesn't mean all of Moshe's pronouncements were prerecorded.
    – Double AA
    Aug 16, 2022 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


I thought that there may be a distinction that the other three were actions, where this was only words. I found this also said by this website:


  • 1
    Thanks for the link. Nice to see I'm not the only one who asked this. His answer doesn't fit what I brought from Shemos Rabbah and Avos D'Rabbi Nosson, but good enough to get +1
    – robev
    Aug 16, 2022 at 17:31

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