When the people of Israel left Egypt they did not leave alone. They left with a mixed multitude of many people (Exodus 12:38). What happened to the mixed multitude in the desert and, specifically, after the giving of the Torah? We hear of all the tribes, where they camped in the wilderness, etc., but I do not recall hearing again about the mixed multitude. What might have become of them? Do we have a tradition on this? Beyond a place in the camp layout, should they not have raised the issue of conversion or intermarriage - for the first time after receiving the Torah?

(This question is different from a similar question, What happened to the Eirev Rav?, which discusses what happened to the mixed multitude after the people entered Canaan.)

  • Don't have direct sources for this one, but I recall some points: 1) The Eirev Rav were the major force behind the golden calf 2) Converts are not given a tribe, they acquire land through marriage into the rest of tribes so 3) they resided outside the tribal boundaries established in the desert, but weren't restricted to a specific "place" in the formation. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:16
  • Yeah, I learned that they all(?!) died after the Golden Calf :(
    – SAH
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 1:44
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of What happened to the Eirev Rav? Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 6:11
  • 1
    @ShmuelBrin This question is about what happened to the mixed multitude in the desert, not after coming to Israel (it was already marked as a duplicate and reopened a few years ago)
    – b a
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 8:19
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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/2348/… Commented May 14, 2021 at 19:28

3 Answers 3


The erev rav are the secular Jews who hate the Torah like in Israel where they are trying to force the yeshiva students to join the army. Check the sefer 'Koivetz Mamorim' which is a collection of letters from Reb Elechonon Wasserman, Chofetz Chaim and other Gedolim of pre-WW2 who talk about this stuff.

  • Sounds something straight out of the "empty wagon"
    – sam
    Commented May 8 at 22:06

According to B'midbar 11.1 a fire broke out amongst them.

Rashi comments: the extremes of the camp: Heb. בִּקְצֵה הַמַּחֲנֶה. Those untouchable because of their baseness-these were the mixed multitude (See Exod. 12:36). R. Simeon ben Menassia says, The most distinguished (קְצִינִים) among them and the prominent ones. — [Sifrei Beha’alothecha 1:42:1]

"The people were looking to complain, and it was evil in the ears of the Lord. The Lord heard and His anger flared, and a fire from the Lord burned among them, consuming the extremes of the camp."

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    OK. But 11-4 says the mixed multitude was still active, leading Israel to ask about meat.
    – Yehuda W
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 15:13
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    Are you saying that they were all wiped out?
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 2:49

They became Moshe Rabbeinu's own people, as it says שחת עמך , your people have corrupted and caused destruction.
So presumably they encamped by him among the Levites?

שחת עמך THY PEOPLE HAVE CORRUPTED THEMSELVES — It does not say the people have corrupted but “thy” people — the mixed multitude whom you received of your own accord and accepted as proselytes without consulting Me. You thought it a good thing that proselytes should be attached to the Shechina — now they have corrupted themselves and have corrupted others (Exodus Rabbah 42:6). https://www.sefaria.org/Exodus.32.7?lang=bi&with=Rashi&lang2=en

Tikunei Zohar:
Translation by A. Nonymous https://www.ha-zohar.info/?p=21331 with some emphases and edits here

Tikkun 13 daf 27b
BRASYT - In there is ASRY .. Ashrei ha'ish etc. [So Ashrei is One, of the Ten Types of Song that Sefer Tehillim is composed of] [and from which The Tikkun haKlali was revealed by Rabbi Nachman, the ten Tehillim of ten types, chapters 16 32 41 42 59 77 90 105 137 150]


daf 28b
...The Sixth (type of song is) הללויה Halleluyah (praised is Hashem), Halleluhu הללוהו this is ה''ו, about this is said, "the night of guarding is for Hashem" (Exo. 12:42), and this is the Middle Column, and the secret of the matter, "Listen, praise, and say, Hashem save your nation the remnant of Yisroel" (Jer. 31:6), to fulfill the verse, "like the days you left Egypt I will show you wonders" (Micha 7:15).

And the secret of the matter, "מה שהיה הוא שיהיה what he was (at first) he will be (again)" (Ecc. 1:9), and in it, "ממכון שבתו השגיח from the place he dwells he watches" [Acrostic Moshe] (Psalms 33:14), because he is in the form of the Middle Column, in that time will be fulfilled the secret of the Mishnah which says one can eat (Chametz, evil) all of the fourth (hour, millenium), and let it hang all of the fifth (hour) this is the fifth millenium, and you burn it in the beggining of the sixth (hour) which is the sixth millenium.

In order not to separate between the sixth which is the Middle Column [Waw] and between the Seventh [=Nuqva the female the Hei] which is his soul mate, one needs to destroy all the sour dough and chametz (leaven), which is the mixed multitude, in order not to see it between the sixth which is the ו' and the seventh, as it says about it, "seven times a day I praise you" (ibid. 119:164). Because the mixed multitude separated between the sixth and the seventh at the giving of the Torah, like we have said, "And the nation saw that Moshe was בשש delayed" (Exo. 32:1), as we have explained (the word) בשש, in the sixth hour they made the Calf and they separated between the ו-ה which is between the sixth and seventh, so too Hashem will separate them (from the Jews) between the sixth and the seventh.

Because of them, there is split matzah, poor man's bread, certainly it is poor, in that time it will be complete just like its partner which is complete matzah, as it is written, "And it will be the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun..." (Isa. 30:26). And why is it split מצה matzah? Because the ו', her leg has gone away to be a מצוה commandment. The split matzah is left with the ד', because of this the split matzah is a ד', the complete matzah is the ה' because of this we say the complete Hallel and the non complete Hallel on Pesach in order to represent the complete matzah and the split matzah.

And we say Maror (bitterness) because the ו' has separated from the ה' and this caused "and they made their lives bitter" (Exo. 1:14), there is מרור and there is מרה as it is written, "call me מרה because ש-ד-י Hashem has made me bitter" (Ruth 1:20) in קשה hard work in קשיא questions, with חמר material in קל וחמר (a conclusion inferred from a lenient law to a strict one), between the nations of the world.

And who caused this? The י' from the name ש-ד-י which is the imprint of the covenant that Moshe gave to the mixed multitude, because of this Moshe fell from his level, as it is written, "go, descend because your people caused destruction" (Exo. 32:7); it says 'your nation' not My nation. Through his hands in the future the Shechinah will be united with Hashem; because it is he [Moshe] that separated them [the Sh' and H' due to his Erev Rav]; therefore he needs to unify them [the Sh' and H'], to rectify what he [Moshe] erred. All the friends got up and kissed him and said, "If we hadn't come into the world except to just hear these words it would be enough!".

The Seventh (type of song is) נצוח (eternity song)...


שתיתאה הללויה הללוהו ודא ה"ו, עליה אתמר ליל שמורים הוא לה', ודא איהו עמודא דאמצעיתא, ורזא דמלה השמיעו הללו, ואמרו הושע ה' את עמך את שארית ישראל, לקיים קרא (מיכה ו') כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות:

ורזא דמלה מ'ה ש'היה ה'וא שיהיה, וביה מ'מכון ש'בתו ה'שגיח, בגין דאיהו דיוקנא דעמודא דאמצעיתא, בההוא זמנא אתקיים רזא דמתניתין דאמר אוכלין כל ארבע, ותולין כל חמש דהיינו אלף חמשאה, ושורפין בתחלת שש דאיהו אלף שתיתאה:

ובגין דלא יפרישו בין שש דאיהו עמודא דאמצעיתא, ובין שבע דאיהי בת זוגיה, צריך לבערא שאור וחמץ דאינון ערב רב, דלא יתחזיין בין שש דאיהו ו', ובין שבע דאתמר בה שבע ביום הללתיך, בגין דערב רב אפרישו בין שש לשבע במתן תורה, כמה דאת אמר (שמות ל"ב) וירא העם כי בשש משה, ואוקמוהו בשש, באלין שית שעתין עבדו ית עגלא, ואפרישו בין ו"ק דאינון שש לשבע, הכי יפריש לון קודשא בריך הוא בין שש לשבע:

דבגינייהו הוות מצה פרוסה לחם עני עני ודאי, ובההוא זמנא תהא שלימה כגוונא דחברתה דאיהי מצה שלימה, הדא הוא דכתיב (ישעיה ל') והיה אור הלבנה כאור החמה, ואמאי הוות מצה פרוסה, בגין דאסתלק מנה ו' רגל דילה למהוי לה מצוה, ומצה פרוסה אשתארת ד', ובגין דא מצה פרוסה ד', מצה שלימה ה', ובגין דא אמרין הלל גמור והלל שאינו גמור בפסח, לקבל מצה שלימה ומצה פרוסה:

ואמרין מרור, על שם ו' דאתפרש מן ה', ודא גרים לון דוימררו את חייהם, איהו מרור ואיהי מרה, הדא הוא דכתיב (רות א') קראן לי מרה כי המר שד"י לי, בעבודה קשה בקשיא, בחמר בקל וחמר, בין אומין דעלמא:

ומאן גרים דא, י' מן שדי רשימו דברית, דיהיב משה בערב רב, בגין דא נחית משה מדרגיה, הדא הוא דכתיב (שמות ל"ב) לך רד כי שחת עמך, עמך ולא עמי, ועל ידיה עתידה שכינתא לייחדא עם קודשא בריך הוא, בגין דאיהו אפריש לון, צריך לייחדא לון, לתקנא במה דחאב, קמו כלהו חבריא ונשקו ליה, ואמרו אי לא אתינא לעלמא אלא למשמע דא די:

The Berur / clarification, refinement, separation extraction has gone one for several eras, until finally the good is extracted and the wicked are wiped out bb"a Na Nach.

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