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6. RASHI METHOD: STYLE
Rashi examines inferences between general and detail statements.
This examples applies to Rashis Gn43-20a
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/gn03-01c.htm

    The Bible will frequently use an example method to illustrate an abstract point. Here are some simple examples
  • Verse Ex21-35 states And if one manís ox damages the ox of his friend, and it dies; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide its money; and the dead ox also they shall divide. Rashi comments: This ox law is an example of a more general law of damage by any animal: reimbursement must be made. Here the Bible teaches the abstract idea of a reimbursement requirement for animal damages by using the example of a damaging ox.
  • Verse Ex21-18:19 discussing punishment for death from a fight states And if men quarrel together, and one strikes another with a stone, or with his fist, and he dies not, but keeps to his bed; If he rises again, and walks out with his staff, then shall he who struck him be acquitted; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. Rashi comments: THis staff requirement is an example of the general abstract idea of health. That is if after a fight a person regains his health then the person inflicting the blows does not receive a death penalty. Here again the Bible teaches the abstract idea of regaining health exempts from a death penalty by using the concrete specific example of walking on ones staff. There is an important point here---the person is exempt from a death penalty if (s)he regains his health even if they don't walk on a staff. The walking on one's staff is only an example of a more general abstract theme.
  • Verse Gn43-30 discussing the meeting after 17 years of Joseph and Benjamin states And Joseph made haste; for he had goose-pimples upon his brother; and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. Rashi regards this weeping as an example of the general abstract theme of caring Consequently Rashi gives other examples of this abstract idea of caring: Benjamin explained how he named his 10 sons over his missing brother: So one son was called swallowed because Joseph was swallowed by a wild animal; another son was called brother because Joseph was his brother; another son was called we06ing because the two brothers never attended each others we06ings.

This Rashi, superficially, appears quite startling. The verse gives no indication of Benjamin discussing the names of his children. Thus the Rashi appears homiletic and arbitrary. But once we understand that Rashi is using the style method everything becomes clear.Rashi is not claiming that the verse indicates that Benjamin explained the names of his 10 children. Rather the verse gives an example,Joseph crying and having goose pimple which illustrates the abstract idea of Joseph caring for Benjamin. Rashi then takes this abstract idea and gives other plausible examples.

    This is entirely analogous to the Bible speaking
  • about an ox damaging and interpreting this as applying to any animal damaging. Or, it is analogous to the Bible speaking
  • about walking on one's cain and interpreting this as applying to any regaining of health. So too the Bible speaks
  • about goose pimples and crying and we interpret this as applying to any caring behavior. Rashi's goal here is not to reconstruct every detail of what happened but rather to create an atmosphere of caring events.


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