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    3. RASHI METHOD: GRAMMAR
    BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi explains verses using grammar principles, that is, rules which relate reproducable word form to word meaning. Grammatical rules neatly fall into 3 categories
    • (a) the rules governing conjugation of individual words,Biblical roots,
    • (b) the rules governing collections of words,clauses, sentences
    • (c) miscellaneous grammatical, or form-meaning, rules.
    This example applies to Rashis Ex02-05c
    URL Reference:http://www.Rashiyomi.com/ex02-05c.htm

Verse Ex02-05c states And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the riverís side; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to fetch it. Rashi notes the su13en shift in the underlined words from singular to plural. Hence the Rashi comment (with added explanation): Pharoh, her father had issued a death decree on the Jewish babies. So his daughter couldn't take the risk of allowing any maid to take the baby since word would leak back to her father. Instead she sent her personal maid, the one who was always in attendance on her. The verse indicates this by the shift in plurality: The maidens walked along the river but she sent her maid to fetch it.

Advanced Rashi and sermonic points: Rav Hirsch points out that despite Pharoh's decree the Egypitan people were not blood thirsty and didn't really care to participate in the mass murder. Here we see Pharoh's own daughter violating his decree and conspiring with the child's Jewish mother.

This has relevance for us today. Bad decrees very often emanate from rulers; the masses however may be sympathetic to Jewish causes. This allows formation of an underground that can help Jewish causes. The Jews have frequently exploited this in their various struggles.

Rashi's literal language is as follows: The verse refers to Pharoh's daughter's maiden. However the Talmudic Rabbis referred it to her personal hand which stretched forward several feet to save the baby.

I would interpret personal hand to mean her personal handmaid. I would interpret stretched several feet to mean that Pharoh's daughter carried a royal sceptre by which decrees can be made. We find such a sceptre referred to by Achashveirosh who stretched forth his sceptre to prevent his protective service from killing queen Vashti Es05-02. I would apply this concept here also. Pharoh's daughter strecthed forth her sceptre several feet and prohibited termination of the baby. The stretching forth of her sceptre is picturesquely referred to by Rashi as stretching forth her hand.

Thus, although the literal interpretation of this Rashi appears difficult, I believe that Rashi expresses the simple meaning of the text. We have arrived at this simple meaning using the single-plural distinction and by using well known idioms. Thus we interpreted her hand the same as the English her right hand indicating her personal handmaid. Similarly we have interpreted stretched forth her hand as stretched forth her sceptre. Finally a review of the 6 times that the Hebrew word Stretched occurs in the Talmud justifies interpreting this word not as a physical stretching but as an extension of authority. Consequently I consider this Rashi interpretation an ideal way to approach all Rashis.


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