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      5. RASHI METHOD: CONTRADICTION
      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi resolves contradictory verses using 3 methods.
      • (5a) Resolution using two aspects of the same event
      • (5b) Resolution using two stages of the same process
      • (5c) Resolution using broad-literal interpretation.
      This examples applies to Rashis Dt15-19a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm
      Brief Summary: a) Dont sanctify firstborn FOR OTHER SACRIFICES b) Rather sanctify them for the FIRSTBORN sacrifice. A) Don't sanctify firstborn for an ALTAR OFFERING B) Rather sanctify them, redeem them, and donate the money

The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about sanctification of the firstborn. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says don't sanctify firstborn while the other verse says sanctify the firstborn. Which is it? Do we sanctify the firstborn or not? Rashi simply resolves this (in two ways) using the 2 Aspects method: Method 1: Sanctify the firstborn animals for firstborn sacrifices; therefore, it is prohibited to sanctify them for other sacrificial purposes. Method 2: Don't sanctify the firstborn animals for altar sacrifice. Rather, sanctify them and then redeem them. The resulting funds are sacred and given to the Temple funds.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
Sanctify the firstborn Dt15-19a All the firstling males that are born of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto HaShem thy G-d; \ thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thine ox, nor shear the firstling of thy flock.
Don't sanctify the firstborn Lv27-26 Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lordís firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it is an ox, or sheep; it is the Lordís.
Resolution: 2 Aspects Method 1: Sanctify the firstborn animals for firstborn sacrifices; therefore, it is prohibited to sanctify them for other sacrificial purposes. Method 2: Don't sanctify the firstborn animals for altar sacrifice. Rather, sanctify them and then redeem them. The resulting funds are sacred and given to the Temple funds.

Advanced Rashi: This is an exciting Rashi (as if the others weren't exciting). For Rashi, cites the Talmud, Arachin 29a. The Mishnah cites the two resolutions of our text that we have presented above. It would thus appear that there are two Rashi rules operating here.

What we have shown above is that both views, those of the Rabbis and those of Rabbi Ishmael, share a commonality of a study of a contradictory text as well as the commonality of a resolution by looking at two aspects. Rabbi Ishmael and the Rabbis differ in how to apply these two commonalities. Consequently the above example beautifully illustrates how the ten principles presented in this weekly newsletter are the skeleton and driving force behind all exegesii. They show an underlying commonality that however allows for disagreement and dissent. For this reason we warmly recommend this Rashi newsletter to students at all levels, whether beginning students or advanced Rabbinic students. The principles are fundamental and will enhance any type of study.


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