The FFF submethod states that words can be named by
Form, Feel, and Function.
- Some examples
of naming words by Form include (a) the leg of
a chair, (b) the handle of a pot, (c) the branch
of a family tree, (d) surfing the net or (e) brainstorming
Some of these examples illustrate naming objects by form while
other examples illustrate naming activities by form.
- A good punchy
example distinguishing naming by form vs. function is pentagon-UN.
The pentagon is named after the shape and form of the building
while the United Nations is named after the function and purpose of the building. Although both these buildings have as a purpose world peace they are named
- Examples of naming by feel/substance are
glasses, hardship, ironing-board, plaster etc.
The FFF principle is a special case of the literary techniques of
synechdoche-metonomy. These literary principles, universal to all languages,
state that items can be named by related items, by parts of those items, or by good
examples of those items. For example honey refers to anything sweet
since honey is a good example of something sweet. Similarly hot refers to matters of love since the two are related. Todays Rashi can best
be understood by applying these principles.
Biblical verse Dt25-13a requires keeping proper weights. The Bible uses the word stone
to mean weight. A stone is what weights are made from. Thus the Bible names
weights by their substance similar to the English naming of glasses, ironing boards, plaster
by their substance. As indicated above this is a primary method of naming objects.
Advanced Rashi: Frequently when several early authorities rishonim are
cited it it usually in the context of controversy. However rishonim can also be cited
as supporting and complementing each other. Frequently when explaining a Rashi meaning I used
the Radack's beautiful book, Shoroshim, Biblical roots. This wonderful book which is highly
underrated lists each Biblical root as well as its meanings with illustrations. The root Aleph-Beth-Nun
Even has 3 meanings: 1) Stone 2) weight, 3) founder (the founder of a nation is called its stone)
When people ask my advice for studying meaning I warmly recommend purchasing a copy of Roots and using it when studying
the Bible. It is obtainable in most Hebrew book stores as well as on the internet.