Today Hebrew grammar is well understood and
there are many books on it. Rashi, however, lived
before the age of grammar books. A major Rashi method
is therefore the teaching of basic grammar.
Many students belittle this aspect of Rashi. They erroneously
think that because of modern methods we know more. However Rashi
will frequently focus on rare grammatical points not covered
in conventional textbooks.
There are many classical aspects to grammar whether
in Hebrew or other languages. They include
- The rules for conjugating verbs. These rules govern how you
differentiate person, plurality, tense, mode, gender, mood, and
designation of the objects and indirect objects of the verb. For
example how do you conjugate, in any language, I sang, we will
sing, we wish to sing, she sang it.
- Rules of agreement. For example agreement of subject
and verb, of noun and adjective; whether agreement in gender or plurality.
- Rules of Pronoun reference.
- Rules of word sequence. This is a beautiful topic which is
not always covered in classical grammatical textbooks.
Today we deal with the Biblical rules governing indication of pronoun indirect objects.
There are many Rashis whose focal point is a pronominal indirect object - as we go through
the yearly cycle we will try and gather them all together. Today however we extend this
pronominal indirect object rule to general indirect objects of purpose.
Verse Ex27-20b discussing the oil used for the Candellabrah states
And you shall command the people of Israel, that they bring you
pure olive oil
for lighting, for the lamp to burn always.
The phrase beaten for lighting contains an indirect object indicating purpose.
Rashi comments: You must beat the olives in such a way that the resulting oil can
be used for lighting. Here Rashi interprets the indirect object indicating purpose;
Rashi requires a capacity for lighting as intrinsic to the oil production process. Further
details are given below in rules #4,9.
Another example of the pronominal indirect object rule indicating purpose and dedication, occurs in
Ex29-25d which states
And thou shalt take them from their hands, and make them smoke on the altar upon the burnt-offering, for a sweet savour before HaShem; it is an offering made by fire for God.
Rashi commenting on the phrase for God states:The offering must be dedicated
to God's name.