We have explained in our article
Biblical Formatting located on the world wide web at
that the Biblical Author indicates bold, italics, underline by using
repetition. In other words if a modern author wanted to emphasize
a word they would either underline, bold or italicize it. However when the Biblical
author wishes to emphasize a word He repeats it. The effect - whether
thru repetition or using underline - is the same. It is only the
means of conveying this emphasis that is different.
With this in mind let us examine verse Ex05-12a discussing
the work burden that the Egyptians imposed on the Jews:
So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt
to stubble stubble for straw.
Rashi comments on the repeatition to stubble stubble.
To properly understand Rashi we proceed in two stages.
First: We recall the grammatical principle that nouns can become
verbs. Examples are plentiful: to flower, to hammer, to dust....
Hence to stubble would be a verb form indicating the act of
Next: Rashi explains the repetition: The act of gathering stubble
is not an ordinary act of gathering. Rather, it is a gathering of dispersed
material since stubble tends to be dispersed.
Combining the above analysis we see the following inferred from the repetition:
The Egyptians imposed a double burden on the Jews:
- They increased the quantity of stubble that they must acquire
- The act of acquiring the stubble was itself burdensome since the
Jews had to gather the stubble from dispersed locations.