When Rashi uses the synonym method he does not explain
the meaning of a word but rather the distinction between two similar
words both of whose meanings we already know.
The following Hebrew words all refer to
Rashi's point here is that a terminal nun connotes intensity.
For example Resh-Yud-Beth means to dispute while
Resh-Yud-Beth-Nun means to fist-fight, (cf. Ex21-18.)
So Cheth-resh-hey from the Biblical root Cheth-Resh to burn
would connote being burned up, while Cheth-Resh-Nun
would connote being intensely burned up for example the English
blown up. (Sometimes it is hard to find an exact translation).
In our article Peshat and Derash: A New Intuitive and Logical Approach,
which can be found on the world-wide-web at
we have advocated punchy translations of Biblical verses as a means of presenting
Rashi comments. The following translation of verse
embeds the Rashi translation
Cheth-Resh-Nun means blowing up.
And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years;
and Terah died in Cheth-Resh-Nun ([God] Blew up).
Rashi's literal statement is God blowing up [for example during the flood]
was the norm in the world until Abraham (Terach's son) came to the world. After
Abraham we find less anger in the world (so to speak, the blowing up by God
became an ordinary being burned up. That is before Abraham
God blew up at the flood and the Tower of Babel while after Abraham
we don't find God blowing up at the world with flood-like destructive events.