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      3. RASHI METHOD: GRAMMAR
      BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi explains verses using grammar principles, that is, rules which relate reproducable word form to word meaning. Grammatical rules neatly fall into 3 categories
      • (a) the rules governing conjugation of individual words,Biblical roots,
      • (b) the rules governing collections of words,clauses, sentences
      • (c) miscellaneous grammatical, or form-meaning, rules.
      This examples applies to Rashis Gn06-13c
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1311.htm
      Brief Summary: ....and I will destroy them FROM the land (Rashi: The Hebrew ETH can mean FROM)

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 review the rules of connective words in Hebrew. Connective words are words like, from, with, if, because, rather,but,... There are only a few dozen such words. It is important to know what each of these words means and how they function in sentences. Furthermore, many of these words have multiple meanings. Novices frequently are only familiar with the primary meaning of a connective word; as one advances in one's knowledge of Hebrew one must learn the secondary meanings of connective words.

The Hebrew word Aleph-Tauv, Eth is very peculiar in its usage. Technically it doesn't mean anything. Rather one places the word eth before a word to indicate that that word is the object of the sentence. For example Eth the man bit the dog would have the same meaning as the dog bit the man. Here the word eth grammatically functions to indicate the grammatical object of the sentence (Actually I am oversimplifying; typically a sentence with reversed subject-object order might have other indicators (besides eth) for example the change of the verb form from the active to the passive.)

    Rashi as well as the Radack and other grammarians point out that eth can have other meanings. For example eth can mean with or from. Consequently Rashi/Radack interpret eth in the following sentences as meaning from.
    • Gn06-13 And G-d said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them from the earth.
    • Ex09-29 And Moses said to him, As soon as I go from the city, I will spread out my hands to the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, nor shall there be any more hail; that you may know that the earth is the Lordís.
    • 1K15-23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased from his feet.

Advanced Rashi: Rashi points out that in some of the above verses Eth could mean with. Even more fascinating is Rabbi Hirsh's comment that eth indicates not only the object but also indicates fullness, and totality. For example the verse Honor eth your father and eth you mother... would connote honoring one's older siblings who are extensions of one's parents.

What should emerge from the above is that we have barely skimmed the surface of this rich and beautiful topic of connective words. There are all types of nuances to these words and throughout the ages different scholars have taught new nuances.

In Hebrew, instead of placing a question mark at the end of the sentence, one places a letter hey with a chataf-patach punctuation at the beginning of the sentence.

The first question asked in the Bible occurs at Gn03-19, Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? In English this sentence is indicated by a terminal question mark while in Hebrew it is indicated by a prefixed hey with a chataf-patach punctuation. Rashi explains This prefix hey with a chataf-patach indicates the interrogative.


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