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      5. RASHI METHOD: CONTRADICTION
      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi resolves contradictory verses using 3 methods.
      • (5a) Resolution using two aspects of the same event
      • (5b) Resolution using two stages of the same process
      • (5c) Resolution using broad-literal interpretation.
      This example applies to Rashis Ex06-14z Ex06-14a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w33n7.htm
      Brief Summary: Although Jacob cursed 3 TRIBES they produced very great PEOPLE.

The table below presents presents two contradictory verse sets. Both verse sets speak about the social importance of three tribes (Reuben, Shimon, Levi) The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse set says Reuben, Shimon and Levi are cursed and bad people while the other verse states These tribes can produce great people like Moses. Which is it? Are the tribes cursed or blessed. Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Aspects method: The tribes were cursed but the individuals in each tribe were not cursed. Although the Tribes were cursed, did produce evil people and were severely punished, nevertheless each individual tribe member could ascend to whatever heights they wished to.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
Reuben Shimon and Levi were cursed Gn49-03:07 Reuben, ... Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you played with your father's beds; Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are their swords. ... to their assembly, let my honor not be united; Cursed be their anger....
But Moses descended from the cursed tribe of Levi; God's honor is present in the Levite assembly Ex06-14:26 These are the genealogical heads of their fathersí houses; The sons of Reuben ... And the sons of Simeon; ... And these are the names of the sons of Levi ... These are Aaron and Moses, to whom the Lord said, Bring out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt by their hosts....
Resolution: Two aspects The tribes were cursed but the individuals in each tribe were not cursed. Although the Tribes were cursed, did produce evil people and were severely punished, nevertheless each individual tribe member could ascend to whatever heights they wished to.

Sermonic Points: This Rashi could be greatly developed. The curse Jacob placed on Reuben, Shimon and Levi was not theoretical, it was actual. Reuben produced the infamous Datan and Aviram who organized a rebellion against Moses, Shimon produced Zimri who slept in public with a Moabite and brought a plauge killing 24000 people on the Jewish nation, while Levi produced the infamous Korach who headed the rebellion against Moses. What could be more frightening and definite - a Patriarch with decree power of curse and hard evidence that the curse materialized! And yet the tribe of Levi produced Moses one of the greatest people in human history.

From a conceptual point of view: The curse does not imply that each member of the tribe must be missing something. For Moses achieved greatness and perfection. So did Elijah. Rather the curse was on the aggregate entity of the tribe and not on any individual. This emphasis on the potential of the individual is important and fundamental in Judaism.

This Rashi is continued in rule #6, style.


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