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 revisit verse Lv06-02b
which we studied above in rules #2,#3.
Command Aaron and his sons, saying:
These are the general principles of the UP-offering: ... an UP offering
on its firewood upon the altar all night unto the morning; and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning thereby.
Rashi comments on the repeated underlined words:
The repeated underlined words create emphasis: It is always an up offering
in all circumstances. The Talmud provides specificity to this emphasis by focusing
on a case where the offering was invalid - for example it had a blemish - it should
not have been brought. Nevertheless if it was already brought onto the altar fire
then we let it remain there because it is always an
Advanced Rashi: As we have presented this Rashi it looks
quite reasonable. However the Rashi can become confusing because of conflicting
and different Rashi rules on the verse. We review the Rashis on this verse discussed
in rules #2,3,7:
- In rule #2 we saw that the word principles broadly extends the law
to all cases
All up offerings may have their organs on the altar fire all night
- In Rule #3 we saw that the redundant pronoun it which we have interpreted
only it is restrictive--only proper up offerings can continue
to remain on the altar fire; but not e.g. if bestiality has been committed.
- In rule #7 we see that the the repetition up offering up offering is
emphatic that it is still called an up offering (even if it shouldn't
have come up, e.g. because of a blemish!).
The advanced student of Rashi can now appreciate the problem with reading this verse.
Any one of the above 3 points reads smoothly by itself. But when the verse simultaneously
has the restrictive only it and the broadening up offering up offering indicators
the student can easily become confused. It begins to look arbitrary when the Talmud restricts
in one area and broadens in another.
Actually however we can redeem the intuitiveness of the Rashis by exploiting our
idea of unspecified emphasis. We agree to interpret it as only it and
to interpret up offering up offering as a bolded word. The verse then reads
Command Aaron and his sons, saying: These are
principles [of all] up-offerings - [in all circumstances, even
if they shouldn't have gone up, say, because of a blemish]
only them, [that is, only those that have been properly offered but not e.g.
an animal that committed bestiality, even if it was placed on the altar]; they
are placed on the altar fire the whole night till morning
The serious student of Rashi should carefully study the above verse with
its interpolated Rashi comments. As I indicated above each Rashi comment stands by
itself. To see all the Rashi comments simultaneously one has to combine the verse
phrases in the right way. One also has to stay on one's Rashi toes. There are three
different principles involved: word meaning, grammar, repetition. Only by fully
grasping all the intricacies of the verse can one really appreciate it. Finally I have
endeavored to capture all the Rashi comments in one punchy translation a technique I advocated
in my article Peshat and Derash