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
hostile interactions between two people.
in Talmudic Hebrew, Masah-OMatan means business;
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
Riv means fights.
How can I bear by myself your harassments, (business) disputes and fights.
[Rashi: The use of the words fights shows that, besides (legitimate) business disputes,
the Jews were paranoic and (physically) fought.]
We could have also justified this Rashi by using the database method and reviewing
all verses where the root Riv occurs. A sample verse might be Gn13-07 ....there was a fight
between the shepards of Abrahams flock and the shepards of Lots flock. Such verses show that Riv does
not just mean dispute but more precisely means fights.
Another alternative for explaining this Rashi would be to use the Format-Climax method since
the progression, Torach-Masah-Riv suggests that the last item, Riv is the most serious.