The Formatting principle includes exegetical Rashi comments focusing on paragraph structure. That
is, the parts of a paragraph when properly sequenced naturally suggest commentary. This type of commentary,
emanating from structure, is different from commentary from word meaning, grammatical function or verse comparison. Todays example nicely illustrates this.
We present below a paragraph Lv16-09,11,14 indented and bulletized to indicate its structure.
- Aaron shall bring near the goat chosen by the lottery to God
- and make it a sin offering [that is, explicitly designate it: This is to be a sin offering.]
- ....(the other goat shall remain to be sent to Azazel)
- Aaron shall bring near his... bull sin offering
- and he shall atone for himself...[that is, recite confession]
- and he shall slaughter it
- (and he shall perform the incense ceremony)
- and he shall take from the bull blood [which was received in a temple vessel]
- and he shall sprinkle....
For convenience we have underlined the verbs. Each verb corresponds to a distinct sacrifice procedure.
Where necessary we bracket the meaning of the underlined word. These bracketed expressions correspond
to Rashi comments. The purpose of these Rashi comments is to indicate the temporal sequence
of sacrifice procedures. For example Rashi explains that make it a sin offering refers to a verbal
designation procedure; similarly Rashi explains that atone refers to a verbal confession procedure.
One can ask how Rashi derives these interpretations. We emphasize that it is the sequence of the
paragraph structure that naturally suggests these meanings. For example we know from other verses Lv05-05
that there is a confession procedure. It therefore is natural to associate the word atonement with
this verbal confession. True, confession can mean other things but its place in the sequence refers
naturally to the confession procedure. In other words,
at the time of slaughter the wrod atone could not refer to obtaining complete
atonement; therefore Rashi takes it to refer to confession.
Similarly the Hebrew root Kuph-Resh-Beth can equally mean bring near or sacrifice.
However the place of this verb in the temporal sequence indicates that it means bring near.
It could not mean sacrifice since at this point the animal has not even been slaughtered.
In summary if we accept that the paragraph structure indicates sequence then all Rashi does is
associate with each word/verb the appropriate sacrifice procedure (which we know from other verses) with
that word/verb in its sequence. So indeed it is the paragraph sequence itself that
drives the Rashi comment.