Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development-Theme form.
In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development
of this broad general theme in specific details. The paragraph-like unit is then
closed with a repetition of the broad theme.
The Theme-Detail-Theme form creates a unified paragraph.
The detailed section of this paragraph is therefore seen as
an extension of the general theme sentences.
Today's example illustrates
this as shown immediately below.
the prohibition of idolatrous worship of angelic beings
- General: Don't make [images of those assistants which are] with me
- golden gods [e.g. prophetic images of golden-fire]
- silver gods [e.g. mirror dream images]
- General: Don't make [such images] for yourselves.
Rashi generalizes the detail clause
as illustrative of the general clause,
make [that which is] with me
Don't make for yourselves - e.g. in synagogues - images of
heavenly assistants such as images of the Ezeklian fire visions,
since fire is golden in color, or images of prophetic dream communications,
(dream images being mirror like (silver) in color).
We believe this comment evident and consistent with the Rabbi Ishmael style guidelines.
Advanced Rashi: For a full understanding of this Rashi one has to combine
- Rule 4,alignment shows how to combine the two general clauses into one clause: Don't make
for yourselves [images of beings] that are with me.
- Rule 6, style gives detail and scope to the general prohibition. By mentioning gold and silver
the Bible alludes to the Ezeklian fire dreams and to prophetic dreams (in mirror like silver color). In other
words the Bible is prohibiting making images of images seen in prophetic encounters.
Some may find this interpretation of Rashi strange. Why not interpret gold, silver to refer
to the sun (gold) and moon (Silver). But the decalogue already prohibited worship of the sun and moon.
Therefore it is proper to interpret the prohibition in our verse as referring to idolatrous worship
of angelic entities. Rashi himself gives as an example Don't think because golden Kerubim were in
the Temple that you can make similar images in your synagogues. Consequently, I believe the approach
we have taken the most natural and consistent with Rashi.