Very often Rashi will make an inference from the paragraph structure.
A typical paragraph structures can be parallel, contrastive,
with or without bullets. The parallel and contrastive structure
naturally generate Rashi comments.
Biblical verses Ex28-13:29, discuss the binding of the Choshen garment
to the rest of the Priestly garments.
As can be seen from the bulleted passage there are 4 stages:
- And you shall make clamps of gold;
- And two chains of pure gold at the ends; twisted like cords shall you make them, and fasten the corded chains to the clamps.
- And you shall make the breastplate of judgment with skilful work; ... of gold, of blue, ...
And you shall set in it settings of stones, ....
- And you shall make upon the breastplateb ropes, twisted like cords, of pure gold, at the end.
- And you shall make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, ...
And you shall put the two corded chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
And the other two ends ....
Using this paragraph structure Rashi infers that The ropes/cords
mentioned in the 4th bullet is the same as the chains/cords mentioned in the
2nd bullet. The Bible initially simply said to make chains and later told how the
chains would be used to fasten the breastplate to the shoulder clamps.
As can be seen, the driving force of this Rashi comment is the paragraph structure.
of shoulder clamps,
- production of chains,
- production of a breastplate (Choshen), and
- binding of the breastplate (Choshen) to the clamps.
Advanced Rashi: The Bible uses two technical terms -
Sharsheroth and Sharshoth. It is not clear what the exact translation
is. I have simply selected two terms, Chains/Ropes. I simply selected them
as approximations to indicate the twoness, not necessarily because I believe them to
be exact translations. Similsrly, I translated avoth as cords. It
could also simply mean thick textures. Again: My goal was to emphasize
when the words used in two verses were the same or different. As indicated we are unaware
in some cases of the exact translation.
We have defended the above Rashi comment using paragraph structure and context.
Rashi gives a further proof by aligning the Biblical passage ordering the
production of the garments with the Biblical passage describing the implementation
of the order. Rashi observes that In this chapter ordering construction the Bible
mentions the ropes twice: Make chains....make ropes..... By contrast in the chapter
describing the implementation of this order the Bible only mentions the item once
Both derivations - the alignment approach and the paragraph format
approach are equally valid. The reader should carefully examine each argument by itself
to convince him/herself that this is indeed the case.