Students of Rashi must bear in mind
that Rashi could sometimes use universal
principles applicable in all languages.
This particularly applies to the meaning
The synechdoche principle basically
says that any language can use a good example
to name an entire category. For example, in
- the word honey can mean anything sweet.
- Similarly bread can refer to any food.
- Man can refer to any person (male of female)
- day can refer to the entire 24 hour period
- heart can refer to the entire person
as in e.g., (Ps 43)My heart
yearns for you, God which
really means My entire person
yearns for you God
- The loss of a person can refer to the destruction
of that person (Dt28-22i)
Hence Rashi translates
as also meaning
enbalming, an activity
leading to pleasing odors
flower-sprouting and enbalming
are both good examples (Synechdoche)
activities creating pleasant odors/aromas.
As shown by the underlined words,
Rashi uses this translation in the following verse
And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm [with sprouts of flowers used by
embalmists] his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel
[with sprouts of flowers used by
Several other meaning rules are
possible here. For example the
triple FFF rule states that
meaning is determined by Form,
Function, and Feel. In fact the
function/purpose of both
flowers sprouting and of embalming
are the emission of pleasant aromas.
Such use of multiple rules reinforces
the understanding of the meaning.