Today, students of the Bible learn grammar from Biblical
Hebrew grammar textbooks. These textbooks organize material by
topics. Grammatical topics include a) verb mood and conjugation, b) plurality
agreement, c) pronoun reference, d) subject-verb-object sequencing, e) sentence
structure and type, f) the possessive and g) connective words, and many other topics.
However in Rashi's time gramamr was just beginning. There were no official
grammatical textbooks and tables. One of Rashi's functions was to teach grammar.
Rashi did not write a grammar textbook but instead left grammatical explanations
appended to each verse.
In today's example Rashi explains rules about word order.
Many languages such as English have rules about word order and word proximity.
For example the dangling modifier rule encourages words to be near the
words they modify as such a word order confuses the reader the least.
Verse Lv06-15a discussing the successor high-priest states
And the priest, who is annointed, in his place, of his sons, shall offer it; it is a statute forever to the Lord; it shall be wholly burned.
Rashi simply changes the word order removing the dangling phrase modifier. The adjectival phrase
of his sons modifies the word priest and hence the verses is clearer if
the adjective is near the noun it modifies. This makes
the verse clearer.
And the priest, of his sons, anointed in his place, shall offer it; it is a statute forever to the Lord; it shall be wholly burned.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi does not indicate why the Biblical text deviates from
the dangling modifier rule. It would appear to me that the Biblical construction
priest annointed in his place,of his sons deemphasizes a lineage choice of
replacement. It is important in the Bible to emphasize that replacement is done first by
merit and if there are equally qualified candidates then we use lineage. By deviating from
the dangling modifier rule and deemphasizing lineage the Bible reemphasizes that any priest -
not just the immediate descendants - can become High Priest.