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 and gender
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 gender.
In English nouns do not have gender. We rather use the non-gender word, it.
By contrast in Hebrew, nouns have gender. Instead of using the word it Hebrew
will use the words he, she to refer to nouns.
Rashi explains that The Hebrew word for leprosy is feminine while
the Hebrew word for wound is masculine. Based on the examples listed below
I would amend this Rashi text as follows:
The Hebrew word for leprosy is feminine while
the Hebrew word for wound is also masculine.
Note that consistent with this textual emendation of Rashi we in fact have many words in Hebrew
which are bi-genderal, masculine and feminine. Examples are presented in the next paragraph.
To appreciate Rashi we need to review the verses in the Chapter and check that the pronoun
she is exclusively coupled with Leprosy while both pronouns she,he are coupled
Some verses with leprosy coupled with a feminine pronoun are
- Some verses with wound coupled with a masculine pronoun are
- Some verses with wound coupled with a feminine pronoun are