The Formatting principle includes exegetical Rashi comments focusing on paragraph structure. That
is, the parts of a paragraph when properly sequenced naturally suggest commentary. This type of commentary,
emanating from structure, is different from commentary from word meaning, grammatical function or verse comparison. Todays example nicely illustrates this.
We present below a paragraph Lv13-01:06 indented and bulletized to indicate its structure.
- And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
- (Z) When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a cloud-white, egg-white, or sky-white wound in his his flesh like the disease of leprosy; then he shall be brought to ... the priest, ...
- (Z1) And the priest shall look on the disease in the skin of the flesh; and if ...then it is a disease of leprosy; and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.
- (Z2)[But] If ... then the priest shall shut up him who has the disease for seven days;
- (A)And the priest shall look on him the seventh day; and, behold, if ... then the priest shall shut him up seven days more;
- (B)And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day; and, behold, if ...[then], the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is a scab; and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.
We have, for convenience lettered the various bullets. The letter Z indicates time Zero.
The letters A,B respectively indicate the 1st and 2nd week (Week A and Week B). The
paragraph indicates inspections of the leprous flesh at times 0,1,2 (Z,A,B). The Rashi comment is now
crystal clear: The seven days mentioned in bullet Z2 is connected with the inspection
mentioned in bullet A. In other words the priest shuts him up seven days in order to see
if any leprous signs develop at the end of the seven days. Many other similar connective comments
can be inferred from the above paragraph structure. We have in fact often, in this email newsletter, advocated generalizing a specific Rashi comment to other comments with similar interpretations. It is a very useful exercise
for the serious student of Rashi if they take the laws of leprosy as outlined for example in the Mishneh Torah of the Rambam and trace each law to its corresponding place in the above bulleted paragraph structure.
Advanced Rashi: We again emphasize that the driving force for this Rashi comment
is not word meaning, grammar, extra words, or alignment. Rather the driving force for this
Rashi comment is the paragraph structure which in and of itself communicates meaning and
textual interpretation. This emphasis on structure as a source of interpretation is an important point
often overlooked by Rashi scholars. The serious student of Rashi should carefully study this and
similar examples until this new Rashi tool becomes part of their arsenal of interpretative tools.