The special word method deals with the
few dozen special connective words that exist in all languages.
Familiar examples are also, when, that, if, then, all, because, only,
this,.... These words are typically
Rashi's job, when he comments on a special connective
words, is to enumeratively list the nuances and usages of the word.
- adverbs such as all,also or
connective words, either
- conjunctions such as if, then, because
- articles or demonstrative or abstract pronouns such as the, this, that
- propositional connectives such as in,on,to,from.
The most famous example of the special word method is the Hebrew word Kaph Yud
which can mean because, that, when, perhaps, rather, if.
Sometimes Rashi explicitly gives all meanings of a connective
word as happens with Kaph Yud while at other times
Rashi does not give all meanings at once. In such a case the
Rashi student must gather all the meanings together from various
One can classify the special word method as either a meaning
sub-method or grammar sub-method.
Today we deal with the Hebrew special word
which can have any of the following meanings.
- all, even borderline cases
The whole nation rebelled, [even the leaders]
- all, any part
don't define to the whole dead body[even to organs]
- all groups
All creatures [even non-human animals] had become
- all, emphasizing, no exceptions
all people [without exception] in Sedom gathered (for the rape)
Applying this rule to the translation of
And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee,
and will keep the passover to HaShem,
let all his males be circumcised,
and then let him come near and keep it;
and he shall be as one that is born in the land;
all uncircumcised people
[Rashi: Even if they were uncircumcised, not because
of rebellion against God, but because of legitimate medical
reasons] shall not eat it.
As is our practice we have embedded the Rashi translation in the verse.
Advanced Rashi: For further examples of Rashis on the Hebrew word Caph-Lamed
Better still visit the RashiYomi calendar at
and click on the all series which you can find beginning July 10 2000 and ending July 30 2000
(7-10-00 through 7-30-00).