Verse Lv20-25a discussing knowledge requirements of kashruth states
Rashi clarifies the underlined words, differentiate between the Kosher beast
and the non-Kosher:
The requirement to differentiate refers both to known differences such
as the cow-donkey difference and to not-so-clear differences such as
the properly-slaughtered-vs.-the non-properly-slaughtered.
- Know the difference between a cow and donkey
- Know the difference between properly slaughtered and improperly slaughtered
Advanced Rashi: Two points should be made: First this Rashi is
using Non-Verse logical methods. That is Rashi is not commenting on the
meaning of words, grammar or comparisons with other verses. Rather Rashi is
clarifying, through use of skillfully selected examples, a spectrum of applicable
interpretations of the verse. Here Rashi uses raw logic to clarify the subtle shades
of the verse's requirements.
A second point is that Rashi when literally translated seems to be saying something
else: Does the verse mean I should know the difference between a cow and donkey.
But this is well known. Rather the verse is teaching... However not all
Kosher animals are known! For example we no longer know what the 24 birds mentioned
in Lv11 refer to! So indeed, the verse is admonishing us that we must teach
our children the obvious: the difference between a cow and donkey. Here is
another way of looking at this: A person who teaches the difference between a cow
and donkey, even though it is obvious, has thereby fulfilled the commandment
in this verse to differentiate.
Rashi's literal language should therefore be interpreted contrastively. Besides
teaching people the obvious - e.g. the difference between cow and donkey - one should
also teach them the non-obvious - e.g. the difference between properly slaughtered
and improperly slaughtered. Here is another way to look at this: The emphasis in the verse is on teaching the non-obvious - the difference between the properly
slaughtered and non-properly slaughtered. However one should also teach the obvious
differences such as the cow-donkey difference.