Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development form.
In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development
of this broad general theme in specific details.
The Theme-Detail form creates a unified paragraph.
The detailed section of this paragraph is seen as
an modifying and explaining the general theme sentences.
Today's example illustrates
this as shown immediately below.
the land sabbatical
- General: But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest to the land, a sabbath for the Lord
- Your field should not be sown and
- your vineyard should not be pruned
Rashi interprets the general-detail form as forming a Biblical paragraph with the detail
clause explaining the general clause. That is the Bible informs us that
the land is given a sabbatical by
not working the fields and vineyards
Advanced Rashi: A typical Rashi-ist would approach these verses by emphasizing redundancy and
exploring alternate interpretations.
The requirement of
letting the land have a sabbath
could e.g. mean that
it is prohibited to build
Therefore the verse specifies that only
field and vineyard work are prohibited
However other forms of
This is the essence of the theme-development method. We have, in this newsletter, added,
the nuance that this Rashi content can be neatly and naturally understood if we perceive the Biblical text as a paragraph
with a theme-development form. It is not necessary to employ the traditional exploration of alternate methods.
It is sufficient to focus on the paragraph form.