Today's example requires combining two
Rashi rules. The reader is encouraged to first re-read rule #4, alignment,
above, before reading the Rashi here.
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 and
consequently the law only applies to the enumerated details but
not to other cases.
Today's example illustrates
this as shown below.
Verse Lv21-11c discussing the prohibition of a High Priest
from becoming ritually impure to dead people is written in a
General-Detail or Theme-Development form and states
We have indicated Rashi's interpretation by interpolating the
bracketed word [namely]. Rashi reads the verse as follows:
The High priest should not defile himself: Of all dead he should only
not defile himself to his father and mother.
The Rabbi Ishmael style guidelines require this restrictive interpretation
whenever a general-detail form is used. Hence the Rashi conclusion:
The High priest is only prohibited from becoming ritually impure
to his father and mother; however he may become ritually impure when he bumps
into a dead body on the road which requires burial.
- General: Neither shall he go to any dead body
- Detail: [namely]
he should not defile himself for his father and mother
Advanced Rashi: There are several supplemental points to
make here. First: The fact that the restrictive interpretation
is applied by allowing burial
of dead on the road is inferred from the alignment we performed above
in rule #4.
Second, a rather unusual point in this General-Detail
example is that by specifying father and mother the Bible is actually including
all close relatives: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, virgin sister, wife.
That is the high priest cannot defile himself to his father and mother and
similarly may not defile himself to his son, daughter, brother, virgin
sister and wife. It would seem that once verse Lv21-02:03 enumerated these
seven relatives as prohibited for an ordinary priest, any mention of some of
them (e.g. father-mother) automatically includes all of them.