When Rashi uses, what we may losely call, the hononym method, Rashi
does not explain new meaning but rather shows an underlying unity in disparate
meanings. Rashi will frequently do this by showing an underlying unity in
the varied meanings of a Biblical root.
In my article
Peshat and Derash found on the world wide web at
I advocate enriching the Rashi explanation
using a technique of parallel nifty translations in modern English. Today's examples
The Heberw Biblical root
has a fundamental meaning of
Hence this Biblical root can mean
Grab: to physically take an object
Accompany: to socially take people to a cause
Deal: to economically acquire
Applying the above translation to
the children's reaction to Jacob's advice to bring Joseph a gift
and a second payment when bringing Benjamin
And the men grabbed that present,
and they accompanied double money in their hand, and Benjamin;
and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
In providing this English translation notice that we have used the English idioms
which mirrors the Hebrew
take objects, take people
grab, accompany and take are semantically close.
Advanced Rashi: The careful reader will note that technically the brothers did not
grab the present, which connotes a snatching, rather they took it. Similarly the verse uses
one verb, Lamed-Kuph-Cheth to refer to both the money and benjamin. Hence there is no
single translation that captures all nuances. In fact Rashi was motivated by the aramaic translation:
The aramaic translation translates the two occurrences of Lamed Kupth Cheth differently since in aramaic
the word for taking a person differs from the word for taking an object.
The proper perspective is the following: We are not claiming that grab and accompany are
superior translations to take. Rather we are using the translation as a vehicle to highlight the different nuances in the two occurrences of take.
Finally we point out that there are several other usages of take: Nu16-01
Korach took hold of himself.....and stood up to Moses.... Pr04-02
For a good deal have I given you, do not forsake my Torah.
Here we see the utility of using punchy English translations.