The FFF submethod states that words can be named by
Form, Feel, and Function.
- Some examples
of naming words by Form include (a) the leg of
a chair, (b) the handle of a pot, (c) the branch
of a family tree, (d) surfing the net or (e) brainstorming
Some of these examples illustrate naming objects by form while
other examples illustrate naming activities by form.
- A good punchy
example distinguishing naming by form vs. function is pentagon-UN.
The pentagon is named after the shape and form of the building
while the United Nations is named after the function and purpose of the building. Although both these buildings have as a purpose world peace they are named
- Examples of naming by feel/substance are
glasses, hardship, ironing-board, plaster etc.
The FFF principle is a special case of the literary techniques of
synechdoche-metonomy. These literary principles, universal to all languages,
state that items can be named by related items, by parts of those items, or by good
examples of those items. For example honey refers to anything sweet
since honey is a good example of something sweet. Similarly hot refers to matters of love since the two are related. Todays Rashi can best
be understood by applying these principles.
We are fortunate to have a parallel example in English for today's Rashi. In English the word
beam can refer to a long object and can also refer to a long ray of light. Hence,
for example, we say his face is beaming. The facial muscular stance of a happy person is such
that light is better reflected off his face giving the impression that a beam of light is coming
Hebrew uses a similar etymology by form. However instead of using a beam Hebrew uses
another long object, the horn. Instead of saying his face is beaming we say
his face is horning. The idea and approach to meaning are the same - something is named
by a similar term with a similar form.
Following Rashi's idea and the parallel in English we would translate Ex34-29b as follows:
And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of Testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that his facial skin beamed.
Advanced Rashi: This Rashi is continued in rule #3, Grammar immediately