When Rashi uses the synonym method he does not explain
the meaning of a word but rather the distinction between two similar
words both of whose meanings we already know.
There are a variety of words in Hebrew which mean mighty. The Hebrew
Biblical root Ayin-Nun-Kuph means to bear a heavy weight. Hence
the Ayin-Nun-Kuph-Yud-Mem, the Anakim, refer to husky muscular truck-driver
like people. You can usually recognize these people by their big bulging muscles. These
people can effortlessly carry big loads.
Hence Rashi would translate Nu13-33 as
And we saw there the pushers the sons of the big-muscles who came from
and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so were we in their sight.
In this translation we have translated Nun-Pay-Lamed-Yud-Mem, from the Hebrew
Nun-Pay-Lamed, to fall, as pushers, that is people who push other
people down (so they fall).
Advanced Rashi: But Rashi does not literally say what we have said above.
Instead Rashi says that Anakim means people who bear great heat/anger thru
The approach of this email list is to see Rashis as supplementing common-sense
explanations with further details. The common-sense explanation to the word Anakim
is muscular people who bear heavy weights. To this common-sense explanation Rashi
adds Such people also cause freight/anger simply by their stature and appearance.
In other words whereas we looked at the physical meaning of the word - to bear heavy
weights - Rashi supplemented this and reviewed the emotional impact of the word -
They bear anger/freight/hostility simply by their height and appearance. Such a reading of Rashi - as
a comment that supplements the natural comment we would make by ourselves - adds richness to
Rashi. Rashi of course embellishes his comment by punning on the word to bear. Rashi
could equally have said these people cause freight by their very appearance. Instead
Rashi says They bear freight/anger/hostility by their very appearance.
This approach - regarding Rashi as supplementing obvious comments and explanations -
is a fundamental approach in this email newsletter. This approach provides deeper, richer
and more natural insights into Rashi.