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.
The Hebrew word MithLaQaChath uses the interactive mode (Hitpael)
applied to the root lamed-quph-cheth, which means to take.
The form of taking is motion from my hand to afar and back to myself.
The Hebrew word
is conjugated in the
hitpael mode which connotes interactivity.
But then mithlaqachath, an interactive motion resembling taking would neatly correspond
to the motion of an expanding fire lunging forward, but then being quenced in one place and
pulling back to another place, expanding,
and then when hit by water/hail pulling back again.
In my article Peshat and Derash located on the world wide
I suggest that an important part of biblical commentary is finding
punchy nifty English translations that capture all nuances of a
I have used the English word pulsating
to capture the nuances of a motion of a fire in a rainstorm. Pulsating beautifully describes a fire
expanding, being forced to pull back on being hit by hail/water, then expanding, then being hit by hail,
then pulling back. In short an interactive
motion of grabbing and taking in!
Advanced Rashi: We could have also classified
this Rashi as using the grammar method.