Today we ask the database query:
How was the Torah Moses learned from God transmitted to the Jews.
The reader is encouraged to perform the query using a standard Biblical Konnkordance or search engine.
These database query yields the list below.
The list justifies the following Rashi inference:
Moses learned the Torah from God. 1) He taught it to Aaron 2) who taught it to
the other priests 3) who then taught it to the Tribal leaders 4) who then taught
it to the nation.
The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples
||Text of verse
||Inference on Teaching transmission
||God spoke to Moses for purposes of saying over Speak to 1) Aaron 2) His Children and 3) To all Jews
and say to them This is the matter which God....
|| Explicit identification of communication from Moses to 1) Aaron 2) Sons and 4) Jews
[Note tribal elders are absent - note also that no sequence is mentioned yet...This will be
inferred from other verses.]
||God spoke to Moses for purposes of saying over. Speak to Aaron for purposes of saying over.....
and Moses spoke to Aaron and his sons and all Jews.
|| Clear demarkation between Moses-Aaron vs. Moses-Aaron-sons-Jews.
||Moses called to them: And Aaron and the Tribal elders returned to him and Moses spoke to them
And afterwards the Jews approached and Moses commanded them all that God cited to him at Mount Sinai
|| This verse explicitly identifies (partial) sequence! Aaron and elders first and then the Jews.
||God spoke to Moses and Aaron for purposes of saying to them. Speak to the Jews for purposes of saying over
these are the beasts that may be eaten....
|| Stage 1: Moses and Aaron teach
||God spoke to Moses: "Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron and tell them..."
|| Stage 2: Communication to Aaron's sons.
||Moses spoke to the tribal elders for the Jews to be said over.....
|| Stage 3: Communication to Tribal elders
Advanced Rashi: This is an exciting example of a Rashi derivation. Many people regard the
Moses-> Aaron -> Priests -> Tribal leaders -> Israelites midrash as fanciful and either based on oral
tradition or else read into the Biblical
text to emphasize a so-called development of an emphasis on learning as a primary means of serving God.
It is therefore fascinating to see that explicit Biblical texts fully justify this 4-fold method of transmission.
The fact that this Rashi comment is the simple meaning of the explicit Biblical texts justifies the statement
made by Rav Hirsch that the Jews had a sort of Kollel existence in the Wilderness - they were stipened by God Himself
so that they could sit and learn all day (There was nothing else to do). Rav Hirsch is quick to point out that this
Kollel type existence only existed in the miraculous wilderness stay and was replaced by normal living - Torah learning
with a job - when they entered Israel, left the miracle-based existence, and started leading ordinary non-miraculous lives.
We see here the importance of fully investigating and justifying Rashi comments since their intrinsicness to the
Biblical text justifies certain attitudes of Jewish philosophy and outlook.
This is a true peach of a Rashi clearly illustrating the database method. We have spoken frequently about
the distinct flavor of each Rashi method. The database method is characteristically not punchy and sometimes
sketchy. For example, in the Rashi we are studying today there is no explicit statement that Moses spoke to Aaron who taught
his sons who taught the elders who taught the Jews. Rather we have partial statements. One verse itemizes most of the
4 sets of people. Another verse indicates a partial sequence. Finally we have verses identifying, but in specific situations,
the communication to individual groups. It is therefore tempting to say that Rashi knew of the 4 fold sequence through an
oral tradition. This is acceptable but it is not the total explanation. The technical thing to observe is that
Rashi has supportive Biblical texts which even if they don't fully justify his assertion strongly point in that direction.
Part of the act of learning Torah is finding clear proofs, part is learning oral traditions, and part is identifying supportive
proofs. All of these are important and should not be belittled. It is therefore important to gather all the verses together
(as we have done with some extra verses of our own) to show how the supportive texts fit together.
In conclusion this is an extremely instructive example of the database method. Those serious students of Rashi
who wish to have a proper feel for what they can and what they cannot do with Biblical texts should carefully study
this Rashi analysis as a prototypical model.