Rashi will frequentlly make a comment by making broad
database inquiries. A database inquiry is simply a question
a31ressed to a large databank---typically a large collection
of verses. Thus database methods typically span many diverse
In todays query we ask
When one person excels in a group
how does the Bible record the
history of the group/person?
The answer we find is that
- The Bible at least mentions everyone
in the group--typically for only a verse or two
- By contrast, the Bible devotes alot of text to
the person who excels
Rashi brings the following examples
- Gn05, Gn06 record the 10 generations
from Adam to Noach. Each generation
has 3 verses. But the story of Noach
has many verses. Here Noach is indicated as excelling in the group since
he is declared as rigtheous in his generation (Gn06-09).
- Gn11, Gn12 record the 10 generations
from Noach to Abraham. These generations
typically have 3 verses each. But the
story of Abraham has many verses. Here Abraham excels as walking in
- Gn36, Gn37 record the genealogies
and history of Esauv
and Jacob. The genealogies and history
of Esauv are terse; whole stories
are often only hinted at in a few
verses; but the genealogies and
stories of Jacob are dealt with
in many verses. Here Jacob excels as one of the Patriarchs.
Advanced Rashi:The above examples were brought by Rashi.
To these examples I supplement the following further
- Nu07 and Nu08
describe the gifts at the consecration of
the Wilderness Temple. The gifts of
each of the tribes occupies 6 verses.
The contribution of Aaron occupies a whole
chapter. Here Aaron excels as the High Priest.
- 1C01 thru 1C12 deal quickly with all
of human history to King David's time.
By contrast 1C13 thru 1C17 are slow paced,
describing the beginning of the centralization
of temple worship under King David's reign. Here King David excelled.
This approach, of taking Rashi's basic method, database
queries, and supplementing Rashi's examples with one's own
examples, is exemplary of superior study of Rashi. We encourage
all students of Rashi to attempt commentary extension since it
is an enriching interpretive experience.
Verse Gn37-31a discussing the cover-up of the sale
of Joseph states
And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a goat's kid, and dipped the coat in the blood;
Rashi comments: They chose a goat's kid because goat's blood
resembles human blood. Consequently by dipping Joseph's coat
in blood they made it reasonably appear that Joseph had been murdered.
Rashi here, does not comment on
Rather Rashi simply gives background material to enrich the text.
The background material does not however come from other verses,
grammar or word meanings. When Rashi's comment give background
material we say Rashi uses the spreadsheet method since spreadsheets
are a good example of meaningful commentary that emanates from non-verse methods.
- the meaning of words
- grammatical niceties
- comparisons with other verses
Advanced Rashi: The above Rashi comment can be enriched by
noting that Jacob was a master shepard. Jacob was undoubtedly familiar with
wolf and sheep blood. Indeed, he frequently lost sheep to hunting animals.
He would detect a subterfuge! Therefore the cover up had to be perfect.
The brothers therefore chose goat's blood since it highly resembles