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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 22:59:33 -0400 (EDT) Subject: PSHAT of VERSE vs PSHAT of CHAPTER I would like to supplement some of the comments on "What is PSHAT"(Simple meaning) with an OPERATIONAL criterion: I distinguish beween PSHAT of a VERSE vs PSHAT of a VERSE COLLECTION (or PSHAT of a WHOLE CHAPTER) Rather than be philosophical let me give 3 specific examples: EXAMPLE 1: The Hebrew root A`S`H can mean GROW WILD or TRIM/FIX. If **all** I had was the verse "She should A`S`H her nails(Dt 21:12)" then the PSHAT of the VERSE could be either "Let her nails GROW" or "Let her TRIM her nails"(Yevamoth 48a). But only the interpretation "Let her nails GROW WILD" fits in as the PSHAT of the CHAPTER, which speaks about letting her look ugly so that the person who captured her should not be interested. EXAMPLE 2: The PSHAT OF THE VERSE Lev 25:35 "Don't lend with interest AND FEAR GOD" could mean either "Don't try and subterfuge the law (Eg by lending to a non jew with interest knowing full well that the non jew will lend to Jews so that you look as if you are lending to Jews))" or it could mean "FEAR GOD & Battle your temptation to always make a profit". But only one of these PSHATs fit with the whole COLLECTION OF ALL VERSES that end with FEAR GOD---namely, don't subterfuge the law since God who knows man's thoughts is watching (The verses with FEAR GOD are LEv 19:14,32&25:17,36,43). EXAMPLE 3: The PSHAT of the VERSE AN EYE FOR AN EYE could equally mean the MONETARY value of an eye for an eye or could mean take out his eye because he took out your eye. But the PSHAT OF THE CHAPTER which speaks about monetary damage for sickness and disability (Ex 21:19) strongly suggests that EYE FOR AN EYE should be interpreted monetarily also. Two points should be made: --In all these cases we do not have the 'LAW uprooting the Pshat' but rather we have the PSHAT of the CHAPTER uprooting the PSHAT of the VERSE (Cf David Curwin in the name of the Gra MJv29n44). ---We have no conflict between PSHAT and DERASH but rather have a perspective of PSHAT OF ONE VERSE vs PSHAT of a whole COLLECTION OF VERSES. In other words I think that of the 3 items mentioned by Binyomin Segal (syntax, context,semantics v29n46) it is CONTEXT that holds the KEY to understanding the various approaches to Pshat. Many of these ideas occur frequently in my Rashi website. Russell Hendel; Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/