Their presence in Rashis on Parshat SheLaCh LeChaH Vol 3#8 - Adapted from Rashi-is-Simple
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English translations of the Bible come from www.Davka.Com with minor emendations by me.
The goal of this Weekly Rashi Digest is to use the weekly Torah portion to expose students at all levels to the ten major methods of commentary used by Rashi. It is hoped that continual weekly exposure to these ten major methods will enable students of all levels to acquire a familiarity and facility with the major exegetical methods.
1. RASHI METHOD: OTHER VERSES
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi explains one verse by citing an other verse
This examples applies to Rashis Nu15-03a
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/nu15-03a.htm
2. RASHI METHOD: WORD MEANING
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi uses 10 methods to explain the dictionary meaning of words
This examples applies to Rashis Nu15-39b
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/Nu15-39b.htm
One of Rashi's 10 major methods is the word meaning method. One word meaning method is the synonym method. When using the synonym method the meaning of the word is known but Rashi emphasizes the special nuances of the particular word used.
Nu15-37:39b states And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the people of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a thread of blue; And it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that you don't explore your desires and eye-contacts, which incline you to go astray;Rashi comments: As the underlined translation indicates the Hebrew word used means to explore or to spy out. This paints a poetic metaphor of the eye as spy. If the eye contact is on something desirable then an intelligence report is sent by the eyes to the body who will initiate conquest.
While Rashi, following the midrash, has been poetic his main point is that the Hebrew word used means to spy,explore. Consequently the traditional English translations don't go after your hearts and eyes doesn't really capture the full flavor of the Biblical verse. In translating this verse, besides following Rashi's advice of using the translation explore, I have also tranlated heart as desire and eye as eye contacts. The resulting translation don't explore your desires and eye contacts has a certain sparkle and accuracy to it. For example, desires and eye contacts are not prohibited--indeed they are natural. What is prohibited is their exploration and follow up.
The above is an excellent example of how focus on the exact nuances of a synonym leads to an accurate translation of a Biblical verse.
3. RASHI METHOD: GRAMMAR
BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi explains verses using principles of verb conjugation and grammar.
This examples applies to Rashis Nu13-22a
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/nu13-22a.htm
Today we present a peach of a grammatical Rashi. It is the type of Rashi that appears far-fetched and made up, totally devoid of logic. And yet, it has a simple flowing punchy explanation accessible to even a 5 year old using the simple idea of the plural-singular rules.
Who could not notice the bold-underlined word he which stands in stark contrast to the other subjects that are plural. The Rashi conclusion is obvious Only one of the 12 spies visited Chevron How could anyone see this as anything other than the simple meaning of the text?! The only remaining thing to clear is who this one person was and why he alone came to Chevron.
So Rashi puts on his thinking cap. Using the other verse method Rashi cites Dt01-36 which explicitly states ...except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see Israel, and to him will I give the land that he has trodden upon, and to his children, because he has wholly followed the Lord. Yet an other verse clarifies this even further: Ju01-20 states And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses said; .... And so, Rashi cheerfully continues, it is obvious that Caleb was the lone spy who came to Chevron since the verses indicate that he had come there and received it as an inheritance.
But we still have to ask why. If the job of the spies is to check out Israel for Jewish conquest why did Caleb journey off to Chevron. No problem says Rashi: Recall that Chevron is the burial place of the Patriarchs. We all know that one visits burial places in order to pray and strengthen one's personality. And we don't have to look far to find out what Caleb needed strengthening about...he had to disagree with the slander of the other spies. So the reasonable approach is that he came to Chevron to pray for the strength not to join the other spies in slandering Israel.
Clear, punchy, logical and reasonable. This is an ideal way to approach all Rashis!
4. RASHI METHOD: ALIGNMENT
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi examines minor differences in almost identical verses.
This examples applies to Rashis Nu15-27b
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/nu15-27b.htm
In this case Rashi uses the alignment to expose two cases.
5. RASHI METHOD: CONTRADICTION
BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi resolves contradictory verses using 3 methods.
This examples applies to Rashis Nu15-34a
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/nu15-34a.htm
We see the contradiction. How can Nu15-32 say that the penalty for Sabbath descecration is unknown if Ex31-14 explicitly says that the penalty is death?
Rashi resolves this contradiction by using a broad-literal interpretation of the underlined phrase it was not clarified what should be done to him. Rashi points out that the next verse Nu15-35 states And the Lord said to Moses, The man shall be surely put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.
6. RASHI METHOD: STYLE
Rashi examines inferences between general and detail statements.
This examples applies to Rashis Nu13-18a Nu13-18b Nu13-19a Nu13-19b Nu13-20a
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/nu13-18a.htm
The underlined words--Land,cities,Land-- show a General-Specific-General style. The Rabbi Ishmael Style rules require interpreting such a paragraph broadly---the General clauses are interpreted so as to reflect concepts similar to the specific clauses.
The specific clause in this case deals with whether the cities are in tents or in fortresses.This defines the theme of defense . Rashi now ties the other inquiries listed in the above list as tied to issues of defense
Consequently Rashi interprets the phrase And see the land, what it is; and the people who live in it, whether they are strong or weak, few or many; as follows: If they are strong they dwell in non-fortified cities and rely on their strength; if they are weak they dwell in fortified cities which they rely on for their defense.
Similarly Rashi interprets And what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is a tree in it, or not, symbolically: A tree symbolizes a regal spiritual person whose merit defends the city. Here again Rashi ties Moses inquiries to matters of defense. It is important to emphasize that Rashi is not trying to be homiletic by using symbolism--tree-spiritual--rather Rashi is sticking to the theme of defense.
Rashi does not further fully elaborate on this defense theme. But it is not hard to extrapolate. The inquiry And what the land is that they live in, whether it is good or bad; is interpreted by Rashi to refer to natural resources. We can easily connect this to defense issues: A barren land does not need to be defended while a land rich in natural resources does need to be defended with fortresses.
Similarly the inquiry And what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, is easily tied to defense issues:If the land is fat--produces a good yield--then it needs to be defended with fortresses while if the land is thin it does not have to be so defended.
The table below summarizes the Biblical text and the application of the theme--defense--to these issues. Note that a Rashi based on style is not as punchy and clear as a Rashi based on grammar or meaning. However these Rashis do follow rules and have a certain flavor to them which the student must master. The review of all verses as indicated in the Table below should give greater appreciation to Rashi.
7. RASHI METHOD: FORMATTING
BRIEF EXPLANATION:Inferences from Biblical formatting: --bold,italics--and paragraph structure.
This examples applies to Rashis Nu15-05a
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/nu15-05a.htm
Rashi states: The entire sub-section ending with the underlined phrase for one lamb. deals with the libations of lamb offerings. The entire sub-section beginning with the underlined phrase Or for a ram, deals with the libations of the ram offering.
Rashi's comment is simple but to the point. Rashi's comment deals with the overall structure of the Biblical paragraph-- hence we classify this Rashi as a format method since Rashi communicates to the student how the Biblical paragraph should be divided up. In explaining this Rashi we have in fact visually formatted the Biblical paragraph as a bulleted list. In my article Biblical Formatting to appear later this year in the Jewish Bible Quarterly I argue that a wide class of Rashis can be understood as formatting Rashis. A nifty approach to the comprehension of such Rashis is to skillfully use visual formatting of the Biblical text to communicate Rashi's point.
9. RASHI METHOD: SPREADSHEETS
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Inferences from a) computations, b) diagrams or c) consequences.
This examples applies to Rashis Nu15-36A
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/nu15-36a.htm
Nu15-35:36a states And the Lord said to Moses, The man shall be surely put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp. And all the congregation brought him outside the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.
Rashi, following the Talmud, comments on the underlined phrase: From the underlined phrase brought him outside the camp, we infer that the execution chamber (place of stoning) was distant from the court house.
The Talmud uses this inference to enhance the judicial process: Why was the execution chamber distant from the court house? So that judges could accompany the convicted to hear last minute defenses. If the convicted uttered such a defense while moving from the court house to the execution chamber he was brought back to court for a trial addendum.
We have classified this as a use of the Spreadsheet method because Rashi states a derived inference from the text: The Biblical text itself is fully understood. There are no problems with the text. However we can infer certain extra items from the Biblical text which don't per se make it more understood. Such inferences are classified as spreadsheet methods since like spreadsheets they are derived extra items to the meaning of the verse.
This week's parshah contains no examples of the database and symbolism methods. This concludes this weeks edition. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.