Their presence in Rashis on Parshat VaYaYSheV Vol 8, # 8 - Adapted from Rashi-is-Simple
Visit the RashiYomi website: http://www.Rashiyomi.com/
(c) RashiYomi Incorporated, Dr. Hendel, President, Nov - 29, - 2007
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.
Verse Gn39-09 discussing Joseph's refusal to commit adultery states There is none greater in this house than I; nor has he kept back any thing from me but you, because you are his wife; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Rashi notes The underlined words, how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? references verses Gn12-17:18, Gn26-11 which explicitly indicate general awareness among non-Jews that adultery leads to Gods killing people.
Notice how the side in the name Eyver who fathered the split of the world mirrors Abraham's further split of the world by also standing on the side of monotheism. Such multiple meanings and echoing nuances are common in etymologies.
Verse Gn37-31 states And they took coat of Joseph, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; Rashi comments: The phrase coat of Joseph uses the construct ( coat of) and hence is punctuated in Hebrew, Kuh-To-Neth while the second underlined phrase coat occurs absolutely without a construct and is punctuated Koo-To-Neth. In other words while English uses the word of to distinguish between the construct and non-construct, Hebrew uses two different punctuations for the construct vs. non-construct.
Advanced Rashi: The reader may wonder why Rashi explains this. After all, schoolchildren routinely learn the difference between construct and non-construct. However grammar was just beginning in Rashi's time and one of his major functions was to communicate grammatical rules to his readers who had no other way of finding them out.
Today's example uses both the Formatting-Climaxrule #7 as well as the alignment rule #4. The Climax rule states that a sequence of phrases describing some event or activity should be interpreted in climactic order.
Note the anti-climax in the sequence of underlined words: tore, sackcloth, mourned, comfort-refusal,mourn, cry. Cry should not be the climax of the list; it should preferably be in the middle. Hence, based solely on this anti-climax Rashi suggests that The first part of the list tore, sackcloth, mourned, comfort-refusal,mourn. applies to Jacob, but the second part of the list cry applies to his father that is, Jacob's father, Isaac.
Rashi now must explain the aligned verselets: Jacob mourns while Isaac cries: Jacob mourned but Isaac only cried. Apparently Isaac knew Joseph was alive. This is reasonably possible since Isaac's daughter in law was Arab and it was Arabs to which Joseph was sold and transported to Egypt. Hence Isaac could have known the whole story from his Arab contacts since the presence of a Hebrew slave in Egypt would arouse a buzz and Isaac would eventually find out. Rashi continues: Isaac was crying for Jacob who was unnecessarily mourning. He wasn't crying for Joseph since he knew Joseph was alive. This is indeed possible. But it is equally likely that Isaac was crying for Joseph who had been transformed into a slave by his brothers. Perhaps then Rashi's point is that Isaac was crying for the entire situation where a brother was sold into slavery and his father thought him dead. This is the most appealing explanation.
The table below summarizes this analysis of Rashi.
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses speak about travelling to Timnah. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says ...Judah went up to Timnah while the other verse states ....Shimshon went down to Timnah Which is it? Was Timnah at the top or bottom of a mountainous region? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Aspects method: Timnah was in the middle of a mountain range. Hence you went up to it from the bottom while you went down from the top.
We have explained in our article Biblical Formatting located on the world wide web at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/biblicalformatting.pdf, that the Biblical Author indicates bold, italics, underline by using repetition. In other words if a modern author wanted to emphasize a word they would either underline, bold or italicize it. However when the Biblical author wishes to emphasize a word He repeats it. The effect - whether thru repetition or using underline - is the same. It is only the means of conveying this emphasis that is different.
Verse Gn37-07c discussing Joseph's dream of the standing sheafs states for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and bowed down to my sheaf.' Note the repetition indicated by the underlined words. This repetition creates an unspecified emphasis. Rashi comments The phrase arose and also stood upright connotes a permanant standing in which the sheaf remains standing. (An ordinary object, stood up, would fall if its center of gravity was high enough...so the dream showed a standing that remained without subsequent falling).
Advanced Rashi: Undoubtedly, the permanant standing connotes the non-transient reign of Joseph.
With regard to the last example, Chronicles is giving a political history and hence someone like David is more important (politically) than say Abraham and Moses (Who were more important prophetically).
In a separate Rashi we have explained that the double underlined word man indicates emphasis - the word for man(Ish) in Hebrew comes from the word for fire (Aysh) and indicates (originally) a prophetic man who sees visions of fire or is seen in visions of fire. This inference uses the Format rule #7 which interprets repetition as an indication of unspecified emphasis. Rashi is more specific and identifies man with the ArchAngel Gavriel. This is true but we need not defend the detail. The important point is that Joseph had a vision of fire, a prophetic dream. The dream is indicated above in the second bullet which is typeset.We now interpret this passage symbolically: The justification for this symbolic interpretation is the context that it happened in a dream.
Let me recap. As shown by the underlined words the above is the simple symbolic interpretation of the dream. This symbolic interpretation is based on the repeated word man connoting emphasis and indicating a vision of fire.
Advanced Rashi: But wait a minute. Rashi literally states:There is symbolic meaning to Dothan but a text never leaves the simple meaning (Dothan is a place!!!). Doesn't this contradict what we said above as the simple meaning of the text?
No!> For that is exactly how dreams are interpreted. They took something in the real world which triggers symbolic associations. True Joseph was going to Dothan; but the name of the place appeared in the dream and triggered symbolic associations with a new way of life. A good dream interpretation focuses both on the real world and sybmolic together as Rashi just illustrated.
This week's parshah contains no examples of the style Rashi methods. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.