Their presence in Rashis on Parshat MiKeTz Vol 8, # 9 - Adapted from Rashi-is-Simple
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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 Gn39-03a discussing Joseph's success as an Egyptian slave states And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. Rashi notes The underlined words, the LORD was with him references verses Gn40-08,Gn41-16 which explicitly show that Joseph frequently mentioned God's name (e.g. God will help). Hence we interpret The lord was with him as meaning God's name was frequent in his mouth.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says God is with him: refers to the fact that God's name was frequently in his conversation. This appears strange. Isn't the natural interpretation of God is with him that he is successful. Why interpret the phrase in terms of his lingual patterns?
We have approached this Rashi using the fundamental technique of seeing Rashi as supplementing the meaning of the text vs. exhausting the meaning of the text. In other words Rashi was not saying God is with him only means that God's name was frequent on his mouth but rather Rashi is saying besides the obvious meaning of the phrase God is with him indicating that he was successful, the phrase also means that God's name was frequent with him. Such an interpretative approach - an emphasis that Rashi is supplementing the simple meaning of the text - is deep, mature, and consistent with the simple meaning of the Biblical text.
Students of Rashi must bear in mind that Rashi could sometimes use universal principles applicable in all languages. This particularly applies to the meaning methods.
Verses Gn42-19:20 discussing why Joseph imprisoned his brothers (in order to verify their story) states if ye be upright men, let one of your brethren be bound in your prison-house; but go ye, carry for for the famine of your houses; and bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words will be truthified, and ye shall not die.' And they did so. Rashi explains: Truthified is the passive verb form of the noun truth and means to create truth or more colloquially to verify.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verselets in Gn42-27c Both verselets discuss the money found in the knapsacks of the brothers of Joseph. The alignment justifies the Rashi assertion that The words for bag, knapsack,sack mean the same and can be used interchangably.
Perhaps the words differ in their etymology. Aleph-Mem-Tauv-Cheth emphasizes the tightening of supporting strings (from Mem-Tauv-Cheth the securing of a place, such as a tent, with tightening strings) while Sin-Kaph emphasizes the fact that the bag is used for intense carrying (From Shin-Kaph-Kaph the market place.). However since all intense carrying bags involve tightening of strings to secure contents the words would then be interchangeable.
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses speak about the famine in the time of Joseph. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says and the seven years of famine began to come, according as Joseph had said; and there was famine in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread while the other verse states And all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians: 'Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.' Which is it? Did Egypt have food or was there a famine there? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Stages method: Initially when the famine started outside of Egypt, all of Egypt had food, since Joseph had advised them to store food. But the food rotted and Egypt too was then in famine
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 Gn43-20b discussing the descent of Jacob's children to Egypt states and said: 'Oh my lord, we came down down at the first time to buy food. Note the repetition indicated by the underlined words. This repetition creates an unspecified emphasis. Rashi comments Two descents are connoted: a) a physical descent to Egypt and b) a social descent - they use to provide others and are now are dependent. Rashi of course conjectures that the second descent was social but such an interpretation of the unspecified emphasis seems reasonable.
Sermonic Points: The dialogue teaches us political etiquette. By emphasizing that they themselves were providers it made it more unlikely that they would stoop to theft since they were distinguished and responsible people.
Verses Gn44-12a discussing the frameup of Benjamin with a theft states And he searched, beginning at the eldest, and ending at the youngest; and the goblet was found in Benjamin's sack. Rashi fills-in with real-world background. Ben was framed with robbery. To avoid suspicion the investigator went from oldest to youngest so discovery looked accidental.
Clearly the sole purpose of Rashi here, is to clarify the underlined detail beginning at the eldest as being consistent with a frameup.
Sermonic points: There is a subtlety here we may overlook. Egypt is associated with slavery and carefully defined social strata. But here we see the very democratic idea of judging a person / worker by knowledge skills and abilities. Joseph had expertise in number symbolism and got a typical 'American-type' job promotion, from prisoner to Vice President, because of his expertise.
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.