Their presence in Rashis on Parshat TeRuMaH Volume 9, Number 3
Used in the monthly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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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 Ex26-25a discussing the 8 boards constituting the western wall of the tabernarcle states And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. Rashi clarifies the underlined words eight boards by referencing verses Ex26-22,23 which states And for the sides of the tabernacle westward you shall make six boards. And two boards shall you make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides. Hence the Rashi comment: The eight boards of the western wall mentioned in Ex26-25a refer to the six boards mentioned in verse Ex26-22 and the two corner boards mentioned in Ex26-23.
Today is a peach of an example showing the greatness of the Talmudic sages in understanding all aspects of the Biblical text and language.
Rashi believed that Biblical verbs are conjugated using triliteral roots. Rashi also believed that just as 3 letter roots are useful for grammatical conjugation, so too, are 1 and 2 letter roots useful for semantic conjugation, that is, for understanding the meaning of the words. Rashi, like other Talmudic sages, used their great power of analyticity to expose underlying unities in the disparate meanings of the same root. These two techniques - the 2 letter root and the unifying meaning - are beautifully illustrated in today's example.
Verse Ex26-28 states And the center bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end. Rashi explains: What is the center-bar. The wall of the Temple consisted of a series of upright boards. These boards were hollowed and a center-board was placed through them thus providing support for the wall.
Rashi inferred this from the Hebrew root used:Beth-Resh-Cheth. The Hebrew letter Beth means house. The Hebrew 2-letter root Resh-Cheth means open space. Using the 2-letter method we infer that Beth-Resh-Cheth means the open space is a house.
Let us test this proposed explanation - the open space is a house - against the two meanings of the Hebrew root Beth-Resh-Cheth. Beth-Resh-Cheth means fleeing. A Fleer is a person who finds a refuge and home in open spaces. There is a paradox here. The fleer does not feel at home in his own home and house. He must flee because of danger. The open space which homes normally protect from by giving shelter paradoxically gives the fleer a new home.
The second meaning of Beth-Resh-Cheth is center board. Here too we see a paradox. Normally a hollow in a board is a sign of structural weakness. However the center-board by filling this hollow creates home-like-protection precisely through this open space.
So both the center board and fleer find or give protection in an open space, where protection is normally not found. This confirms the etymological derivation a home in open space.
Praise be Him who chose them and their learning.
The special word method deals with the few dozen special words that exist in all languages. Familiar examples are also, when, that, because, only, this,.... Rashi's job, when he comments on a special connective words, is to list the varied nuances and usages of the word. The most famous example is the Hebrew word Kaph Yud which can mean because, that, when, perhaps, rather, if. Sometimes Rashi explicitly gives all meanings of a connective word as happens with Kaph Yud while at other times Rashi does not give all meanings at once. In such a case the student must gather all the meanings together from various places.
Verse Ex27-19a discussing the material of Temple utensils states All the utensils of the tabernacle for all its service, and all its pins, and all the pins of the court, shall be of copper.
Rashi comments on the special connective adverbial word, all. All has four meanings: a) all, with no exceptions, b) all parts (the whole), c) all groups, d) even borderline cases. Here the word all means even borderline cases. Rashi explains: The verse phrase temple utensils would ordinarily be interpreted restrictively to refer to the altar utensils like the bowls which hold blood, the forks which hold meat, or the dustpans used for sweeping. This interpretation is consistent with verse Ex27-03 which explicitly states And you shall make pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels, and its basins, and its forks, and its firepans; all its utensils you shall make of copper. The word all however encourages a broader interpretation applying even to borderline cases. Even construction utensils, such as pitching utensils and hammers, used in the construction of the temple but not in actual service, were required to be made of copper.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses in Ex27-09:14 All verses discuss the obligation of making Temple walls with pillars, stakes and hoooks. The alignment justifies the Rashi assertions that The pillars, stakes and hooks - whether in north, south, east and west - must be copper.
Advanced Rashi: In the above Rashi we have only cited the verses with the south and west side. Rashi cites a similar alignment of the verses for the north and east side.
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses speak about money going for the Temple. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says Speak unto the children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering; of every man who feels like donating ye shall take My offering while the other verse states When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel, according to their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto HaShem, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This they shall give Which is it? Is money to the temple a voluntary donation or an obligatory tax. Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 case method: There were 2 taxes: An initial voluntary donation funded the Temple construction while an obligatory tax maintained its upkeep.
Advanced Rashi: We can approach this Rashi using the database method, rule #8. We can inquire In how many ways was money obtained for the Temple and in how many ways was it used. Please see below for further details.
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development form. In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development of this broad general theme in specific details. The Theme-Detail form creates a unified paragraph. Today's example illustrates this as shown below.
Rashi's comments have been placed in brackets. Rashi explicitly states The two subordinate clauses in the detail verses are explanations and clarifictions of the main sentence in the general verse. That is the verse is read as indicated: You will make 4 rings...with 2 on one side and 2 on the other.
Sermonic points: The Ark symbolizes the Torah which resided in it. The Ark symbolism teaches us valuable points about learning. Here there is emphasis that if we have 4 hours of learning a week we should not focus on one side of Jewish law but rather be multi-faceted, 2 sided, with our time resources. For example we should devote equal amounts of time to God-Man and Man-Man laws.
We ask the following database query: How many ways was money obtained for the Temple? How was the obtained money used? The reader is encouraged to perform the query using a standard Biblical Konnkordance or search engine. This database query yields the list below. The list justifies the following Rashi-Midrashic inference: Money for the Temple was obtained in two ways: a) Voluntary gifts, b) Obligatory taxes. The obtained money was used for I)Temple construction II) silver utensils III) daily offerings and upkeep. The very beautiful list given in rule #10 below presents the results of the database query with over half a dozen examples. The serious student is urged to carefully review it now.
Advanced Rashi: Notice that the Torah does not explicitly state where the daily offerings come from. Rather, Rashi infers this from as a reasonable supposition: There was a requirment for the community to offer 730 lambs throughout the year. It is reasonable that these daily offerings were funded from the yearly half-dollar tax.
Verse Ex26-24a discussing the construction of the Temple states And they [the boards] shall be evenly coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above its head to one ring; thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners
Rashi draws a picture showing how the boards were evenly coupled together and still could be inserted in supporting pillars. The diagram below is a side snapshot of a board and the pillar it fits into.
' ------------------------------ ' | | ------------------ ' | -------- | ' | | ------------------ ' | -------- | ' | | ------------------ ' ------------------------------ ' ------------------------------ ' | | ------------------ ' | -------- | ' | | ------------------ ' | -------- | ' | | ------------------ ' ------------------------------ ' ' ' TOP BOTTOM SUPPORT PILLARS
This week's parshah does not contain examples of the format and symbolism methods. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.