Their presence in Rashis on Parshat Ki ThiSaH Volume 9, Number 5
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 Ex30-36a discussing the method of compounding incense states And thou shalt beat some of it [the incense] very small, and put of it before the 10-commandments in the Temple, where I will meet with thee; it shall be unto you most holy Rashi clarifies the underlined words and put of it before the 10-commandments in the Temple by referencing verses Ex30-07:09 which states And Aaron shall burn on it [the golder altar before the ark with the 10 commandments] sweet incense every morning; when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn incense upon it, an everlasting incense before the Lord throughout your generations. You shall offer no strange incense on it, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meal offering; nor shall you pour drink offering on it. Hence the Rashi comment: The statement to place the incense before the 10 commandments refers back to the obligation to offer incense morning and evening each day on the golden altar which is outside the ark which contains the 10 commandments.
Advanced Rashi: Notice how verses Ex30-07:09 mention the prohibition of offering additional incense offerings over and beyond the daily incense offerings. This prohibition prevented Rashi from interpreting Ex30-36 as referring to additional voluntary incense offerings. Instead Rashi was forced to interpret Ex30-36 as referring to the already required incense offerings explicitly mentioned in Ex30-07:09
When Rashi uses, what we may losely call, the hononym method, Rashi does not explain new meaning but rather shows an underlying unity in disparate meanings. Rashi will frequently do this by showing an underlying unity in the varied meanings of a Biblical root.
In my article Peshat and Derash found on the world wide web at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rashi.pdf. I advocate enriching the Rashi explanation using a technique of parallel nifty translations in modern English. Today's examples show this.
Advanced Rashi: The secular scholars see the unifying meaning of Cheth Lamed as hollow. Well Dance-flutes and windows do have a hollow form but sick people and corpses aren't really hollow. Furthermore the secularists (as is typical) define objects by form, what they look like. But Hebrew and other languages typically define objects by function / effect. A Dance-Flute is not just some hollow object; it is rather an instrument that can create rapid scattered sounds that fill the musical atmosphere like sand (like the motions of dancers!). Windows may be hollow but you should be aware that they annoyingly let in dirt, sand and debris. A corpse has lost his soul but is not really hollow; what you have to know about a corpse is that by decaying it is no longer cohesive and its particles will scatter.
We see in these examples a certain lingual richness. A Cheth-Lamed-Yud-Lamed is not any hollow instrument; not even a flute; it is rather a dance flute. Its primary function is to allow ecstatic scattered motion like sand in the wind, unbound by the usual forces of the world. Such richness is typical of Talmudic analytic thinking and gives the Bible an advanced color and richness.
Sermonic Points: Some colleagues voice concern that the hononym method is a bit homiletic. I think however that by reviewing the above list one can appreciate the power and beauty of this method and rightfully see it as enriching the reading of the Bible.
The Bible in various places uses puns to communicate both grammatical points and nuances. Biblical puns can sometimes be deliberate and intended by the biblical Author. For an excellent introduction to this lovely subject please read my article on Biblical Puns located on the world wide web at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/puns.pdf.
Rav Hirsch introduced a powerful grammatical use of puns! A noun with many parts - for example, a table with four legs - if spelled deficiently, indicates a possible deficiency in the components of the object - possibly the table only had 3 of its 4 legs. Here the language uses a pun - a deficient spelling indicates a deficiency in plurality. Rav Hirsch considered this a grammatical rule and explained many difficult Talmudic passages with it. We give a partial list below.
In each case the defective spelling indicates a deficiency in plurality. Many other examples exist. As indicated Rav Hirsch considered this use of puns a grammatical rule.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses in Ex25-22, Ex30-36b Both verses discuss designation of the Kaporeth area as a place of meeting God. The alignment justifies the Rashi assertions that God meets the Jews in the Kaporeth area for prophetic communication.
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses say the same three Hebrew words. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says ....Abraham called to an affair for the sake of God while the other verse says ...God announced the reptutation - of God (of mercy) Which is it? Do the identical three Hebrew words mean announcement to an affair for God or an announcement of the reputation of God. Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 case method: There are two different punctuations to the same three Hebrew words! One verse has a pausal punctuation after the word called, while the other verse has a pausal punctuation after the word name/reptutation. Hence one verse is translated Abraham called: an affair for God while the other verse is translated God announced the reputation, of God. [In our translation we have indicated the pausal word using the English comma].
Advanced Rashi: The Hebrew words Kuph Resh Aleph can mean announce or call/invite. Similarly the Hebrew word Shin Mem can mean reputation or for the sake of.
For example Ex31-02 is translated See I announce the reputation of Bezalel..... Here the Hebrew word Shin-Mem is interpreted best as reputation, and the Hebrew root Kuph Resh Aleph is best translated as an announcement
By contrast Is44-05 clearly indicates by its parallel structure that the Hebrew Kuph Resh Aleph means call and the Hebrew Beth Shin Mem means for the sake of. Hence the verse is interpreted to means calling for the sake of God. Note that calling for God may be more appropriate here but inviting for God is more appropriate for Abraham since he had offered sacrifices and invited (called) people to partake of them.
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.
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 indicated bullets by using repeating keywords.
That is, if a modern author wanted to get a point across using bullets - a list of similar but contrastive items - then the Biblical Author would use repeating keywords. Today's verse illustrates this principle.
Non-Jews are not explicitly mentioned above. Rather Rashi inferred contrastively that since one bullet #1 mentions the Jews the other set of bullets must be addressed to non-Jews. This in fact is exactly how bullets function - they create a contrastive emphasis which can lead to detailed meaning.
Verse Ex30-20b discussing the requirement of Priests to wash their hands and legs states when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to cause an offering made by fire to smoke unto HaShem;
Rashi on this verse makes a simple logical inference: As shown by the underlined words the verse shows that if they wash they die not. From this we infer that if they serve in the temple without first washing their hands and legs that they deserve to die.
The use of logic to make a simple inference is classified by us as a NonVerse method because no inference is made from other verses, word meaning, grammar, or style. Rather the meaning is logical and literally non verse.
This week's parshah does not contain examples of the database and symbolism methods. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.