The 10 RashiYomi Rules
Their presence in Rashis on Parshat PeQuDaY
Volume 9, Number 7
Used in the monthly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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(c) RashiYomi Incorporated, Dr. Hendel, President,
Mar - 6, - 2008

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.

    BRIEF EXPLANATION: Commentary on a verse is provided thru a cross-reference to another verse. The cross references can either provide
    • (1a) further details,
    • (1b) confirm citations, or
    • (1c) clarify word meaning.
    This examples applies to Rashis Ex38-28a
    URL Reference: (c)
    Brief Summary: The heads of the courtyard pillars were overlaid (Ex38-28) with silver (Ex38-17).

Verse Ex38-28a discussing the courtyard pillars states And of the thousand seven hundred and seventy five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their heads, and bound them. Rashi clarifies the underlined word overlaid by referencing verse Ex38-19 which states And their pillars were four, and their sockets of bronze four; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their capitals and their joints of silver. Hence the Rashi comment: The overlaying mentioned in Ex38-29 is an overlaying with silver as indicated explicitly in Ex38-19.

Text of Target verse Ex38-28a Text of Reference Verse Ex38-19
And their pillars were four, and their sockets of bronze four; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their capitals and their joints of silver. And the men came after the women; all who were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and ear rings, and rings, and bracelets, all jewels of gold; and every man who offered offered an offering of gold to the Lord.
Rashi comments: The overlaying mentioned in Ex38-29 is an overlaying with silver as indicated in Ex38-19.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION: The meaning of words can be explained either by
      • (2a) translating an idiom, a group of words whose collective meaning transcends the meaning of its individual component words,
      • (2b) explaining the nuances and commonality of synonyms-homographs,
      • (2c) describing the usages of connective words like also,because,if-then, when,
      • (2d) indicating how grammatical conjugation can change word meaning
      • (2e) changing word meaning using the figures of speech common to all languages such as irony and oxymorons.
      This examples applies to Rashis Ex40-22b
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: TEMPLE THIGH means TEMPLE SIDE

    The FFF submethod states that words can be named by Form, Feel, and Function.
  • Some examples of naming words by Form include (a) the leg of a chair, (b) the handle of a pot, (c) the branch of a family tree, (d) surfing the net or (e) brainstorming Some of these examples illustrate naming objects by form while other examples illustrate naming activities by form.
  • A good punchy example distinguishing naming by form vs. function is pentagon-UN. The pentagon is named after the shape and form of the building while the United Nations is named after the function and purpose of the building. Although both these buildings have as a purpose world peace they are named differently.
  • Examples of naming by feel/substance are glasses, hardship, ironing-board, plaster etc.

The FFF principle is a special case of the literary techniques of synechdoche-metonomy. These literary principles, universal to all languages, state that items can be named by related items, by parts of those items, or by good examples of those items. For example honey refers to anything sweet since honey is a good example of something sweet. Similarly hot refers to matters of love since the two are related. Todays Rashi can best be understood by applying these principles.

Verse Ex40-22b discussing the erection of the Temple states And he put the table in the tent of meeting, upon the Temple thigh northward, without the veil. Rashi explains: The Temple thigh refers to the Temple side. Here Rashi uses the FFF principle, Rashi names position by the positional form of a body organ.

Examples of naming by body positional form abound in many languages: For example, in English we have, the handle of the pot, the eye of the hurricane, the heart of the west, the leg of the table, the head of the mountain and many more. By placing Rashi in the context of these examples we enrich our Rashi experience.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi explains verses using grammar principles, that is, rules which relate reproducable word form to word meaning. Grammatical rules neatly fall into 3 categories
      • (a) the rules governing conjugation of individual words,Biblical roots,
      • (b) the rules governing collections of words,clauses, sentences
      • (c) miscellaneous grammatical, or form-meaning, rules.
      This examples applies to Rashis Ex40-32a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: Kuph-Resh-Beth-Tauv-Mem is an infinitive, cohortative with suffix: WHEN THEY INTEND TO COME NEAR TO THE ALTAR

Most people are aware that Hebrew verbs come from three-letter roots. Each root is conjugated in the 7 dimensions of person, gender,plurality, tense, activity, modality, and direct-object. For example the root Shin Mem Resh means to watch. The conjugations Shin-Mem-Resh-Tauv-Yud and Nun-Shin-Mem-Resh-Nun-Vav mean I watched and we were watched respectively.

The rules for Hebrew grammar are carefully described in many modern books and are well known. Rashi will sometimes comment when a verse is using a rare conjugation of an odd grammatical form.

When presenting grammatical Rashis my favorite reference is the appendix in volume 5 of the Ibn Shoshan dictionary. This very short appendix lists most conjugations.

    Verse Ex40-32a discussing the requirement of priests to wash / sanctify their hands and legs when entering to provide service states When they come to the Tent of Meeting, and when they intend to come near to the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses. Rashi's comment on the Hebrew Kuph-Resh-Beth-Tauv-Mem when properly understood involves four points:
    1. The root Kuph-Resh-Beth means near
    2. The grammatical form used is the infinitive: to come near.
    3. The suffix Mem indicates the subject of the infinitive: for them to come near.
    4. The root has an additional hey which, as is usual is transformed into a Tauv. A suffix hey indicates the so-called jussive / cohortative mood - that is, a mood of aspiration, wishfullness and intent.
    Putting it all together we therefore translate the verse ...when they intend to come near to the altar...

Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says Kuph Resh Beth Tauv Mem is like Kuph Resh Beth Mem. Rashi thereby indicates that the word uses an infinitive and suffix mem. In our explanation above we have also accounted for the tauv which classically comes from a suffix hey which typically indicates the jussive / cohortative mood.

Having explained the verse we must ask Why? That is what does the phrase ..when they intend to come near to the altar add. I have not found anything explicit but would offer the following insights: The Rambam, Laws of Temple Entry, mentions the Biblical requirement to wash hands and legs and then perform temple service. The Rambam also mentions the heavenly death penalty applicable to a Priest who performs temple service without first washing. But the Rambam is silent on Temple entry without washing and without service. I would suggest, based on the Rashi we just read that a priest who entered with intent to provide service and did not wash and was later unable to provide the temple service has nevertheless violated a positive commandment to wash. As I indicated I have not found anything explicit in the exegetical sources and leave the above as a thought on how grammatical Rashis like this can possibly be integrated with Jewish law.

    BRIEF EXPLANATION: Aligning two almost identically worded verselets can suggest
    • (4a) 2 cases of the same incident or law
    • (4b) emphasis on the nuances of a case
    • (4c) use of broad vs literal usage of words
    This examples applies to Rashis Ex38-22a
    URL Reference: (c)
    Brief Summary: Bezalel thru logic derived the proper sequence of Temple constructions: House 1st utensils 2nd.

The table below presents an aligned extract of verses in Ex25-10 Ex26-01, Ex36-08 Ex37-01. Both verses discuss the sequence of construction of Temple objects. The alignment justifies the Rashi assertions that God commanded Moses in Ex25 to construct the Temple utensils - such as the ark - 1st and then construct the Temple building while Bezalel when he actually constructed the Temple built the Temple building 1st and the Temple utensils, such as the ark, 2nd. Bezalel argued that people don't buy house utensils prior to owning a house and such common sense dictates the proper order.

Verse Text of Verse Rashi comment
Ex25-10 Ex26-01 And they shall make an ark ....... And you shall make the Temple... God commanded Moses in Ex25 to construct the Temple utensils - such as the ark - 1st and then construct the Temple building
Ex36-08 Ex37-01 And every wise hearted man, among them that did the craftsmanship, made the Temple... And Bezalel made the ark ... God commanded Moses in Ex25 to construct the Temple utensils - such as the ark - 1st and then construct the Temple building while Bezalel when he actually constructed the Temple built the Temple building 1st and the Temple utensils, such as the ark, 2nd. Bezalel argued that people don't buy house utensils prior to owning a house and such common sense dictates the proper order.

Advanced Rashi: We have appeared to explain this Rashi. However we have a superior explanation below in rule #8, databases. The contrast between the database and alignment explanation affords a rare opportunity to understand the politics and dynamics of the Rashi rules as they compete for the best explanation.

Rashi dresses up the above explanation. He adds additional material which however is a poetic dress to the logical foundation laid above. The additional material has poetic but not logical value. Rashi says: The verses in Ex38 continuously state God commanded Moses implying that people did what God commanded even if they did not yet know about it. In fact Bezalel deduced through logic the correct sequencing of the building of Temple which Moses confirmed prophetically. Hence Bezalel's name which means Bezal El because he appeared to sit in the shade of God and evesdrop on what God wanted. For the unitiated Rashi uses a pun: Light throughout the Bible symbolically means prophecy. Hence by analogy shade would mean logic the opposite of prophecy. Here Moses a prophet - a man of light - complements Bezalel on his shadiness - the ability to infer through logic.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi resolves contradictory verses using 3 methods.
      • (5a) Resolution using two aspects of the same event
      • (5b) Resolution using two stages of the same process
      • (5c) Resolution using broad-literal interpretation.
      This example applies to Rashis Ex40-29a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: Ordinarily only priests offered sacrifices; during the Temple consecration Moses offered.

The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about offering of sacrifices. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says Moses erected the temple...he erected the altar..he offered on it the offerings... while the other verse says ... the priest shall offer ....towards the altar Which is it? Were priests required for offerings, or were non-priests like Moses allowed to offer? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 aspects method: During the week when the Temple was consecrated Moses offered sacrifices. At all other times only priests could offer.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
Only priests could offer up offerings. Lv01-09 But its entrails and its legs shall he wash in water; and the priest shall offer all on the altar, the up offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the Lord.
Moses offered the daily up offering Ex40-18,29 And Moses erected the tabernacle, and.... And he put the altar of the up offering by the door of the Temple, and offered upon it the up offering and the meal offering;....
Resolution: 2 Aspects: During the week when the Temple was consecrated Moses offered sacrifices. At all other times only priests could offer. (Proof that Moses offered sacrifices during the week of the consecration of the Temple is found in Lv08-21. Several other offering procedures traditionally done by Priests were done by Moses as indicated in several verses in Lv08-21.)

    Rashi examines how rules of style influences inferences between general and detail statements in paragraphs.
    • Example: Every solo example stated by the Bible must be broadly generalized;
    • Theme-Detail: A general principle followed by an example is interpreted restrictively---the general theme statement only applies in the case of the example;
    • Theme-Detail-Theme: A Theme-Detail-Theme unit is interpreted as a paragraph. Consequently the details of the paragraph are generalized so that they are seen as illustrative of the theme.
    This examples applies to Rashis Ex39-32a
    URL Reference: (c)
    Brief Summary: Temple work done SINCE Jews did as told

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.

Verse Ex39-32a discussing the completion of the Temple states General: Thus was finished all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting; [since]... Detail: ... the children of Israel did according to all that HaShem commanded Moses, so did they.

In the above translation we have interpolated the word since which captures the essence of Rashi's remark on a causal connection between the two verse halves. This causal relationship exhibits the general-development form: The general idea of completion is developed using the causal idea of obedience.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Inferences from Biblical formatting:
      • Use of repetition to indicate formatting effects: bold,italics,...;
      • use of repeated keywords to indicate a bullet effect;
      • rules governing use and interpretation of climactic sequence;
      • rules governing paragraph development and discourse
      This example applies to Rashis Ex38-21b
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: The required dimensions of the utensils of Moses' desert tabernacle applied to all temples.

We have explained in our article Biblical Formatting located on the world wide web at, 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.

Notice the repeated underlined word in the following verse, Ex38-21b: This is the accounting of the tabernacle, of the tabernacle of Testimony, as it was accounted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. As indicated we interpret this repetition as indicating an unspecified emphasis. In modern notation we would translate this sentence with an underline: This is the accounting of the tabernacle of Testimony, as it was accounted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. The repetition or underline indicates an unspecified emphasis. Rashi translates this emphasis as indicating general applicability to any Temple: This is the accounting of any Temple [such as the Temple] of Testimony, as it was accounted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. In other words the measurements and construction details of each utensil in Moses' desert temple were also requirements for the utensils in other Temples such as the Temple of King Solomon.

Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says: The verse repeates the phrase of the Temple thereby hinting at the Temple involved in two destructions. Here Rashi emphasizes the emotional aspect of the Temple. However the simple meaning of the verse is that all Temples have the same measurements. We translate the verse using the phrase ...of any Temple. Such a translation hints at the Solomon temple since the verse properly speaks about any Temple including the Temple's in Gilgal, Shiloh, and King Messiah.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi makes inferences from Database queries. The precise definition of database query has been identified in modern times with the 8 operations of Sequential Query Language (SQL).

      This example applies to Rashis Ex38-22a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: 3 listings of the 11 Temple utensils: a) The building order; b) the construction; c) the building erection.

    We ask the following database query: How many temple utensils are described in the bible and how are they sequenced? 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: Different sequencing is used for the Temple objects. Each sequencing reflected a different ordering principle.
    • The order to build reflects a sequence based on spiritual importance - for example the most important thing is acceptance of God's law symbolized by the ark.
    • The actual construction reflects criteria of building importance - thus the building structures are made first, followed by critical utensils, followed by outside utensils.
    • The actual building erection reflects criteria of homeowner importance - thus the building is made first, followed by the most important utensils (the ark) and their protection, followed by other utensils, followed by items outside the building/house.
    The list below presents the results of the database query.

Order to build Contruction Erection
Ex25 Ex30 Ex36 - Ex38 Ex 40
Spiritual Importance Building Importance Homeowner Importance
Ark E 3
Table F 5
Candellabrah G 6
- - - - - - - - -
Roof Tent A 2
Building structure B 1
Veil C 4
Door D 8
- - - - - - - - -
(Copper) Altar I 9
Courtyard K 11
(Gold) Altar H 7
Basins J 10
In the above table we have indicated the alternate sequencing using letters and numbers. For example the roof tent is mentioned first in Ex36 Ex 38 and the building structure is mentioned first in the Ex40.

Advanced Rashi: If the student of Rashi compares the Rashi explanations in rule 4, alignment with the Rashi explanations in rule 8, databases one can see Rashi's genious and understand how the various Rashi rules are used. The alignment explanation reflects what we tell children - something simple and short. By contrast the database explanation reflects a full blown explanation utilizing a consistent application of comparison. The alignment explanation is simple and punchy while the database explanation is complex and rich. Rashi pedagogically chose the simple punchy alignment explanation. His intent was to encourage further research. As the child who learned the alignment explanation grew older he would consistently apply Rashi's question on order till he arrived at the entire database above. The child, now grown, would then attempt to fully develop reasons for all the order sequences.

This is the proper method by which to view Rashi: A dynamic method that interacts at all levels of students - young and old. We see here simultaneously Rashi's simplicity and complexity - he addressed both child, adult and scholar.

Praise be He who chose them and their learning!

      9. RASHI METHOD: NonVerse
      BRIEF EXPLANATION: The common denominator of the 3 submethods of the NonVerse method is that inferences are made from non textual material. The 3 submethods are as follows:
      • Spreadsheet: Rashi makes inferences of a numerical nature that can be summarized in a traditional spreadsheet
      • Geometric: Rashi clarifies a Biblical text using descriptions of geometric diagrams
      • Fill-ins: Rashi supplies either real-world background material or indicates real-world inferences from a verse. The emphasis here is on the real-world, non-textual nature of the material.
      This example applies to Rashis Ex38-24a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: 1 KKR=3000 SKL. 603550*1/2 SKL= 100 KKR (300000 SKL) + 1775 SKL.

Verse Ex38-24:26 discussing the aggregate amount of silver gathered for the temple states And the silver of those who were counted of the congregation was a 100 Kikar, and a 1775 shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary; A bekah for every man, that is, 1/2 a shekel, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one who went to be counted, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men.

    A most beautiful Rashi uses the principles of linear equations to derive the number of shekels per kikar. The three basic principles of linear equations are
  • The Simplication Principle: First perform all necessary computations till all you have left in the equation are numbers and variables.
  • The addition Principle: One can subtract or add equal amounts from each side of the equation;
  • The Multiplication Principle: One can divide or multiply equal amounts from each side of the equation.

Rashi: Using these two principles we can use the above verses to calculate as follows:
Rule How applied Equation
Original Equation Citation 1/2 603,550 Shekel = 100 KiKar + 1775 Shekel
Simplication Multiply 1/2 x 603,550 301,775 Shekel = 100 KiKar + 1775 Shekel
Addition Principle Subtract 1,775 300,000 Shekel = 100 KiKar
Multiplication Principle Divide by 100 3,000 Shekel = 1 Kikar

Advanced Rashi: Rashi can't really be fully understood without the linear algebra. This example hi-lights the need for including non-verse methods such as the spreadsheet method in our list of rules.

We note that Rashi supplies additional historical information such as the fact that each Kikar contains 120 Maneh with each Maneh containing 25 shekel. However the maneh is not a Biblical unit of currency. However interesting Rashi's additional comment is we confine ourselves in this email newsletter to Tora-itic commentary.


This week's parshah does not contain examples of the symbolism methods. Visit the RashiYomi website at for further details and examples.