Their presence in Rashis on Parshat MaSaY Volume 11, Number 4
Rashi is Simple - Volume 34 Number 4
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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July 31th, 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.
Verse Nu35-12a, discussing the creation of refuge cities for accidental murderers states And they shall be to you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the man slayer should not die, until he stands before the congregation in judgement. Rashi clarifies the underlined words refuge from the avenger by referencing verse(s) Dt19-06, discussing a case of accidental murderer which states Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; though he was not deserving of death, since in times past he did not hate him. Hence the Rashi comment: When Nu35-12a discusses designating cities for refuge from the avenger it refers to saving the murderer from an avenging murderer who would not receive the death penalty as indicated in Dt19-06.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi does not explicitly bring down Dt19-06. Rashi simply comments on the word avenger by stating: From the avenger of blood that is a relative of the murdered. However, a careful examination shows that Nu35-12 uses the word avenger while Dt19-06 uses the phrase avenger of blood. Rashi chose this phrase - avenger of blood - so as to refer to Dt19-06. Dt19-06 clarifies Nu35-12 since it explicitly indicates the lack of a death penalty if the avenger of blood kills the murderer. For this reason we have classified this Rashi as using the reference method even though no explicit reference is made. Such non explicit reference Rashis occur frequently. As can be seen Rashi can use non-explicit nuancing when using the reference method.
An idiom is a collection of words which means more than the sum of the meanings of each of the phrases' individual words. Verse Nu34-02b discussing the apportionment of Israel by the tribes states Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you come into the land of Canaan; this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan with its borders; Rashi explains: The phrase fall is an idiom meaning be apportioned We can compactly combine the Rashi comment with the Biblical text by translating as follows: Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you come into the land of Canaan; this is the land that shall be apportioned to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan with its borders;
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: There is an advanced principle of idioms which states as follows: It is legitimate to name something [e.g. apportionment] by an accidental attribute [e.g. lots that fall] especially if that attribute [e.g. falling] can refer to other examples of that attribute [e.g. falling] connected with the thing you are naming [e.g. apportionment]. So in this case just as the lots fall so too the inhabitants of Canaan fell (died) by Joshua and the angels governing the Canaanite nations fell from heaven (lost their power) and lost their power.
This principle is also used to explain the etymology of the word Hebrew. The Hebrew root of Hebrew is side because Abraham, the founder of the Hebrew people, came from the other side of the river. The Talmud is quick to point out that the attribute side has other nuances here: The world stood on one side while Abraham stood on the other side against the whole world.
Notice how in explaining this Rashi we have combined the simple Rashi explanation fallen lots and the advanced Rashi explanation fallen from heaven. We have even managed to add another fallen, not explicitly given in Rashi: Namely fallen in war. This is consistent with the spirit of Rashi.
Such explanations combining the simple, complex and the new are ideal approaches to Rashi.
Most people know that the Biblical meaning of a word is determined by its underlying three-letter root. The Biblical root can be conjugated in different a) persons, b) tenses, c) pluralities, d) genders, e) constructions and f) modalities. For example I watched has a different conjugation then I will be watched even though both phrases will use the same 3 letter Hebrew root.
Rashi explains that the infinitive form can also indicate attribution. Hence Rashi translates Nu35-32b discussing the prohibition of bribes from residents of the refuge cities, as And you shall take no ransom for him who has fleed to his city of refuge, that he should come back to live in the land, until the death of the priest.
Advanced Rashi: We have followed our custom of embedding the Rashi comment in the body of the translation. Rashi also discusses the possibility of translating the Hebrew as the infinitive. In such a case the verse would read And you shall take no ransom to flee to his city of refuge, that he should come back to live in the land, until the death of the priest. Rashi rejects this as not making sense: Why should a person outside the refuge city need to bribe to come back to live in the land? For this reason Rashi interprets the infinitive form as indicating attribution. Rashi also brings several other examples.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Nu35-29a, Nu15-15 Both verses/verselets discuss the extent, in time and place, of Biblical statutes. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The laws of accompanying Minchah libations only apply for all generations, but not for all places, implying that the Minchah libation law only applys in the Temple in Israel but not outside it. By contrast, the laws of courts for murder trials, which apply in all generations and all places, do equally apply in and out of Israel (Whenever murder-trial courts are set in Israel they must also be set outside Israel).
The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the outskirts of the Levite cities The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says the outskirts of the city will be 1000 cubits while the other verse says from the city border to end will be 2000 cubits. Which is it? Are the outskirts 1000 or 2000 cubits Rashi simply resolves this using the 2-aspects method: a) The outskirt of the city - the place set aside for gardens and city beautification - occupied 1000 cubits. b) The remainder of outside of the city - the next 1000 cubits - was set aside for planting fields and vineyards.
Advanced Rashi: Today we have a special treat. Normally we only review Rashi in this email group. However as the yearly cycles grow repetitiously we try and add items. Today we add a controversy between the Rambam and Rashi on how to interpret these contradictory verses. For if the contradiction method only explained Rashi it would not be universal but specific to one commentator. Our goal in this email list is to show that the 10 Rashi methods and 30 Submethods are universal to all commentators. To prove this we must show how the Rambam, using the same method, arrived at a different conclusion!
While Rashi resolves the contradiction presented above using the 2 aspects method, Rambam resolves the contradiction presented above using the 2 stages method. The Rambam holds that in the first stage of creating city outskirts we lay out 1000 cubits on each side for city gardens and city beautification; in the 2nd stage of creating city outskirts we measure out an additional 2000 cubits on each side of the city plus garden outskirts. These 2000 cubits are for planting fields and vineyards.
Thus the superficial controversy between Rashi and Rambam is whether we have 2000 cubits of outskirts (Rashi) or 3000 cubits of outskirts (1000 cubits plus 2000 cubits according to Rambam).
But the deep controversy between Rashi and Rambam is whether we resolve the contradiction through the 2 aspects or 2 stages method.
As the yearly cycle evolves we hope to have more applications of our 10 basic methods and 30 submethods to controversies among the early authorities.
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development-Theme form. In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development of this broad general theme in specific details. The paragraph-like unit is then closed with a repetition of the broad theme. The Theme-Detail-Theme form creates a unified paragraph. The detailed section of this paragraph is therefore seen as an extension of the general theme sentences. Today's example illustrates this as shown immediately below.
Hence the Rashi comment(s): Conquer the land in order to dwell in it. The reason for the conquest is that you can't live with the Canaanite nations because their practices will lead you away from Judaism. But it e.g. suffices to expel the inhabitants (instead of killing them). The goal is dwelling.
Very often Rashi will make an inference from the paragraph structure. A typical paragraph structures can be parallel or contrastive with or without bullets. The parallel and contrastive structure naturally generate Rashi comments. This type of inference also follows from the Rabbi Ishmael Style rule of inferring from context since the paragraph structure endows the disparate paragraph sentences with a unified context.
The main point of the Menasheeans is presented in bullet #3. Bullet #4 does not make sense! - what does it add to the inquiry? Rashi explains bullet #4 by interpolating the word [even]. In other words bullet #4 is simply a follow up to bullet #3 - it explains that bullet #3 is permanant without any remedy - for even the Jubilee, which in many other cases frees lost land, does not help here (The Jubilee does not free land lost through inheritance).
We have classified this Rashi as a Rashi based on format. The point here is that Rashi perceives the paragraph Nu36-01:04 as having a supplemental parallel structure: Bullets #3 and #4 supplement each other; bullet #3 states that tribal land is lost while bullet #4 supplements this statement of loss by pointing out that it can not be remedied. As we have explained above such a Rashi inference based on paragraph formatting echoes the Rabbi Ishmael rule of context.
Chapter Nu33 speaking about the punishment
of wanderings for fourty years in the wilderness
before entering Israel describes the 42 towns where they stoped.
Rashi offers the following spreadsheet analysis:
Chapter Nu33 speaking about the punishment of wanderings for fourty years in the wilderness before entering Israel describes the 42 towns where they stoped. Rashi offers the following spreadsheet analysis:
Verse Nu35-25a states And the congregation shall deliver the negligent murderer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, where he had fled; and he shall live there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.
Rashi comments on the connection between the underlined phrase connecting the death of the high priest to the release of the negligent murderer from the prison city of refuge:A primary task of the Priest is to atone for inadvertency. For example a person who negligently descecrates the Sabbath receives atonement by bringing a sin offering and attending to the procedures performed by the priest. If the priests had done their job perfectly there would be no negligent murders. Consequently when the High Priest dies ( as a punishment for lack of prevention of negligence) the negligent murderer goes free.
We should explain why the death of the priest releases the prisoner. Prior to the death of the priest the blood-avenger blaimed the murder on the murderer's negligence. The blood-avenger may wish to avenge the murder by killing the murderer. However when the High Priest dies a message is sent to the blood avenger: Perhaps the murder is not the murderer's fault. Perhaps it is the priest's fault. If the priests had been more diligent in their prevention of negligence then the murder would not have happened.Since you are not certain whether the negligent murder was the fault of the priest or the murderer you shouldn't want to kill the murderer.
This week's parshah does not contain examples of the database method. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.