Their presence in Rashis on Parshat DeVaRiM Volume 11, Number 5
Rashi is Simple - Volume 34 Number 5
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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August 7th, 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 Dt02-16, discussing the death of the men of war states So it came to pass, when all the men of war had completed dying from the people, Rashi clarifies the underlined words men of war by referencing verse(s) Nu14-29,Nu01-20 discussing the death decree on those who accepted the slander of the spies which states Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all who were counted of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me And the sons of Reuben, Israel?s eldest son, by their generations, according to their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go forth to war; Hence the Rashi comment: The men of war mentioned in Dt02-16 refers to the 20+ year olds who accepted the slander of spies on whom was decreed death. These 20+ year olds are called men of war since 20 is the age of military conscription (Nu01-20).
Advanced Rashi: Note the unusual feature that we have a nested reference, in the above example. Men of war who died references the 20+ year olds on whom was decreed death and 20+ year olds references the census where we are told that 20 is the age of military conscription.
We will revisit this example below in rule #2, meaning, and rule #3, grammar.
An idiom is a collection of words which means more than the sum of the meanings of each of the phrases' individual words. Verse Dt02-16c discussing the death of the men of war states So it came to pass, when all the men of war had completed dying from the nation, Rashi explains: The phrase men of war is an idiom meaning men of military conscription age, draftable men We can compactly combine the Rashi comment with the Biblical text by translating as follows: So it came to pass, when all the draftable men had completed dying from the nation,
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: In rule #1, reference we found that Dt02-16 referenced Nu14-29 which stated that all 20+ year olds who accepted the slander of the spies would die. Verse Nu01-20 then explains that 20 is the age of military conscription. These references motivate translating the idiom, men of war as draftable men.
The multi-verse rule simply states that some Biblical sentences span multiple verses. Knowledge of the multi-verse rule enables one to see distinct Biblical sentences as contributing meaning to each other. Today's example illustrates this.
Verses Dt02-16:17 state So it came to pass, when all draftable men had completed dying from the nation, [then] the Lord spoke to me, saying. We have indicated Rashi's comment, that the two verses form one sentence, by interpolating the typeset word then, indicating causal or temporal connection between the two verses. Rashi further elaborates: Why does the verse emphasize the causal relation that God spoke to Moses after the draftable men [who accepted the slander of the spies] completed dying? This causal relation indicates that God only prophetically spoke to Moses for the sake of the community. As long as people were dying and not going to enter Israel there was no need for God to speak to Moses.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Nu21-23, Nu22-03:04 Both verses/verselets discuss the military fear the nations had of the Jews. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: Both Moab and Bashan were afraid of Jewish usage of their resources. Moab made an alliance with Midian against the Jews while Bashan went to war immediately. This shows that Bashan was militarily independent.
The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the emotional attitude of God to the Jews. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says God hates us [the Jews] while the other verse says ...because of God's love of you [the Jews] Which is it? Does God love or hate the Jews. Rashi simply resolves this using the broad-literal method: The statement that God loves the Jews is true. The statement of the Jews because of God's hatred of us can be interpreted using the psychological phenomena of projection - that is, the Jews projected their own hatred of God onto God's attitude towards them.
The Rabbi Ishmael Style rules indicate how verses should be treated, whether literally and restrictively or generally and broadly as paradigms. The General-Detail style indicates a restrictive literal interpretation--the general clause is restricted to the specific requirements of the detail clause.
Rashi comments by adding the interpolated word [by] linking the General-detail clauses and giving them specificity. Take heed and watch yourselves [by] not contending with them.
Here is another way of understanding this Rashi. The statement take heed and watch yourself is very broad and general. It could refer to not insulting them. It could even refer to not entering commerce with them. However the general-detail combination, take heed [by] not contending with them...I will not give you of their land makes it clear that the only prohibition is military contention---the Jews were prohibited from military conflict with the Moabites. However other forms of contention are not prohibited.
In fact Rashi elsewhere notes that the phrase ...and they shall be afraid of you... indicates that it was permissable for the Jews to go thru Seir armed, even though they could not enter into war and even though they would cause anxiety to the Moabites when they saw an armed nation going through their land.
Last week we augmented the weekly Rashi with presentations of controversies among the early authorities. We continue the trend this week by presenting an attachment discussing a controversy between Rashi and Sforno on the above Rashi. The attachment may be found at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1105.rtf
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.
Advanced Rashi: In summary Rashi sees the repeating keyword, of, as indicating bullets. The bullets in turn emphasize a group of distinct concerns for spies: the identification of the good roads and the identification of the easy cities to conquer. As usual we have embedded the Rashi comments in the above translation.
Today we ask the database query: When should the word see be translated as prophetically see. The query uncovers 5 examples. An examination of these examples justifies the Rashi assertion that When the word see is used repetitively or without actual sight it should be interpreted as prophetically see. The table below presents results of the query along with illustrations of Rashi's comment.
In all these verses the word see is either unnecessarily repeated, or, there is nothing yet to see, or, in the last example, Jacob not knowing what he saw does not make sense in context. In all these examples Rashi interprets see as prophetically see.
The Rambam also applies this principle to derive that certain Biblical scenes are really prophetic visions. Thus the Rambam interprets the famous dialog of God and Abraham on the destruction of Sedom and Gemorroh, including the entire preceding paragraph, as a vision. Similarly the Rambam interprets the famous passage of Bilam's dialogue with his donkey as happening in a prophetic vision. This has important philosophic implications: For example, if Abraham's dialogue with God took place in a dream then we cannot infer that one should question God's orders with our logic. Rather God granted Abraham the right to understand through prophetic vision God's reasons for destroying entire cities. Abraham never actually questioned God just as Abraham didn't question God when he was asked to offer his son. The prophetic vision was a means of enlightening Abraham on God's way of running the world, not a justification to question prophetic orders. More could be said but I simply wanted to show how this principle can be applied exegetically.
9. RASHI METHOD: SPREADSHEETS
BRIEF EXPLANATION: The common denominator of the 3 submethods of the Spreadsheet method is that inferences are made from non textual material. The 3 submethods are as follows:
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w34n5.htm
Brief Summary: turn/face NORTHWARDS = walk on the EAST coast, FROM the SOUTH end TO the NORTH end.
Verse Dt02-03a states You have wandered around this mountain long enough; turn/face northward Rashi interprets the underlined phrase, turn/face northward, diagramatically, Face northward means to walk along on the east cost from the south to the north. Rashi's diagramtic statement is illustrated in the diagram below.
' ---------NORTH-------------| ' | ' ^ ' |EAST ' | ' ^ ' --------- SOUTH --------------
The interpreter's task is to identify the unique military characteristics of each animal. Rashi commenting on the last verse Dt01-44a states The military characteristic of the bee is the swiftness of conquest without exertion of power. That is a bee kills thru an instantaneous sting with venom, not by the type of power and interactive fight shown by a lion.
This week's parshah contains examples of all Rashi methods. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.