Their presence in Rashis on Parshat VaEthChaNaN Volume 11, Number 6
Rashi is Simple - Volume 34 Number 6
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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August 13th, 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(s) Dt05-12,Dt05-16b discussing the obligation to observe Sabbath and honor parents states Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord your God has commanded you. ... Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you; that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you, in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Rashi clarifies the underlined words as the Lord your God has commanded you by referencing verse(s) Ex15-25,Ex16-28:30 discussing the laws given in Marah and the Seen Desert, which states And he cried to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he threw into the waters, and made the waters sweet; there he set for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he tested them, ... And the Lord said to Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws? See, because the Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day. Hence the Rashi comment: As can be seen from Nu33-08:15, Marah and Seen Desert were pre-Sinai stops on the Jewish journeys. It says explicitly that the Jews were given the (a) Sabbath and (b) a Statute and (c) Ordinance. We are not told further details about this Statute and Ordinance. However in the 10 commandments in Deuteronomy the phrase as your God the Lord commanded you is added by the commandments to honor the Sabbath and to honor ones parents. Hence we infer that the statute and ordinance mentioned by Marah probably refers to the obligation to honor ones parents.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi also mentions that the commandment of the Red Heiffer was given in Marah. Unlike the Seen Desert where it is explicitly mentioned that the Sabbath was given, we are only told that a statute and ordinance were given in Marah. We are not told which statute and ordinance. Rashi therefore notes that the phrases as God commanded you or that God commanded Moses are mentioned by the commandments to honor one's parents Dt05-16 and to observe the Red Heiffer ceremony Dt19-02. Rashi therefore identifies the Statute and ordinance as referring to honoring ones parents and the red heiffer.
True, there are other commandments where it says as God commanded. For example the entire building of the Tabernacle Ex35 - Ex40 mentions the phrase as God commanded Moses 18 times. But in this case we have the original verses where God commanded Moses (Ex25 - Ex28).
So the proper statement is that there are only three commandments were the phrase observe... as God commanded you is mentioned without a corresponding reference text where God actually commanded. Hence Rashi assumes that these three commandments Statute and ordinance taught in Marah and Seen desert.
There are various manuscripts of Rashi; which commandments are taught has driven alot of speculation. The above analysis is not based on a particular Rashi manuscript but rather based on universal principles that Rashi always used. Hence, based on this analysis, I would assume that those manuscripts which mention Red Heiffer, Honoring Parents, and Sabbath are the correct ones. Notice, here, how we use logic to justify the manuscript rather than using the manuscript to justify identification of the correct text.
We will revisit this example below in rule #7, format and rule #8, database below.
An idiom is a collection of words which means more than the sum of the meanings of each of the phrases' individual words. Verse Dt04-21b discussing God's anger at Moses states And the Lord was angry with me because of your words, and swore that I should not go over the Jordan, and that I should not go into that good land, which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance; Rashi explains: The phrase because of your words is an idiom meaning because of your incidents We can compactly combine the Rashi comment with the Biblical text by translating as follows: And the Lord was angry with me because of your incidents, and swore that I should not go over the Jordan, and that I should not go into that good land, which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance;
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 shows this.
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 use the same 3 letter Hebrew root.
Rashi explains that the Hebrew root Resh-Aleph-Hey can mean both see and prophetically see. However the causative-passive (Hafal) always means that we received (passive) from God (causative) a prophecy. The following verses illustrate this: Dt04-35a You have received prophecy, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other beside him ; Ex25-40 And see that you make them after their pattern, which was prophetically shown to you in the mount.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Dt06-09b Both verses/verselets discuss the obligation to place Mezuzoth on your doorposts. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: Mezuzoth must be placed (a) on the doorposts of your house and also (b) on the gateposts of courtyards and cities.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi does not explain why one verselet has the word on while the other verselet has the word in. I would conjecture that the Torah is indicating a requirement that the affixment of the Mezuzoth on the doorposts satisfy a requirement of both on and in. Hence the law The doorposts have a side facing the outside of the house and a side (about 2-3 inches) perpendicular to the house which is so to speak more inside. The law requires that the Mezuzoth are placed on the inside part of the doorposts.
The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the making of idols. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says idols which God commanded you while the other verse says don't make idols. Which is it? Are idols permitted or prohibited? Rashi simply resolves this using the broad-literal method: Idols are prohibited. we translate the phrase less you make idols..which God commanded you as meaning less you make idols which God commanded you about. We further interpret this phrase - As God commanded you - to indicate all the details in the prohibition of making idols such as the prohibition of making idols whether of physical objects (sun, moon) or prophetic objects (like the golden fire calf resembling the ox of Ezekiel's chariot vision). Hence we translate lest you make idols according to all the details which God commanded you.
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.
The Rabbi Ishmael style rules require perceiving this entire paragraph unit as one unified whole. Hence we interpret the details take heed ...lest you forget as a development of the general theme to learn God's laws. In other words, take heed and lest you forget is interpreted to require legislation of Rabbinic fences to help prevent accidental transgression of the Torah law.
This example continues rule #1, reference.
Both the Biblical and modern author use the paragraph as a vehicle for indicating commonality of theme. Hence if two ideas are in a paragraph they may be assumed to have a similar context, (unless explicitly stated otherwise, for example, if the two ideas are indicated as contrastive.) The reader will no doubt recognize this formatting rule as none other than the most intuitive of the Rabbi Ishmael style rules which orthodox Jews recite every day as part of their daily prayer: the rule of inference from context. Today's example illustrates this.
It is natural to inquire what the underlined phrase as God your Lord commanded you refers to. We have seen above in rule #1, reference that the Sabbath laws were given in the Seen Desert prior to the revelation at Mount Sinai (Ex16-28:30)
However we find no place where God commanded people to honor one's parents. But we do find a place, pre-Sinai Marah, where God commanded a statute and ordinance (Ex15-25).
Rashi therefore assumes that this statue and ordinance refers to the commandment to honor one's parents which is qualified with the phrase as God your Lord commanded you.
The driving force behind Rashi's logic is that Just as the phrase as God commanded by the Sabbath commandment refers back to the pre-Sinai Seen desert, so too, the phrase as God commanded by the Parent commandment, refers back to the pre-Sinai Marah. The reason we treat these two phrases the same is because they occur in the same context / paragraph.
We can also understand this type of paragraph derivation as an example related to the Talmudic methods of hekesh or semuchin.
This example continues rules #1, reference and #7, format.
Today we ask the database query: When a verse says As God...commanded you is there indeed a Torahitic cross reference? The query uncovers several dozen examples. An examination of these examples justifies the Rashi assertion that There are 4 commandments that state as God commanded you without any Torahitic cross reference. The references for these three commandments are presented in the table below. The table below presents results of the query along with illustrations of Rashi's comment.
The use of 3 rules to explain this one Rashi should greatly clarify what goes into understanding a Rashi.
The above is a beautiful example of how methodological analysis of Rashi can beautifully lead to identification of proper Rashi texts. We do not need more manuscripts to know what Rashi really said. We need instead a better of understanding of Rashi's methodology!
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/w34n6.htm
Brief Summary: We conquered Bashan and Emori on the EAST side of Jordan (The Jordan river goes NORTH-SOUTH partitioning Israel)
Verse Dt04-47a states And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, who were on the side of the Jordan eastward; Rashi interprets the underlined phrase, eastward diagramatically, The Jordan river goes from the North East to the south west. Hence it naturally divides Israel into east and west. The Bashan and Emorite territories were on the east. Rashi's diagramtic statement is illustrated in the diagram below.
' Mount Chermon ' Syria, North ' / ' / Bashan, Emori ' / ' West Jordan River / East ' / ' / TransJordan ' / ' Dead Sea ' South
This week's parshah contains no examples of the symbolism method. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.