Their presence in Rashis on Parshat Lech LeChA Volume 11, Number 17
Rashi is Simple - Volume 34 Number 17
Used in the weekly 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(s) Gn15-13:14c discussing the great wealth that the Jews will amass after their sojournship in Egypt states And He said to Abram, Know for a certainty that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great wealth. Rashi clarifies the underlined words shall they come out with great wealth. by referencing verse(s) Ex12-36 which states And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent them such things as they required. And they carried away the wealth of the Egyptians. Hence the Rashi comment: The promise of great wealth mentioned in Gn15-14c was fulfilled when the Jews left Egypt as stated in Ex12-36.
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.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says God blessed Ishmael with 12 princes. But princes are like high clouds that eventually evaporate. Besides the fact that this look quite disparaging it seems to contradict the simple meaning of the text which was a blessing not a curse!
Rabbi Hirsch explains the Rashi in a laudable manner: There is a cycle of water flow from seas to clouds and back to the sea. The cloud on high only receives water for the purpose of giving it back to the land and sea. So to the prince! The prince receives power on high but only to evaporate this power and return it to the people who gave it to him.
Rashi lived before the era of Grammatical textbooks. Hence one of his functions was to teach the rules of grammatical conjugation similar to modern textbooks.
A fundamental principle in all languages is agreement. Subjects and verbs must agree in gender and plurality.
Changing agreement between subjects and verbs can often indicate supplemental meaning. Verses Gn12-14:16 discussing Abraham's arrival in Egypt with his beautiful wife Sarah illustrates this. The verse(s) state And it came to pass, that, when Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians, they saw the woman that she was very pretty. The princes of Pharaoh, they saw her, and they praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken to Pharaohís palace. And he [Pharoh] treated Abram well for her sake; and he had sheep, and oxen, and male asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and female asses, and camels. Rashi, commenting on the changing plural-singular comments as indicated in the bracketed phrases, states that It was Pharoh himself who treated Abraham nicely. Perhaps there is a subtle hint here that the Egyptian people knew that attractive women were taken as wives and their male relatives treated nicely. The Egyptian people did not participate in treating Abraham nicely because they didn't like this custom. After all, if their wife was attractive they were next for such treatment. Rather the driving force of all this behavior came form the King himself.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Gn15-09, Lv05-07, Lv05-11, Lv12-06, Lv12-08, Lv14-22, Lv15-14, Lv15-29, Nu06-10. Both verses/verselets discuss bird offerings. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: Birds may be offered from either Turtledoves or young Pigeons. The phrase Turtledove or Gozal means Turtledove or Young Pigeon.
Advanced Rashi: We can alternatively use a database approach to this Rashi. There are half a dozen verses - Lv05-07, Lv05-11, Lv12-06, Lv12-08, Lv14-22, Lv15-14, Lv15-29, Nu06-10 - which use the phrase Turtledove or young pigeon. We infer that the one exception, Gn15-09d which uses the phrase Turtledove or Gozal really means Turtledove or young pigeon. In other words, the Gozal is the same as the young pigeon.
Even more fascinating is Rav Hirsch's appraoch to this Rashi. Rav Hirsch supplements the alignment and database method with the meaning method. Rav Hirsch explains The root of GoZaL is Gimel-Zayin-Lamed which means to steal. Perhaps a small young pigeon looks like a quickly snatched object that was stolen.
The table below presents two contradictory verses / verse phrases. Both verses / verse phrases talk about the naming of Ishmael. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse / verse phrase says Hagar was told to name him Ishmael while the other verse / verse phrase says that Abraham named him Ishmael. Which is it? Did Hagar or Abraham name him? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Aspects method: Hagar received the order to name him Ishmael. Abraham was aware of the order and so named him.
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a example form. In other words an example of a law is stated rather than the full general rule. The reader's task is to generalize the example. The idea that all Biblical laws should be perceived as examples (unless otherwise indicated) is explicitly stated by Rashi (Pesachim 6.). This is a rule of style since the rule requires that a text be perceived as an example rather than interpreted literally. The Rabbi Ishmael style rules govern the interpretation of style.
Verse Gn16-03b discussing Abraham's actions due to lack of children states Now Sarai Abramís wife bore him no children; and she had a maid servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing; I beg you, go in to my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abramís wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. The Rabbi Ishmael example rule requires generalization of this passage. In this case we simply generalize from Abram to all people: afer any person lives 10 years without children they should take another wife.
Advanced Rashi: Some participants on my list demur to my using the Rabbi Ishmael style rules on non-legal passages. But as the example above shows this is justified. Interestingly, it would consequently appear, that this 10-year rule is Biblical in authority and derived from this passage.
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.
We ask the following database query: Are Biblical items named by future events which have not happened yet? 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 inference: Items are frequently named in the Bible by how they will be called rather then what they are called now--e.g. the Kosher animals in Noah's ark. The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples.
We should clarify the nature of the above list. The Bible, in Abraham's time, calls Amalyk's field after Amalyk who was not yet born. Similarly God's mountain (Mount Sinai) is named by the future reception of the Torah there.
Certain groups of words may reflect one geometric model. Several examples are presented below.
As the year progresses we will expand this list.
The basic idea of the convenant of cuts is that the Jewish people will survive by virtue of the bird aspects of their personality, their ability to to come out of whatever land they have. While forming coalitions and networking is important (ram), while following ties is important (goat), while producing and being recognized (ox) is important and has helped the Jewish people - and even helped them in Egypt - the final freedom comes from the uncut bird the ability to soar and leave. Note also, and consistent with this interpretation that the downfall of the Jews in the wilderness was their continual request to return to Egypt. They rejected birdism and hence were severely punished.
While there are many things that can be said about the convenant of cuts, the Bible in its symbolism is focusing on the primary item needed for freedom and the exodus - the bird the ability to break ties and leave. Throughout the ages Jews have always survived by being able to break ties and leave.
This week's parshah contains examples of all Rashi methods. This concludes this weeks edition. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.