Their presence in Rashis on Parshat VaAyRaH Volume 12, Number 3
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 3
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 Ex08-28a discussing Pharoh's refusal to let the Jews leave during the 4th plague states And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, and would not let the people go Rashi notes that the underlined words, at this time also references verses Ex08-04,Ex08-11 discussing Pharoh's refusal to let the Jews leave during the 2nd plague. Hence the Rashi comment Pharoh already promised during the 2nd plague, (but not during the 1st and 3rd plague) to let the people go and then renegged on his promise when the plague was lifted. Hence the statement during the 4th plague this time also refers to the fact that his actions during the 4th plague - a) a promise to let the people go, b) the hardening of his heart and c) the consequent refusal to keep his promise to let the people go - were a repetition of similar activity during the 2nd plague. [Note also: That in the 2nd and 4th plague the phrase hardening of feeling is used while in the 1st and 3rd plague the phrase strengthening of resolve is used thus intensifying the parallel between the 2nd and 4th plague.
When Rashi uses the synonym method he does not explain the meaning of a word but rather the distinction between two similar words both of whose meanings we already know.
In our article Peshat and Derash: A New Intuitive and Logical Approach, which can be found on the world-wide-web at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rashi.pdf we have advocated punchy translations of Biblical verses as a means of presenting Rashi comments. The following translation of verse Ex06-02a embeds the Rashi translation And God cited Moses and said to him I am God.
Advanced Rashi: Normally we think of a citation as something a traffic officer does when giving you a ticket. The word cite literally refers to a quotation. We will see in rule #3 below that God did actually cite Moses and in effect gave him a ticket.
The Talmud (and Rashi quotes this) explains that Daber is harsh talk while Amar is soft talk. This Talmudic statement is consistent with my explanation that Daber means cite while Amar means (general) speaking. Indeed, to go back to the traffic officer example, when an officer cites a regulation to an offender the officer is being apodictic, and not allowing further discussion. The offender violated a written regualtion and hence must be cited. On the other hand if the officer did not cite but instead spoke - for example, if the officer said Did you know you were doing 70 in a 55 mile hour zone the officer is not being as harsh. The officer is leaving room for discussion and response, for example, Well the road is empty, the weather is clear, and I am in a rush to an important meeting which will affect many people. In other words there is a difference between talking, speaking about a violation, leaving room for response and feedback, vs. citing which is rather final and not subject to discussion.
So in summary, Daber meaning cite and citation is a harsh form of communication. When the Talmud said Daber is harsh it was not indicating a translation of Daber but rather indicating that the meaning of daber connotes a harsher form of communication.
This approach - Daber means cite - to the Talmudic passage Daber is harsh emanates from the method proposed by me in the above mentioned article - the method of punchy English translations.
This Rashi is continued in rule #4, alignment. There we discuss what Moses was cited for.
Today, students of the Bible learn grammar from Biblical Hebrew grammar textbooks. These textbooks organize material by topics. Grammatical topics include a) verb mood and conjugation, b) plurality agreement, c) pronoun reference, d) subject-verb-object sequencing, e) sentence structure and type and many other topics.
However in Rashi's time gramamr was just beginning. There were no official grammatical textbooks and tables. One of Rashi's functions was to teach grammar. Rashi did not write a grammar textbook but instead left grammatical explanations appended to each verse.
In today's example Rashi explains rules governing the types of sentences. A recent book on Biblical Hebrew pointed out that a nifty way to teach Biblical grammar is to first study comparable gramamtical structures in English. Following this theme, in English there are three main sentence types: a) declarative sentences, b)commands and c) interrogative sentences. An interrogative sentence is indicated by a punctuation of a question mark at the end of the sentence. In Biblical Hebrew there are two main methods to indicate an interrogative sentence: 1st) One can append an interrogative hey to the beginning of the sentence. 2nd) One can, based on context, chose to interpret the sentence as interrogative. It emerges that Biblical Hebrew resembles English in one of its methods of indicating the interrogative - by using a punctuation sign (question mark or prefix hey in English and Hebrew respectively) and Biblical Hebrew innovates an additional method - interrogation based on context and interpretation - not resembling anything in English.
Applying this method to the translation of Ex08-22b we have the following translation And Moses said, It is not proper to do so; because our sacrificing to God is an abomination to the Egyptians; Indeed, if we sacrifice to God, which is abominable to the Egyptians, will they not stone us? Here Rashi avoids the declarative translation - they will not stone us and uses an interrogative translation - will they not stone us. The preference for the interrogative translation over the declarative translation is not dictated by punctuational means - a question mark or prefix hey - but rather is an interpretation choice which makes the meaning of the verse clearest.
This Rashi is continued from rule #2, meaning.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Ex06-02a Both verses/verselets discuss God's prophetic vision to Moses. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: God's prophetic message to Moses had two components: 1st) God reprimanded Moses (gave him a citation) for questioning God's providence (Ex06-03:05). 2nd) God asked Moses to transfer consoling words (speeches) to the Jewish people on the redemption (Ex06-06:08)
Advanced Rashi: Notice that the alignment is supported by cross references from other verses. For the chapter following the statement that God spoke to Moses has two distinct paragraphs:
The translations of the Hebrew verbs, Daleth-Beth-Resh, Aleph-Mem-Resh as cite and speak respectively is explained above in rule #2.
The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses speak about Pharoh's refusal to let the Jewish people go. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says God hardened Pharoh's emotions [so he wouldn't let the people go] while the other verse states Pharoh strengthened his resolve [so he wouldn't let the people go] We see the contradiction---which is it? Did God or Pharoh stop the Jews from leaving. Rashi simply resolves this contradiction using the 2 stages method: During the 1st few plagues Pharoh strengthened his resolve not to let the people go. In the later plagues God hardened Pharoh's emotions so that he wouldn't let the people go.
Advanced Rashi: This Rashi is well known. We make an additional point: This Rashi is commonly interpreted as meaning During the first five plagues Pharoh hardened his own heart while in the last five plagues God hardened his heart. But this is not true! Thus in the 6th plague it says Ex09-12 God hardened Pharoh's heart while in the 7th plague it says Ex09-34 Pharoh hardened his heart. In the 8th and 9th plague however it says that God hardened Pharoh's heart (Ex10-20, Ex10-27.). So this popular approach to this Rashi is basically correct but needs some modification. I have not seen any commentaries that discuss the anomaly of Pharoh hardening his own heart during the 7th plague.
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.
Rashi sees the detail clause the genealogies of Moses and Aaron as describing attributes of the general clause, Moses and Aaron were picked to free the Jews. Rashi states: The 3 tribes listed in the genealogies - Reuben, Shimon, and Levi - were the three tribes cursed by Jacob. In fact Shimon and Levi took the law into their own hands (e.g. the destruction of a city where their sister was raped) and were the instigators in selling Joseph to Egypt. They sold Joseph because they did not believe his dreams had prophetic content. Therefore the Bible emphasizes The Moses and Aaron that God asked to save the Jews were descendants of Levy who denied prophecy and caused the whole Egyptian exile!
The climax principle asserts that a sequence of similar phrases should be interpreted climactically even if the words and grammatical constructs used do not directly suggest this. That is the fact of the sequence justifies reading into the Biblical text a climactic interpretation even if no other textual source justifies it. For this reason we consider the climax method a distinct and separate method.
We should emphasize that driving force behind Rashi is the climax. That is Rashi is not being exegetical on the extra word ..in you your nation and slaves. For it is not the extraness of the word in you but rather the position and sequence of the word in you. The position of the word in you coming after house, bedroom, bed, stoves implies in you yourself, in your body. This is in fact the essence of the climax method which infers interpretation based on position.
To appreciate Rashi we should be aware of an Egyptian torture practice. A small animal (frog, rat) was placed on the stomach of a slave. A hot metallic cover was then placed on the animal. The animal, to avoid the heat, would then start eating away from the plate into the body of the slave. The animal would start eating the insides of the slave. Thus the plague of frogs with frogs literally entering the bodies of the Egyptians should be considered a punishment for slave torture practices.
We ask the following database query: What are the common and different characteristics of the 10 plagues that God brought on Egypt. 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: The 10 plagues naturally organize into 3 groups: (a) Plagues 1,4,7 are attacks on Egyptian gods and a cut off of land and sea access.(b) Plagues 2,5,8 humiliated the Egyptians and took away their pride. (c) Plagues 3,6,9 caused the people pain. (d)The 10th plague culminated all and freed the Jews. This follows a military sequence of a) cut off of supplies b) causing confusion and fear and c) inflicting pain to induce surrender. The list below presents the results of the database query.
The above analysis was started by Rashi and complemented by Rabbi Hirsch. Much more could be said but the above table paves the way for further analysis.
Verse Ex08-14a discussing the plague of frogs, states And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly; they shall go up and come into your house, and into your bed chamber, and upon your bed, and into the house of your servants, and upon your people, and into your ovens, and into your kneading troughs;
Rashi comments on the underlined phrase go up by explaining it geometrically or diagrammatically: The frogs came from the river to the land. Hence the Biblical text describes the frogs as going up.
Advanced Rashi: Since the driving force of the Rashi explanation is a diagramatic clarification we classify this Rashi as non-verse.