Their presence in Rashis on Parshat BO Volume 12, Number 4
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 4
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
Visit the RashiYomi website: http://www.Rashiyomi.com/
(c) RashiYomi Incorporated, Dr. Hendel, President,
Jan 29nd, 2009
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 Ex12-42c discussing the exodus of the Jews from Egypt states It is a night of watchfulness to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations. Rashi notes that the underlined words, night of watchfulness....throughout their generations references verses Ex12-23 discussing God's smiting the Egyptian first born but sparing the Jewish first born. Hence the Rashi comment Just as God watched the Jews when they left Egypt - the Egyptians were being smitten but the Jews were left alone - so too for all generations. Whenever the Jews exodus a tyrannical country God will simultaneously protect them while hurting their enemies.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says It is watched from damaging spiritual forces as it says in Ex12-23 ....he will not let the destroyer come to Jewish houses. There are a variety of ways to interpret this: a) It could refer to a special quality of Nissan 14th; b) it could refer to the absence of demonic spiritual agents on this night. I would suggest a different approach and focus on Rashi's citation ....and I God will not allow the destroyer to come to Jewish houses... Thus I think it best to interpret the verses naturally: ....This night of Passover is watched [by the Jews! as a holiday so that] For all generations, whenever God takes the Jews out of danger there will be simultaneous destruction of enemies but protection of Jews. In other words I interpret the verse as indicating that the Passover exodus is archetypical - God protects us even while destroying our enemies. This is an important point - for we Jews would obviously be very vulnerable when leaving if God is bringing a plague. The non Jews might retaliate. Therefore we are promised that God's attack on our enemies will be coupled with our own protection and salvation.
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.
Advanced Rashi: The Hebrew Cheth-Pay-Zayin is frequently translated as hastily. The last example shows that impetuousness is a more precise translation than hastily. The point of the verse is not say that she was running, but rather that she was impetuous - doing things without thinking them through - and that is why she dropped the child. For this reason Cheth-Pay-Zayin can also mean frightened and rattled, that is, being in a state of impetuousness (Dt20-03.).
Most people are aware that Hebrew verbs come from three-letter roots. Each root is conjugated in the 8 dimensions of person, gender,plurality, tense, activity, modality, direct-object, and prepositional connective. For example the root Shin Mem Resh means to watch. The conjugations Shin-Mem-Resh-Tauv-Yud and Nun-Shin-Mem-Resh-Nun-Vav mean I watched and we were watched respectively.
The rules for Hebrew grammar are carefully described in many modern books and are well known. Rashi will sometimes comment when a verse is using a rare conjugation of an odd grammatical form.
When presenting grammatical Rashis my favorite reference is the appendix in volume 5 of the Ibn Shoshan dictionary. This very short appendix lists most conjugations.
Verse Ex12-16b discussing the prohibition of doing work on the Passover states And in the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation to you; no kind of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, only that may be done by you. Rashi translates the Biblical word Yay-a-Seh as coming from the Biblical root Ayin-Sin-Hey which means to do. We have conveniently embedded the Rashi translation in the translation of the verse. The conjugation rule governing this Biblical word may be found by using table(s) 1 in the Ibn Shoshan dictionary for the Nifal mode.
In this case by using the passive mode the verse emphasis is not, you shouldn't do work but rather the work should not be done. Hence the Rashi comment: The work should not be done whether by you or by someone else you hire. Both are prohibited on the holiday.
It is interesting that this rule of grammar is common to many languages.
It would be helpful to read rule #9, Spreadsheets prior to reading this Rashi..
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Ex12-03:04, Ex12-21 Both verses/verselets discuss how groups form to eat the Passover lamb. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The very general statement take flock for families stated by Moses corresponds to the three detailed statements given by God: (1) the family can comfortably consume one sheep; (2) There isn't enough meat in one sheep for the family which is too big but the family can divide into households each of which can comfortably consume one sheep (3) A household(or family) which consumed one sheep would leave over meat. In this case the house/family joins with neighbors until the group of neighbors can comfortably consume the entire sheep. Notice how God's three cases are summarized by Moses terse general case.
Advanced Rashi: I have called this an alignment but I have only aligned one phrase. The Table below shows the alignment of the two passages - the command by God and the delivery of that command by Moses - in more detail. We have only concentrated on one row of this alignment. It is interesting how Moses summarized the three cases in one terse statement. Upon reviewing the alignment below we see many interesting differences some of which are not commented on by Rashi. As we have explained in this email newsletter it is very important to regard Rashi as sketching one or two illustrations of basic ideas which the teacher is expected to extend and generalize.
The table below presents two contradictory verses / verselets. Both verses speak about a convert bringing a Passover sacrifice The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says let him circumcise and then he brings his Passover sacrifice while the other verse states he will be like other citizens (who bring their sacrifice on their Passover sacrifice on the 14th.) We see the contradiction---which is it? Does a convert bring a personal Passover offering immediately upon conversion and circumcision or does he only bring Passover offerings on 14 Nissan like other Jewish citizens. Rashi simply resolves this contradiction using the 2 stages method: First the convert must circumcise and second the 14th of Nissan must come so that he may participate with everyone else. However if the 14th came and he did not yet circumcise he may not participate in the passover offering. The convert does not bring a personal Passover offering immediately after circumcision.
Advanced Rashi: The contradiction here was not very deep. The resolution you need both circumcision and the 14th was sort of obvious. Rashi does have a subtle point - It might be the case that converts bring a personal Passover offering immediately upon conversion supplementing the national Passover offering. This personal offering would make sense since the conversion is an Exodus for the convert. It is also possibly implied by the Biblical text: ...then he shall offer it. Hence the resolution of Rashi that all Passover offerings are communal/national and brought on the 14th.
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a detail-Theme form. In other words a detailed specific law is stated first followed by a thematic restatement of a broad general nature. Today's example illustrates this as shown below.
Advanced Rashi: Much ink has been spilled on this Rashi. Using the format technique we have made this Rashi extremely simple. The Biblical paragraph has 3 clauses and therefore the concluding statement The people bowed in appreciation refers back to the 3 clauses. Note especially the use of keywords to indicate the various detail subthemes. For example the phrase and it shall come to pass introduces the 2nd and 3rd details. Similarly the first and second paragraph terminate with you shall watch. Consequently I think the proper approach to this Rashi is not conceptual but formatting. Rashi is simply pointing out that there are three details- exodus, Israel and children.
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.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi does not clarify further why clothing is more important than gold. Perhaps it is the simple theme that money is an end - the important thing is what you buy with the money.
On a deeper level I think the intent is that Egyptians had special types of clothes which were good for marriages and businesses. Here is one small example. Isiah mentions the exposes clothing. Apparently exposes were clothing with patterns of exposed holes so that a woman wearing them as lingerie would attract her husband. It could be conjectured that the Egyptians had clothing for marriage and business which helped people who wore them achieve their ends. In other words the Egyptians were national leaders in clothing manufacturer and their clothing products were highly regarded.
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.
Reading rule #9 will facilitate understanding rule #4, which can be read after this.
We have classified this Rashi as a spreadsheet Rashi because of the numberical equations used.