Their presence in Rashis on Parshat BeShaLach Volume 12, Number 5
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 5
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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Feb 5th, 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 Ex17-14a discussing the requirement to remember what Amalayk did to us states And the Lord said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and recite it in the ears of Joshua; for I will completely put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Rashi notes that the underlined words, memorial references verses Dt25-17:19 discussing the commandment to remember what Amalayk did to us. Hence the Rashi comment The commandment to create a memorial mentioned in Ex17-14a references the commandment to remember Amalayk Dt25-17:19, which requires us to remember how a) Amalayk pounced on us right after we left Egypt, b) killed our weak people, c) and picked on us while we were weary.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi's main point is that both Ex and Dt use identical language: remember/memorial, blotting out Amalayk's name, etc. The further details in Rashi come from the interpretation of the Dt passage. These interpretations follow Rashi rules and are explained when we reach that Parshah.
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 Ex17-02a embeds the Rashi translation Nisayon challenge / doubt Therefore the people complained to Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said to them, Why do you fight with me? why do you challenge/doubt God?
In this example Rashi points out Moses (incorrectly) complained that the people were not asking God to meet needs under unusual circumstances but rather the people were doubting God by asking for water in the wilderness. We have identified the source of this Rashi as linguistic: Nisayon means challenge/doubt; it does not, like Nisah mean test,show performance.
One rule governing sentence structure is grammatical functional sequence. Most Hebrew sentences are stated in a Verb-Subject-Object sequence. Similarly many noun phrases are stated in Noun-Adjective sequence.
But the Biblical Masoretic text has a pausal line inserted. The verse actually reads And Moses built an altar and called its name God || our-miracle. One can actually see these vertical lines in printed Bibles. There are a variety of opinions on why these lines occur. One reason for some of these pausal lines is to indicate non-standard sentence sequence. Thus God our miracle without the line indicates an idiomatic phrase constituting a name. By contrast God || our miracle with the pausal line indicates God [is] our miracle. The pausal line hints at an elliptical verb for which we have to pause and add. The whole sentence then reads And Moses built an altar and called its name [on the fact that] God ||[is] our-miracle.
In other words Rashi states The phrase God our miracle is not the actual name of the altar but rather the reason for the name or calling of the altar (Which is not given). We have further explained above that the driving force for this suggested difference - between an actual name God-our-miracle and the name reason God [is] our miracle - is indicated by the pausal line which indicates a missing verb, is, for which we have to pause and add.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Ex15-08b Both verses/verselets discuss the parting of the waters at the splitting of the red sea. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The verse uses the word heap and icicle. A heap of water would be a glacier. And icicle is a standing unit which drips away. For example Rashi translates Is17-13 as referring to harvest icycles picturesquenly describing the leftover of a good harvest as a mound of wheat which drips away in the wind and withers. The full translation of the verse would be Through the wind of Your nostrils the water glaciered, standing like a dripping icicle.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi's main point is translation. Here Rashi infers meaning through alignment as shown above. The root of the Hebrew word used, Ayin-Resh-Mem, Araymah means heap. We have translated heap of water as glacier. The Hebrew word Nayd occurs only half a dozen times in the Bible. It all but one case it refers to water and to something standing. The idea of dripping standing water suggests icicle. This is consistent with its usage in Is17-11 which states On your day of planting you shooted enormously, and just in the morning your seeds were blossoming; but they became a withering harvest mound on a day of conquest with pained sorrow. The idea of a harvest mound, with wheat strands blowing away in the wind resembles an icicle. This is also consistent with the Biblical root, Nun Daleth which means to wander. Here the wheat or water droplets are picturesquely described as wandering from the main icicle or wheat heap. We then took these heuristic translations and embedded them in the verse translation above.
The table below presents two contradictory verses / verselets. Both verses speak about violations of God's will. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says the people violated the Sabbath while the other verse states that God asked why you [Moses and the people] violate God's will. We see the contradiction---which is it? Did only the people violate God's will or did Moses violate God's will also. Rashi simply resolves this contradiction using the 2 aspects method: The people violated the observance of the Sabbath; But we infer from Ex16-22:23 that Moses was tardy in the teaching of Sabbath laws. Hence God castigates both of them: Why have you [Moses in teaching and the people in observance] violated God's will.
Advanced Rashi: This is an important source in teaching the great value in education as a means of preventing sin.
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.
Rashi sees the detail clause 7th day as describing attributes/examples of the general clause, day of Rest, Sabbath Rashi states: Any day of rest, which like the 7th day is an official holy day for God contains a prohibition of gathering Manna. The list of holy days may be found in Lv23, and includes a) Sabbath, b) Festivals, c) New Year, d) Yom Kippur.
The Formatting principle includes exegetical Rashi comments focusing on paragraph structure. That is, the parts of a paragraph when properly sequenced naturally suggest commentary. This type of commentary, emanating from structure, is different from commentary from word meaning, grammatical function or verse comparison.
Verses Ex14-05:10 discussing the Egyptian reaction to Israel leaving Egypt has the paragraph structure below. Note especially the shift of subjects in each sentence from Pharoh, the leader, to the Egyptian people.
We ask the following database query: Does the Torah and Jewish leaders reinforce moral values through symbolic reminders. 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 Torah and Jewish leaders reinforce moral values through symbolic reminders-hence Moses RAISED HIS HANDS [in prayer] during the war The list below presents the results of the database query.
Traditionally the Song of the Red Sea was sung on the 7th day after departure from Egypt. The spreadsheet below outlines the verse sources and assumptions justifying this.
As indicated in Rule #8, Databases the Torah and Jewish leaders frequently reinforced needed values during specific situations using symbolism. We repeat here the database inquiry of half a dozen cases where this happens.