Their presence in Rashis on Parshat TeZaVeH Volume 12, Number 9
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 9
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 Lv10-01:03 discussing the death of Aaron's sons for drunken sacrifice offerings states And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, This [death] corresponds to what God said: I will be sanctified in them that are near to me, and before all the people I will be honored. And Aaron held his peace. Rashi notes that the underlined words, sanctified, near, people, honored references verses Ex29-43c discussing the honor and holiness of God in the Temple. Hence the Rashi comment The verse (talking about the Temple and the daily offerings) states And I will designate that place as a meeting place with the Jewish nation and I will be sanctified with my honor. The underlined references to Jewish nation, sanctification and honor echo and cross reference the similar words people, sanctification, honor and near in verse Lv10-01:03.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi's literal comment is Don't read the Biblical textual word I will be sanctified in my Honor but rather read it as I will be sanctified by my Honorees. Rashi of course was not advocating misreading the authorized Masoretic text but rather was making a pun. This pun is not necessary in order to understand the cross references of the verse.
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.
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 show this.
Applying the above translation to Ex28-30b discussing the priestly garments we obtain And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment, the Light and Innocence [garment appendages that inspire prophetic visions] ; and they shall be upon Aaronís heart, when he goes in before the Lord; and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.
In each case we reject a literal interpretation and instead stick to the basic idea that the Urim, the Light garment, inspired prophecy. We believe such an approach the best.
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 Ex29-01a discussing the consecration offering of the Priests states And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto Me in the priest's office: take one young bullock and two rams without blemish. Rashi translates the Biblical word Lamed-Kuph-Ceth as coming from the Biblical root Lamed-Kuph-Ceth which means to take. We have conveniently embedded the Rashi translation in the translation of the verse. The closet conjugation rule governing this Biblical word may be found by using table(s) 1 in the Ibn Shoshan dictionary for the Command mode
Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally states We find two command forms for verbs whose first letter is Lamed: The two forms are Lamed-Kuph-Ceth and Kuph-Ceth. Both forms are a command conjugation meaning take. So Rashi is simply pointing out that there are two conjugations to the command form of Lamed-2-3 roots. Although this fact can be looked up in modern grammar books, such books were not present in Rashi's time. In fact even many modern grammar books will only give one form and not mention alternate forms.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Ex27-20b, Ex29-40 Both verses/verselets discuss Temple processes requiring oil. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The olive oil used for the Candellabrah was different than the oil used for annointing or for meal offerings. The verse calls the Minchah oil and annointing oil grounded olive oil. By contract the Candellabrah olive oil is called pure...grounded for lighting indicating a special process that prevented dregs from being in the oil so that the light would be pure. [In practice other olive oil processing involved weights and grinding to press out the oil while the processing of the Candellabrah olive oil involved letting the olives sit in a basket with the force of their weight causing the oil to naturally ooze. This natural process, therefore, resulted in no dregs, and consequently was highly suitable for light]
Advanced Rashi: The Talmud, Menacoth, 86, presents controversy on how the oil was processed. I have therefore decided not to give details but rather to indicate purpose and function. The method for producing the Candellabrah olive oil had to be such that it was beaten for light and pure. This could happen if the olives were allowed to naturally ooze oil...as long as no weights or grinding was done there would be minimum dregs.
The Talmud (and Rashi) take the verse phrase ground for light to emphasize that The olive oil used in the Menorah had to be especially processed for light. Although there is controversy in the Talmud, the basic idea is agreed on: The processing of Candellabrah olive oil should be done without pressure from grinding since such pressure produces dregs which intefers with the quality of light. As already indicated one production approach is to let the olives lie in a basket until the weight of the olives causes the oil to seep out by itself (Without any pressure).
The table below presents two contradictory verses / verselets. Both verses speak about fixing the Priestly mask on the head. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says place the mask upon the turban while the other verse states place the mask opposite the turban We see the contradiction---which is it? Is the mask placed upon or opposite the turban? Rashi simply resolves this contradiction using the 2 aspects method: The mask was secured by two threads - one went around the head in back while the other went over the head. Hence one thread was opposite the turban while the other thread was on on the turban. A diagram and explanatory legend are presented below.
The following diagram clarifies
(A) (A)/----------------| / | (B) |(A) mask/ Priest Head | \ | (B) | Back of Priest's head eyes \ | (A)\ | (B) |(A) \---------------| (A)
Hence we see that there are two aspects to the Priestly Mask/Turban relationship. There is a mask-thread on the Turban and there is a mask-thread around the Turban.
Advanced Rashi: The above Rashi requires two techniques: The Contradiction technique and the spreadsheet technique.
Advanced Rashi: The example just presented occurs in my article http://www.Rashiyomi.com/biblicalformatting.pdf. It is also discussed in an article, not yet published, on broad-restrictive interpretation in law, presented at the 20th Midwest Jewish Studies conference.
Very often Rashi will make an inference from the paragraph structure. A typical paragraph structures can be parallel, contrastive, or sequential, with or without bullets. The parallel and contrastive structure naturally generate Rashi comments.
Advanced Rashi: The Bible uses two technical terms - Sharsheroth and Sharshoth. It is not clear what the exact translation is. I have simply selected two terms, Chains/Ropes. I simply selected them as approximations to indicate the twoness, not necessarily because I believe them to be exact translations. Similsrly, I translated avoth as cords. It could also simply mean thick textures. Again: My goal was to emphasize when the words used in two verses were the same or different. As indicated we are unaware in some cases of the exact translation.
We have defended the above Rashi comment using paragraph structure and context. Rashi gives a further proof by aligning the Biblical passage ordering the production of the garments with the Biblical passage describing the implementation of the order. Rashi observes that In this chapter ordering construction the Bible mentions the ropes twice: Make chains....make ropes..... By contrast in the chapter describing the implementation of this order the Bible only mentions the item once (Cf Ex39-15).
Both derivations - the alignment approach and the paragraph format approach are equally valid. The reader should carefully examine each argument by itself to convince him/herself that this is indeed the case.
Advanced Rashi: We should clarify that certain sacrifices the Priests have a right to eat while others they do not eat at all. Similarly the owners participate in the eating of certain sacrifices but not others.
Verse Ex29-12c discussing the blood procedures during the sacrifices states And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger; and thou shalt pour out all the remaining blood at the base of the altar.
To understand the Rashi on this verse we first cite Rav Hirsch's comments on Nu28-06 which discusses the daily offerings and states It is a continual burnt offering, produced at Mount Sinai for a sweet savor, a sacrifice made by fire to the Lord. Rav Hirsch notes that the daily offerings were not produced at Mount Sinai but offered on the altar. Therefore, concludes, Rav Hirsch, The altar resembled a mountain in appearance starting with a wide base and having a small top. The diagram below depicts this. Rav Hirsch further explains The altar resembled Mount Sinai since the sacrifices inspired prophecy and Mount Sinai was the original national prophetic revelantion. Therefore the altar resembled Mount Sinai so as to symbolically confirm prophetic capability of the people.
' ----- ALTAR TOP ' ----------- ' ----------------- ' ---------------------- ALTAR BASE
The actual dimensions and height of each component are mostly given through tradition and cannot be inferred from textual sources. The height of the altar base was minimal, 1 cubit. Rashi explains that There was an indentation on top of the altar base; the indentation served as a receptacle for the blood poured to the foundation. The diagram below depicts this.
' ------------ ' | | Altar base ' | | Each side had an indentation. ' | | Blood could be poured in ' | | This indentation. ' -------------
Since this Rashi clarifies diagrams we classify it as a NonVerse, Diagramatic method.
Verse Ex29-01b discussing the consecration ceremony of the priests states And this is the thing that you shall do to them to hallow them, to minister to me in the priestís office; Take one young ox, and two rams without blemish, The consecration ceremony symbolically affirmed values needed by Priests to do their work. In my article The Priest as Vocational Counselor, presented at the Midwest Jewish Studies Conference in 2006, and to appear in the Jewish Bible Quarterly in 2010, I have shown that the 6 items offerable as sacrifices correspond to the 6 basic personality types of the internationally accepted Holland theory of personality. Rams correspond to social leaders and oxen correspond to producers [for example, secretaries, tailors, etc].
Using this symbolism we can easily understand that a Priest has to be a Ram, a social leader. Rashi explains that Priests have to have continuous daily productive activities (like oxen ploughing a field). Rashi explains Continuous productive activity is an antitode to boredom which leads to sexual sin.
We see boredom, leading to sexual sin, in the sin of the Golden calf - the people had nothing to do, so they made a party, and one thing led to another. Similarly Jewish Law strongly protects a married woman's right to work (since otherwise the resulting boredom would lead to improper behavior).
Advanced Rashi: Rashi actually simply and tersely says The ox atoned for the sin of the golden calf. Some have interpreted this as a (cheap) play on words: ox - calf. However I believe there is a deeper symbolic meaning: Ox-like productivity atones for the boredom that led to the sexual orgies of the golden calf. Note especially that that we have interpreted the golden-calf as primarily a sexual sin rather than an idolatrous sin. This is consistent with the Talmudic observation that the Jews worshipped idols after the decalogue, not because of beliefs, but rather because of the parties associated with the idolatry.