Their presence in Rashis on Parshat VaYaQHeL PeKuDaY Volume 12, Number 11
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 11
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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Mar 20th, 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 Ex38-08b discussing the construction of the priestly laver from the mirrors of the women stationed by the temple states And he made the laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, of the mirrors of the women stationed by the temple Rashi notes that the underlined words, the women stationed by the temple references verses Ex35-22 discussing the donations of material to Temple construction. Hence the Rashi comment The women stationed by the Temple references Ex35-22 which states that in the donation process the men came after the women... The word after hints at a certain anxiousness of the women who assembled at stations waiting eagerly to donate to the Temple.
Advanced Rashi: To fully understand Rashi we must use two Rashi rules. In addition to the reference rule mentioned above we must use the non-verse rule. The non-verse rule supplements Biblical commentary with non-verse methods including spreadsheet, algebraic, geometric, diagramatic methods as well as cultural customs. Here, I would appeal to the practice, readily observed when hit movies occur, for people to line up and station themselves in advance, outside the movie theatre, anxiously waiting to purchase tickets. So too, if the verse states that the men came after the women it seems logical, that because they were anxious, that they were lined up or stationed waiting to give their donations.
A further support for this Rashi would be the idea, frequently mentioned in Rashi, that the Temple and the offerings were atonements for the sin of the Golden calf. Recall that the women did not participate in the Golden calf sin (after all the idolatry was done for purposes of the sex that went with it and women weren't anxious to cater to men). Hence the women were anxious to offer their jewelery to the Temple to atone for the fact that the men yanked the jewelery from their wives for the golden calf Ex32-01:03. The idea presented in this paragraph is a bit speculative but seems reasonable and could be used supportively.
The FFF principle is a special case of the literary techniques of synechdoche-metonomy. These literary principles, universal to all languages, state that items can be named by related items, by parts of those items, or by good examples of those items. For example honey refers to anything sweet since honey is a good example of something sweet. Similarly hot refers to matters of love since the two are related. Todays Rashi can best be understood by applying these principles.
An example of the triple FFF method occurs in verse Ex38-18a discussing the construction of the Temple door-screen which states And the door-screen for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; and twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, opposite [and equal in measure to] the wall-curtains of the court. Rashi explains: The word opposite in this verse means of the same measure. The reason the word opposite means of the same measure is because the oppositeness of two objects is a good example (synechdoche) of pairs of objects with the same measurement since such pairs of objects with the same measurement have an appearance of being opposite each other. As can be seen from the underlined words the Rashi comment is compactly and explicitly combined in the Biblical text.
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, f) the possessive and g) connective words, 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 about gender. Some background is useful. In Hebrew unlike English every word has a gender. Consequently possessive suffixes must reflect proper gender agreement. A punchy way of capturing Hebrew gender in English is to use in translations the anthropomorphic terms his and her. Using this convention we would translate Ex35-17 as follows: [The wise will make...] the hangings of the court, his pillars thereof, and her sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; The Rashi comment is now readily understandable: The word court can be both masculine and feminine. Hence the switch in the verse: his pillars, vs. her sockets.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi in his commentary simply introduces the idea of bi-gender words. He does not explain why there is such a stark switch. However we can easily suggest that sockets are receptacles and hence feminine while pillars are masculine symbols.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Ex40-29a, Ex40-31. Both verses/verselets discuss the procedures when the Temple was erected / conscecrated. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: Note the contrast in subjects: he (Moses) offered vs Moses, Aaron, and his sons washed. It was Moses not Aaron who offered the daily offering during the conscecration of the Temple. Indeed, just as Moses offered sacrifices during the 7 days of consecration (Lv08-15,Lv08-19,21, etc) so too he offered on the 8th day since Aaron and his sons had not yet completed all the induction sacrifices (Lv08-01:04) and was not yet a priest. Since there were no priests, Moses did the offering.
Advanced Rashi: We can strengthen the Rashi derivation. All of Ex40 uses Moses-he to indicate the subject of the sentence until Ex40-31 when the subject switches to Mosees, Aaron and his sons. This contrast indicates a switch in subject from he = Moses to Moses, Aaron and his children. The alignment table above simply contrasts two of the many verses in the chapter.
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the temple construction. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says ...the wise men constructed the temple while the other verse says ... Bezalel constructed.... Which is it? Did Bezalel construct the Temple or did the staff of wise people construct it? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 aspects method: Bezalel was the manager of Temple construction The crafstmen were the staff of Temple construction. Managers obtain credit for the entire project since by overseeing the project they enable others to do its work.
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development form. In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development of this broad general theme in specific details. The Theme-Detail form creates a unified paragraph. Today's example illustrates this as shown below.
Verse Ex39-32a discussing the completion of the Temple states General: Thus was finished all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting; [since]... Detail: ... the children of Israel did according to all that HaShem commanded Moses, so did they.
In the above translation we have interpolated the word since which captures the essence of Rashi's remark on a causal connection between the two verse halves. This causal relationship exhibits the general-development form: The general idea of completion is developed using the causal idea of obedience.
Advanced Rashi: There is a subtle point here: The Temple, even though it is God's house, was not built by God (compare the Midrash that God will build the 3rd Temple). Man had to participate for the Temple to be built in a timely manner.
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 indicates bold, italics, underline by using repetition. In other words if a modern author wanted to emphasize a word they would either underline, bold or italicize it. However when the Biblical author wishes to emphasize a word He repeats it. The effect - whether thru repetition or using underline - is the same. It is only the means of conveying this emphasis that is different.
Notice the repeated underlined word in the following verse, Ex38-21b: This is the accounting of the tabernacle, of the tabernacle of Testimony, as it was accounted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. As indicated we interpret this repetition as indicating an unspecified emphasis. In modern notation we would translate this sentence with an underline: This is the accounting of the tabernacle of Testimony, as it was accounted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. A modern reader would see the underline in this sentence the same way that a Biblical reader sees the repetition: as indicating an unspecified emphasis. Rashi translates this unspecified emphasis as indicating general applicability of the rules for this Temple's construction to any Temple: This is the accounting of any Temple [such as the Temple] of Testimony, as it was accounted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. In other words the measurements and construction details of each utensil in Moses' desert temple were also requirements for the utensils in other Temples such as the Temple of King Solomon.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says: The verse repeates the phrase of the Temple thereby hinting at the Temple involved in two destructions. Here Rashi emphasizes the emotional aspect of the Temple. However the simple meaning of the verse is that all Temples have the same measurements. Rashi supplemented this simple meaning with emotional affects of the many temples the Jews have lived through.
To capture the Rashi we translate the verse using the phrase ...of any Temple. Such a translation hints at the Solomon temple since the verse properly speaks about any Temple including the Temple's in Gilgal, Shiloh, and King Messiah. The phrase ...of any Temple also hints at Rashi's point as expressed in his literal comment about the two temples that were destroyed since the fact that Jews lived through many Temples shows they were never completely deservent of staying in one Temple.
We ask the following database query: In the Bible, does God select by lineage or merit? 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-Midrashic inference: Selection for important posts was frequently done by merit not by lineage. The list below presents the results of the database query.
Advanced Rashi: As can be seen from the above list God in many situations choses people based on merit rather than on tribal status (Judah vs. Benjamin or Dan) or seniority (the eldest). A famous clash between Jacob and Joseph in Gn48 further emphasizes that merit takes place on lineage and form. Judaism firmly believes that our standing before God is based on our own deeds. Such a positive attitude, placing responsibility on each individual, strongly encourages good deeds and action.
Equation (1) Ex38-25 Total Silver Brought in = 100 K + 1775 S Equation (2) Ex38-26 Total Silver Donated = 603550 B Equation (3) Ex30-13,Ex38-26 B = 1/2 S ----------------------------------------------------------- By equations (1) and (2) 100 K + 1775 S = 603550 B By equation (3) 100 K + 1775 S = 603550 1/2 S By arithmetic 100 K + 1775 S = 301775 S By subtraction 100K = 300000 S By division 1 K = 3000 S
Rashi in addition to the Biblical commentary, also adds, as he does on rare occasions, commentary on Rabbinic measures. Rashi introduces the following additional currency equivalancies for Rabbinic currencies.
1 Kikar = 60 Maneh, known Rabbinic currency Sacred Kikar = Double the ordinary Kikar 1 Sacred Kikar = 120 Maneh, combining the last 2 equations 1 Kikar = 3000 Shekel, from the last paragraph 120 Maneh = 3000 Shekel,combining the last 2 equations 1 Manen = 25 shekel, by division
Finally Rashi explains that 1 Maneh = 25 Selah his point being that what the Bible calls a Shekel is called a Sela in Rabbinic currency.
This example is a peach of an example of the non-verse, algebraic, spreadsheet method.