The 10 RashiYomi Rules
Their presence in Rashis on Parshat Tzav
Volume 12, Number 13
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 13

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,
Apr 3rd, 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.

    1. RASHI METHOD: REFERENCES
    BRIEF EXPLANATION: Commentary on a verse is provided thru a cross-reference to another verse. The cross references can either provide
    • (1a) further details,
    • (1b) confirm citations, or
    • (1c) clarify word meaning.
    This examples applies to Rashis Lv28-02c
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
    Brief Summary: God's order to take the ox and 2 rams (Lv08-02c) REFERENCES the identical order in Ex29-01:03

Verse Lv08-02c discussing the consecration of the priests states Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bull for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; Rashi notes that the underlined words, a bull ... two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; references verses Ex29-01:03 discussing the actual consecration of the priests. Hence the Rashi comment The procedures for consecrating the priests described in Lv08-02 references and complements the procedures for consecrating the priests described in Ex29-01:03. The Ex passage was the order on how to consecrate the priests while the Lv passage describes the actual consecration of the priests.

Text of Target Verse Lv08-02 Text of Reference Verse Ex29-01:03
Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bull for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; 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 bull, and two rams without blemish, And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened mingled with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil; of wheat flour shall you make them. And you shall put them in one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bull and the two rams.
Rashi comments: The procedures for consecrating the priests described in Lv08-02 references and complements the procedures for consecrating the priests described in Ex29-01:03. The Ex passage was the order on how to consecrate the priests while the Lv passage describes the actual consecration of the priests.

      2. RASHI METHOD: WORD MEANING
      BRIEF EXPLANATION: The meaning of words can be explained either by
      • (2a) translating an idiom, a group of words whose collective meaning transcends the meaning of its individual component words,
      • (2b) explaining the nuances and commonality of synonyms-homographs,
      • (2c) describing the usages of connective words like also,because,if-then, when,
      • (2d) indicating how grammatical conjugation can change word meaning
      • (2e) changing word meaning using the figures of speech common to all languages such as irony and oxymorons.
      This examples applies to Rashis Lv08-13a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
      Brief Summary: CHET-BETH-SHIN means to BANDAGE.Hence it can also refer to a) SADDLING a donkey and b) WRAPPING A TURBAN on ones head.

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.

    The following Hebrew words all refer to tieing.
  • Kuph-Shin-Resh, Kesher; to tie
  • Cheth-Beth-Resh, Chibber: sewing / uniting
  • Cheth-Besh-Shin, Chabbash bandaging

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 Gn47-25c:26 embeds the Rashi translation Chabbash means bandaging or a bandage type motion. And Moses brought the sons of Aaron, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and bandaged the turbans upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses.

    Advanced Rashi: We can clarify further using other Rashi rules as follows:
  • The primary meaning of Cheth-Beth-Shin is to bandage. Some verses with this usage are Is01-06, Is30-26, Ez34-04.
  • Recall the triple FFF rule which holds that words can name things with similar Forms, Functions, or Feel. Thus an orange dress has a similar form to the fruit, orange. Similarly the pentagon is named after its shape. So too the saddling of a donkey is called the bandaging of a donkey because the forms of the two activities are the same.
  • Similarly, bandaging can refer to the winding placement of a turban on the head since the form of bandaging and winding a turban are the same.

Note that many translators simply say that Chabash is a form of tieing. By using the synonym method we obtain a greater acuity of translation: Technically, it is a tieing motion but it really is simply a strengthening of an already cohesive whole (such as wounded skin). Such improvements of clarity of translation are frequent when using the synonym method.

      3. RASHI METHOD: GRAMMAR
      BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi explains verses using grammar principles, that is, rules which relate reproducable word form to word meaning. Grammatical rules neatly fall into 3 categories
      • (a) the rules governing conjugation of individual words,Biblical roots,
      • (b) the rules governing collections of words,clauses, sentences
      • (c) miscellaneous grammatical, or form-meaning, rules.
      This examples applies to Rashis Lv06-15a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
      Brief Summary: THE PRIEST WHO IS ANNOINTED REPLACING HIM FROM HIS SONS means THE PRIEST WHO IS ANNOINTED FROM HIS SONS TO REPLACE HIM

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 word order. Many languages such as English have rules about word order and word proximity. For example the dangling modifier rule encourages words to be near the words they modify as such a word order confuses the reader the least.

Verse Lv06-15a discussing the successor high-priest states And the priest, who is annointed, in his place, of his sons, shall offer it; it is a statute forever to the Lord; it shall be wholly burned. Rashi simply changes the word order removing the dangling phrase modifier. The adjectival phrase of his sons modifies the word priest and hence the verses is clearer if the adjective is near the noun it modifies. This makes the verse clearer. And the priest, of his sons, anointed in his place, shall offer it; it is a statute forever to the Lord; it shall be wholly burned.

Advanced Rashi: Rashi does not indicate why the Biblical text deviates from the dangling modifier rule. It would appear to me that the Biblical construction priest annointed in his place,of his sons deemphasizes a lineage choice of replacement. It is important in the Bible to emphasize that replacement is done first by merit and if there are equally qualified candidates then we use lineage. By deviating from the dangling modifier rule and deemphasizing lineage the Bible reemphasizes that any priest - not just the immediate descendants - can become High Priest.

    4. RASHI METHOD: ALIGNMENT
    BRIEF EXPLANATION: Aligning two almost identically worded verselets can suggest
    • (4a) 2 cases of the same incident or law
    • (4b) emphasis on the nuances of a case
    • (4c) use of broad vs literal usage of words
    This examples applies to Rashis Lv06-10a
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
    Brief Summary: LEAVEN: (1) May not be given to the ALTAR and (2) may not be given to the PRIESTS.

The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Lv02-11:12,Lv06-07:10. Both verses/verselets discuss the prohibition of leaven in the sacrificial procedures. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: Leaven is prohibited both in altar consumption and in priestly consumption.

Verse Text of Verse Rashi comment
Lv02-11:12 No meal offering, which you shall bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven; for you shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire. As for the sacrifice of the first fruits, you shall offer them to the Lord; but they shall not be burned on the altar for a sweet savor. Leaven is prohibited both in altar consumption and in priestly consumption.
Lv06-07:10 And this is the Torah of the meal offering; the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar. And he shall take of it his handful, ... and shall burn it upon the altar ... And its remainder shall Aaron and his sons eat; with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the Tent of Meeting they shall eat it. It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it to them ....

      5. RASHI METHOD: CONTRADICTION
      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi resolves contradictory verses using 3 methods.
      • (5a) Resolution using two aspects of the same event
      • (5b) Resolution using two stages of the same process
      • (5c) Resolution using broad-literal interpretation.
      This example applies to Rashis Lv06-22a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
      Brief Summary: ALL priests may eat the sin offering. PROVIDED the eater is qualified to offer the sin offering.

The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the consumption of sin offerings. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says all priests will eat it while the other verse says the priest who offers it will eat it Which is it? Did all priests eat the sin offering, or did only the priest offering the sin offering it. Rashi simply resolves this using the broad-literal method: All priests ate the sin offering provided the priests consuming the sacrifice were qualified to offer the sin offering (That is, they were potential offerers.) In other words, invalid priests could not consume the sin offering.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
All priests ate the sin offering Lv06-22a All the males among the priests shall eat of it; it is most holy.
[only] the offering priest shall eat it Lv06-19 The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it; in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the Tent of Meeting.
Resolution: Broad Literal: All priests ate the sin offering provided the priests consuming the sacrifice were qualified to offer the sin offering (That is, they were potential offerers.) In other words, invalid priests could not consume the sin offering.

    6. RASHI METHOD: STYLE
    Rashi examines how rules of style influences inferences between general and detail statements in paragraphs.
    • Example: Every solo example stated by the Bible must be broadly generalized;
    • Theme-Detail: A general principle followed by an example is interpreted restrictively---the general theme statement only applies in the case of the example;
    • Theme-Detail-Theme: A Theme-Detail-Theme unit is interpreted as a paragraph. Consequently the details of the paragraph are generalized so that they are seen as illustrative of the theme.
    This examples applies to Rashis Lv07-26b
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
    Brief Summary: GENERAL: Don't eat any blood. PARTICULAR: Of birds or animals. RASHI: Blood of fish is permissable.

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 Lv07-26b discussing the prohibition of eating blood states
  • General: Moreover you shall eat no kind of blood,
  • Detail: of birds or of beasts, ...

This is a classic general-detail or theme-development form. According to the Rabbi Ishmael style guidelines we interpret the verse as follows: The applicability of the general clause is restricted to the detail clause. In other words the prohibition of eating blood mentioned in the general clause only applies to the blood of birds and beasts. Consequently there is no Biblical prohibition of consuming fish blood.

      7. RASHI METHOD: FORMATTING
      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Inferences from Biblical formatting: --bold,italics, and paragraph structure.
      • Use of repetition to indicate formatting effects: bold,italics,...;
      • use of repeated keywords to indicate a bullet effect;
      • rules governing use and interpretation of climactic sequence;
      • rules governing paragraph development and discourse
      This example applies to Rashis Lv07-31a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
      Brief Summary: The BREAST and SHOULDER are gifts to the priest PROVIDED the peace offering was actually offered.

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.

    Verses Lv07-31:34 discussing the gifts to the priest in the peace offering states
  • And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar; but the breast shall be Aaronís and his sonsí.
  • And the right shoulder shall you give to the priest for an offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings. He, among the sons of Aaron, who offers the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part.
  • For the waved breast and the offered shoulder have I taken from the people of Israel, from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons by a statute forever from among the people of Israel.

    Notice the repeated underlined connections: offering - shoulder/breast in all three verses. Hence the Rashi comment: The successful offering of the sacrifice was a prerequisite for the shoulder/breast gifts. In other words we read the repeated verses as emphasing a required order:
  • (1st) Priest shall burn the fat upon altar; (2st) breast given to priests
  • (1st) He who offers blood of peace offerings; (2st) he shall the shoulder
  • (1st) From the peace offerings, (2st) Give the breast and shoulder to the priests.

Advanced Rashi: The repeated verses contain alot of other information which Rashi comments on. My main point here is that Rashi is not simply looking at a single verse - the priest burns the fat on the altar and the breast shall be given to the priests.. - and deriving a requirement of sequence: (1) sacrifices, (2) breast gift. Rather Rashi is commenting on the repeated emphasis in three verses all of which sequence gifts after the performing of the sacrifice. When indicating the comment Rashi simply suffices with mentioning it on one verse and expecting the student / reader to follow up on finding further support.

      8. RASHI METHOD: DATABASES
      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi makes inferences from Database queries. The precise definition of database query has been identified in modern times with the 8 operations of Sequential Query Language (SQL).

      This example applies to Rashis Lv08-36a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1213.htm
      Brief Summary: THEY DID AS COMMANDED is stated when we might expect rebellious behavior.

We ask the following database query: When does the Biblical author use the phrase they did as commanded. 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: If a person or nation is typically rebellious then the Bible will go out of its way to emphasize when they are compliant. The Bible indicates this by using the phrase they did as commanded. On the other hand if a person or nation is always compliant there is no news in stating that they are compliant! The list below presents the results of the database query.

Verse Why I expect otherwise Examples of why I expect otherwise Verse text
Lv10-07 Priests sometimes rebelled, act on their own Nadav and Avihu, Lv10-01:02 made their own offerings and died And ye shall not go out from the door of the tent of meeting, lest ye die; for the anointing oil of HaShem is upon you.' And they did according to the word of Moses.
Lv08-36a Priests sometimes rebelled, act on their own Nadav and Avihu, Lv10-01:02 made their own offerings and died And Aaron and his sons did all the things which HaShem commanded by the hand of Moses.
Ex14-02:04c Jews frequently complained to God Jews complained better in Egypt when Egypt pursued them (Ex14-11:12) Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon, over against it shall ye encamp by the sea. And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel: They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he shall follow after them; and I will get Me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am HaShem.' And they did so.
Ex16-16:17 Jews frequently complained about lack of food water Jews complained about lack of water at Refidim Ex17-02 This is the thing which HaShem hath commanded: Gather ye of it every man according to his eating; an omer a head, according to the number of your persons, shall ye take it, every man for them that are in his tent.' And the children of Israel did so, and gathered some more, some less.

Conclusion

This week's parshah contains no examples of the spreadsheet and symbolism Rashi method. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com and http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule.htm for further details and examples.