Their presence in Rashis on Parshat BeHaR BeChuKoThaI Volume 12, Number 17
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 17
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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May 15st, 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 Lv25-10 discussing the Jubilee year states And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants of it; it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family. Rashi notes that the underlined words, you shall return every man to his possession references verses Lv25-28,31,33 discussing the reversion of ownership, during the Jubilee year, to the original owner. Hence the Rashi comment The Biblical phrase every man shall return to his land (Lv25-10) references verses Lv25-28,31,33 which explain that ownership of land returns to the original owner during the Jubilee year.
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.
Verse Lv25-09a discussing the requirements connected with the Jubilee year states ...pass a shofar blast ...throughout the land.....proclaim freedom throughtout the land. Rashi explains the passing of the shofar-blast metonomycally as meaning Announce the proclamation of freedom throughout the land by shofar blast. This interpretation names an activity - announcing the proclamation of freedom by shofar blast - by its form - the non physical shofar blasts appear to have the form of traveling / passing throughout the land.
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 and gender 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.
One component of grammar deals with puns. Puns are a universal literary phenomenon in all languages: Puns indicate a deliberate distortion of the text in order to impart relevant secondary meaning. For more information on puns see my article http://www.Rashiyomi.com/puns.pdf on the world wide web.
One method of puns is the so call read-spoken method. When using this method the Biblical Author will write the text one way but the reader is instructed to read it with an alternate different reading. Such a read-write passage creates what is called in literature a pun. Puns are a universal literary device used in all languages. Many scholars regard puns as simply another grammatical tool to convey messages intended by the author (See the above article for further details and references).
Todays example, Lv25-30, contains such a pun. The written text says And if it is not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the city with a wall shall become the permanent property of he who bought it throughout his generations; it shall not go out in the jubilee. while the text is read as stating And if it is not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the no-wall city shall become the permanent property of he who bought it throughout his generations; it shall not go out in the jubilee. The written-read text creates a pun. The Author intended that the text convey the message these laws apply to a house sold in a city [initially] with a wall but [currently] without a wall.
We will continue discussion of this interesting Rashi in rule #5, contradiction below. There we will present the explanation hinted at by the bracketed phrases that laws governing a house sold in a city with a wall apply even when the wall is no longer present. These laws are inferred from the pun created by the written-read text.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi makes one additional grammatical comment. The textual phrase city ...it has a wall uses a masculine form of it even though city is a feminine noun. The Bible changed the gender of the word city in order to accomodate the pun since in Hebrew the word for no and the masculine word for it are both pronounced the same. This Rashi stating that grammar can be changed for the sake of a pun is important and seems to have been overlooked by scholars.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Lv26-01 Both verses/verselets discuss the prohibition of idolatry The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: There are three distinct prohibitions: (1) Idolatrous worship (2) Idolatrous designation (3) Creation of bowing stones (even to God).
Notice, as is our custom in this email list, how we have brought in comments not physically found in Rashi. We believe Rashi's intent was to mention one of several similar comments on a textual passage and have the teacher fill in the other comments as illustrative of his methods.
Note: Today's example of the contradiction method is unusual in that the contradiction is between a read and written text. We have explained the read-written method in rule #3, grammar and urge the reader, if (s)he hasn't read it yet, to read it first.
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about redemption rights on houses sold in a walled city The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says these redemption rights apply to a walled city while the other verse says these redemption rights apply to a non-walled city. Which is it? Do the laws in question apply to walled or non-walled city. Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Stages method: (1) The laws apply to houses sold in cities that initially had a wall around it (2) The laws apply even if currently that wall no longer surrounds the city.
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. The detailed section of this paragraph is seen as an modifying and explaining the general theme sentences. Today's example illustrates this as shown immediately below.
Rashi interprets the general-detail form as forming a Biblical paragraph with the detail clause explaining the general clause. That is the Bible informs us that the land is given a sabbatical by not working the fields and vineyards
Advanced Rashi: A typical Rashi-ist would approach these verses by emphasizing redundancy and exploring alternate interpretations. The requirement of letting the land have a sabbath could e.g. mean that it is prohibited to build Therefore the verse specifies that only field and vineyard work are prohibited However other forms of land work are permissable. This is the essence of the theme-development method. We have, in this newsletter, added, the nuance that this Rashi content can be neatly and naturally understood if we perceive the Biblical text as a paragraph with a theme-development form. It is not necessary to employ the traditional exploration of alternate methods. It is sufficient to focus on the paragraph form.
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 indicated bullets by using repeating keywords.
That is, if a modern author wanted to get a point across using bullets - a list of similar but contrastive items - then the Biblical Author would use repeating keywords. Today's verse illustrates this principle.
Bullets whether indicated through modern notation or through the Biblical method of repeating keywords always indicate contrastive emphasis - that is, each bullet is presumed to be a distinct item contrasted to the other items on the list. Very often the bullets are also used to indicate that the entire list is exhaustive of some spectrum.
We ask the following database query: Which commandments mention that they should be observed becauase 'you are to remember that God took you out of 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: Commemoration of the salvation from Egypt is emphasized as a reason for commandment observance in laws prohibiting a) social inequality b) ritual impurity c) anxiety-business practices and d) acknowledgement of salvation from Egypt by God. The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples
To understand this list we take a simple example: Dt05-14a:15. discussing the obligation to treat slaves and orphans nicely. This verse states but the seventh day is a sabbath unto HaShem thy G-d, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. And thou shalt remember that thou was a slave in the land of Egypt, and HaShem thy G-d brought thee out thence by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore HaShem thy G-d commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. As can be seen by the underlined words, the Biblical obligation to let slaves/servants rest on the Sabbath is linked to remembering the Exodus. This linkage between the commandment and the exodus, does not occur at all commandments. However this linkage occurs here because the essence of Egypt consisted of a class society in which certain people were free and certain people were slaves. Consequently any commandment attacking class distinctions - such as the requirement to equally let owners and slaves rest on the Sabbath - will explicitly mention the Exodus.
The other examples are interpreted similarly. For example the linkage of commemorating the exodus from Egypt to the prohibition of taking interest is explained by the observation that causing anxiety was a hallmark of Egypt and encouraged destruction of the personality which enabled slavery. Two popular methods of causing anxiety were 1) using inaccurate weights and 2) charging interest in excess of expected prophits thus nullifying the efficacy of small business loans (Because a person trying to loan for business purposes would find the interest they pay out more than the profit they take in)
9. RASHI METHOD: SPREADSHEETS
BRIEF EXPLANATION: The common denominator of the 3 submethods of the Spreadsheet method is that inferences are made from non textual material. The 3 submethods are as follows:
URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1217.htm
Brief Summary: 5 will pursue 100; 100 will puruse 10000. RASHI the growth rate is not linear but exponential.