Their presence in Rashis on Parshat BaMidBaR Volume 12, Number 18
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 18
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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May 21st, 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 Nu04-13a discussing the altar ashes states And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth on it; Rashi notes that the underlined words, ashes from the altar references verses Lv06-01:03 discussing the ash collection ceremony. Hence the Rashi comment The Biblical phrase ashes from the altar in Nu04-13a references the ash collection ceremony for the copper altar on which was offered the daily offering (Lv06-01:03)
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 Nu04-09a discussing transporting the Candellabrah when the Temple was dismantled states And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the Candellabrah, and its flames, and its tongs, and is pans, and all its oil utensils, with which they minister to it; Rashi explains the underlined word flames metonomycally as ...referring to the containers in which the wicks and oil were placed. Here the containers are named by their function, to produce flames (Similar to naming the United nations by its function). We can therefore retranslate the verse using this metonomycal explanation: And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the Candellabrah, and its wick-containers, and its tongs, and is pans, and all its oil utensils, with which they minister to it;
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 Nu01-18a discussing the taking of the wilderness census states And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they showed their genealogies by families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls. Rashi translates the Biblical word Vav-Yud-Tauv-Yud-Lamed-Daleth-Vav as coming from the Biblical root Yud-Lamed-Daleth which means to give birth . We have conveniently embedded the Rashi translation in the translation of the verse. The conjugation rule governing this Biblical word may be found by using tables 2 in the Ibn Shoshan dictionary for the interactive mode (HiTPael). In the interactive (Hitpael) mode, this root means show ones genealogy. The actual Rashi comment is They brought their certificates of genealogical descent. The Radack translates this conjugation like Rashi and adds the explanatory comment The interactive form means they showed who gave birth to them.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Nu01-03a Both verses/verselets discuss who will be conted in the census. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: Military conscription starts at age 20.
Advanced Rashi: Traditional Rashi-ists would explain this contradiction by incorrectly appealing to word nuances or to alignment. For example aligning the two verses listed above we see a hinted contrast of come to be posted vs. to do work in the temple. This contrast of nuances hints at a distinction of actual work vs training to be posted.
We however have explained this Rashi using the contradiction method. What is important is the fact of contradiction. True there might be supportive nuances emanating from alignment but the fact of contradiction justifies a resolution. We try the three methods of resolution - 2 stages, 2 aspects, broad-literal meaning - and find that the 2 stages approach neatly suggests training-performance. This approach of seeking a natural resolution by appeal to real-world phenomena is characteristic of the contradiction method. In fact the contradiction method, although sometimes it uses verses, very often relies on intuitive logic to naturally resolve a textual contradiction by appeal to real world phenomena such as the training-performance sequence.
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development-Theme form. In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development of this broad general theme in specific details. The paragraph-like unit is then closed with a repetition of the broad theme. The Theme-Detail-Theme form creates a unified paragraph. The detailed section of this paragraph is therefore seen as an extension of the general theme sentences. Today's example illustrates this as shown immediately below.
Rashi generalizes the detail clause Ark, table, lampstand, golden altar,instruments of ministry.... as illustrative of the general clause, Aaron's sons shall come and cover the sanctuary and states: All utensils used in the Holies are included even if not explicitly enumerated, for example, the utensils for offering incense on the Golden altar. We believe this comment evident and consistent with the Rabbi Ishmael style guidelines.
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 strikeouts by using dotting on words.
Today we have a special treat: We bring all examples of this formatting technique used throughout the Bible as well as the corresponding Rashi on these verses.
We ask the following database query: How did the pairs of neighboring tribes in the wilderness encampings influence each other? 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: Good neighbors influence eath other positively. Moses' neighbors were Judah, Zevulun and Yissachar and all three tribes were known for their scholarship as stated in P060-09, Ju05-14, 1C12-32. We see here the influence of good neighbors since Moses the great scholar influenced his neighbors and they too became great scholars. We also see that proximity to Moses bestowed blessing and population increase on these three tribes since during the wilderness migrations these three tribes had an overall increasee in census even though the nation as a whole did not. (The textual source proving the proximity of Moses to these three tribes is indicated in the sequence of tribes at national migrations (Nu10-14,15,16,17 - which indicates a migration sequence of Judah 1st, Yissachar 2nd, Zevulun 3rd, certain Levite tribes) The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples
Advanced Rashi: In the above table we only touched the basic idea in this query. We could also follow Rav Hirsch and analyze census increase / decreases on all sides. For example we can show how the tribes involved in the Korach rebellion also influenced each other, however negatively. We however suffice with the database query above which justifies the Rashi commment that Good neighbors have positive influence.
Verse Nu04-10a discussing the packing of Temple utensils states And they shall put it and all its utensils inside a covering of goats’ skins, and shall put it upon a bar. Rashi explains the underlined phrase covering of goats' skins In a skin briefcase. Here Rashi gives a geometric model ((briefcase)) to clarify the Biblical text. Hence we classify this Rashi as a NonVerse diagrammatic Rashi.