Their presence in Rashis on Parshat NaSoH Volume 12, Number 19
Rashi is Simple - Volume 35 Number 19
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,
June 4th, 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 Nu06-09a discussing a sudden death in the Nazarite family states states And if any man die very suddenly beside him, and he defile his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. Rashi notes that the underlined words, suddenly besides him references verses Nu19-14:17 discussing transfer of ritual impurity through death in the same house. Hence the Rashi comment The phrase when someone dies on the Nazarite suddenly Nu06-09a is interpreted according to Nu19-14:17 as referring to a death in the same house. However someone dieing in his family at a distant location would not confer on him ritual impurity.
Rashi would sometimes derive the meaning of a word from the meaning of its underlying Biblical root. In applying this method Rashi would use all available grammatical methods to study the meanings of related roots. The next paragraph presents one such rule.
There are 1900 Biblical roots. Of these 1900 roots about half involve X-Vav-Y X-Y-Y X-Y-Hey pairs. These roots (with one root letter weak) often, but not always, have related meanings. Consequently, very often, but not always. one can infer the meaning of a X-Y-Y root from the related X-Y-Hey or X-Vav-Y root.
Rashi believed in two grammatical systems. He believed in the traditional tri-literial (3-letter) root methods used to conjugate verbs and taught in all elementary schools.
Besides the conjugational root system Rashi also believed in a semantic root system. This is a separate system that enables derivation of root meaning from other roots.
For example the meaning of a 4-letter root, ABCD, is derived from the meaning of its two 2-letter subroots, ABCD = AB + CD. Similarly Rashi might derive the meaning of a traditional three letter root, ABC from a 2-letter and 1-letter subroot: ABC = A +B C or ABC=AB+C. Although these rules and equations are abstract we will present easily understood examples below.
Rashi lived before the age of grammatical textbooks. Hence one of his functions was to teach the type of grammar that we all take for granted and find in modern basic grammatical textbooks.
A major thrust in modern textbooks is verb conjugation. However grammar additionally deals with a variety of other topics including: 1) plurality agreement, 2) gender agreement, 3) connective prepositions, 4) noun-adjective agreement, 5) indication of number, 6) subject-verb-object sequencing, 7) noun-adjective sequencing, 8) pronoun-reference designation and many similar rules found in the modern textbooks of a variety of languages including Hebrew.
Using this rule we translate Nu07-89 as follows: And when Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with him, then he heard the voice speaking only to him [but Aaron did not receive the prophetcies!] from the covering that was upon the ark of Testimony, from between the two kerubim; and he spoke to him. In the above translation we have embedded the Rashi comment as a parenthetical remark driven by the underlined word which we have translated according to the above mentioned rule.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Nu05-13c, Lv05-02:04. Both verses/verselets discuss sins with lack of awareness. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The ordinary Biblical idiom for lack of awareness or lack of knowledge is it was concealed from him. By contrast the phrase it was concealed from his eyes indicates a requirement that the person (who was unaware) is not blind.
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the prophetic speech of God to Moses. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says God spoke in the voice, that is, the same thunderous, trumpet-like voice by which God spoke at Sinai, while the other verse says God only spoke to Moses; Aaron could not hear the voice. Which is it? Was the voice thunderous and loud? If so why couldn't Aaron hear it? Perhaps it was a soft voice? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Aspects method: God's voice spoke within Moses. Since He did not speak externally Aaron could not hear it. However the voice within was thunderous and loud.
We still haven't completely explained this Rashi but have presented its basis and showed various rich aspects of it.
In the above passage, the Nazaarite offerings are an exception to general offerings. The reason they are an exception is because, as the underlined phrase shows, the Nazaarite offering has, in addition to traditional offerings - such as the up, sin, peace, wafer and cake offerings - also has a matzoh basket offering. This matzoh basket is an exception to the general offering.
According to the Rabbi Ishmael exception rule this difference between the Nazaarite and other offerings makes the Nazaarite offerings an exception. Therefore any other rule of offerings does not apply unless the Bible explicitly re-requires it. In particular as indicated by the underlined passages the meal offerings and libations associated with all offerings must also be offered at the Nazarite offering. As can be seen from the underlined passages the emphasis that meal offerings and drink offerings are also brought is mentioned twice.
Advanced Rashi: We have explained elsewhere that all Rabbi Ishmael rules deal with the interaction between examples and generalizations. Thus the law prohibiting muzzling an ox while threshing is, according to Rabbi Ishmael, not the totality of the rule, but a mere example of a more general rule that any animal should not have their eating inteferred with while working. Similarly the requirement, for example, to redeem second tithe on steaks, lambchops, wine and beer is seen, not as the list of things which can be redeeemed, but rather as examples of a more general rule that second tithe can be redeemed on any products that are derived from land based grown items.
The exception rule also deals with the interaction between examples and generalizations. For example when the Bible speaks about the Nazaarite offering and the exceptional matzoh basket we have to ask if this is the only exception or whether other aspects of the traditional sacrifices are also excepted. Thus the example-geenralization issue is a useful lens by which to study all Rabbi Ishmael rules.
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.
Verse Nu05-26:27a discussing the drinking of the bitter waters during the suspected-adulteress wife ceremony states And the priest shall take a handful of the offering, its memorial, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward he shall have the woman drink the water. And he shall have her drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she is defiled, and has trespassed against her husband, that the water that causes the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall fall; and the woman shall be a curse among her people. The repeated underlined word phrase he shall have her drink the water indicates an unspecified emphasis. Rashi translates this unspecified emphasis as he will instruct her to drink the water and even if she doesn't want to will force her to drink the water. That is Rashi translates the verse as follows: and afterwords he shall have the woman drink the water and if she had been defiled.. In other words The next step is for the woman to drink the water which he will force her to do if she doesn't voluntarily participate.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi also notes that ...however if she confesses she needn't drink the water nor be forced to drink the water. Rashi derives this from the purpose for drinking the water explicitly stated in the verse: ...and if she has sinned....then the bitter waters will come into her.....and she shall be a curse throughout her nation....but if she has not defiled herself.... This stated reason supports the idea that the sole purpose for drinking the water - whether voluntarily or through force - was to ascertain whether she commited adultery. Hence if she confesses she need not drink.
We ask the following database query: To whom are Priestly gifts delivered and how are they delivered? 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: The Biblical language describing many priestly gifts uses the phrases brought to God or belongs to the Priest. The first fruits were however brought to the Priest in the temple. Hence Nu05-09 should be translated as A priestly gift [ Terumah] brought to the Priest belongs to him. Since first fruits are the only priestly gift brought to the priest we apply this verse to first fruits. The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples
Verse Nu06-21a,b discussing the offerings of the Nazaarite states This is the rule of the Nazaarite who has vowed, and of his offering to the Lord for his separation, besides that which his means allow; according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the Torah of his separation. Rashi illustrates this verse with numerical examples.
Because this Rashi clarifies the Biblical text with numerical examples we have classified it as a spreadsheet submethod of the non verse method.
Very often a symbolic interpretation will use a single motif to explain a variety of items and procedures. In the example below we symbolically interpret the prince gifts presented when the Temple was consecrated. The single motif used is the important events in human history leading up to the giving of the Torah. This motif is used to symbolically interpret the prince gifts, brought at the consecration of the Temple. These gifts as a whole symbolize the progression of important events in human history leading to the giving of the Torah. The Table below gives details.
Advanced Rashi: We have not reviewed all the prince gifts. Also at times we have deviated from Rashi's associations which use numerical values of letters (There is nothing wrong with this in a symbolic context but we preferred to give the strongest associations). As the table shows there is a natural historical sequence from the beginning of human history, Adam, till the reception of the Torah. Some of the numerical associations are quite strong based on numerical identity. The other associations can then be justified in context because they fill in the gaps in the missing sequence.