The 10 RashiYomi Rules
Their presence in Rashis on Parshat Re'eh
Volume 13, Number 4
Rashi is Simple - Volume 36 Number 4

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,
August 13th 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 Dt16-11a
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm
    Brief Summary: Dt16-11a requiring sharing Holiday happiness with family, levites, widows, orphans and poor REFERENCES Dt14-29 which makes blessing dependent on this sharing.

Verse Dt16-11a discussing the enjoyment of the festivals states And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite who is inside your gates, and the non-citizen, and the orphan, and the widow, who are among you, in the place which the Lord your God has chosen to place his name there. Rashi notes that the underlined words, and the Levite who is inside your gates, and the non-citizen, and the orphan, and the widow, who are among you references verses Dt14-28:29 discussing the enjoyment on festivals which requires remembering the poor. Hence the Rashi comment The statement that besides rejoicing with your family you must rejoice with the Levite, non-citizens, orphans and widows references verse Dt14-29 which explicitly states that in order to merit God's blessings you must share with these underprivileged groups.

Text of Target Verse Dt16-11a Text of Reference Verse Dt14-28:29
And thou shalt rejoice before HaShem thy G-d, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite that is within they gates, and the non-citizen, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are in the midst of thee, in the place which HaShem thy G-d shall choose to cause His name to dwell there. At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall lay it up inside your gates; And the Levite, because he has no part nor inheritance with you, and the non-citizen, and the orphan, and the widow, who are inside your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
Rashi comments: The statement that besides rejoicing with your family you must rejoice with the Levite, non-citizen, orphan and widow references verse Dt14-29 which explicitly states that in order to merit God's blessings you must share with these underprivileged groups.

Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says There are four household members mentioned: 1) your son, 2) your daughter, 3) your male servants and 4) your female servants. I, God added four members who are so to speak my household members: 1) The Levite 2) The non citizen, 3) the widow and 4) orphan. If you help my household members I will help your household members.

It appears that Rashi is aligning the four and four. However there is no Rashi rule which would justify this. Furthermore, you cannot make inferences based on such numerical alignments. Therefore I sought a standard Rashi rule that would justify Rashi's inference. I found that the idea that gladdening these 4 categories will earn you God's merit explicitly referenced in Dt14-29. It immediately follows that this Rashi is using the reference rule. Rashi's language is a formulation of his comment as a clever pun on numerical coincidence to help people remember the comment - however the real driving force of the Rashi comment is the reference rule.

The serious student of Rashi is encouraged to review the above example until they fully understand it since this example shows how to differentiate between the true reason for Rashi vs. the form in which he states his comments. This study will lead to a more meaningful acceptance of Rashi comments since they are accepted based on rules that may be repeatedly used!

      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 Dt16-09a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm Brief Summary: The phrase SICKLE ON SHEAF is an IDIOM referring to HARVEST.

An idiom is a collection of words which means more than the sum of the meanings of each of the phrases' individual words. Verse Dt16-09a discussing the requirements to count 7 weeks from Passover to Shavuoth states Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee; from the time the sickle is on the sheaf [harvest] shalt thou begin to number seven weeks. . Rashi explains: The phrase(s) the sickle is on the sheaf is an idiom meaning harvest. As can be seen from the underlined words the Rashi comment is compactly and explicitly combined in the Biblical text.

Advanced Rashi: Rashi goes a step further and states The omer coincides with the beginning of the harvest. Rashi learns this from the explicit association in Lv23-10:11. In fact we could have approached this whole Rashi using an alignment of the Lv and Dt chapters both of which deal with the Passover-Omer-Shavuoth sequence. However, it was also important to emphasize that Rashi was identifying a Biblical idiom which is why we classified this Rashi as we did.

      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 Dt14-12a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm
      Brief Summary: And these you should not eat FROM AMONG them .... RASHI: FROM AMONG THEM - even if they were properly slaughtered.

Today only basic Hebrew grammar is well understood and there are many books on it. Rashi, however, lived before the age of grammar books. A major Rashi method is therefore the teaching of basic grammar.

Many students belittle this aspect of Rashi. They erroneously think that because of modern methods we know more. However Rashi will frequently focus on rare grammatical points not covered in conventional textbooks.

    There are many classical aspects to grammar whether in Hebrew or other languages. They include
  • The rules for conjugating verbs. These rules govern how you differentiate person, plurality, tense, mode, gender, mood, and designation of the objects and indirect objects of the verb. For example how do you conjugate, in any language, I sang, we will sing, we wish to sing, she sang it.
  • Rules of agreement. For example agreement of subject and verb, of noun and adjective; whether agreement in gender or plurality.
  • Rules of Pronoun reference.
  • Rules of word sequence. This is a beautiful topic which is not always covered in classical grammatical textbooks.
  • Rules of propositional and connective words.

Today we study a phenomenon common in many languages - prepositional connectives and pronouns. Hebrew has a variety of forms for these connectives. Biblical Hebrew allows use of entire words to indicate prepositional connectives and pronouns; Biblial Hebrew also allows use of prefixes and suffixes. The great Biblical exegete, MALBIM, explained that use of entire words indicates an extra emphasis while use of prefixes and suffixes simply indicates the prepositional connective or pronoun.

Hence the prefix Mem means from while the words min, mehem mean from among.

Using this principle Malbim translates verse Dt14-12 as follows: But from among the following you are prohibited to eat: the great vulture, and the bearded vulture, and the ospray; Here we have translated the word mehem as emphasizing from among in accordance with the Malbim's principle. (The verse could have simply said: But the following should not be eaten: the bearded vulture...., without using the word from among.) Rashi commenting on the underlined phrase from among indicated by the use of the entire Hebrew word mehem states The stated prohibition of eating applies to a special subset (from among). Apparently the verse emphasizes even from among these birds - for example, if they have received excellent slaughter - you are prohibited to eat.

It is typical of exegetical inferences based on words vs. prefixes-suffixes that a special group is generally indicated but the reader must supply which special group is mentioned. This usually requires identifying a non-stated but obvious subgroup to which we would expect an exception. The verse therefore emphasizes even this subgroup is prohibited.

    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 Dt15-03a
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm
    Brief Summary: a) The NON JEW: Keep his loan debts in the 7th year b) Your BROTHER (Fellow Jew): Waive his debt in the 7th year.

The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Dt15-03a Both verses/verselets discuss maintaining loans. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: It is prohibited to maintain a loan on a fellow Jew in the 7th year (The loan amount must be waived). The Bible explicitly states that one must take extra precautions to avoid maintaining a loan against a Jew (Dt15-09). Consequently, it is a positive commandment to maintain loans against non-Jews so that sufficient income will be maintained facilitating waiving the few outstanding loans against Jews.

Verse Text of Verse Rashi comment
Dt15-03a
  • a) The NON JEW: Keep his loan debts in the 7th year
  • b) Your BROTHER (Fellow Jew): Waive his debt in the 7th year.
It is prohibited to maintain a loan on a fellow Jew in the 7th year (The loan amount must be waived). The Bible explicitly states that one must take extra precautions to avoid maintaining a loan against a Jew (Dt15-09). Consequently, it is a positive commandment to maintain loans against non-Jews so that sufficient income will be maintained facilitating waiving the few outstanding loans against Jews.
Dt15-03
  • a) The non Jew.: Keep his loan debts in the 7th year
  • b) Your Brother (Fellow Jew): Waive his debt in the 7th year.

Advanced Rashi: This Rashi was brought to my attention by one of the Rabbinical members of the Rashi newsletter in Chicago. He made several interesting comments which are worth noting. First, there is a controversy among the Rishonim whether the sentence The Non Jew: Maintain the loan; Your Brother: don't maintain it (waive it) indicates a permission or requirement. Allow me to explain this. The phrase maintain the loan (to a Non Jew) by itself would be interpreted as a command. However when this phrase occurs contrastively For a Non Jew: Maintain... For a brother (Jew) do not maintain the phrase indicates not a requirement/ command but rather a permission. That is throughout the Bible and in ordinary literature the contrastive phrase is heard as meaning For a non Jew: It is permissable to maintain while for a Jew it is prohibited to maintain. So the statement of those Rishonim that the phrase here indicates a requirement appears at first glance, peculiar. If the contrastive style indicates permission why are we calling this a requirement and command.

Secondly, my Rabbinic host pointed out that there are differences in Rashi manuscripts on what Rashi says. In fact some Rashi manuscripts leave out the Rashi comment on this verse alltogether. As an example the Davka CD I use does not have any Rashi comments on this verse.

Based on the above two comments it would appear that the text and analysis of this Rashi would require a critical examination of manuscripts. However a fundamental belief of this Rashi newsletter is that all Rashi problems can be solved by rules and universally applied methods. Suppose a repeated rule justifies a certain reading of the text? Suppose further that no other rule justifies an alternative reading? Wouldn't we be justified in upholding the corresponding version of the Rashi comment even if no supporting manuscript exists?

I explained to my host (This was Fall 2007) that the great Biblical exegetical master, Malbim, explains, that A contrastive style always indicates permission unless there is some extra Biblical emphasis in which case the contrastive style indicates requirement vs. prohibition. The Malbim does not state his principle here. He rather states it on Lv02-11:12. He also discusses it in his compendium of rules, The Morning Star, where he brings several examples.

    Applying this principle of the Malbim to the Rashi at hand I would argue as follows:
  • Dt15-09 explicitly states Watch out lest you harbor an evil thought as follows: 'The 7th year is near, the year of loan-annulment' and therefore you will have a miserly view on your brother the poor.
  • So the Bible explicitly requires us to do whatever is possible to avoid harboring these natural evil thoughts to abstain from loaning in the 7th year.
  • But then not waiving loans to non-Jews becomes a positive requirement since the added influx of funds facilitates loaning Jews since more money is available.
  • By contrast if I waived loans to non Jews and then a Jew came for a loan I might hesitate not anticipating the added budget needed.

For the above reasons I have cited the Rashi and interpreted it the way I have done. I am cognizant that many people including Rabbis consider themselves enlightened and accept the need to critically examine manuscripts. I therefore offer the above analysis as a complementary approach to dealing with issues of textual veracity.

Praise be Him who chose them and their learning!

      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 examples applies to Rashis Dt15-19a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm
      Brief Summary: a) Dont sanctify firstborn FOR OTHER SACRIFICES b) Rather sanctify them for the FIRSTBORN sacrifice. A) Don't sanctify firstborn for an ALTAR OFFERING B) Rather sanctify them, redeem them, and donate the money

The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about sanctification of the firstborn. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says don't sanctify firstborn while the other verse says sanctify the firstborn. Which is it? Do we sanctify the firstborn or not? Rashi simply resolves this (in two ways) using the 2 Aspects method: Method 1: Sanctify the firstborn animals for firstborn sacrifices; therefore, it is prohibited to sanctify them for other sacrificial purposes. Method 2: Don't sanctify the firstborn animals for altar sacrifice. Rather, sanctify them and then redeem them. The resulting funds are sacred and given to the Temple funds.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
Sanctify the firstborn Dt15-19a All the firstling males that are born of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto HaShem thy G-d; \ thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thine ox, nor shear the firstling of thy flock.
Don't sanctify the firstborn Lv27-26 Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lordís firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it is an ox, or sheep; it is the Lordís.
Resolution: 2 Aspects Method 1: Sanctify the firstborn animals for firstborn sacrifices; therefore, it is prohibited to sanctify them for other sacrificial purposes. Method 2: Don't sanctify the firstborn animals for altar sacrifice. Rather, sanctify them and then redeem them. The resulting funds are sacred and given to the Temple funds.

Advanced Rashi: This is an exciting Rashi (as if the others weren't exciting). For Rashi, cites the Talmud, Arachin 29a. The Mishnah cites the two resolutions of our text that we have presented above. It would thus appear that there are two Rashi rules operating here.

What we have shown above is that both views, those of the Rabbis and those of Rabbi Ishmael, share a commonality of a study of a contradictory text as well as the commonality of a resolution by looking at two aspects. Rabbi Ishmael and the Rabbis differ in how to apply these two commonalities. Consequently the above example beautifully illustrates how the ten principles presented in this weekly newsletter are the skeleton and driving force behind all exegesii. They show an underlying commonality that however allows for disagreement and dissent. For this reason we warmly recommend this Rashi newsletter to students at all levels, whether beginning students or advanced Rabbinic students. The principles are fundamental and will enhance any type of study.

    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 Dt14-26a,b,c URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w7n15.htm
    Brief Summary: a) GENERAL: Buy what you want. b) DETAIL: Steak, lambchops, wine, bear. c) GENERAL: What you want. Rashi: Meat, fruit juices/wine, milk, honey.

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.

    Verse Dt14-26 discussing what second tithe money can redeem states
    • General: And you shall bestow that money for all your soul desires
    • Detail:
      • for oxen, or
      • for sheep, or
      • for wine, or
      • for strong drink
    • General: for all your soul desires

Because the General-Theme-General style is perceived as a paragraph, therefore, we take the Detail phrase as a development of the general phrase. The logical conclusion would be You can buy meats and plant derived drinks.

Quite startingly the Rambam, Second Tithes, 7:1-3, states that honey, milk and eggs are also OK. The Rambam's logic is that You can buy items that grow from land-based food (cattle, sheep) as well as items derived from land-based-food animals (wine but also honey, milk and eggs). True, the Rambam categorizes and defends the law! But wouldn't it be more logical to simply state meats and plant-based drinks.

Problems like this arise frequently in interpretation of the General Theme General law. At the 20th MidWest Jewish Studies Conference I suggested that two style rules are operating here: The Rabbi Ishmael Style rules as well as the Broad-Restriction style rules. The broad-restriction style rules in this verse focus on the word all which broadens the appicability of the verse. In the Talmud the Rabbi Ishmael rules are frequently contrasted with the broad-restriction rules as two approaches to Biblical exegesis. However on our Rashi list we classify the broad-restrictive rule, emanating from an analysis of the adverb all, as an inference based on the special word rule, which is a subrule of either the meaning or grammar rule. The Rishonim according to the approach I am suggesting here combine the two rules in their legal decisions.

    Here is how the two rules combine:
  • The verse mentions examples of what you can redeem: cattle and penned animals.
  • However since the theme-detail-theme style is used I am required to generalize these examples.
  • If the verse did not use the word all I would simply generalize the detail clause restrictively and only allow animal meats but not honey, milk and eggs since these last three items are animal-derived.
  • But the word all broadens! Consequently in addition to animal meats we allow animal derived products such as honey, milk and eggs.
  • However we still prohibit water, salt and spices which are neither animal nor animal-derived.
  • The subtlety in this derivation is that both restriction and broadening are used. Animals and cattle are broadened to include derived products like milk, eggs, and honey but are also restrictively interpreted so as to prohibit water, salt and spices which have nothing to do with animals.

This idea of combining the Talmud's broad restriction rule with the Rabbi Ishmael Style rules, or, using the language of this email newsletter, rules #2/3 special word meaning with rule #6,Style, this combination, seems to solve many problems in the Rabbi Ishmael style exegesii. The interested (or skeptical) reader should, when studying a Rabbi Ishmael rule, study the verse to see if the word all is mentioned and if so I would strongly expect that the the style generalizations are not as restrictive as they normally would be.

      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 Dt15-08d
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm
      Brief Summary: Give the poor sufficient for his LOSS that he has LOST. RASHI: You must address his LOSSES but you are not required to address his missed profits.

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 Dt15-08d discussing requirements to the poor states but thou shalt surely open thy hand unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his losses that he has lost The repeated underlined word phrase lost indicates an unspecified emphasis. Rashi translates this unspecified emphasis as missing losses but not missed out profits That is Rashi translates the verse as follows: supply the poor with his missed losses, but you are not required to supply him with his missed profits. In other words There is a Biblical obligation of charity, to help the poor regain their missed losses But if e.g. a person missed out on an opportunity to make a great profit there is no Biblical obligation to help him recap on the missed profit.

      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 Dt16-20b
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w34n8.htm
      Brief Summary: 7 commandments have a reward of long life (Covers all: don't eat blood (Would do it anyway), honor bird parent(easy)...

    Today we ask the database query: Which commandments mention a reward of long life or becoming well off for performing them? The query uncovers half a dozen major examples. An examination of these examples justifies the Rashi assertion that 7 commandments mention the reward of a long life or becoming well. These commandments cover the entire spectrum of commandments
    • Thus there are easy commandments (like letting the mother bird escape when capturing its young),
    • commandments whose violation is disgusting (like eating blood),
    • communal commandments (like have good justice), etc.
    Because these commandments cover the entire spectrum therefore we infer that all commandments if observed will provide a reward of long life.
    The table below presents results of the query along with illustrations of Rashi's comment.

Verse Verse Content Comments on commandment
Dt11-21a That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. General Observance of commandments
Dt24-19d When you cut down your harvest in your field, and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to fetch it; it shall be for the non-citizen, for the orphan, and for the widow; that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Leaving forgotten sheaves to indigent (No further action required)
Dt12-25b You shall not eat it; that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, when you shall do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. Prohibition of eating blood (But blood is disgusting and most people would abstain anyway)
Dt22-07a But you shall let the mother go, and take the young to you; that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days. Letting mother bird free when capturing young (An easy commandment)
Ex20-12a Honor your father and your mother; that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you. Honoring parents (Easy commandment; all can do it)
Dt16-20b Justice, only justice shall you pursue, that you may live, and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you. Communal justice
Dt17-20b That his heart be not lifted up above his brothers, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. Requirements of King

    Notice how the commandments above span the entire spectrum
    • General commandments
    • Easy commandments
    • Commandments that would be done anyway
    • Communal commandments
    • Commandments peculiar to Royal house
    • Commandments without action
    Hence the Rashi comment: Observance of any commandment leads to reward. Note the interesting fact that although we have classified this as the database method it could equally be classified as coming from the Style rule of generalization from several verses.

    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:
    • Spreadsheet: Rashi makes inferences of a numerical nature that can be summarized in a traditional spreadsheet
    • Geometric: Rashi clarifies a Biblical text using descriptions of geometric diagrams
    • Fill-ins: Rashi supplies either real-world background material or indicates real-world inferences from a verse. The emphasis here is on the real-world, non-textual nature of the material.
    This example applies to Rashis Dt11-30b Dt11-30c Dt11-30d Dt11-30e
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1304.htm
    Brief Summary: Mount Gerizim and Mount Ayval are 1) Farther from the Jordan River 2) Westward 3) Roughly horizontal to Gilgal (in the west) 4) Near Schem.

Today Rashi gives a diagrammatic geographic description of the location of Mount Gerizim and Mount Ayval. Since Rashi is diagrammatic we classify this as a NonVerse-Geographic Rashi. We present below the diagrammatic map corresponding to the Rashi comments.

	WEST                              EAST
        |    Israel                        |  
        |                                  |
        |                   Mount Ayval    | 
        |                    Schem         | Jordan river
        |                    Aylon Moreh   |
        |                                  |
        |                  Mount Gerizim   |
        | Gilgal                           |
        |                                  |

    The following notes explain the various Rashis:
  1. The verse states that the mountains were in the Jordan river bank. As can be seen from the diagram the Mount-Ayval-Schem-Gerizim line are on the same side of Israel as the Jordan river.
  2. The Hebrew word Acharay can mean farther or after. Rashi uses a grammatical argument based on the Biblical cantillations to show it means farther in this verse. As can be seen in the above diagram, Mount Ayval-Schem-Gerizim lie (roughly) on the same longitude, parallel, but farther away from the Jordan river. Hence the verse says the mountains were in the vicinity of the Jordan river, farther westward....
  3. As just indicated the verse explains that after crossing the Jordan river one has to go farther, westward. As can be seen the Ayval-Schem-Gerizim line is farther in a westward direction from the Jordan river.
  4. The Ayval-Schem-Gerizim line on the west side of Israel is opposite but roughly on the same lattitude as Gilgal on the eastern side of Israel. Hence the verse states, Opposite Gilgal.
  5. The verse states that the mountains were near, Aylon Moreh. Rashi uses the reference method to show that Aylon Moreh is in fact Schem. (Gn12-06).
  6. Putting these all together we would translate the verse as follows: Are not these mountains (1) in the vicinity of the Jordan river, (2) after it, (3) westward, 4) opposite Gilgal, 5) Near Aylon Moreh.

In a modern setting location is specified using latitude and longitude. The Bible in fact specifies the latitude determined by Gilgal and Jordan river and specifies the longitude by mentioning Schem. The Bible further clarifies that the mountains are nearer to the Jordan than to Gilgal, not right near but rather farther away.

Conclusion

This week's parshah does not contain examples of the symbolism Rashi method. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.