Their presence in Rashis on Parshat MishPaTiM Volume 14, Number 2
Rashi is Simple - Volume 37 Number 2
Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
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Feb. 11, 2010
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 Ex24-12:13a discussing Moses ascent to the mountain of God states And the Lord said to Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the Torah, and commandments which I have written; that you may teach them. And Moses , and his apprentice Joshua rose up; and Moses went up into the mount of God. Rashi notes that the underlined words, and his apprentice Joshua references verses Ex32-17 discussing Moses and Joshua trying to figure out what the commotion in the camp was about. Hence the Rashi comment The contrastive statements in Ex24-12:13 that 1) both Moses and Joshua arose but 2) only Moses went up to the mountain, are illuminated by Ex32-17 which shows Moses and Joshua discussing what is causing the commotion in the camp. Consequently we infer that Joshua was neither on the mountain with Moses nor in the camp with the people. Most probably he, as Moses' personal apprentice, accompanied Moses to the mountain borders, set up tent, and waited for Moses' return after 40 days as well as prepared items for Moses when he returned.
An idiom is a collection of words which means more than the sum of the meanings of each of the phrases' individual words. Verse Ex24-14d discussing Moses leaving Aaron and Chur to deal with the nation while he received the law states And he said to the elders, Wait here for us, until we come again to you; and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; if anyone owns an issue [has a civil claim] let him come to them. Rashi explains: The phrase(s) owns an issue is an idiom meaning civil claim. As can be seen from the underlined words the Rashi comment is compactly and explicitly combined in the Biblical text.
Advanced Rashi: One can never prove the meaning of an idiom since by definition the idiom means more than the sum of the meaning of its words. However there are other verses where the Hebrew Daleth-Beth-Resh, Davar means legal matter: e.g. Ex18-13:16 states And it came to pass on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood by Moses from the morning to the evening. And when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that you do to the people? Why do you sit by yourself alone, and all the people stand by you from morning to evening? And Moses said to his father-in-law, Because the people come to me to inquire of God; When they have a matter [daleth-beth-resh, legal matter], they come to me; and I judge between one and another, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
Today 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.
Today we deal with the Biblical rules governing indication of a plural direct object. In Hebrew the plural direct object can be indicated by a suffix Mem. For example, Garesh means to expel while GeresheM means to expel them.
Biblical Hebrew also allows use of the suffix Mem-Vav or Tauv-Mem-Vav to indicate the plural direct object. So Gerashtamo also means expel them.
Similarly the Hebrew Lamed-Mem-Vav, Lamo can substitute for the more frequently used Lamed-Hey-Mem, Lahem which indicates the plural indirect object, to them. Examples of this plural indirect object may be found about 5 dozen times in the Bible e.g. in Dt32-32:33,36.
Advanced Rashi: The biblical phrase as he did so shall be done to him is ambiguous: It could mean he is liable for payment or, it could mean that he should be wounded the way he wounded someone else. The strongest proof that the Biblical intent is that payment shall be made comes from an explicit statement in Ex21-19: If he survives....he only need give disability and medical. This verse serves as a basis for interpreting other verses such as as he did so shall be done to him or an eye for an eye....a wound for a wound in terms of payment, i.e.as he did [in medical and disability damages] so shall be done to him [monetarily] or the [disability/medical payment] for an eye for wounding an eye....
The table below presents two contradictory verses/verselets. Both verses speak about the Revelation. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse/verselet says Moses gave the book of the convenant during the preparation for the revelation, while the other verse/verselet says God gave the Torah at the Revelation. We see the contradiction Which is it? Was the Torah given before or at/after the Revelation. If before the Revelation, then what was given at the Revelation! Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Aspects method: a) Moses gave written Pre-Sinaitic revelations prior to the Revelation - during the preparatory phase right before the revelation. The Pre-Sinaitic revelations included the creation stories, the commandment of circumcision, the other Genesis stories, and the few commandments given to them at Marah such as Shabbos. b) The revelation brought with it (or over the next 40 years) the rest of the Torah.
Advanced Rashi: It might be appropriate to discuss certain aspects of the heretical cricism of the Bible. Using archaelogical and linguistic methods it is shown that portions of the Torah are written much earlier than 2048 BC when the Torah was given. Since these passages have styles from significantly older periods it is argued that they were not given at the time of the giving of the Torah.
But there is no orthodox position that Moses wrote the entire Torah. For example the chapter on circumcision was clearly written by Abraham who was also a prophet dictating God's words - Abraham wrote this chapter 400 years earlier. Similarly Adam probably wrote the story of Paradise and the expulsion since Adam was a prophet. Adam's prophecies are 2000 years older than the Torah.
What the orthodox position claims is that Moses is the final prophetic authority. True Abraham wrote the chapter on circumcision but we today observe this commandment because Moses finalized it (at the word of God) and included it in the final Torah.
The giving of the Torah is a statement about the final binding authority to prophetic revelation - it is not a statement of authorship or original versions. So we should expect that portions of the Torah have styles from an earlier period. Such discoveries support, not contradict, the orthodox position.
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 oxen, donkeys, kids, and garments as illustrative of the general clause, disputes of transgression and states: This double-fine law applies to all disputes of movables of worth whether living, like oxen, or non living, like garments. The law does not apply to disputes of real-estate which is dissimilar to oxen, donkeys, kids and garments, and it similarly does not apply to bonds and IOUs which do not have intrinsic worth like oxen, donkeys, kids and garments.
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.
At times the bullet structure is not indicated through repeating keywords but rather through an explicit biblical enumerative statement. Today's verses illustrate this.
Advanced Rashi: Much more could be said about this Rashi but the above will suffice for now. We point out that the institution of minor female slavery is poorly understood. It was only allowed in conditions of absolute poverty. Such poverty typically gave rise to death and/or prostitution. The Torah allowed instead a private deal whereby the girl was promised marriage and board with a private owner. If however upon reaching puberty neither the owner nor the son liked the girl and would not marry her, and if her father was not in the meantime able to make the money needed to pay back the owner, then puberty set her free automatically.
Note especially that the owner did not really own her. So for example if she was sold at age 6 for $60,0000 and her father made back the money he could redeeem her for $40,000 two years later - in other words, the father's redemption rights took precedence over the owners ownership - that is, the owner did not really own her but took her in because of her poverty and the potential marriage to his sons. Also note that countries like America have not really eliminated slavery but rather have eliminated the poverty which causes slavery.
We all know that Shavuoth happens on the 6th of Sivan and that the Torah was either received on Shavuoth itself or on the 7th of Sivan. (Rav Hirsch explains that if the Torah was received on Shavuoth then Shavuoth celebrates the receipt of the Torah. However if the Torah was received on the 7th of Sivan then Shavuoth celebrates our preparation and being ready for receipt of the Torah - that is, the preparation to receive the Torah would be considered the primary thing to celebrate).
The Table below presents the verses that support the calculation that the Torah was received on the 6th or 7th of Sivan.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi points out that Ex24, the sacrifices prior to the receipt of the Torah happened on the 5th of Sivan while the Decalogue itself is stated in a prior chapter Ex20. Rashi concludes that Textual Biblical sequence does not necessarily indicate temporal sequence. It is important to supplement this Rashi comment with the grammatical observation that in Biblical Hebrew, the past, as indicated by a future conjugation preceded by a vav, indicates the simple past, while the past, as indicated by the past conjugation, indicates the past perfect (Which in English is indicated with the participle had.) Hence Ex24-01, stated in a chapter that occurs after the chapter with the description of the revealed law, states, And God had told Moses to come up for revelation... The use of the past perfect, had told gives grammatical support to the temporal precedence of Ex24 to the revelation mentioned in Ex20, Ex21, Ex22, Ex23. This simple but convincing grammatical proof for the dictum Textual Biblical sequence does not indicate temporal sequence seems to be an innovation of mine not mentioned by other Biblical commentators.
Advanced Rashi: I have added to Rashi's literal statements additional explanations of works as symbolizing miracles, feet as symbolizing God's trek through history, and the sapphire, the story gem as symbolizing the stories of the exodus. Such supplementing of Rashi symbolic comments is justified since the text uses 4 keywords - feet, sapphire, work, brick - but Rashi only explains one of them, brick. Hence the teacher is obligated to complement Rashi by explaining the others.
This week's issue contains no examples of the database Rashi method. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.