The 10 RashiYomi Rules
Their presence in Rashis on Parshat TeRuMaH
Volume 14, Number 3
Rashi is Simple - Volume 37 Number 3

Used in the weekly Rashi-is-Simple and the Daily Rashi.
Visit the RashiYomi website:
(c) RashiYomi Incorporated, Dr. Hendel, President,
Feb. 18, 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.

    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 Ex27-03a
    URL Reference: (c)
    Brief Summary: The word FORKS in Ex27-03a cross references 1Sa02-13 THE 3 TOOTHED FORK, which explains the way forks were constructed

Verse Ex27-03a discussing the various Temple Table utensils states And thou shalt make its pots to take away its ashes, and its shovels, and its basins, and its forks, and its fire-pans; all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass. Rashi notes that the underlined words, forks references verses 1Sa02-13 discussing the use of 3 toothed-forks to take meat. Hence the Rashi comment Forks are utensils with teeth like prongs that can be used to grab meat and turn it over while roasting, thus accelarating cooking.

Text of Target Verse Ex27-03a Text of Reference Verse 1Sa02-13:14
And thou shalt make its pots to take away its ashes, and its shovels, and its basins, and its forks, and its fire-pans; all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass. And the priestsí custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priestís servant came, while the meat was being cooked, with a fork of three teeth in his hand; And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh, to all the Israelites who came there.
Rashi comments: Forks are utensils with teeth like prongs that can be used to grab meat and turn it over while roasting, thus accelarating cooking

Advanced Rashi: Rashi does not cite the verse 1Sa02-13:14, but I believe the explicit description in that verse of forks as being three toothed can account for Rashi's explanation. Such additions to the Rashi commentary enrich our understanding of Rashi.

      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 Ex27-19a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: TEMPLE UTENSILS = candellabrah, altar, Table ALL TEMPLE UTENSILS = hammers, etc. used for construction.

    The special word method deals with the few dozen special connective words that exist in all languages. Familiar examples are also, when, that, if, then, all, because, only, this,.... These words are typically
    • adverbs such as all,also
    • connective words, such as either
    • conjunctions such as if, then, because
    • articles or demonstrative or abstract pronouns such as the, this, that or
    • propositional connectives such as in,on,to,from.
    Rashi's job, when he comments on a special connective words, is to enumeratively list the nuances and usages of the word.

The most famous example of the special word method is the Hebrew word Kaph Yud which can mean because, that, when, lest,perhaps, rather, if. Sometimes Rashi explicitly gives all meanings of a connective word as happens with Kaph Yud while at other times Rashi does not give all meanings at once. In such a case the Rashi student must gather all the meanings together from various places.

One can classify the special word method as either a meaning sub-method or grammar sub-method.

    Today we deal with the Hebrew special word Kuph-Lamed which can have any of the following meanings.
  • No exception, for example, Ex32-26b Moses said 'Who is to God [should come] to me; and all Levites [without exception] came;
  • Even borderline cases, for example, Ex12-12b I, God, will smite all firstborn, [even non-Egyption first born who were in Egypt]
  • Whole, for example, Lv02-13b salt the whole of offerings [that is, all organs]
  • All subgroups, Ex27-19a all [categories of] Temple Vessels shall be made of copper. [So Temple vessels refer to e.g. the Candellabrah, the Altars and the Temple Table while All Temple Vessels refer to e.g. hammars and other utensils used in construction of the Temple but not part of the Temple.]

As is our practice we have embedded the Rashi translation in the verse.

Advanced Rashi: For further examples of Rashis on the Hebrew word Caph-Lamed visit Better still visit the RashiYomi calendar at and click on the All series which you can find beginning July 10 2000 and ending July 30 2000.

      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 Ex25-34b
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: (#1) The Candellabrah has 4 STEMS that were almond-like - their BUDS and their FLOWERS; (#2) The Candellabrah had 4 STEMS; the BUDS and FLOWERS were almond like.

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.

    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.

Today we deal with the Biblical rules governing indication of apposition. Since starting this series on apposition I have found out that the concept of resumptive modifier may be a more correct term.

Let us look at examples. A simple example of apposition or resumptive modifier occurs in Is63-07 which states, The graces of God I will remember, the praises of God. This sentence is equivalent to I will remember the graces of God, the praises of God If we interpret this last sentence using the principle of apposition then the underlined phrase praises of God modifies the phrase graces of God. Apposition simply refers to placing to phrases one next to the other with the second phrase modifying the first.

However Isiah did not directly say I will remember the graces of God, the praises of God. Rather Isiah said The graces of God I will remember and then Isiah resumes what he remembers - he also remembers the praises of God. This approach uses the technique of resumptive modifiers. A resumptive modifier is often used when you have a complicated message and you want to first summarize it and then elaborate on it. Let us know apply these principles to Ex25-34b.

Verse Ex25-34b states In the Candellabrah there were four stems. Her buds and flowers were almond-like. This is the first approach we will use. We have not used any principles like apposition or resumptive modifiers.

But this verse can also be read using the principles of apposition and resumptive modifiers. Using these techniques the verse would say In the Candellabrah there were four almond-like stems,' - Her buds and flowers. Here buds and flowers resume the items that almond-like modifies.

Both readings of the verse are equally valid. Use of resumptive modifiers, although it sounds awkward, is very common in all languages including Biblical Hebrew. The issue between the two interpretations is whether the stems alone were almond-like or whether the buds and flowers were also almond like.

Advanced Rashi: Rashi mentioens that there are 4 other verses where two interpretations are possible. Actually there are quite a few more than 4. We will therefore discuss this aspect of Rashi on another occasion.

    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 Ex25-22a
    URL Reference: (c)
    Brief Summary: 1) The Keruvim were a designated place for prophetic meetings 2) The Keruvim were also the place where prophecies happened.

    The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Ex25-22a Both verses/verselets discuss the importance of the Keruvim. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The Keruvim were designated both a) for prophetic meetings b) for prophecies

Verse Text of Verse Rashi comment
  • (1)I will be prophetically met,
  • (2)there
  • (1')I will prophetically talk with you all things which I will give you in commandment to the people of Israel.
  • (2')above the ark-cover, between the two kerubim which are upon the ark of the Testimony,
The Keruvim were designated both a) for prophetic meetings b) for prophecies
  • (1)I will be prophetically met,
  • (2)there
  • (1')I will prophetically talk with you all things which I will give you in commandment to the people of Israel.
  • (2')above the ark-cover, between the two kerubim which are upon the ark of the Testimony,

    Advanced Rashi: Rashi's point is that
    • The word there aligns with above the ark-cover, between the two kerubim which are upon the ark of the Testimony. This is indicated by (2) and (2').
    • The phrase will I be prophetically met aligns with prophetically talk to you. This is indicated by (1) and (1').
    Hence Rashi is justified in inferring two purposes for the Keruvim: a) A designated place of prophetic meeting and b) the place where prophetic talk actually happens. Rashi's actual language is When I designate a time to prophetically speak to you, it is understood that the place of meeting will be that place.

      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 Ex25-22b
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: a) GOD spoke to Moses from the KERUVIM b) MOSES listened to God from the TEMPLE ENTRANCE

The table below presents two contradictory verses/verselets. Both verses speak about Mosaic prophecy. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse/verselet says God spoke to Moses from the Keruvim, while the other verse/verselet says God spoke to Moses from the Test of Meeting (that is the Temple entrance). We see the contradiction Which is it? Did God speak from the Keruvim or the Temple entrance? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Aspects method: a) God spoke from the Keruvim while b) Moses however heard God from the Temple entrance.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
Prophecy to Moses was from the Keruvim Ex25-22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the ark-cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
Prophecy occurred at the Tent of Meeting (Temple Entrance) Lv01-01 And He paged Moses; and God cited to Moses, from the Tent of Meeting to say over.
Resolution: 2 Aspects a) God spoke from the Keruvim while b) Moses however heard God from the Temple entrance.

Advanced Rashi: Many contradictions are resolved through logic. Rashi points out that this contradiction (like many others) is resolved through an explicit verse, Nu07-89, which states, And when Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, then he heard the voice of One speaking to him from the covering that was upon the ark of Testimony, from between the two kerubim; and he spoke to Him. This verse contains the 2 aspects that we mentioned above: 1) Tent of meeting vs. 2) Kerubim.

    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 Ex25-25b
    URL Reference: (c)
    GENERAL: Make a golden crownlet for the table DETAIL: Make a 1-tepach boarder around the table GENERAL: Make a golden crownlet for its border around it RASHI: Make a single "crownlet" consisting of a border with a Gold crownlet on it.

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.

    Biblical verses Ex25-24:25 form a Biblical paragraph with a theme-detail-theme structure. The paragraph discusses the required Golden crownlet for the Table.
    • General: ....make a gold crownlet for the table
    • Detail: make a 1-Tepach border around the table;
    • General: make a gold crownlet for the table border.

Rashi generalizes the detail clause make a 1 Tepach border for the Table, as illustrative of the general clause, make a gold crownlet, and states: The Table's gold crownlet is made on top of the 1-tepach border. In other words there are not two gold crownlets, one for the table and one for the 1-tepach border but rather the gold crownlet for the table is in fact the gold crownlet that is place on the 1-tepach border.

      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 Ex25-02d Ex25-02c Ex25-02b
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: Two temple sources: Voluntary donations for initial construction; obligatory tax for upkeep.

Today we ask the database query: How many ways was money obtained for the Temple? How was the obtained money used? The reader is encouraged to perform the query using a standard Biblical Konnkordance or search engine. This database query yields the list below. The query yields the list below. The list justifies the following Rashi-Midrashic inference. Money for the Temple was obtained in two ways: a) Voluntary gifts, b) Obligatory taxes. The obtained money was used for I)Temple construction II) silver utensils III) daily offerings and upkeep The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples.

Verse Verse Text Money Obtained by Money used for
Ex25-02:08 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering; of every man who feels like donating ye shall take My offering And this is the offering which you shall take from them; gold, and silver, and bronze...and they shall make me a Temple Voluntary donation Temple Construction
Ex30-12:14, Ex38-27 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel, according to their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto HaShem, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This they shall give, ....And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil; a hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. Obligatory Tax Temple Construction
Ex30-12:14, Nu28-03 This they shall give, every one who passes among those who are counted, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary ...And you shall say to them, This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the Lord; two lambs of the first year, without spot, day by day, for a continual burnt offering Obligatory Tax Daily Temple upkeep, Daily offerings

Advanced Rashi: Notice that the Torah does not explicitly state where the daily offerings come from. Rather, Rashi infers this from as a reasonable supposition: There was a requirment for the community to offer 730 lambs throughout the year. It is reasonable that these daily offerings were funded from the yearly half-dollar tax.

      9. RASHI METHOD: NonVerse
      BRIEF EXPLANATION: The common denominator of the 3 submethods of the NonVerse 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 examples applies to Rashis Ex26-35a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: The Temple is 30 cubits. The Holy of Holies is in cubits 20-30. The Table,Candellabrah and Golden Altar are in 10-20. Candellabrah is on South; Table on North, Altar in center.

    Verse Ex26-35a states
  • Place the Temple Table outside the Paroceth; [The paroceth was situated at cubit 20 of the Temple; the Table was placed between cubits 10 and 20, just outside the Paroceth.]
  • And the Candellabrah opposite the Table on the South; [So it was on the South between cubits 10 and 20]
  • And the Table was on the North side.

A diagram is presented below:

'                            WEST
'                  ------------------------------- Cubit 30
'                  |                             |
'                  |                             | <= The Holy of Holies      N
'           S      |                             |                            O
'           O      ------------------------------- Cubit 20, Paroceth         R
'           U      |            Gold Altar       |                            T
'           T      |                             |                            H
'           H      |  Candellabrah         Table |                            
'                  |                             |
'                  -                             - Cubit 10 
'                  |                             |
'                  |                             | 
'                  |                             |
'                  ------------------------------- Cubit 0, Entrance

Advanced Rashi: Rashi adds The Table and Candellabrah were 2.5 cubits from their respective walls. Rashi derived this from considerations of aesthetics: The width of the Temple is 10 cubits. So if we place three objects in the Temple it makes sense to place one of them, the Golden Altar, at the center, and place the other two of them at the quarter and three quarter mark, which is in fact 2.5 cubits from their respective walls.Such an even spacing creates an aesthetic appearance.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi provides symbolic interpretations of words, verses, and chapters. Rashi can symbolically interpret either
      • (10a) entire Biblical chapters such as the gifts of the princes, Nu-07
      • (10b) individual items, verses and words
      The rules governing symbolism and symbolic interpretation are presented in detail on my website.

      This examples applies to Rashis Ex27-02b
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: The altar was overlaid with COPPER. COPPER pots (vs silver/gold) are used with FIRE. Coppers corresponds to BRAZENNESS. The altar addresses/atones BRAZENNESS.

    The three metals used in the temple were
    • Copper
    • Silver
    • Gold.
    They form a hierarchy - for example, Gold is the best metal while copper is the lowest metal. The copper altar corresponds to the ordinary people and atones for their sins. The Golden altar corresponds to the priestly people and addresses their needs.

The Bible does not give us much information on the symbolism of copper, silver, and gold. It is possible to give various symbolic associations: For example, copper vessels are used with fire while silver,gold vessels are more precious and not used with fire. We may therefore say that copper atones for fiery emotions. Rashi states that Copper atones for brazenness. Perhaps Rashi focuses on the Hebrew root of copper, Nun-Cheth-Shin which is also the root of the word snake, which possibly symbolizes brazenness or similar emotions.

I think it important to emphasize that the symbolic interpretation should be objective. Therefore we are not focusing on lingual coincidences. We are instead focusing on something common to all interpretations: Copper, silver, Gold form a hierarchy of metals. Using this basic idea we symbolically interpret: There are three stages of people: Ordinary, medium and spiritually advanced corresponding to copper, silver, and gold. Thus the copper altar atones for the ordinary people. Such an approach which doesn't emphasize particular traits of ordinary people - such as brazenness - seems the most acceptable; something that can be agreed to by all people. That is all people can agree that at least the Bible is talking about atonment for ordinary people. Then each person can add more detail such as acts of brazenness. The idea of ordinary could be accepted by everybody while the focus and specficitiy on particular emotions, like brazenness, would only be accepted by those people who believe them.


This week's issue contains no examples of the format Rashi method. Visit the RashiYomi website at for further details and examples.