The 10 RashiYomi Rules
Their presence in Rashis on Parshat VaYaQuheL PeQuDaY
Volume 14, Number 6
Rashi is Simple - Volume 37 Number 6

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,
Mar 4, 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.

    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 Ex35-14a
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1406.htm
    Brief Summary: The phrase THE CANDELLABRAH'S UTENSILS (Ex35-14a) REFERENCES Ex25-38, listing AND ITS **tongs** AND **sweeping pans/trays**...

Verse Ex35-14a discussing the Temple Candellabrah states and the Candellabrah of Light, and her utensils and lamps Rashi notes that the underlined words, utensils references verses Ex25-38 discussing the Candellabrah utensils. Hence the Rashi comment The Candellabrah utensils mentioned in verse Ex35-14a references verse Ex25-38 which refers to the tongs and sweeping pans/trays.

Text of Target Verse Ex35-14/b> Text of Reference Verse Ex25-38
and the Candellabrah of Light, and her utensils and lamps. and her [the Candellabrah's] tongs and sweeping pans/trays were of pure gold.
Rashi comments: The Candellabrah utensils mentioned in verse Ex35-14a references verse Ex25-38 which refers to the tongs and sweeping pans/trays.

      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 Ex35-22a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1406.htm
      Brief Summary: The word Ayin-Lamed typically means ON. However it can also mean WITH or AFTER. So Ex35-22 is translated THE MEN CAME AFTER THE WOMAN (with donations)

    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 or connective words, either
    • conjunctions such as if, then, because or
    • 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, 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 Ayin-Lamed,AL which can have any of the following meanings.
  • on for example, Gn03-14 you, snake, will crawl, on your belly
  • with for example, Ex12-09e eat the Pascal lamb with Matzoh and bitter herbs
  • in for example, Ex29-03 Place the Matzoh in the basket
  • to for example, 1S01-10 Channah prayed to God
  • near for example, Gn18-08 Abraham stood near his guests
  • after for example, Lv03-05a Offer the Peace offering after the daily offering.

Applying this rule to the translation of Ex35-22a we obtain And the men came after/with the women; as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and ear rings, and rings, and bracelets, all jewels of gold; and every man who offered offered an offering of gold to the Lord. As is our practice we have embedded the Rashi translation in the verse.

Advanced Rashi: For further examples of Rashis on the Hebrew word Ayin-Lamed visit http://www.Rashiyomi.com/al-5.htm. Better still visit the RashiYomi calendar at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/calendar1.htm and click on the al series which you can find beginning April 24 2001 and ending April 29, 2001.

Note: Either of the translations with, after would work in this verse. Personally I think (but have not yet checked) that all translations of Al meaning with should be replaced with after. If fact after is in time as on is in space; that is the statement B is on A means that A is placed first and B is placed on top spatially; similarly the statement B is after A means that A takes place first while B temporally takes place afterwards.

      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 Ex35-27a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1406.htm
      Brief Summary: The Bible uses DEFICIENT spellings to indicate personality DEFICIENCIES.

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 illustrate grammatical rules governing deliberate misspellings. The technical term for this is metaplasmus. Metaplasmus is a general literary phenomena applicable in all cultures.There are some secular scholars who consider these types of spelling puns as something read into the text by the reader. However there are other scholares who consider these types of spelling puns as intended by the author to convey meanings and nuances to the reader. In other words these other scholars consider the deliberate misspellings as the simple intended meaning of the text.

We shall spend this yearly cycle going through a variety of deliberate misspelling Rashis. Today we suffice with one. For those interested in a comprehensive treatment of this topic, please see my article Biblical Puns at URL http://www.rashiyomi.com/puns.pdf.

    Biblical verses Ex35-22:29, discussing the bringing of donations to build the Temple, states
  • And the men came after the women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and ear rings, and rings, and bracelets, all jewels of gold; and every man who offered offered an offering of gold to the Lord.
  • And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, ...
  • Every one who offered an offering of silver and bronze brought the Lordís offering; ...
  • And all the women who were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought ....
  • And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goatsí hair.
  • And the tribal govern-rs brought onyx stones, and stones ...
  • The people of Israel brought a willing offering to the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for every kind of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.

As can be seen the women donated first, then the men, and finally the tribal governors. We have deliberately spelled the word govern-rs deficiently to mimic the deficient Biblical spelling. Hence the Rashi comment The governors brought last showing a deficient personality, since leaders should normally bring first. Therefore the Bible uses a deliberately deficient spelling, govern-rs, to indicate by pun and nuance their deficient personality.

Advanced Rashi: We have already indicated that as the yearly cycle goes by we will indicate other deliberate misspellings so that the reader can see that this as a grammatical rule and not some exegetical fancy.

Note that Rashi brings in other exegetical matters (such as the fact that the tribal governors brought the gifts to the temple at its consecration, first). We will deal with these other Rashi comments in another issue.

    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 Ex40-03a
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1406.htm
    Brief Summary: The PAROCETH curtain functions #1) as a DIVIDER between the ARK, the Holy of Holies, and the TEMPLE UTENSILS, #2) as a PROTECTIVE COVERING AGENT of the ARK.

The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Ex26-33, Ex40-03. Both verses/verselets discuss the Temple Paroceth curtain. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The Paroceth curtain has two functions. (#1)(Ex26-33) It functions as a divider between the Holy of Holies, containing the Ark, containing the Torah itself, and the Holies, containing the Temple utensils such as the Candellabrah, Table and Golden altar; (#2) (Ex40-33) It functions as a protective covering protecting the Ark containing the Torah. The Paroceth itself has pictures of the child-like Keruvim symbolizing that after mastering the adult activities of knowledge (Candellabrah), earning a living (Table), and devotion to God (Golden altar), one must develop a child-like curiosity to master and protect the Torah.

Verse Text of Verse Rashi comment
Ex26-33 Place the paroches under the clasps [which kept the drapes together]. Bring into the space within [behind] the paroches the Ark of the Testimony,and the paroches will divide for you between the Holy and the Holy of Holies The Paroceth curtain has two functions. (#1)(Ex26-33) It functions as a divider between the Holy of Holies, containing the Ark, containing the Torah itself, and the Holies, containing the Temple utensils such as the Candellabrah, Table and Golden altar; (#2) (Ex40-33) It functions as a protective covering protecting the Ark containing the Torah. The Paroceth itself has pictures of the child-like Keruvim symbolizing that after mastering the adult activities of knowledge (Candellabrah), earning a living (Table), and devotion to God (Golden altar), one must develop a child-like curiosity to master and protect the Torah.
Ex40-03 Place the ark of Testimony there, so that the paroches protectively covers the ark.

      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 Ex40-31a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1406.htm
      Brief Summary: a) The Priests, Aaron and his sons, washed their hands/legs from the Temple Lavere b) During the induction ceremony, Moses functioned as Priest, and washed therefrom also.

The table below presents two contradictory verses/verselets. Both verses/verselets speak about the requirement to wash hands and legs from the Temple Lavere. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse/verselet says Aaron and his sons washed while the other verse/verselet says Moses, Aaron and his sons washed. We see the contradiction: Which is it? Was the washing a requirement only of Priests; or did Moses also participate. Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 aspects method: a) During the Priest induction ceremony, Moses performed sacrificial rituals; hence he had to wash from the Temple Lavere. The Priest induction ceremony is described in Lv08-16:21. We find there that indeed, Moses functioned as a Priest (because there were not yet other Priests); he offered sacrifices, sprinkled blood etc. Hence as just indicated he was required to wash from the Temple Lavere. b) After the Priests were inducted, Moses remained a Levite and was never required to wash from the Lavere again.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
Only Priests were required to wash from the Temple Laverecalf Ex30-19 Aharon and his sons will wash from it their hands and their feet.
Moses (once) washed from the Temple Lavere Ex40-31 Moshe, Aharon and his sons washed their hands and feet from it
Resolution: 2 Aspects a) During the Priest induction ceremony, Moses performed sacrificial rituals; hence he had to wash from the Temple Lavere. The Priest induction ceremony is described in Lv08-16:21. We find there that indeed, Moses functioned as a Priest (because there were not yet other Priests); he offered sacrifices, sprinkled blood etc. Hence as just indicated he was required to wash from the Temple Lavere. b) After the Priests were inducted, Moses remained a Levite and was never required to wash from the Lavere again.

    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 Ex39-32a
    URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w13n11.htm
    Brief Summary: Temple work done SINCE Jews did as told

Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development form. In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development of this broad general theme in specific details. The Theme-Detail form creates a unified paragraph. Today's example illustrates this as shown below.

Verse Ex39-32a discussing the completion of the Temple states General: Thus was finished all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting; [since]... Detail: ... the children of Israel did according to all that HaShem commanded Moses, so did they.

In the above translation we have interpolated the word since which captures the essence of Rashi's remark on a causal connection between the two verse halves. This causal relationship exhibits the general-development form: The general idea of completion is developed using the causal idea of obedience.

Advanced Rashi: There is a subtle point here: The Temple, even though it is God's house, was not built by God (compare the Midrash that God will build the 3rd Temple). Man had to participate for the Temple to be built in a timely manner.

      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 Ex38-08b
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w33n10.htm
      Brief Summary: He made the basin of copper from the mirrors of the women who DELIBERATELY affiliated to donate.

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.

Notice the repeated underlined word in the following verse, Ex38-03: And he made the basin of bronze, and its pedestal of bronze, from the mirrors of the affiliating women who affiliated at the door of the Tent of Meeting. As indicated we interpret this repetition as indicating an unspecified emphasis. In modern notation we would translate this sentence with an underline: And he made the basin of bronze, and its pedestal of bronze, from the mirrors of the women who affiliated at the door of the Tent of Meeting. The repetition or underline indicates an unspecified emphasis. Rashi based on the other verse, Ex35-27, translates this emphasis as indicating deliberatenss: And he made the basin of bronze, and its pedestal of bronze, from the mirrors of the women who deliberately affiliated at the door of the Tent of Meeting. [for the purpose of donating.]

Advanced Rashi: Notice how we have supplemented the formatting method with an other verse, Ex35-27. We can also supplement this Rashi explanation with use of the meaning method: The Hebrew Tzade-Beth-Aleph, Tzavah typically means army but can also mean constituency, affiliation, belonging. Some typical verses might be (1)Ex07-04, I God shall take out of Egypt the people affiliated with me (who belong to me); or (2) Jb04-14, If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my belonging (to life) I will wait for a change of assignment. Based on these verses we would translate Ex35-08 ...from the mirrors of those who affiliated themselves/belonged to the Temple... and it would connote a congregation of women who donated objects to the Temple. As indicated above the format rule then adds a nuance of deliberateness to this act of congregation.

      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 Ex38-22a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w33n11.htm
      Brief Summary: 3 listings of the 11 Temple utensils: a) The building order; b) the construction; c) the building erection.

    We ask the following database query: How many temple utensils are described in the bible and how are they sequenced? 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-Midrashic inference: Different sequencing is used for the Temple objects. Each sequencing reflected a different ordering principle.
    • The order to build reflects a sequence based on spiritual importance - for example the most important thing is acceptance of God's law symbolized by the ark.
    • The actual construction reflects criteria of building importance - thus the building structures are made first, followed by critical utensils, followed by outside utensils.
    • The actual building erection reflects criteria of homeowner importance - thus the building is made first, followed by the most important utensils (the ark) and their protection, followed by other utensils, followed by items outside the building/house.
    The list below presents the results of the database query.

Order to build Contruction Erection
Ex25 Ex30 Ex36 - Ex38 Ex 40
Spiritual Importance Building Importance - Building Structure Homeowner Importance - Protection need
Ark- First E 3 - Third
Table - Second F 5
Candellabrah -Third G 6
- - - - - - - - -
Roof Tent A - First 2 - Second
Building structure B - Second 1 - First
Veil C - Third 4
Door D 8
- - - - - - - - -
(Copper) Altar I 9
Courtyard K 11
(Gold) Altar H 7
Basins J 10
In the above table we have indicated the alternate sequencing using letters and numbers. For example the roof tent is mentioned first in Ex36 - Ex 38 and the building structure is mentioned first in the Ex40.

      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 example applies to Rashis Ex38-24a
      URL Reference: (c) http://www.Rashiyomi.com/w33n11.htm
      Brief Summary: 1 KKR=3000 SKL. 603550*1/2 SKL= 100 KKR (300000 SKL) + 1775 SKL.

Verse Ex38-24:26 discussing the aggregate amount of silver gathered for the temple states And the silver of those who were counted of the congregation was a 100 Kikar, and a 1775 shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary; A bekah for every man, that is, 1/2 a shekel, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one who went to be counted, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men.

    This most beautiful Rashi uses the principles of solving linear equations to derive the number of shekels per kikar. The three basic principles of solving linear equations are
  • The Simplication Principle: First eliminate parenthesis by performing all necessary computations till all you have left in the equation are numbers and variables.
  • The addition Principle: One can subtract or add equal amounts from each side of the equation;
  • The Multiplication Principle: One can divide or multiply equal amounts from each side of the equation.

Rashi: Using these two principles we can use the above verses to calculate as follows:
Rule How applied Equation
Original Equation Citation 1/2 603,550 Shekel = 100 KiKar + 1775 Shekel
Simplication Multiply 1/2 x 603,550 301,775 Shekel = 100 KiKar + 1775 Shekel
Addition Principle Subtract 1,775 300,000 Shekel = 100 KiKar
Multiplication Principle Divide by 100 3,000 Shekel = 1 Kikar

Advanced Rashi: Rashi can't really be fully understood without the rules of elementary algebra. This example hi-lights the need for including non-verse methods such as the spreadsheet method in our list of rules.

We note that Rashi supplies additional historical information such as the fact that each Kikar contains 120 Maneh with each Maneh containing 25 shekel. However the maneh is not a Biblical unit of currency. However interesting Rashi's additional comment is we confine ourselves in this email newsletter to Torah-itic commentary.

Conclusion

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