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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rashi: Using these two principles we can use the above verses to calculate as follows:
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.
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.