Their presence in Rashis on Parshat DeVaRiM Volume 14, Number 23
This weeks Weekly Rashi with Hebrew/English source tables
Is accessible at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1423.htm
(c) RashiYomi Incorporated, Dr. Hendel, President, July 15 th, 2010
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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. Although I frequently use my own English translations of biblical verses and Rashi comments, the Hebrew and English translations in the source tables are derived from online parshah files at chabad.org who in turn acknowledges the Judaica Press Complete Tanach, copyright by Judaica Press.
Verse Dt02-16, discussing the death of the men of war states So it came to pass, when all the men of war had completed dying from the people, Rashi clarifies the underlined words men of war by referencing verse(s) Nu14-29,Nu01-20 discussing the death decree on those who accepted the slander of the spies which states Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all who were counted of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me ....And the sons of Reuben, Israel's eldest son, by their generations, according to their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, Hence the Rashi comment: The men of war mentioned in Dt02-16 refers to the 20+ year olds who accepted the slander of spies on whom was decreed death. These 20+ year olds are called men of war since 20 is the age of military conscription (Nu01-20).
Advanced Rashi: Note the unusual feature that we have a nested reference, in the above example. Men of war who died references the 20+ year olds on whom was decreed death and 20+ year olds references the census where we are told that 20 is the age of military conscription.
We will revisit this example below in rule #3, grammar.
When Rashi uses the synonym method he does not explain the meaning of a word but rather the distinction between two similar words both of whose meanings we already know.
In our article Peshat and Derash: A New Intuitive and Logical Approach, which can be found on the world-wide-web at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rashi.pdf we have advocated punchy translations of Biblical verses as a means of presenting Rashi comments. The following translation of verse Dt01-13d embeds the Rashi translation Riv means fights. How can I bear by myself your harassments, (business) disputes and fights. [Rashi: The use of the words fights shows that, besides (legitimate) business disputes, the Jews were paranoic and (physically) fought.]
Advanced Rashi: We could have also justified this Rashi by using the database method and reviewing all verses where the root Riv occurs. A sample verse might be Gn13-07 ....there was a fight between the shepards of Abrahams flock and the shepards of Lots flock. Such verses show that Riv does not just mean dispute but more precisely means fights.
Another alternative for explaining this Rashi would be to use the Format-Climax method since the progression, Torach-Masah-Riv suggests that the last item, Riv is the most serious.
The multi-verse rule simply states that some Biblical sentences span multiple verses. Knowledge of the multi-verse rule enables one to see distinct Biblical sentences as contributing meaning to each other. Today's example illustrates this.
Verses Dt02-16:17 state So it came to pass, when all draftable men had completed dying from the nation, [then] the Lord spoke to me, saying. We have indicated Rashi's comment, that the two verses form one sentence, by interpolating the typeset word then, indicating causal or temporal connection between the two verses. Rashi further elaborates: Why does the verse emphasize the causal relation that God spoke to Moses after the draftable men [who accepted the slander of the spies] completed dying? This causal relation indicates that God only prophetically spoke to Moses for the sake of the community. As long as people were dying and not going to enter Israel there was no need for God to speak to Moses.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Dt01-23b, Dt01-15 Both verses/verselets discuss the taking of 12 representatives for the Jewish people. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: In creating a hierarchical judicial system Moses took the 12 tribal leaders that had already arisen in the tribes. But in creating a representative group to spy on Israel Moses selected 12 men. The nuances of selected connote a new selection from the choicest and finest.
The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the emotional attitude of God to the Jews. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says God hates us [the Jews] while the other verse says ...because of God's love of you [the Jews] Which is it? Does God love or hate the Jews. Rashi simply resolves this using the broad-literal method: The statement that God loves the Jews is true. The statement of the Jews because of God's hatred of us can be interpreted using the psychological phenomena of projection - that is, the Jews projected their own hatred of God onto God's attitude towards them.
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in an example form. In other words an example of a law is stated rather than the full general rule. The reader's task is to generalize the example. The idea that all Biblical laws should be perceived as examples (unless otherwise indicated) is explicitly stated by Rashi (Pesachim 6.). This is a rule of style since the rule requires that a text be perceived as an example rather than interpreted literally. The Rabbi Ishmael style rules govern the interpretation of style.
Verses Dt02-26:33 discussing an initial offer of peace, prior to declaring war on Sichon, states And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, Let me pass through your land; ..... I will purchase food that I eat... But Sihon ... would not let us pass by him; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit, .... And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before you; .... Then Sihon came out against us,... And the Lord our God delivered him before us; and we struck him, and his sons, and all his people Rashi commenting on the underlined phrases states: Moses generalized from God's dealing with Pharoh. Although Moses knew that Pharoh's heart would be hardened and God would defeat him nevertheless God initially offered Pharoh peace and the right to repent. Based on this incident Moses inferred that even though he knew that God would harden Sichon's heart and he would be defeated, Moses sent an initial offer of peace and good will.
Advanced Rashi: We read the rest of Rashi as follows From God's dealing with Egypt we also infer that when God gave the Torah, even though he knew that the world would reject it, He initially offered the rest of the world the Torah in peace. In this reading of Rashi we have taken Rashi's second explanation and made it primary. Since the 2nd explanation states that the basic driving force for Moses' inference was Egypt we therefore feel justified in inferring that the Midrashic statement that God offered the Torah to all nations was in fact inferred from a generalization of God's dealing with Egypt.
I might hasten to add that there is some faint scriptural support. A famous controversy on the Rashi at Ex18-01 Jethro heard ...all God did to Moses and to Israel... is whether Jethro heard only about the incidents prior to Ex18, the manna and the defeat of Amalayk, or whether Jethro also heard about events mentioned later in the Bible, such as the receipt of the Torah.
Everyone knows that Scriptural order does not imply temporal order. But why should anyone suspect that the Revelation happened before Jethro came! A possible answer is that Jethro brought back to Moses his wife and children. But at the Revelation all Jews separated from their wives! It would not make logical sense that Moses reunited with his wife prior to the Revelation where all people separated! So it would be reasonable that Ex18 the reunision of Moses and his family happened after Ex19 the Revelation.
Why then did the Bible deliberately place Ex18 Jethro's visit to Moses, prior to Ex19 the Revelation! It would appear to me that the Bible did that to juxtapose Ex17 the attack of Amalayk and Ex18 the coming of Jethro. The Bible is making a contrast: Amalayk rejected the Exodus and the Jewish God and attacked the Jews while Jethro accepted the Exodus and converted to Monotheism, founding the society of Kainites who were monotheistic.
This contrast supports the Midrashic statement that God offered everyone the Torah. Most people ignored the offer. Amalayk did not like the invasion of their personal space and attacked the Jews, while Jethro embraced monotheism.
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.
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.
Advanced Rashi: In summary Rashi sees the repeating keyword, of, as indicating bullets. The bullets in turn emphasize a group of distinct concerns for spies: the identification of the good roads and the identification of the easy cities to conquer. As usual we have embedded the Rashi comments in the above translation.
Today we ask the database query: What prepositional connectives are used with the verb to take.. The reader is encouraged to perform the query using a standard Biblical Konnkordance or search engine. The database query yields the list below. The list justifies the following Rashi inference: (1) In Biblical Hebrew the verb to take followed by no connective or by the connective eth means to take. (2) However the verb to take followed by the connective Mem means to select. The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples
To recap there are only 14 verses in the entire Bible using the construction EQax... 13 of these verses use the form EQax eth or EQax.... Only one verse Dt01-23b uses the form EQax M. And on that one verse Rashi translates selected rather than take.
Advanced Rashi:This is a peach of a Rashi amply showing the interaction between the database method the grammar method, rule #3 and the alignment method, rule #4. It also shows the extreme sensitivity of the Talmudic mind to Biblical nuances. Rashi simple commented on the phrase and I selected from you by stating Selected from the choicest and finest. It is not immediately clear what Rashi is focusing on (or if you like, what is bothering Rashi). Some people might intuit that Rashi is commenting on the two words take from-you. But I have gone a step further. Rashi is commenting on the intrinsic meaning of the phrase take from which he translates as a dynamic new concept, select. Rashi then is really commenting that select vs take connotes taking from the finest and choicest. Thus we see that the whole Rashi is based on the very find point that take typically uses the word eth as a connective but Dt01-23 is the only verse where the Hebrew EQax uses the connective word mem. Thus this deceptively simple-appearing Rashi shows broad erudition and verse-comparison capabilities similar to our modern computer capacity.
In the very first article I ever wrote I stated The only way we can insure respect for chazal is by portraying them as they were∙men of vast encyclopedic knowledge, keen analytic insight, subtle ethical awareness, and moving moral motivation. The superiority of talmudic interpretation mu the flimsy and whimsical caprices of modern interpretation. Otherwise, even if modern interpreters do not lead the layman astray, his respect for midrashic rabbinics will be minimal. I still stand by this statement and hope the elaborate study of Dt01-23b in rules #3,#4,#8 gives a glimpse of this basic attitude on faith in the Talmudic sages.
Praise be Him who chose them and their learning!
Verse Dt02-03a states You have wandered around this mountain long enough; turn/face northward Rashi interprets the underlined phrase, turn/face northward, diagramatically, Face northward means to walk along on the east cost from the south to the north. Rashi's diagramtic statement is illustrated in the diagram below.
' ---------NORTH-------------| ' | ' ^ ' |EAST ' | ' ^ ' --------- SOUTH --------------
The interpreter's task is to identify the unique military characteristics of each animal. Rashi commenting on the last verse Dt01-44a states The military characteristic of the bee is the swiftness of conquest without exertion of power. That is a bee kills thru an instantaneous sting with venom, not by the type of power and interactive fight shown by a lion.
This week's parshah contains examples of all Rashi methods. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.