Their presence in Rashis on Parshat Ki ThayTzay Volume 15, Number 3
This weeks Weekly Rashi with Hebrew/English source tables
Is accessible at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1503.htm
(c) RashiYomi Incorporated, Dr. Hendel, President, Aug 19 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 Dt24-07 discussing a death penalty for kidnapping states when it is found that a man kidnapped any of his brothers of the people of Israel, and deals with him as a slave, or sells him; then that kidnapper shall die; and you shall purge evil away from among you. Rashi notes that the underlined words, When it is found references verses Dt19-15 discussing the establishment of Judicial matters - sins and statuses. Hence the Rashi comment In several places the Bible says when it is found that.... However (1) Dt19-15 explicitly says that judicial matters such as sins and statuses are established by 2 or more witnesses. Furthermore (2)the Biblical paragraph Dt17-02:07 discusses a finding of idolatry and explains that if search and investigation confirms this finding then the idolaters are executed. The paragraph concludes that 2 or more witnesses are needed to confirm matters. These two sources set a basis for explaining the Biblical when it is found that.... to refer to a finding through an investigation of 2 or more witnesses.
Advanced Rashi: We have presented two derivations above. One is from the reference which requires 2 or more witnesses for establishment of judicial matters. The other uses the style method rule #6 which requires us to generalize Biblical paragraph Dt17-02:07 which lists a) 2 witnesses and b) investigation/search as prerequisites to conviction, to all judicial findings. Thus two Rashi rules are at play here. Notice particularly that Rashi did not explicitly mention either method. Frequently, Rashi lets the student research how he arrived at his conclusions.
The FFF principle is a special case of the literary techniques of synechdoche-metonomy. These literary principles, universal to all languages, state that items can be named by related items, by parts of those items, or by good examples of those items. For example honey refers to anything sweet since honey is a good example of something sweet. Similarly hot refers to matters of love since the two are related. Todays Rashi can best be understood by applying these principles.
Biblical verse Dt25-13a requires keeping proper weights. The Bible uses the word stone to mean weight. A stone is what weights are made from. Thus the Bible names weights by their substance similar to the English naming of glasses, ironing boards, plaster by their substance. As indicated above this is a primary method of naming objects.
Advanced Rashi: Frequently when several early authorities rishonim are cited it it usually in the context of controversy. However rishonim can also be cited as supporting and complementing each other. Frequently when explaining a Rashi meaning I used the Radack's beautiful book, Shoroshim, Biblical roots. This wonderful book which is highly underrated lists each Biblical root as well as its meanings with illustrations. The root Aleph-Beth-Nun Even has 3 meanings: 1) Stone 2) weight, 3) founder (the founder of a nation is called its stone)
When people ask my advice for studying meaning I warmly recommend purchasing a copy of Roots and using it when studying the Bible. It is obtainable in most Hebrew book stores as well as on the internet.
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.
Using these rules we explain verse Dt22-21c which discusses the death penalty for a adultery. In describing the execution the Bible declares ....for she has done a vile thing in Israel to prostitute her father's house. Rashi explains the awkward sounding phrase to prostitute her father's house as meaning to prostitute while in her father's house.
Advanced Rashi: We tend to look at the Bible as a legal book of laws and exhortations. We forget that the Bible is capable of irony, puns, inuendos - paintings with words and connotations. I hope the above example shows the potential richness in any Biblical verse. The above example also shows how Biblical grammar when properly used is not technical but romantic, poetic and full of nuances.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Dt24-05b. Both verses/verselets discuss the exemption rights of a groom during the first year of marriage. The alignment justifies the Rashi comment that: The groom is exempt from both army service and national service. (National service (like in Israel)is a substitute communal service done by people who don't serve in the army). This double exemption is indicated in the verse by the aligned phrases: he won't go out in the army and he won't go out for any other matter. By contrast the person who just built a house is exempt from army service but not national service. (Because the Bible just exempts him from being in the army).
Advanced Rashi: Rashi also mentions that the four exemptions in Biblical paragraph, Dt20-01:09, - the person who just built a house, or just got engaged, or just planted a vineyard, or who is a coward - these four exemptions are only from the army and hence by aligned comparison with Dt24-05b, the person just married, these 4 exemptions can be made to do national service.
We have classified this Rashi as an alignment. But it can also be classified as an instance of the formatting rule. Here we would simply focus on the repeating keyword will not go out. The repeating keyword is treated like a bulleted list and creates an unspecified emphasis that two exemptions are mentioned. It is then easy to fill in that one exemption is army service while the other exemption would be other service which we would immediately recognize as national service.
The table below presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about acceptance of outsiders into the Jewish community. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says accept runaway slaves into the community - let them convert and be one of you, while the other verse says never accept Ammonites and Moabites? Which is it? Is a Moabite slave accepted into the community or not? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 aspects method: 1) Runaway Moabite slaves are freed but are not allowed to marry Jews 2) Other runaway slaves are freed and are allowed to marry freely within the community. [The runaway slaves are freed and converted and can therefore marry whom they chose... See Rambam Laws of Slaves Chapter 8]
Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Example-General form. In other words several particular examples are stated followed by a general theme. The Detail-Theme form creates a unified paragraph and consequently the examples are interpreted broadly as illustrating multiple aspects of the general theme. Today's example illustrates this as shown below.
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.
Advanced Rashi: Rambam gives numerous laws that follow from this principle. For example 1) The lashes were administered by a person of medium strength; it was prohibited to administer the lashes by a powerful person; 2) Physiological signs of extreme fright exempted the person from further lashes 3) re-estimations of capacity justified lowering the number of lashes 4) the number of lashes even in someone who could withstand it never exceeds 40 (and to play it safe never exceeded 39), 5) lashes were administered in triplets so as not to accidentally lose count (See Rambam Sandendrin, Chapters 16,17,18).
When Rashi explains a complicated algebraic computation we say that Rashi is using the spreadsheet method. Spreadsheet Rashis have a more complicated flavor than other Rashis because of their algebraic technical nature.
Verse Dt21-17a lays down the requirements for promogeniture: But he shall acknowledge the firstborn son of ...., by giving him a double portion of all that he has; ... Rashi explains: For example if a person's estate has $1,000,000 and he has 3 children then we do as follows: We create a fictitious son so that the person now has 4 children, the 3 actual ones and the fictitious one. Each son inherits one fourth of the estate $250,000. The eldest son inherits both his share of $250,000 and the $250,000 of the fictitious son. Consequently the first born inherits $500,000 while the other 2 actual children inherit $250,000 each. It follows that the aggregate share of the firstborn, $500,000, is twice the $250,000 inherited by each non firstborn.
I have augmented Rashi's explanation with the examples used by the Rambam in Chapter 2 of Inheritances. The reader may wonder why the Rambam made obscure so simple a law. Why not simply let the variable x denote the unknown amount inherited by the non first born son. We see that each real son inherits x while the firstborn inherits 2x. Why not simply say that the firstborn inherits twice the amount of each non firstborn.
The above algebraic approach is simpler for the general case. However Rambam gives a complicated example of a 3 child family where one of the non first born sons had an unnatural birth and is not counted for the share of the firstborn son, but does inherit. The interested reader can look up the Rambam's example in his great code. Thus the less simple method of stating the law was to encompass certain rare cases.
We also brought the two approaches of Rashi and Rambam to illustrate how spreadsheet Rashis can be approached in a variety of manners.
This week's parshah does not contain examples of the symbolism Rashi method. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.