An idiom is a collection of words which means more than
the sum of the meanings of each of the phrases' individual words.
the apportionment of Israel by the tribes
Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you come into the land of Canaan; this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan with its borders;
is an idiom meaning
We can compactly combine the Rashi comment with the Biblical text
by translating as follows:
Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you come into the land of Canaan; this is the land that shall be apportioned to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan with its borders;
In my article
Peshat and Derash found on the world wide web at
I advocate enriching the Rashi explanation
using a technique of parallel nifty translations in modern English. Today's examples
There is an advanced principle of idioms which states
as follows: It is legitimate to name something
[e.g. apportionment] by an
accidental attribute [e.g. lots that fall]
especially if that attribute [e.g. falling]
can refer to other examples of that attribute [e.g. falling]
connected with the thing you are naming [e.g. apportionment].
So in this case just as the lots fall so too the inhabitants
of Canaan fell (died) by Joshua and the angels governing
the Canaanite nations fell from heaven
(lost their power) and lost their power.
This principle is also used to explain the etymology of the
word Hebrew. The Hebrew root of Hebrew is side
because Abraham, the founder of the Hebrew people, came from
the other side of the river. The Talmud is quick
to point out that the attribute side has other nuances
here: The world stood on one side while Abraham stood on the
other side against the whole world.
Notice how in explaining this Rashi we have combined
the simple Rashi explanation fallen lots and the advanced
Rashi explanation fallen from heaven.
We have even managed to add another fallen,
not explicitly given in Rashi: Namely
fallen in war. This is consistent with the spirit of
Such explanations combining the simple, complex and the new
are ideal approaches to Rashi.