The Rabbi Ishmael style rules govern
whether Biblical laws are considered as
exclusive or paradigmatic examples.
For example the example ox in don't mu13le an ox is
interpreted paradigmatically. The law applies to any
animal. One cannot mu13le any animal while working.
By contrast when you offer animal sacrifices
from cattle and penned animals is intepreted
exclusively. Only cattle and penned animals
may be offered as sacrifices but other animals - like
lions and tigers - cannot be offered as sacrifices.
The major Rabbi Ishmael style rules are well known:
theme-development-theme. These rules and their
interpretation are well known. Occasionally rare
forms of the Rabbi Ishmael rules occur. These rare
forms don't have standard interpretations; their
be subject to controversy. We examine one such form
Verse Ex35-02:3a discussing the obligation
to observe the Sabbath states
As can be seen the verses have a
General-General-Detail form. There are in fact
no rules on this form. Rashi therefore brings two
Six days shall craftsmanship be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord
whoever does craftsmanship in it shall be put to death
You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day
The traditional style rules are
interpreted as indicating either exclusive
or paradigmatic examples. The rare forms are
interpreted as either exceptions or explanatory
footnotes on the rules.
- Exception approach: Don't work
on the Sabbath since work carries a death penalty
except in the case of lighting a fire which
is a non-capital prohibition.
- Explanatory footnote approach:
Don't do crafstmanship on the Sabbath - even
lighting a fire as part of an overall craftsmanship
is prohibited (You needn't do the whole act
to incur a death penalty).
Advanced Rashi: Rashi does not take
sides. He simply prevents the controversy. Because this
particular style form is rare it is not possible
to justify one interpretation over another through a list.
Nevertheless Jewish law takes the explanatory footnote approach: It is e.g. prohibited to die
cloth on the Sabbath. A person who lit a caldron in which
the die is being mixed would be liable to a death penalty
even though he hadn't done the whole act of craftsmanship.