Today we explore the figures-of-speech method. The figure-of-speech
method uses literary techniques, figures of speech, common to all languages, to explain
Biblical meaning. One such figure of speech method is the
synechdoche method which names classes of objects by exemplary examples of that class.
For example honey is a good example of something sweet and hence honey can mean
sweet. Similarly bread can generally refer to food, day can refer
to the entire 24 hour day, etc. Synechodoche also governs more metaphoric use
of words: For example night can refer to a general period of darkness/bleakness.
In the verse below Rashi interprets the underlined word from which normally connotes
a spatial starting place, as referring to a temporal start. Here synechdoche sees the word from
which literally means a spatial starting place, as a good example of any initial starting point whether
in space or time. With this background let us now review the verse.
Verse Nu18-09 discussing the priestly gifts literally says
Rashi interprets the underlined word, from as meaning from the time of [the offering]
This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved for you
Hence the Rashi comment: The priests have rights in the offerings from the time that the offerings
are offered on the fire. (However if the offering was invalidated and did not go on the fire the
priests lose their rights to a share in it.)