Certain Biblical paragraphs are stated in a Theme-Development-Theme form.
In other words a broad general idea is stated first followed by the development
of this broad general theme in specific details. The paragraph-like unit is then
closed with a repetition of the broad theme.
The Theme-Detail-Theme form creates a unified paragraph.
The detailed section of this paragraph is therefore seen as
an extension of the general theme sentences.
Today's example illustrates
this as shown immediately below.
Biblical verse Lv14-09
purification procedure of the lepor
is written in a Theme-Detailed-Theme
style. This verse states
But it shall be on the seventh day,
- Theme: that he shall shave all his
- his head and
- his beard
- and his eyebrows,
- Theme: all his hair he shall shave off;
and he shall wash his clothes,
also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.
Rashi generalizes the detail clause
head, beard, eyebrows
as illustrative of the general clause,
all his hair
hair that is dense and visible.
We believe this comment evident and consistent with the Rabbi Ishmael style guidelines.
A more detailed analysis of the categories associated with this Rashi analysis is as follows:
Beard, head, eyebrows have hair that
is dense and visible. So only dense,
visible here is shaven. This excludes
- arm-hair, which is visible but not dense,
- armpit-hair, which is not visible but dense
- nose-hair, which is not visible and not dense.
Advanced Rashi: If you look carefully at
the verse above you will see that the word all
is bolded. The word all always requires
generalization. Hence the additional Rashi comment:
The actual law requires shaving the arm and armpit hair.
In other words all hair is shaven except the nose-hair which
is neither visible nor dense.
My contribution to this Rashi is
to see the derivation as emanating from two Rashi methods:
The theme-detail-theme method and the special word-
all method. Alternate derivations of the final law - dense and visible
are given by Rambam and Raavad (in the laws of Leprosy) who do not use the exegesis from the word all.