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.
Note the theme-detail-theme structure
of the following Biblical paragraph,
Gn25-31:34 which states
And Jacob said, Sell me this day your birthright.
- Theme: And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point of death; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
- Detail: And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore to him; and he sold his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did
- Theme: and rose up, and went his way; thus Esau despised his birthright.
Hence the Rashis on the above paragraph:
Esauv lived a life of eating and drinking. Such a lifestyle
is inconsistent with the Priesthood which requires a lifestyle speckled with abstention.
As a simple example a priest who served while intoxicated could be liable
to a death penalty. [Note: Initially the firstborn (birthright) served
as priests and hence the identification of birthright and priesthood.]
The driving force behind Rashi is the re-interpretation of
the Biblical phrase eat and drink as developmental details
of the Biblical phrase did not want the birthright. Precisely because of the paragraph
structure Rashi perceives the eating and drinking not as incidental
items but as reflections and clarifications of did not want the priesthood.
This is the essence of the style method.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi also teaches us basic etiquette.
Jacob could have said: Look the Priesthood will be given to me and
not to you; why don't you just cooperate and willfully give it to me;
that way it looks better for you. This is an argument based on
politics, power and authority. Instead the Bible approaches this as an argument
based on lifestyle. Jacob's lifestyle belonged with the Priesthood;
Esauv's lifestyle did not. It is always best to approach appointments
based on merit instead of authority.