#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 2000 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*
  |      Rashi is Simple Version 2.0                         |
  |      (C) Dr Hendel, Summer 2000                          |
  |       http://www.RashiYomi.Com                           |
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VERSE: Gn12-10a

In English we indicate a >PARAGRAPH< with lines of spaces
before and after the paragraph or else we indicate it with
indentation. In Biblical Hebrew we indicate the >PARAGRAPH<
using an >ABA< form.

--PARAGRAPH THEME---------There was a famine in the LAND(Israel)
-------PARAGRAPH DETAILS-------So Abraham went to Egypt
--PARAGRAPH THEME---------Because the famine in the LAND was hard

The >THEME-DETAIL-THEME< form defines the whole paragraph as one
unit. In other words Abraham left Israel and went down to Egypt
because he >HAD< to. The famine was so severe that he had no
choice.  He had to leave because there was no food. In fact the
Bible explicitly says >he went to Egypt BECAUSE of how severe the
famine was<

We have used a literary approach: >THEME-DETAIL-THEME<.It is also
possible to use an approach based on the rules of Rabbi Ishmael
since one of these rules is the GENERAL-DETAIL-GENERAL rule

Rashi makes another observation: The CAPPEd word >LAND< is also
repeated in the above verse. It says twice
--The was a famine in the LAND
--because the famine in the LAND was hard

On the URL http://www.RashiYomi.Com/dn.htm we have listed all
Rashis based on repeated nouns in a sentence. The general
technique is to regard the repeated noun as having a NEW NUANCE
over and beyond the usual meaning of the word. Thus in this
verse the first statement >There was a famine in the LAND<
would seem to mean that there was a general famine throughout
the WORLD. Therefore the repetition of this phrase >for the
famine in the LAND was hard< gives a new nuance to the word
>LAND<---only in ISRAEL was their a famine but not in the
rest of the world.

Rashi explains that after God had promised Abraham Israel, God
brought a famine in Israel to test Abrahams faith--Abraham had
to leave--that was not the issue---but Abraham still believed
he would one day inherit Israel. In other words the test was
to see if Abraham would still yearn for Israel even though
it was now lying in famine. Furthermore in Gn15 God
explicitly explains to Abraham that it wasnt till the 4th
generation from Abraham that they actually would get Israel.

We now explain the Rashi-Ramban controversy. We just saw that
Rashi says that Abraham had to leave Israel and God was testing
his faith.

   The Ramban dissents. He says Abraham made a mistake going
   to Egypt. Ramban is of the opinion that Abraham should
   have faith in God and stayed in Israel in Famine!

   But there are clearly two types of famines. There are famines
   where eg food is expensive and rare. But then there is a
   famine where there is simply no food. Now in the rare-food
   famine you can have faith. But in the no-food famine there
   is nothing to have faith about! You must leave. (See Rambam
   Laws of Fasting for a discussion of the two types of famine)

   The Bible explicitly identifies the famine in Israel as a
   no-food famine. It explicitly says >Abraham went to Egypt
   BECAUSE the famine was so heavy<. In fact it appears as
   if the Bible went out of its way to answer the Ramban:
   The Bible say >he went down to Egypt BECAUSE of how
   bad the famine was<.

   I in fact discovered this 2 years ago. I related it to one
   of the budding Yeshiva Heads in Philadelphia who liked it.
   I protested >But it makes the Ramban look like a fool<.
   Since the Bible is so explicit I decided not to publish
   it (Since I do not for a second believe that the Ramban
   is a fool).

   This past weekend Rabbi Weinreb at the 3rd Shabbath Meal
   cited an opinion of Rab E Wasserman that eg during the
   holocast period it was meritorious for Rabbinic heads
   to return to Germany to stay with their students EVEN

   Hearing this I recalled the controversy of Rambam and
   other authorities on whether you can incur martyrdom
   for all commandments. Rambams opinion is that you
   can >ONLY< incur martyrdom for murder, adultery and
   idolatry while other authorities allow people to
   >volunteer< to commit martyrdom.

   Thus Rashi was following the opinion of the Rambam.
   Abraham was not allowed to incur Martyrdom and therefore
   had to leave Israel.

   By contrast Ramban and Rav Wasserman held like the other
   authorities---a teacher could go back to Germany to stay
   with his students even though he knew he would be killed.
   Similarly Ramban would hold that Abraham was allowed to
   stay in Israel even though he might starve.

   Thus the controversy between Rashi and Ramban is now
   respectable and therefore I am publishing it.

   But I still side with Rashi for two reasons.
   * The Bible still explicitly says that Abraham HAD to leave
     the land because of the famine. The Bible says this
     by using the word >BECAUSE< and by using the ABA form

   * Gn15 explicitly explains that Abraham would not get Israel
     for 4 generations. Thus there WAS NO VIOLATION OF A
     PROPHETIC DIRECTIVE if Abraham went to Egypt during the
     famine since Israel was NOT YET HIS. Abrahams faith
     was tested because he had to wait 4 generations to get
     the land!

WARNING: The following additional references may be too wordy
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Volume 8 Number 16

#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 2000 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*
Volume 8 Number 16