Rashi-Is-Simple Mailing List
                             Volume 1 Number 2
                        Produced: Thursday Dec 4, 1998

                         (C) Dr Russell Jay Hendel, 1998

Verses Discussed In This Issue:

V1-35-22--Reuven only "played with his father's bedS" (1-49-3)
V1-49-4--The word "YeTzui" doesn't mean BED but means MARITAL BED
V1-39-11--2nd BGD=Cloth; 1st BGD=Double Cross(He wanted to sin)
V1-39-16--BAAL=Husband;ISH=Husband Coworker;ADN=Husband master
#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1998 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

VERSE: v1-35-22 (Book 1=Gen 35:22) ..Reuven slept with Bilhah
RASHI: He, of course, didn't actually commit incest. Rather, his
-----father kept his bed in Rachel't tent and when she died he moved
it to Bilhah's tent (Rachel's maid). Reuven, Leah's son was insulted
that his father was keeping his permanant bed in a maids tent versus
his mothers tent so Reuven switched his father's permanant bed from
the maids tent, Bilhah, to his mothers tent, Leah. The Bible
describes  this disrespect for his father's marital preferences
by accusing him of sleeping with Bilhah.

Jacob explicitly describes Reuven as
>>Playing with your father's bedS<< (1-49-3)
Hence it is reasonable to assume that all Reuven did was play
with his father's beds (rather than accusing him of incest).

The MAIN POINT is that that 1-49-4 explicitly says BED"S" in the
plural--this is a clear source for the Midrash.

We have translated ALH as "Playing with". Note that
ALH literally means to GO UP. However basic motion verbs
(in all languages) always acquire a rich variety of meanings and
nuances. For a list of its 2 dozen meanings see {LIST1}
          * NEVER have ALH used for sexual meaning in Hebrew
           (though it does occur in English...e.g. to mount)

          * ALL means to deviously play--machinate (e.g. 2-10-2)
           However the root in 1-49-4 is clearly ALH not ALL.
           Although DOUBLE and LAMED-HAY verbs frequently
           interchange meaning it would be preferable
           to find OTHER examples of this meaning (machination).

          * ALH seems to have that meaning in certain verses
Since ALH can NOT refer to Sex (In Gen 49-4) and since DEVIOUSLY
PLAY seems to fit I have chosen that nuance. However it is strongly
conceivable that some other interpretation is better.

As to the statement in our verse that he slept with Bilhah this is
clearly an EXAGGERATION--a normal technique in discussing sexual
issues in all languages. (Cf. Ester 7:8 for a Biblical example).

[The technique of EXAGGERATING sexual offenses---e.g. accusing
someone who behaved lechorously in a car of 'raping his date' even
though all he did is steal a few kisses--is common in many languages
---such EXAGGERATION serves two purposes: a) it warns of the serious
possibility of further actions, b) it expresses the anger and
feelings of the person hurt.]

LISTS: {LIST1} {Of Meanings of ALH (Courtesy of RDK, Book of ROOTS)}
          ALH                           SAMPLE-Verse
          ---                           ------------
          Go up                         Songs 3,6
          Offering                      3-1-3
          Top                           Isa 7,3
          Sprouting plants              Isa 32:13
          Removal                       4-16-27, 2-32-1
          Machinations                  Ez 11,5; Ez 36,3
          Attic                         Kings 2,4,11
          Steps                         2-20-26
          Sun Dial                      Isa 38,8
          Complete/stop                 Job 5-26
          Developing/Strengthening      Jer 16,2 King 1,22,35
          Healing                       Jer 33:6
          Tributary                     Isa 7:3
          Cutting-Threshing tool        Prov 27:22
          On, With, Near, To, In        Isa 7:2Ps 92:4 3-24-6
                                        Sam 1:1:10 2-29-3
          Leaf                          1-8-11
RDK supplies these verses; sometimes his interpretations are
different than indicated

Although I have committed myself to defending the CONTENT of Rashi
and although I will usually defend Rashi's FORM, in this particular
verse I would respectfully suggest that the FORM of Rashi
could have been improved by adding the comments below in
between the double brackets >><<
        RASHI: Reuven did not actually commit incest with Bilhah
        He only interchanged the beds to express his insult that
        his father moved to the tent of a maidservant.
        >>As it says >For you played with your father's
        beds<--the text uses a plural for bed<<.
I don't have any good explanation why Rashi did not use this form.

Incidentally, note how our explanation is PURELY GRAMMATICAL--the
plural form of BEDS. This differs from what I might call the
POLITICAL approach--"It is bad POLITICS to accuse the son of
a Patriarch of committing incest".  This is the
proper way to learn Rashi. As the Rav (Soloveitchick) from whom I
learned Rashi for 6 years once commented:

>>In explaining Rashi it is preferable to leave the stormy waters
of philosophy and seek the placid waters of grammar<<



#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1998 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

VERSE: v1-49-4  YeTzUi
RASHI:  YTZa is a TYPE of BED. More SPECIFICALLY it refers to a
-----   marital bed which you adorn with nice spreads. See {LIST1}
        for the 3 times it occurs in Tnach.

A type of Bed--visually, the type you adorn
with nice spreads---a marital bed.

This is the first time (on Rashi Is Simple) that we have seen
Rashi give a translation. When Rashi says
          YTzUI: LaShoN of BED
we would NOT translate this
          YTzUI: Means bed
but rather
          YTzUI: Means a TYPE of bed

To illustrate with an English translation we might, e.g.,
if a foreigner asked us what TUXEDO meant, translate it as a SUIT
--but this is not precise. What we really mean
is that TUXEDO is a TYPE of SUIT--
the TYPE of SUIT you wear at special occasions. To give the full
appreciation of the word we must give not only its TYPE but also
its SPECIFIC NUANCES. {LIST1} gives other examples like TUXEDO and
SUIT where a proper translation requires not only the TYPE but

I have explained this at length here because this is the first time
this issue came up. But on future occasions I shall just mention the
ideas briefly and possibly refer back to this.

I would further argue that interpreting TRANSLATION RASHIS as
indicating TYPE rather than FULL MEANING is a principle we should
always apply.

It is useful to recall that to a non-native speaker TUXEDO
and SUIT may have the same meaning. But further
insights into the language show the SPECIFIC NUANCES of each word

Thus to translate YeTZuA as BED would not do Rashi justice.
We must also give its specific nuances.
YeTzUA refers to a type of spread and YeTzUI would mean a bed with
special spreads. It would have the nuances of a MARITAL BED (We
don't have such a term in English).

Proving this would normally be straightforward--just look at a
list of all occurences. Unfortunately YeTzUA only occurs with the
meaning of BED on 3 other occasions. Furthermore words that occur
only a few times are common in Tnach. Thus we must discuss
methodology. {LIST2} below does this and is a good model for
studying translations when we only have a few verses.

LIST:  {LIST1} {This list contains WORD PAIRS. Each word has
-----           its own SPECIFIC meanings even though both words
             refer to the same TYPE of item. This list exposes
             the fallacy of translating a word by its type--for
             example--Certainly a TRUCK is a VEHICLE--but it is
             more--it is a BIG VEHICLE frequently used for
             TRANSPORTING ITEMS. Thus to fully appreciate the
             word both the TYPE and SPECIFIC item used must
             be presented}
                                                BOTH WORD-1 and
                                                WORD-2 are the
                                                SAME TYPE OF
                                                ITEM (BUT
                                                NEVERTHELESS ARE
                                                OBVIOUSLY DIFFEENT
          WORD-1             WORD-2             CLASS
          ------             ------             -----
          Grocery            Supermarket        Food Store
          Car                Truck              Vehicle
          Suit               Tuxedo             Clothing
          Bathing-suit       Bekini             Swin Clothing
          Journal            Magazine           Books

* {LIST2} {All occurences of YTzA=Bed in Tnach
         (There are only 3 occurences). We have suggested the
         translation MARITAL BED *,#}

          VERSE               CONTEXT
          -------             -------
          PS 63:7**           ..I remember you on my bed
                                (for your salvation)
          Ps 132:3***         .if I will go to bed.
                                (..before building Temple)
          Job 17:13****       ..in darkness I haved adorned
                                my bed

* It seems to me that Rashi relied on two principles:
a) The words ROOT: YTzA--which means to spread--
        so YeTzUI=bed with bedSPREADS
b) Consistency of the suggested meaning with literary tools
   See below for examples

** Ps 63:7--the preceding verses state
          * I will bless you
          * Like fat will I be satisfied
          * I will sing
          * Even on my marital bed I will remember you
          * When I get up I will be humming about what you have done
Note the DEVELOPMENT by INCREASING CLIMAX--I will bless you and
remember you on ALL occasions(even during intimacy;
even on getting up)

*** Ps 132:3 It wouldn't make sense to say he wouldn't sleep till
   he found a temple place. It makes more sense to say he wouldn't
        be with his wife till he found a temple place

**** JOB 17:13 The word RFD in the verse clearly
        also refers to a "marital bed" (Cf Songs 3:10)

# Finally after all is said and done we should refer to the
  resulting conclusion as "suggestive"  rather than "proven".
  Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to say "it was not proven"
  --for to say so would be to rob Tnach of the rich variety of
  nuances it uses.

Our text of Rashi reads >>There are MANY like them in scriptures<<.
Actually there are only 3 like them.

I believe of the 3 verses, the one that is NOT CITED, JOB 17:13 is
the strongest proof that YeTzA means MARITAL BED.



#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1998 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

VERSE: v1-39-11 And he came into the house to do his work
RASHI: (There is a controversy in translation between Rav and Shmuel)
-----  One says that he came in with the intention of sinning with
her while the other says that he came in to do his work like on
any other day.

To properly understand Rashi we must look at the
next verse where the word BGD occurs twice.

It is a firm rule of grammar that you NEVER repeat the same word
twice in the same sentence--if you can use a pronoun or a suffix
form. There are many ways of dealing with repeated nouns the
simplest being to assume that the two repeated words mean two
different things.  {LIST1} below gives some standard examples.
The Malbim in his Morning Star, Chapter 15 gives many more.

Thus the double repetition of BGD in the next verse necessitates
interpreting each BGD to mean a different thing. But the
root BGD can mean REBEL or CLOTHING.
So we interpret the verse to mean

>>And she grabbed him in his REBELLIOUS (BGD) state saying sleep
>>with me but he left his garment (BGD) with her, fled,
>>and went outside.

REBELLIOUS would refer to his daily chatting with her
(Cf 1-37-2 that he would spend alot of time on grooming or 1-49-22
that he was admired / sought after by women or the fact 1-39-11
that no one else was in the house (so why did he go in...why didn't
he check)). {LIST2} summarizes these indications of rebelliousness.

These cited verses as well as the double noun clearly show
that Joseph *was* a bit WEAK in this regard. Thus the Bible simply
indicates that he was AT LEAST a little lax.

Rashi further cites two opinions:
One opinion takes a minimal interpretation
--he was a bit lax. Indeed, since she had made overtures towards him
he should have stayed away from her. However Joseph use to chat with
her during his daily chores.Apparently she waited till he made some
innocent comment and repeated his overture.

* The 2nd opinion interprets REBELLIOUS literally.He decided
to give in to her (and changed his mind at the last moment)

The citation of the controversy might obscure what Rav and
Shmuel agree on: Namely that Joseph was weak--but Rashi was not
worried that people would overlook this since there are many

Incidentally, Tosafoth (brought down by the Sifsay Chachamim)
mentions that the "intent to sin" is derived from "and he came
into the house" since "coming" can refer to sex. However our point
of view on this email list is that such a suggestion must be
justified by some list. Needless to say, anyone who wants to post
such a defense of Tosafoth is welcome.  (Clearly to interpret
coming to a house as a reference to sex without further support
is not an accepted or desired principle in Biblical translation)

{LIST1} {Of Repeated nouns in the same verse (Courtesy of Malbim)}
----                       THE NOUN REFERS        APPLICATION
                           TO TWO OBJECTS         OF THIS
          (Is in Caps)     THESE 2 OBJECTS ARE    OF TWO OBJECTS
-----     -------------    -------                -----------
3-1-5     Offer BLOOD      Blood in vessel        Even spilled blood
          Throw BLOOD      Blood spilled on floor can be thrown
                                                  on altar (not just
                                                  blood properly

3-27-14   Sanctify HOUSE   House=House            These sanctify/
3-27-15   Redeem his HOUSE House=Possesions       redeems laws apply
                                                  Either to a house
                                                  or a house with

3-23-32   On EVE of 9th    Eve = After Sunset     Don't eat on the
           From the EVE    Eve = During Sunset    day prior to Yom
                                                  Kippur right up
                                                  to sunset. Rather
                                                  start the fast
                                                  prior to sunset
See Chapter 15 of Malbims beautiful Morning Star for a long list of
verses with double nouns--Morning Star occurs at beginning of his
commentary on Leviticus.

Nouns are never repeated if you can use a pronoun or suffix. There
are a variety of methods of treating double nouns. One of them being
that each noun refers to a DIFFERENT item (as shown in the list


=====           ==============================
1-37-2          He would spend alot of time grooming
1-49-22         He was admired / sought after by women #
1-39-11         No one else was in the house ##

# Some might argue (cogently?) that being admired by many women
is not a breach of modesty (and is not even his fault!). If so this
list still has two items. The purpose of bringing a list is not to
justify EACH point..but rather to create an atmosphere and prove a
general point.

## So why didn't he check before coming in to do work.

Note that Rashi cited the controversy between Rav and Shmuel to
show that they agreed that he was lax. The difference of opinion
on HOW LAX he was does not obscure their agreement that he was
lax. This is an important principle in the study of controversy.
Controversy does NOT necessarily imply FULL disagreeement.


Malbim: AYeLeT HaShaCHaR: Chap 15: Paragraphs 136-149
Further references to verses are given
there and a variety of techniques.

#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1998 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

VERSE: v1-39-16  ..she left the garment...
------till his master came to the house

RASHI: Till *his* master---the master of Joseph

There are 3 terms for HUSBAND in Hebrew {LIST1}: However
BAAl is the USUAL term--the other two terms occur rarely {LIST2}
Therefore it should have said
          >>And she left the garment..till her husband came<<

The switching to the rarer form ADN=MASTER enables a PUN.
She left the garment there till HIS master came
(HIS master but not HER master). The woman was a shrew
and could not accept anyone as master.

The Bible clearly portrays POTIPERA as a loud,
aggresive unstable woman.By using this pun Rashi enhances
this picture of her.

        {LIST1} {Of words by which to designate HUSBAND}

        ROOT            VERSE
----    ----------      -------         ------------
BAAL    Owner           1-20-3          Normal term for husband#
ISH     My man          Hos-2-18        Co-worker##
ADN     My master       1-18-12

# See {LIST2} immediately following that shows that BAAl is
  the normal term for husband

## Thus Hos-2-18 means
On that day ...you will call me MY MAN but ..NOT..my husband

{LIST2} {Sample verses where HUSBAND is referred to. Note that
        BAAL is the normal term used.}

          VERSE               CONTEXT
          -----               -------
          1-20-3              a married woman
          2-21-3              if he is married
          1-22-22             a married woman
          1-24-4              her first husband
          Sam2-11-26          mourning her first husband
          Prv 31-11:23:28     Her husband





#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1998 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

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