Rashi-Is-Simple Mailing List
                        (C) Dr Russell Jay Hendel, 1999

                        Volume 1 Number 24
                        Produced Apr 16 1999

Topics Discussed in This Issue
v0415 Administrivia: Shorter Postings||CBrown||Zvi Fleisher||Web
v3z14-49 An enlightening obscure source from Zvi Fleisher
v3a1-5 4 ways to see simplicity--from child to genius
v3b13-6 Quickie / Cute Translations

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v0415 Administrivia

Shamash staff helped me with the web site. You simply have to
        * go to shamash (www.shamash.org)
        * go to /rashi/
There is no need to type index.htm anymore.

You can download the htm files...they are designed to have at
most two lines of HTML (one at top and one on bottom)

I am going back to the original intention of having these Thursday
postings shorter. In particular I am doing many TRANSLATIONS at one
time and am leaving out the long discourses on etymologies (there
will still be shorter discourses). As the web site shows we have
divided up Rashis into
        * Rashis from nuances (like Verbs + Prepositions)
        * Rashis from OVerall Biblical structure
        * Rashis dealing with traditional grammar and style
        * Rashis dealing with translations
There is no point to spend alot of time on the translations. On
the other hand some of them can be sort of "cute"---please see
the ones in this issue.

I still get comments on lengths of postings. Here are some ideas
I have received from readers:

--One doctor gets Rashi Is Simple in his office and reads postings
between patient visits

--One teenager told me that his goal is to read one posting per
issue per week

--One woman teacher told me she was leaving them for the summer
when she has more time

--Finally my original intention was that people should just read
        * the Biblical text
        * the Rashi
        * the brief explanation
You can safely skip the rest unless you are interested in a
particular list or have scholarly interests in it.

If you read with any descent type wordprocessor you can
AUTOMATICALLY skip to the next posting by doing a FIND command
on *#*#*#*#*#*# (this will take you to the next posting if you
are in the middle of one and don't want to read further)

Chaiim asked a question before Pesach which I am just getting
around to now. It will take several issues. However the Rashi
on 3-1-5 is a gem for educators. Please read it.

Finally Zvi Fleisher provided a beautiful obscure source from
his own Rashi website that sheds light on the GREEN-RED
controversy we spoke about last week.

#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1999 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*
VERSE: v3z13-49 An obscure source on 3-13-49 from Zvi Fleisher
From: HFleis4270@aol.com
To: rjhendel@juno.com
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 12:05:30 EDT
Subject: Re: Rishonim rarely disagree

Kvod R' Hendel, nr"u
Thank you for your most informative insights into Rishonim. You open
new vistas!!!
Re: admdm and yrkrk you might find a piece I found in the Pardes
Yosef which I've included in my weekly parsha posting interesting.

Ch. 13, v. 49: "Y'rakrak o adamdam"  The Toras Kohanim 5:14:2
says that the double letters indicate depth and strength of
colouring, green of greens and red of reds. However, we find the
mishneh N'go'im 1:2 which says that adamdam is like wine which is
poured into water.  This seems contrary to the above T.K.  The
Pardes Yosef answers that the mishneh refers to the nature of
pisoyon, spreading of the negah, just as wine spreads its colour
through water. The T.K. is referring to the depth of colour.

B'virkas haTorah,
hakoton Zvi A. Fleisher

[MODERATOR: I again Thank Zvi for his excellent posting. We need
more postings on this list.  In passing I note that this Mishneh
probably explains the opposing views cited by Ibn Ezra--which he
tried to refute-- that doubling of root letters denotes weakening
not strengthening. I say "which he tried to refute"--instead of
saying that the Ibn Ezra possibly believed this view---because
as I showed last issue the Ibn Ezra CHANGED HIS TONE FROM HIS

Both his tone and demeanor are totally different in Psalms. Indeed
the Ibn Ezra goes out of his way to show that we are sometimes
FORCED to interpret root doubling as denoting intensity.

As I indicated last time the Ibn Ezra in effect shifted the
controversy, not from a controversy of AUTHORITIES, but to a
controversy of LISTS. The issue was not WHO SAID WHAT but rather
how the lists of verbs with DOUBLED ROOTS are consistent or
inconsistent with the idea of intensity or weakening.

To give one more example (From my Lower Merion Synangogue Chumash
class where we discussed this last Wednesday)---consider Eychah-1-20
--my intestines ChMRMRoo.

Now ChMR means clay/dirt/filth. Thus we have the Biblical phrase
Filthy waters (ChMR). What then could the doubled root--ChMRMRoo

Well...if it means "My stomach is turning" we would have to admit
that a "turned" stomach is only a WEAKENED form of ChMR=FILTH.

But if it means e.g. "I have diarhea (i.e. total collapse of all
stomach support...see the rest of the verse for similar ideas)"
then we would have to admit that diarhea is an INTENSE form
of ChMR = Filth.

We could and should examine each Double root word to see consistency
with weakening vs intensification of meaning. Only then after
examining these lists and trying things both ways can we appreciate
the nuances of the Mishnah and Torath Kohanim.
Russell Hendel; Moderator, Rashi-is-simple]

#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1999 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

VERSE: v3a1-5 .and **HE** will slaughter the ox before God
------     and (then) the **PRIESTS** will receive the blood

* This teaches us that even a non priest can slaughter
The requirement of a performing priest in the sacrifices starts from
the act of "receiving the blood in a temple vessel"

* There are many ways to understand this Rashi, some of them, more
punchy than others. We give 4 approaches:

THE ELEMENTARY APPROACH: If you list {LIST1} all the sacrificial
=======================activities in this chapter you will find that
the verbs have NO subject mentioned until the act of receiving the
blood in a temple vessel which requires a priest ("And the Priest
will receive the blood"). So Rashi Is Simple: acts before the receipt
can be done by anybody; acts after the receipt can only be done by
a priest.

THE INTERMEDIATE APPROACH: Instead of just making one list (for the
========================= activities of the burnt offering sacrifice
mentioned in this chapter) we can make a spreadsheet---a list of
lists---each column would represent another chapter and another
sacrifice and each column would contain in its rows all the
activities for that sacrifice{LIST2}. Lo and behold, not just in
chapter 1, but in almost EVERY chapter, priests are only mentioned
from the receipt of the blood. Thus Rashi is Simple--the repeating
pattern proves that priests are only needed from the sacrifical
activities involving blood.

THE ADVANCED APPROACH: In addition to the change of subject
===================== in {LIST1}---(there is no subject in the
initial list of sacrificial activities but priests are mentioned
by the blood activities)--ADDITIONALLY, there is a plurality change.
The initial verbs are in the singular (And HE shall rest his hands
on the sacrifice ..and HE shall slaughter...) while the remaining
activities are said in the plural (...and THE PRIESTS shall receive
the blood and THEY shall throw....).

Thus it is clear that in describing the sacrificial activities TWO
people are being addressed...the person bringing the sacrifice
who is addressed in the singular and the Priests offering the
sacrifice who are addressed in the Plural.

THE PROFOUND APPROACH: Here we do not look at ANY lists. We have
====================== an EXPLICIT verse and Paragraph that

          "While the Levites will work in the temple area(4-18-6)
           You (the Priests) will be responsible for 'altar work'..
           but the stranger who comes near will die (4-18-7)"

As if this verse wasn't explicit enough we have a further verse that

        "..It is the levites...who will serve ...it is they who
        will slaughter sacrifices " (Ez 41-11)

        "...and the Leviim were responsible for slaughtering the
        Passover sacrifices (Chr2-30-17)"

Thus Rashi is Really Simple---the distinctions are not learnt from
these Leviticus verses at all..rather they are learned from explicit
statements in other verses!!!  Rashi is simply showing how these
other explicit verses shed light on the subtle changes in plurality
and subject that occur here. Thus Rashi did not LEARN anything from
these verses he rather EXPLAINED the nuances based on explicit
statements elsewhere.

I have occasionally indicated that the principle of "derivations from
other verses" is one of the most overlooked principles in learning
Rashi. How often have we seen a student milk a poor verse to death
only to find out that Rashi did not learn it from that verse but
from another verse!!!!

These 4 approaches show a spectrum of intellectual activity that
allows both children and advanced scholars to learn the same thing
but on different levels. Rashi encouraged everyone to learn...for
there is a straightforward simplicity to be found at every level.

This by the way gives new light to the hackneyed phrase "Both these
and these are the words of the living God" which is usually used to
show that DIFFERENT opinions both can be Divine!! Not so!! There is
one law!! Everyone agrees that laymen can slaughter and priests are
only needed from the blood activities and forward. But this one law
can be learned in MANY WAYS....and both the elementary way and the
profound way..the learning of schoolchildren and the learning of
advanced scholars are Divine (Compare the Talmudic statement that
the world exists in the merit not of the learning of scholars but
of schoolchildren).

Finally we give humble acknowledgement to the Malbim for both
the advanced and profound approach.


LISTS {For ADVANCED students and for those with more time}:
* {LIST1} {Of verbs denoting sacrificial activity in 3-1
           The list shows that Priests are not required till
           the sacrificial activities using blood--later we
           will observe that this also consistent with
           the change from the singular (the person bringing
           the sacrifice) to the plural (Priests offering it)}

========        =====   =======         ======
Bring animal    3-1-3   no subject      singular
hand resting    3-1-4   no subject      singular
slaughter       3-1-5   no subject      singular
receive blood   3-1-5   By Priest       Plural
Throw blood     3-1-5   By Priest       Plural
Strip the skin  3-1-6   no subject      singular
Cut animal up   3-1-6   no subject      singular
supply fuel     3-1-7   By Priest       Plural
Arrange fuel    3-1-7   no subject      Plural
Arrange organs  3-1-8   By Priest       Plural
Rinse insides   3-1-8   no subject      singular
Offer it to God 3-1-9   By Priest       Singular

* {LIST2} {Spreadsheet of activities Vs selected sacrifices}
ACTIVITY        OXEN            SHEEP           OXEN        GOAT
                ALL-UP          ALL-UP          PEACE       SIN
                OFFERING        OFFERING        OFFERING    OFFERING
=======         ========        ========        ========    ========
Bring animal    no subject      no subject      no subject  no sbjct
hand resting    no subject                      no subject  no sbjct
slaughter       no subject      no subject      no subject  no sbjct
receive blood   By Priest                                   Priest*
Throw blood     By Priest       By Priests      By Priest   no sbjct
Spill Blood     **                                          no sbjct
Strip the skin  no subject
Cut animal up   no subject      no subject
supply fuel     By Priest
Arrange fuel    no subject
Arrange organs  By Priest       By priests
Rinse insides   no subject      no subject
Offer it to God                 By Priest       No Subject
Sacrifice it    By Priest                       By Priest   no sbjct

** Blank spaces denote that the activity is not mentioned in that
particular sacrifice

* Actually for the sin offering the verbs are TAKE, PLACE, SPILL


* Malbim

RULE CLASSIFICATION {See the web site for comparable examples}:

#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1999 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

VERSE: v3b13-6 MiSPaChaTH = A GROWTH (From YSF = TO add)
        NOTE: The challenge in all these Rashis is to get a
        corresponding English term that captures all the nuances
        that Rashi indicates. The reader is invited to check
        the English translations and read Rashis words and see if
        my suggestions work or not. In each case I give a modest
        etymology or review Posookim. Where appropriate I give

        These two etymologies show that a MM can denote PLACE
        V3d13-45 SaFaM = MUSTACHE--at the place (M) of the MOUTH
        V2z25-8  MiKDaSh= House (M) of HOLINESS (KDS)
                See {LIST1} (Inspired by Silverstein commentary on
                Rashi (in English) who gives a list of words
                where M+ Word = Place of that concept

        These two etymologies show that deep wounds/abcesses are
        denoted by words meaning LOW(SCh) or LESS (PChTh).
        V3-13-11 ShChiN = BOIL (An inflammation not caused by heat)
                 Most probably ShChiN comes from SCh=Low and denotes
                 an abcess deep (low) in the skin
        v3d13-55 PChTheTh from PChTh= Pit
                 So PChTheTh = a Deep Wound

        NOTE: One of my students in my Lower Merion Synagogue class
        suggested that the Tzraath symptom "A deeper looking white
        like the deeper look of the sun from a shadow" could
        mean that it gives the appearance of a deep wound (which
        gives more intensity in appearance)--in other words,
        DEEP=INTENSE LOOKING.(I have not found any other
        satisfactory explanation of why "the sun looks DEEPER than
        a surrounding shadow".

       Rashi here gives nuances of rarely occuring roots. Some of
       these roots only occur a few times in Tnach
       v3-13-38 BeHaRoTH = A Bright (BHR) Spot
       v3b13-2             Rashi cites Job-37-21 describing the
                aftermath of a rainstorm--"..a bright sparkle
                in the overcast skies..."--apparently BHR
                comes from both BRH=separate and BRH=opulent
                and would denote the type of "break"thru in the
                skies we see after a storm. It would denote a
                sparkling piece of light (BRH) breaking thru
                (Separating) the clouds

      v3a13-23  TChTh = In its place -one of the half dozen
                        meaning of TChTH{LIST2}
      v3c13-23  TzRV = a SCAB. The root only occurs 2 other times.

                {LIST3} {Review of all verses with root TzRV}
                Ez-21-3 "..and all faces will become scabbed from
                this hugh fire" (In fact big forest fires can cause
                burns and scabs...one of the symptoms of a second
                degree burn)

                Prv-16-27...A wicked person digs (looks) for
                trouble and his lips are scabbed with fire (i.e
                it is very easy to reopen the wound)

     v3b13-39   BHK = Scar White? From BK to break thru.
                (If you compare SCAR WHITE and EGG WHITE you can
                see how one is slightly less than the other..one
                is TAMAY and the other is TAHOR)

       Rashi here shows how to name hybrid colors
       v3a13-39 WEAK WHITE = Not Weak AND white but a Weaker White
                (Rashi's point is that WEAK is an adjective not a

      v3-13-19 REDISH WHITE = PINK
                (Again Rashi's point is that the red is an adjective
                The Rambam gives the analogy of a few drops of blood
                in Milk. So MILK=White while the Blood dropped milk
                would be pinkish)

       Rashi here gives principles of Grammar
       v3c13-8 TzRaATH is FEMININE (Associates with HEE)
       v3d13-8 NGA (ailment) is MASCULINE (Associated with HOO)
       v3-13-15 BSR (Flesh) is MASCULINE (Associated with HOO)
       NOTE: These 3 Rashis account for most of the gender changes
                in this portion.




LISTS {For ADVANCED students and for those with more time}:
* {LIST1} {Words where MM etymologically means place}

====    =======         ========================
MZBaCh  Altar           Place (M) of Sacrifice (TVCh)
MShKN   House-Palace    Place (M) where you dwell (Schan)
MREH    Mirror          Place (M) of Sight     (RAH)
MGDOL   Tower           Place (M) that is tall ( GDL)
MKDSH   Temple          Place (M) of Holiness (KDSH)
SFM     Mustache        Place (M) of Mouth

This list is suggestive but not perfect. There are many
odditities. For example, SFM has the M at the end. Also note
that SFM denotes an object(mustache) in PROXIMITY to another
object(place) while Palace and Temple denotes objects whose
FUNTION is to provide a PLACE. Similarly MZBaCH (altar) denotes
a place where an ACTION takes place while MGDOL(Tower) denotes a
place with an attribute. Similarly MREH denotes more a SOURCE
rather than a place of sight.

 {LIST2} {Meanings of the Root TChTh, courtesy of RDQ}

=======         =====   ===========
Instead         Is55-13 INSTEAD of a Thornbush there will sprout...
Bottom          1-6-16  3rd, 2nd and BOTTOM stories will the ark ..
Place           2-16-29 ..every person sit in his PLACE
Because         2S19-22 Because of this will he not die
Steathily       2S3-12  ...Steathily saying: "To whom does the land
Subjugation     2S22-41 Kneel my enemies underneath me


* Silverstein commentary on Rashi

RULE CLASSIFICATION {See the web site for comparable examples}:

#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1999 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*

Send via email SUBMISSIONS/responses/contributions to

If you want your communication published anonomously (without
mentioning your name) simply say so (and your wishes will be
respected). All other submissions (whether thru Shamash or ANY
of my email addresses are made with the understanding that
they can be published as is or with editing)

e.g. v5b2-1 means as follows:
        The "v"         means           verse
        The "5"         means           Deuteronomy--the 5th book
        The "2"         means           The 2nd chapter
        The "1"         means           The 1st verse
        The "b"         means           The second rashi on that
                                        verse ("we rounded mount

Similarly v5-2-1 would mean Dt 2:1 and probably refer to all
Rashis. (These conventions start with issue 14---beforehand
the notation is similar and will be updated retroactively
in the future)

Asterisks (*,#) in a list usually refer to footnotes that follow it
Parenthesis with the word List and a number--[LIST3] refers to
LISTS in the LIST section of each posting.

To review all past issues as well as to see all principles go to the
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* will provide logical explanations to all 8,000 Rashis on Chumash.
* the preferred vehicle of explanation is thru list of verses and exceptions
* These postings will be archived in Shamash in Quartuplet
        -- By Volume and Number
        -- By Verse
        -- By Grammatical Rule
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* Although this list is orthodox we welcome all logical
 provided they are defended with adequate examples.

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* read PESHAT and DERASH: TRADITION, Winter 1980 by Russell Hendel

                End of Rashi-Is-Simple Digest

#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*# (C) Dr Hendel, 1999 *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*