Their presence in Rashis on Parshath NASO Volume 16, Number 14
This weeks Weekly Rashi with Hebrew/English source tables
Is accessible at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule1614.htm
(c) RashiYomi Incorporated, Dr. Hendel, President, Jun 3rd, 2011
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The goal of this Weekly Rashi Digest is to use the weekly Torah portion to expose students at all levels to the ten major methods of commentary used by Rashi. It is hoped that continual weekly exposure to these ten major methods will enable students of all levels to acquire a familiarity and facility with the major exegetical methods. Although I frequently use my own English translations of biblical verses and Rashi comments, the Hebrew and English translations in the source tables are derived from online parshah files at chabad.org who in turn acknowledges the Judaica Press Complete Tanach, copyright by Judaica Press.
Verse Nu06-17b discussing the ram offering offered by the Nazarite states And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall offer also its meal offering, and its drink offering. Rashi clarifies the underlined words its meal offering, and its drink offering by referencing verse(s) Nu15-06:07 which states Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a meal offering two tenth measures of flour mixed with the third part of a hin of oil. And for a drink offering you shall offer the third part of a hin of wine, for a sweet savor to the Lord. Hence the Rashi comment: As the underlined words show, the rest offering and the drink offering of the ram mentioned in Nu06-17b cross-reference the detailed offerings mentioned at Nu15-06:07.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi may appear to be making a grammatical point: That the word its in the verselet ...and he shall offer its meal offering and its drink offering refers back to the ram not to the immediate antecedent, the meal offering. However the method (in Hebrew) for determining antecedents is by context. Hence we must bring verses Nu15-06:07 which show that the ram has both a meal offering and drink offering. This then justifies the interpretation of its as referring back to ram rather than the immediate antecedent, the meal offering. So the heart of the Rashi comment is based on the reference method.
Rashi would sometimes derive the meaning of a word from the meaning of its underlying Biblical root. In applying this method Rashi would use all available grammatical methods to study the meanings of related roots. The next paragraph presents one such rule.
There are 1900 Biblical roots. Of these 1900 roots about half involve X-Vav-Y X-Y-Y X-Y-Hey pairs. These roots (with one root letter weak) often, but not always, have related meanings. Consequently, very often, but not always. one can infer the meaning of a X-Y-Y root from the related X-Y-Hey or X-Vav-Y root.
Rashi believed in two grammatical systems. He believed in the traditional tri-literial (3-letter) root methods used to conjugate verbs and taught in all elementary schools.
Besides the conjugational root system Rashi also believed in a semantic root system. This is a separate system that enables derivation of root meaning from other roots.
For example the meaning of a 4-letter root, ABCD, is derived from the meaning of its two 2-letter subroots, ABCD = AB + CD. Similarly Rashi might derive the meaning of a traditional three letter root, ABC from a 2-letter and 1-letter subroot: ABC = A +B C or ABC=AB+C. Although these rules and equations are abstract we will present easily understood examples below.
A familiar function of grammar in all languages is to enable distinctions between plural and singular. In this case, very often, a single letter can totally change the meaning of a verse. Today's example illustrates this.
Verse Nu05-15f discussing the suspected-adulterous-woman offering states then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is a rest-offering of standing-ups..., a rest-offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. Rashi comments on the plural standing-ups: The offering enables many parties to stand up for themselves. The woman is suspected of adultery. (1) The husband stands up for himself. (2) Organized religion stands-up for itself since every act of adultery cheapens the institution of marriage.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi literally says God stands up for Himself since His prohibitions of adultery have been violated. We have interpreted this broadly to mean that Organized religion in general and God in particular stand up for themselves. We consider this a proper reading of Rashi consistent with his intent.
The table below presents an aligned extract of verses or verselets in Nu05-13c, Lv05-04. Both verses/verselets discuss offerings brought on hidden or unknown matters. The alignment justifies the Rashi assertion that For an ordinary sin offering we require the matter was hidden and unknown. For an adulterous-woman-sin-offering we require more strongly that the matter was hidden from his eyes and unknown. The extra emphasis indicated by hidden from his eyes implies a requirement that a) he is not blind, b) he was unaware of his wife's misbehavior and c) there was no overlooking (he didn't see something unseemly and ignore it).
The table below presents presents two contradictory verses. Both verses talk about the prophetic speech of God to Moses. The underlined words highlight the contradiction. One verse says God spoke in the voice, that is, the same thunderous, trumpet-like voice by which God spoke at Sinai, while the other verse says God only spoke to Moses; Aaron could not hear the voice. Which is it? Was the voice thunderous and loud? If so why couldn't Aaron hear it? Perhaps it was a soft voice? Rashi simply resolves this using the 2 Aspects method: God's voice spoke within Moses. Since He did not speak externally Aaron could not hear it. However the voice within was thunderous and loud.
We still haven't completely explained this Rashi but have presented its basis and showed various rich aspects of it.
In the above passage, the Nazaarite offerings are an exception to general offerings. The reason they are an exception is because, as the underlined phrase shows, the Nazaarite offering has, in addition to traditional offerings - such as the up, sin, peace, wafer and cake offerings - also has a matzoh basket offering. This matzoh basket is an exception to the general offering.
According to the Rabbi Ishmael exception rule this difference between the Nazaarite and other offerings makes the Nazaarite offerings an exception. Therefore any other rule of offerings does not apply unless the Bible explicitly re-requires it. In particular as indicated by the underlined passages the meal offerings and libations associated with all offerings must also be offered at the Nazarite offering. As can be seen from the underlined passages the emphasis that meal offerings and drink offerings are also brought is mentioned twice.
Advanced Rashi: We have explained elsewhere that all Rabbi Ishmael rules deal with the interaction between examples and generalizations. Thus the law prohibiting muzzling an ox while threshing is, according to Rabbi Ishmael, not the totality of the rule, but a mere example of a more general rule that any animal should not have their eating inteferred with while working. Similarly the requirement, for example, to redeem second tithe on steaks, lambchops, wine and beer is seen, not as the list of things which can be redeeemed, but rather as examples of a more general rule that second tithe can be redeemed on any products that are derived from land based grown items.
The exception rule also deals with the interaction between examples and generalizations. For example when the Bible speaks about the Nazaarite offering and the exceptional matzoh basket we have to ask if this is the only exception or whether other aspects of the traditional sacrifices are also excepted. Thus the example-geenralization issue is a useful lens by which to study all Rabbi Ishmael rules.
We have explained in our article Biblical Formatting located on the world wide web at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/biblicalformatting.pdf, that the Biblical Author indicates bold, italics, underline by using repetition. In other words if a modern author wanted to emphasize a word they would either underline, bold or italicize it. However when the Biblical author wishes to emphasize a word He repeats it. The effect - whether thru repetition or using underline - is the same. It is only the means of conveying this emphasis that is different.
In reviewing the verses below from the suspected-adulterous-woman-ceremony, verses Nu05-15:28, note both the context and the several repetitions, indicated by bold letters:
Rashi paraphrased states: (1) Note the many repetitions indicated by the letters (A,B,C) referring to repeated standing, swearing, drinking of water and (2) note the many degrading procedures such as unraveling of hair, use of dust, and placing heavy objects, like the meal offering, on her hand. This shows that the underlying idea here is to harass her during an interrogation procedure so that she should confess. Nothing was just done once: She was stood up, moved, and stood up again. She was sworn, spoken to, and sworn again. She was forced to drink the water, spoken to (e.g. asked to confess rather than cause the Holy Divine name to be erased), and forced to finish drinking again. Throughout, the intent was to cause her anxiety and break her defenses so that she should confess.
Advanced Rashi: Rashi only speaks about the repetition of standing (#A above). But as can be seen, there are many items repeated. Furthermore, reviewing the Midrashic comments on these items we see hints that they also were done, interrupted, and then repeated. For example, we have explicit midrashic statements that the woman was admonished not to descecrate the Divine name that is uttered in holiness.. An easy consequence of this is that the woman was forced to drink the water, was admonished not to totally destroy the Divine name, and then forced to drink the water again.
Such a reading of Rashi - combining the single repetition mentioned by Rashi with both (1) other repetitions and (2) the underlying context of harassing proceedures involving dust, unraveling of hair, and placing heavy objects like the meal offering on her hands #NAME? discussing a general interrogation procedure with several anxiety producing sub-procedures each of which was broken in half to increase the anxiety with the intent of getting the woman to confess.
We ask the following database query: To whom are Priestly gifts delivered and how are they delivered? The reader is encouraged to perform the query using a standard Biblical Konnkordance or search engine. This database query yields the list below. The list justifies the following Rashi inference: The Biblical language describing many priestly gifts uses the phrases brought to God or belongs to the Priest. The first fruits were however brought to the Priest in the temple. Hence Nu05-09 should be translated as A priestly gift [ Terumah] brought to the Priest belongs to him. Since first fruits are the only priestly gift brought to the priest we apply this verse to first fruits. The list below presents the results of the database query and shows examples
A Nazarite abstains from wine and ritual impurities. Verses Nu05-09:12 discuss what happens when the Nazarite count is interrupted by an unexpected defilement: And if any man die very suddenly beside him, and he defile his consecrated head, then he shall ... And he shall consecrate unto HaShem the days of his Naziriteship, and shall bring a he-lamb of the first year for a guilt-offering; but the former days shall fall, because his consecration was defiled.
We have classified this Rashi as using the spreadsheet method since Biblical text is interpreted numerically. Some readers may consider this obvious. However there is a point: Notice words like fall which although physical and picturesque refer to numerical events.
Very often a symbolic interpretation will use a single motif to explain a variety of items and procedures. In the example below we symbolically interpret the prince gifts presented when the Temple was consecrated. The single motif used is an important event in human history. This motif is used to symbolically interpret the prince gifts, brought at the consecration of the Temple. These gifts as a whole symbolize the progression of important events in human history. The Table below gives details.
Advanced Rashi: We have not reviewed all gifts. Als at times we have deviated from Rashi's associations which use numerical values of letters (There is nothing wrong with this in a symbolic context but we preferred to give the strongest associations). As the table shows there is a natural sequence from the beginning, Adam, till the reception of the Torah. Some of the numerical associations are quite strong based on numerical identity. The other associations can then be justified in context because they fill in the gaps in the missing sequence.
This week's parshah contains examples of all Rashi methods. Visit the RashiYomi website at http://www.Rashiyomi.com for further details and examples.