The 10 RashiYomi Rules
Their presence in Rashis on Parshath NASO
Volume 16, Number 14
This weeks Weekly Rashi with Hebrew/English source tables
Is accessible at
(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 who in turn acknowledges the Judaica Press Complete Tanach, copyright by Judaica Press.


    BRIEF EXPLANATION: Commentary on a verse is provided thru a cross-reference to another verse. The cross references can either provide
    • (1a) further details,
    • (1b) confirm citations, or
    • (1c) clarify word meaning.
    This examples applies to Rashis Nu06-17b
    URL Reference: (c);
    Brief Summary: The Ram REST OFFERING and LIBATIONS mentioned in Nu06-17b cross reference the offerings detailed at Nu15-06:07.

Verse Nu06-17b
Hebrew Verse וְאֶת הָאַיִל יַעֲשֶׂה זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים לַי־הֹוָ־ה עַל סַל הַמַּצּוֹת וְעָשָׂה הַכֹּהֵן אֶת מִנְחָתוֹ וְאֶת נִסְכּוֹ:
English Verse He shall make the ram as a peace offering to the Lord, along with the basket of unleavened cakes, and the kohen shall perform the service of its meal offering with its libation.
Rashi Header Hebrew את מנחתו ואת נסכו
Rashi Text Hebrew של איל:
Rashi Header Enlish Its meal offering with its libation
Rashi Text English [I.e.,] the ram’s.

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.

Text of Target verse Nu06-17b Text of Reference Verse Nu15-06:07
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. 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.
Rashi comments: 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.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION: The meaning of words can be explained either by
      • (2a) translating an idiom, a group of words whose collective meaning transcends the meaning of its individual component words,
      • (2b) explaining the nuances and commonality of synonyms-homographs,
      • (2c) describing the usages of connective words like also,because,if-then, when,
      • (2d) indicating how grammatical conjugation can change word meaning
      • (2e) changing word meaning using the figures of speech common to all languages such as irony and oxymorons.
      This examples applies to Rashis Nu06-04a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: Cheth-Resh-Tzade-Nun (CHARTZAN), grape seeds, are THORNS (Taade-Nun-(TZINAH)) in a HOLE (Cheth-Resh-CHOR)

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.

Verse Nu06-04a
Hebrew Verse כֹּל יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר יֵעָשֶׂה מִגֶּפֶן הַיַּיִן מֵחַרְצַנִּים וְעַד זָג לֹא יֹאכֵל:
English Verse For the entire duration of his abstinence, he shall not eat any product of the grape vine, from seeds to skins.
Rashi Header Hebrew חרצנים
Rashi Text Hebrew הם הגרעינין:
Rashi Header Enlish seeds
Rashi Text English Heb. חַרְצַנִּים. They are the kernels. - [Sifrei Naso 1:93]

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.

    Rashi derives the meaning of the 4-letter root, Chet-Resh-Tzade-Nun, Chartzan are follows:
  • Cheth-Resh-Tzade-Nun,Chartzan =grape seeds
  • Cheth-Resh,Chor=hole
  • Tzade-Nun,Tzinah = thorn
  • So Cheth-Resh-Tzade-Nun=Cheth-Resh+ Tzade-Nun that is
  • Grape seeds = thorns in a hole
  • Here the Hebrew language names an item by how it feels. A person eating a grape (and not being careful) who bites into a seed feels as if (s)he had bitten a thorn. However, whereas an ordinary thorn is visible and public the grape seed is a thorn inside, in a hole. So grape seed = thorn in a hole the emphasis being on naming the item by how it feels.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi explains verses using grammar principles, that is, rules which relate reproducable word form to word meaning. Grammatical rules neatly fall into 3 categories
      • (a) the rules governing conjugation of individual words,Biblical roots,
      • (b) the rules governing collections of words,clauses, sentences
      • (c) miscellaneous grammatical, or form-meaning, rules.
      This examples applies to Rashis Nu05-15f
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: Brief Summary: It is a rest offering for STANDING-UPS (Plural). The HUSBAND stands up; RELIGION stands up.

Verse Nu05-15f
Hebrew Verse וְהֵבִיא הָאִישׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ אֶל הַכֹּהֵן וְהֵבִיא אֶת קָרְבָּנָהּ עָלֶיהָ עֲשִׂירִת הָאֵיפָה קֶמַח שְׂעֹרִים לֹא יִצֹק עָלָיו שֶׁמֶן וְלֹא יִתֵּן עָלָיו לְבֹנָה כִּי מִנְחַת קְנָאֹת הוּא מִנְחַת זִכָּרוֹן מַזְכֶּרֶת עָוֹן:
English Verse Then the man shall bring his wife to the kohen and bring her offering for her, one tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall neither pour oil over it nor put frankincense on it, for it is a meal offering of jealousies, a meal offering of remembrance, recalling iniquity.
Rashi Header Hebrew מנחת קנאת
Rashi Text Hebrew מעוררת עליה שתי קנאות, קנאת המקום וקנאת הבעל:
Rashi Header Enlish a meal offering of jealousies
Rashi Text English It arouses against her two jealousies [i.e., expressions of wrath]: the wrath of the Omnipresent and the wrath of her husband. - [Sifrei Naso 1:50]

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.

    BRIEF EXPLANATION: Aligning two almost identically worded verselets can suggest
    • (4a) 2 cases of the same incident or law
    • (4b) emphasis on the nuances of a case
    • (4c) use of broad vs literal usage of words
    This examples applies to Rashis Nu05-13c
    URL Reference: (c)
    Brief Summary: HIDDEN FROM HIS EYES is stronger then HIDDEN FROM HIM. It implies he can see and didn't overlook.

Verse Nu05-13c
Hebrew Verse וְשָׁכַב אִישׁ אֹתָהּ שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע וְנֶעְלַם מֵעֵינֵי אִישָׁהּ וְנִסְתְּרָה וְהִיא נִטְמָאָה וְעֵד אֵין בָּהּ וְהִוא לֹא נִתְפָּשָׂה:
English Verse and a man lie with her carnally, but it was hidden from her husband's eyes, but she was secluded [with the suspected adulterer] and there was no witness against her, and she was not seized.
Rashi Header Hebrew ונעלם מעיני אישה
Rashi Text Hebrew פרט לסומא הא אם היה ראוה ומעמעם [ומעלים] אין המים בודקין אותה:
Rashi Header Enlish but it was hidden from her husband’s eyes
Rashi Text English This excludes a blind man (Sotah 27a, Sifrei Naso 1:40, Tanchuma 7). It follows that, if he saw [the adulterous act] and ignored it, the water [prescribed further in the section] will not test her. — [Sifrei Naso 1:40]

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).

Verse Text of Verse Rashi comment
Nu05-13c And a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and this is kept undetected, and she is defiled, and there is no witness against her, since she was not caught in the act; For an ordinary sin offering we require the matter was hidden and unknown. For an adulterous-woman-sin-offering we require 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).
Lv05-04 Or if a soul swears, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatever it is that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it is hidden from him; when he knows of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. For an ordinary sin offering we require the matter was hidden and unknown. For an adulterous-woman-sin-offering we require 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).

      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi resolves contradictory verses using 3 methods.
      • (5a) Resolution using two aspects of the same event
      • (5b) Resolution using two stages of the same process
      • (5c) Resolution using broad-literal interpretation.
      This example applies to Rashis Nu07-89d
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: ALTHOUGH a) No one besides Moses heard the prophetic talks to him NEVERTHELESS b) the voice of the talk was LOUD.

Verse Nu07-89d
Hebrew Verse וּבְבֹא מֹשֶׁה אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ וַיִּשְׁמַע אֶת הַקּוֹל מִדַּבֵּר אֵלָיו מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל אֲרֹן הָעֵדֻת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלָיו:
English Verse When Moses would come into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he would hear the voice speaking to him from the two cherubim above the covering which was over the Ark of Testimony, and He spoke to him.
Rashi Header Hebrew מדבר
Rashi Text Hebrew כמו מתדבר, כבודו של מעלה לומר כן מדבר בינו לבין עצמו, ומשה שומע מאל
Rashi Header Enlish and He spoke to Him
Rashi Text English [Thus] excluding Aaron from the [Divine] statements.

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.

Summary Verse / Source Text of verse / Source
God's voice is thunderous and loud Nu07-69, Ex19-19, And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking only to him from above the ark-cover that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and He spoke unto him.... And when the voice of the shofar sounded long, and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with voice.
Only Moses heard God's voice, not Aaron Nu07-69 And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking only to him from above the ark-cover that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and He spoke unto him.
Resolution: 2 Aspects: God's voice spoke within Moses (Nu12-06) Since He did not speak externally Aaron could not hear it. However the voice within was thunderous and loud.

    Advanced Rashi: This is a peach of Rashi. We have not treated it completely above. A proper analysis would require use of 3 Rashi rules applied 5 times. In fact the original source of this Rashi is not on this verse but rather this Rashi is almost a verbatim citation from the Sifrah on Lv01-01. Here are the Rashi comments which fully justify this Rashi:
  • Grammar: The article the indicates something well known.
  • Reference: Hence when Nu07-69 refers to the voice that Moses heard it must be referring to some well known voice, namely, the voice of the revelation as accounted in Ex19-19. Note that additionally the Sifrah also cites Ps29 and Ps93 both of which explicitly deal with the magnitude of the voice.
  • Grammar: The verb speak is normally accompanied by the pronoun in: You speak to someone in a certain place. However Lv01-01 uses the very rare construction God spoke to Moses from the Temple. The Sifray interprets this to mean that the voice never left the Temple (and hence was inaudible outside). Rather than get involved in defending this from rule I chose an equally good proof of the voice's inaudibility - the fact that Moses did hear while Aaron did not hear. We infer this from the use of the pronoun Aleph-Lamed-Yud-Vav which in rule #3, grammar above we have explained means only to him.
  • Grammar: Although the Sifrah does not cite it I found using Nu12-06 which explicitly says God spoke within him in a dream to be a convincing verse for resolving the contradiction. That is prophecy is heard within and consequently although the voice within may be loud it is inaudible to others.
  • Contradiction: Finally we have used the contradiction method as indicated above.

    We might also indicate the moral point of Rashi: Why is the verse emphasizing that the voice was loud but inaudible.
  • The emphasis on inaudibility to others is to indicate that God's voice is not an external voice in the physical world.
  • The emphasis on loudness is to indicate that prophecy is not a seance-like state where one hears inaudible voices that murmur and hint at things. Rather prophecy is loud and clear; the prophet is certain of the message received and uses his normal mental state to receive the message.

We still haven't completely explained this Rashi but have presented its basis and showed various rich aspects of it.

      Rashi examines how rules of style influences inferences between general and detail statements in paragraphs.
      • Example: Every solo example stated by the Bible must be broadly generalized;
      • Theme-Detail: A general principle followed by an example is interpreted restrictively---the general theme statement only applies in the case of the example;
      • Theme-Detail-Theme: A Theme-Detail-Theme unit is interpreted as a paragraph. Consequently the details of the paragraph are generalized so that they are seen as illustrative of the theme.
      This examples applies to Rashis Nu06-15a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: EVEN THOUGH the Nazarite offering is different - because you bring a BASKET OF MATZAH - NEVERTHELESS, you STILL bring MINCHAH and WINE LIBATIONS (as in all offerings)

Verse Nu06-15a
Hebrew Verse וְסַל מַצּוֹת סֹלֶת חַלֹּת בְּלוּלֹת בַּשֶּׁמֶן וּרְקִיקֵי מַצּוֹת מְשֻׁחִים בַּשָּׁמֶן וּמִנְחָתָם וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם:
English Verse and a basket of unleavened cakes; loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, with their meal offerings and their libations.
Rashi Header Hebrew ומנחתם ונסכיהם
Rashi Text Hebrew של עולה ושלמים, לפי שהיו בכלל ויצאו לידון בדבר חדש שיטעינו לחם, החזירן לכללן שיטעינו נסכים כדין עולה ושלמים:
Rashi Header Enlish with their meal-offerings and libations
Rashi Text English Of the burnt offerings and peace offerings [but not of the sin-offering]. Since they were included in the general rule [requiring libations] but were then singled out to be the subject of a new case, namely, that they required bread, [Scripture] returns them to the general rule [by stating that] they require libations, as is the universal law for all burnt offerings and peace offerings. - [See Sifrei Naso 1:127]

    We have typically explained the style rules as dealing with paragraph formation. Today we explain a non-standard style rule, the exception style, which is also one of the Rabbi Ishmael style rules. The exception rule deals with exceptions to rules. Here is a simple example:
      A manufacturer produces electric cars which runs on electriciy instead of gas.
    The electric car is an exception to the general case of gas cars. The consumer has to deal with the following issue.
      Is this exception additive or replacive? In other words, has the exception, electrically run cars, replaced all rules of cars, or, is the exception, electrically run cars, an addition to all other rules about cars except for gas?
    The Rabbi Ishmael style rules explain that
      Exceptions are replacive: all former rules of cars have been replaced and do not apply unless the Biblical text explicitly re-enumerates it.
    So for exammple
      Electric cars do not require oil checkups and their owners do not require insurance and registration unless the regulations come and explicitly re-require them.

    The following Biblical paragraph, Nu06-14:17: illustrates the exception rule.
  • And this is the rule of the Nazirite, ...And he shall offer his offering to the Lord,
  • one male lamb of the first year without blemish for an up offering, and
  • one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering,
  • one ram without blemish for peace offerings,
  • a basket of unleavened bread,
  • cakes of fine flour mixed with oil,
  • wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil,
    • and their meal offering,
    • and their drink offerings.
  • ....
  • And he shall offer the
    • ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord,
    • on the basket of unleavened bread; and
    • he shall offer its meal offering,
    • and its drink offering

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.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Inferences from Biblical formatting: #NAME?
      • Use of repetition to indicate formatting effects: bold,italics,...;
      • use of repeated keywords to indicate a bullet effect;
      • rules governing use and interpretation of climactic sequence;
      • rules governing paragraph development and discourse
      This example applies to Rashis Nu05-18a, Nu05-18d
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: He 1) Stands her 2) places dust in holy water 3) stands her 4) unravels her hair 5) places the rest offering on her hand 6) Swears her... Many procedures to harass her to confess.

Verse Nu05-18a
Hebrew Verse וְהֶעֱמִיד הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הָאִשָּׁה לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה וּפָרַע אֶת רֹאשׁ הָאִשָּׁה וְנָתַן עַל כַּפֶּיהָ אֵת מִנְחַת הַזִּכָּרוֹן מִנְחַת קְנָאֹת הִוא וּבְיַד הַכֹּהֵן יִהְיוּ מֵי הַמָּרִים הַמְאָרֲרִים:
English Verse Then the kohen shall stand the woman up before the Lord and expose the [hair on the] head of the woman; he shall place into her hands the remembrance meal offering, which is a meal offering of jealousies, while the bitter curse bearing waters are in the kohen's hand.
Rashi Header Hebrew והעמיד הכהן וגו'
Rashi Text Hebrew והלא כבר נאמר והעמידה לפני ה', אלא מסיעין היו אותה ממקום למקום כדי ליגעה ותטרף דעתה ותודה:
Rashi Header Enlish Then the kohen shall set, etc.
Rashi Text English Has it not already been said, “and present her before the Lord” (verse 16) ? However, they would move her around from place to place to tire her out so that she should become agitated and confess. — [Sotah 8a]

We have explained in our article Biblical Formatting located on the world wide web at, 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:

  • Then shall the man bring his wife to the priest,
  • and he shall bring her offering for her,...
  • And the priest shall bring her near, ...
  • (A) and stand her before the Lord;
  • And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen utensil; and of the dust ...
  • (A) And the priest shall stand the woman before the Lord,
  • and loosen the hair of the womanÆs head,
  • and put the offering of memorial in her hands, ...
  • (B) And the priest shall swear her by an oath, ....
  • (B) Then the priest shall swear the woman with an oath of cursing, ...
  • And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.
  • And the priest shall write these curses in a book,
  • and he shall blot them out with the bitter water;
  • (C) And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causes the curse; ...
  • Then the priest shall take the meal offering of jealousy ...and shall wave ...
  • And the priest shall take a handful of the offering, and...
  • (C) and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

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.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION:Rashi makes inferences from Database queries. The precise definition of database query has been identified in modern times with the 8 operations of Sequential Query Language (SQL).

      This example applies to Rashis Nu05-09a
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: Most priestly gifts were BROUGHT TO GOD or BELONGED TO THE PRIEST The first fruits was a priestly gift that was BROUGHT and to the PRIEST.

Verse Nu05-09a
Hebrew Verse וְכָל תְּרוּמָה לְכָל קָדְשֵׁי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יַקְרִיבוּ לַכֹּהֵן לוֹ יִהְיֶה:
English Verse Every offering of all the children of Israel's holy things which is brought to the kohen, shall be his.
Rashi Header Hebrew וכל תרומה וגו'
Rashi Text Hebrew אמר רבי ישמעאל וכי תרומה מקריבין לכהן, והלא הוא המחזר אחריה לבית הגרנות. ומה תלמוד לומר אשר יקריבו לכהן, אלו הבכורים, שנאמר בהם תביא בית ה' אלהיך, (שמות כג, יט). ואיני יודע מה יעשה בהם, תלמוד לומר לכהן לו יהיה, בא הכתוב ולמד על הבכורים שיהיו ניתנין לכהן:
Rashi Header Enlish Every offering
Rashi Text English Heb. תְּרוּמָה. Rabbi Ishmael said: Is the terumah brought to the kohen ? Does he not go around the granaries seeking it? So what does the clause “brought to the kohen” mean? These are the first fruits, of which it is stated, “you shall bring to the House of the Lord, your God” (Exod. 23:19), but I do not know what to do with them. Therefore, Scripture states: “to the kohen , [it] shall be his.” Scripture teaches us regarding the first fruits, that they are to be given to the kohen . — [Sifrei Naso 1:30].

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

Verse Priestly Gift Delivered to God/Priest? Brought/Belongs?
Nu18-09:10 Sin, Guilt and Minchah Offerings To God Brought (to God)
Nu18-15:18 Offered first borns To God Brought to God
Lv27-28 Excommunication-dedications (Cherem) To God Belongs to God
Nu18-28 Big Terumah To Priest Given to Priest
Dt26-01:04 First Fruits To Priest in Temple Brought to him

      BRIEF EXPLANATION: The common denominator of the 3 submethods of the Spreadsheet method is that inferences are made from non textual material. The 3 submethods are as follows:
      • Spreadsheet: Rashi makes inferences of a numerical nature that can be summarized in a traditional spreadsheet
      • Geometric: Rashi clarifies a Biblical text using descriptions of geometric diagrams
      • Fill-ins: Rashi supplies either real-world background material or indicates real-world inferences from a verse. The emphasis here is on the real-world, non-textual nature of the material.
      This example applies to Rashis Nu06-12a Nu06-12b
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: If the Nazarite is defiled he has to (1) nazarite a new count of days and (2) not let the old count of days be included in the new count.

Verse Nu06-12a
Hebrew Verse וְהִזִּיר לַי־הֹוָ־ה אֶת יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ וְהֵבִיא כֶּבֶשׂ בֶּן שְׁנָתוֹ לְאָשָׁם וְהַיָּמִים הָרִאשֹׁנִים יִפְּלוּ כִּי טָמֵא נִזְרוֹ:
English Verse He shall consecrate to the Lord the period of his abstinence and bring a lamb in its first year as a guilt offering; the previous days shall be canceled because his naziriteship has been defiled.
Rashi Header Hebrew והזיר לה' את ימי נזרו
Rashi Text Hebrew יחזור וימנה נזירותו כבתחילה:
Rashi Header Enlish He shall consecrate to the Lord the period of his abstinence
Rashi Text English He shall start counting his naziriteship again from the beginning. — [Sifrei Naso 1:119]

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.

    Rashi interprets the two underlined phrases, numerically:
  • he shall consecrate unto HaShem the days of his Naziriteship is interpreted to mean He shall begin a new vow and count of nazariteship;
  • the former days shall fall, because his consecration was defiled is interpreted numerically - he may not use the former count of days (during which he was suddenly defiled) in the new count of days.

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.

      BRIEF EXPLANATION: Rashi provides symbolic interpretations of words, verses, and chapters. Rashi can symbolically interpret either
      • (10a) entire Biblical chapters such as the gifts of the princes, Nu-07
      • (10b) individual items, verses and words
      The rules governing symbolism and symbolic interpretation are presented in detail on my website.

      This examples applies to Rashis Nu07-19b:f Nu07-20a:c
      URL Reference: (c)
      Brief Summary: The prince gifts for the consecration of the Temple symbolized human history

Verse Nu07-19b
Hebrew Verse הִקְרִב אֶת קָרְבָּנוֹ קַעֲרַת כֶּסֶף אַחַת שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמֵאָה מִשְׁקָלָהּ מִזְרָק אֶחָד כֶּסֶף שִׁבְעִים שֶׁקֶל בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ שְׁנֵיהֶם מְלֵאִים סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן לְמִנְחָה:
English Verse He brought his offering of one silver bowl weighing one hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver sprinkling basin [weighing] seventy shekels according to the holy shekel, both filled with fine flour mixed with olive oil for a meal offering.
Rashi Header Hebrew קערת כסף
Rashi Text Hebrew מנין אותיותיו בגימטריה תתקל כנגד שנותיו של אדם הראשון:
Rashi Header Enlish one silver bowl
Rashi Text English Heb. קַעֲרַתכֶּסֶף. The numerical value of [the two words] in gematria amounts to nine hundred and thirty, corresponding to the years of Adam, the first man (Gen. 5:5). ק = 100 ע = 70 ר = 200 ת =400 כ = 20 ס = 60 פ = 80 - = 930

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.

Rashi Item Symbolizes Symbolic association Is association strong?
Nu07-19b 1 Silver Bowl Adam One father of human race No
Nu07-19c Weight of 130 Age Adam began producing Numerical association Yes
Nu07-19d 1 Bowl Noah 1 Ark No
Nu07-19e weight 70 70 nations 70 grandchildren of Noah Yes - numerical
Nu07-20a 1 scoop 1 Torah No
Nu07-20b weight of 10 golden 10 commandments Numerical association Strong
Nu07-20c Incense Sweet offerings and sweet laws Weak

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 for further details and examples.