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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Bereishis(66)

With Bereishis we begin another cycle of Torah reading. The continuous and seamless Torah readings, (ending & beginning on Simchas Torah) enables every Jew to be involved with the Written Torah every day of his life. This week we will examine a well known verse and its Rashi comment and see how Rashi was sensitive to word order and its deeper message.

Genesis 2: 3

And G-d blessed the seventh day & sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work, which G-d created to make.


And He blessed and He sanctified: Rashi: He blessed it with Manna and for all the (other) days of the week an Omer measure (of Manna) per person came down for them, but on the sixth day a double portion. (lechem mishneh). And He sanctified it with the Manna for (on the Sabbath) none came down at all. This verse is written with the future event (of the Manna in the wilderness) in mind.

What would you ask on this Rashi-comment?

Your Question:


A Question: The simple meaning of these words would be: G-d Sanctified the Sabbath and thus restricted work on it; He blessed it , the Sabbath would have more blessing than any other weekday.

A NOTE : Sanctification in the Torah means restriction. As Rashi says in Parashas Kedoshim "separate yourself from forbidden relations" The Ramban there also says "separate yourself even from things which are permitted." And the word Kiddushin" (engagement) means that the woman, by becoming engaged to a particular man, separates herself from all other men. So Sanctity means separating oneself - in the case of Sabbath, it would separating oneself from workday activities. The word Blessing, on the other hand, in the Torah, means increase, an increase in something good. So the Sabbath would be blessed by have something good increased - maybe the Nishama Y'saira - the additional soul on the Sabbath.

Why does Rashi need the drash he chose instead of the simple p'shat?

Can you think What's bothering him?

Hint: Note the word order here.

Your Answer:


An Answer: The word order here is strange. First, we would expect the day to be sanctified and then, once it is a special day, to be blessed. Our verse has it being blessed first - even before it was designated as a special day - it was blessed. Why should it be singled out to be blessed, even before it was sanctified?

Rashi deals with this. How?

Your Answer:


An Answer: Rashi points out that in regard to the Manna the blessing ( the increase, the double portion of Manna) did come first - it came on the sixth day before the Sabbath. The seventh day itself was sanctified - separated - in that no Manna fell that day. (So no work need be done gathering it.) With Rashi's explanation the word order is correct: first the blessing, the double portion, on Friday, then the sanctification- no Manna - on the Sabbath.

Again we are amazed at Rashi's sensitivity to subtle hints in the Torah's words.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

"What's Bothering Rashi?" is a production of "The Institute for the Study of Rashi."

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