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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Kedoshim (73)

We have a double sedra this week - Achrei Mos/Kedoshim.

I have chosen a Rashi from Kedoshim

Leviticus 19:15

You shall do no wrong in judgment; you shall not favor the poor and you shall not honor a great man. With righteousness you shall judge your fellow.


With righteousness you shall judge your fellow: Rashi: Just as it sounds ("k'mashmaoh"). Another interpretation: Judge your friend by the scale of merit.

Rashi offers two interpretations to this phrase.


A Question: Why the need for two interpretations, the simple meaning ("as it sounds") would seem to be adequate?

What's bothering Rashi here?

Your Answer:


An Answer: Several suggestions have been offered to answer this question.

1) This verse has several parts to it. The first says "do no wrong in judgment". If we understand our phrase at it sounds, it would be redundant - doing no wrong in judgment is the same as judging righteously; so what has this phrase added to our understanding?

It is for this reason that Rashi seeks another interpretation.

2) The Hebrew word for "your fellow" is "amitecha". Which literally translates to "your friend" - in the singular. (In Hebrew "Your friends" in plural would have the letter 'yud' before the final chaf. But there is no 'yud' here so it is singular). But if we are speaking to a judge and telling him to judge his fellow in a law case - it should have said "your fellows" because there always two disputants.

3) Also the word "friend" is inappropriate for a judge and his disputants - they are not his friends!

For these reasons (or any one of them) Rashi added the second interpretation which is not about a case in court; it is for every man and his friend.

Now that we know why the second interpretation was necessary, we can ask another question.

Your Question:


A Question: If so why do we need the first interpretation ("k'mashmaoh")?

Your Answer:


An Answer: The whole context of these verses is one of a law case before a judge, so we certainly need the simple meaning. So Rashi offered us both.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek "What's Bothering Rashi?" is a product of the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. A Hebrew translation of the Bereishis "What's Bothering Rashi?" is published. It is greatly expanded and is call "L'omko shel Rashi" look for it in bookstores.

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