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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Ki Savo

Devarim 26:17, 18

Rashi seems to contradict himsdelf

17) You have distinguished Hashem today to be your G-d and to go in His ways to keep His Statutes, His commandments, His Judgments and to listen to His voice.

18) And Hashem has distinguished you today to be to Him a treasured People as He spoke to you to observe His commandments.


Distinguished you: Rashi: "and you distinguished" (in verse 18) there is no decisive proof in Scriptures [of the word's meaning]. It seems to me that it means separation and selection - He separated you from foreign gods to be for your G-d; and He selected you from the nations of the world to be for Him as a treasured People. I have found a proof to this word (i.e. a similar word). It means "to glory" in "all wrong doers glory themselves (Tehillim 94:4)


Rashi tries to tell us the meaning of an unusal word האמרת he says there is no parallel to it in Tanach. So he speculates from the context that it means separate and distinguish. Then he reverses himself and says he did find a parallel word in Tehillim where it me means "to glory."


If Rashi did finally find a parrallel word in Tanach, why did he leave the first part of his comment in tact? Once he found a meaning he should have given it without his first speculative interprtetation.

Can you think of an answer?

Your Answer:


An Answer: Some Rashi scholars have suggested that this last part was an insertion of a student of Rashi after Rashi's time. What happened sometimes is that a student would write a brief comment on the side of the page. Then those who copied Rashi (printing didn't begin until 400 years after Rashi) thought it was Rashi's comment and inserted into the comment itself.

But maybe we can reconcile the beginning of Rashi with the last part without resorting to student's insertion theory.

Can you think of an answer?

Hint: look at Rashi's words carefully

Your answer:


An Answer: In the first part of Rashi he says he has not found a decisive proof.

In the last part he says he found a proof - but he doesn't say "decisive" proof. So maybe he felt the word in Tehillim was not a certain parallel to our word. So he cited it but not being certain he left his first idea in place.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

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

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