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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Toldos

Genesis 27:28

"And may G-d give you of the dew of the heavens and the fat of the land and abundance of grain and wine."

"And may G-d give you" Rashi: May He give and repeat and give. But according to it simple meaning (p'shuto) it refers back to the preceding topic "See the fragrance of my son" which the Holy One Blessed is He, has given him, is "like the fragrance of the field," etc. And may He also give you of the dew of the heavens."

Rashi gives two interpretations to these words; one is p'shat and one not. But why does he need to interpret anything here? What is difficult? What's Bothering Rashi?

What Is Bothering Rashi?

An Answer: Most commentaries on Rashi agree that he is bothered by the letter "vav" at the beginning of the verse. It means "AND may He give you..." The word "and" implies an addition to something. What could be its meaning here? This is the question. How do Rashi's interpretations deal with this problem?

Understanding Rashi

An Answer: Rashi's first interpretation - May He give and continue to give..." gives the "vav" the meaning of an ongoing action. May He give AND give AND give... Rashi's second interpretation is less easy to understand. Our clue is that he adds words to the verse. Notice he writes "See the fragrance of my son, which the Holy One has given him, is like the fragrance of the field." The words "which the Holy One has given him" are not in the verse. Why does he add them?

This is our clue. Look at the Torah's words "like the fragrance of the field which G-d has blessed." Ask yourself: What has G-d blessed? The usual answer would be "the field." It was blessed with fragrance. But Rashi says No! He says "...my son, which the Holy One blessed..." The blessing refers to the son (Yaakov) not the field! This is a creative interpretation of these words. In this way our extra "vav" is explained. The son was blessed with a fragrance "AND may G-d give you (also) the dew of the heaven etc..."

Rashi see this as p'shat, certainly an original interpretation. But why do you think he does not consider the first interpretation to be p'shat? Your Answer:

Understanding Rashi

An Answer: His first comment interpreted the "vav" as continuous action. But that is certainly not its simple meaning. It almost always means "and." This is probably why Rashi does not consider this a p'shat interpretation. His second explanation does interpret the "vav" as a "and" that's why it can be p'shat.

Shabbat Shalom.

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