by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Parashios Vayakheil- Pikudie(72)We have two sedrot this week. I have chosen a Rashi from Vayakheil.
Exodus 35: 4
And Moses said to the entire assembly of the Children of Israel saying: "This is the word that Hashem commanded to say."
This is the word that Hashem commanded: Rashi: Me to say to you.
Notice how Rashi inserts just a few words into the body of the verse.(The words underlined are the Torah's words, the others are Rashi's additions.)
What would you ask here?
A Question: This looks like a Type II Rashi-comment, one that helps us avoid a misunderstanding.
What misunderstanding is Rashi helping us avoid?
WHAT MISUNDERSTANDING IS RASHI HELPING US AVOID?
An Answer: Did you notice that the word 'laimor' is used twice in this verse?
The word 'laimor' can be translated in one of two ways.
1) Its usual meaning is: "Saying," as in "G-d spoke to Moses saying." It is similar to quotation marks in our modern way of writing.
2) Another, rarer, meaning is "to tell to," or "saying to" as in
And Hashem spoke to Moses and Aaron to tell them. (Leviticus 11:1)
Rashi is clarifying that the second לאמר in our verse means "to tell to" and not its usual meaning of "saying, " as the first לאמר in the verse means.
But how does Rashi know that this is its meaning here?
Hint: Look above at verse 25:2 (beginning of parashas Terumah) where G-d first commanded regarding contributions to the Tabernacle. Our verse is a recounting of that original command.
An Answer: In Exodus 25:2 it says "Hashem spoke to Moses saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and they should take for Me an offering etc." But the very next verse says "Take from you an offering..." Note that our verse has Moses speaking directly to the people; he is not quoting Hashem. This is how Rashi knows that לאמר here means "to tell to them," and is not a quote from G-d.
A CLOSER LOOK
But if we look closely at Rashi's comment we see that he not only adds the words "tell them" he also adds the word "commanded me." Why does he?
Hint: Compare our verse with verse 35:2 above.
An Answer: In verse 35:2 it says "These are the words that Hashem commanded etc." Why, then, does the Torah repeat again in our verse "This is the word that Hashem commanded to say." If you can answer this question you will have understood why Rashi adds the word " me."
Can you think of an answer?
A MORE COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING
An Answer: The command above was to keep the Sabbath; Moses was also commanded to observe this mitzvah. Therefore it does not say "These are the words that Hashem commanded to say to them." However our verse is a command to the Children of Israel, but not to Moses, therefore it includes the word לאמר "say to them." This is why Rashi stresses "G-d commanded me ... to tell you." G-d did not command Moses to contribute, but He did command Moses to tell the Israelites to contribute to the Tabernacle.
With a minimum of words Rashi can answer a bundle of questions. Pay attention to each one of his words.
"What's Bothering Rashi?" is produced by the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The five volume set of "What's Bothering Rashi?" is available at all Judaica bookstores.
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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