Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Masei

This is being written on Erev Shabbos. We celebrate today (29 Tammuz) the 900th yahrzeit of Rashi. One cannot overstate the impact of Rashi. He has given us both simple access to every word of Torah as well as the opportunity to obtain profound and intricate understandings. It is almost impossible to fathom, but both the simple and the intricate are delivered in a single, unified commentary of extraordinary elegance and beauty.

In my opinion, perhaps his most important contribution for our times is the irrefutable demonstration that the Written Torah and the Oral Torah are intertwined to the point that one simply cannot be addressed without the other.

Aharon went up to Hor Hahor 'al pi Hashem' (by the "mouth" of Hashem) and he died there. 33:38. Normally al pi Hashem means according to the word of, or following the instructions of Hashem. Here Rashi says that al pi Hashem teaches us that Aharon died b'nishika (with a "kiss"). [This is generally understood to mean that due to his righteousness his death was painless.] If al pi Hashem is to teach us the manner in which Aharon died, then, under standard biblical grammar rules, we would have expected al pi Hashem to appear after 'and he died' - it should read "and he died al pi Hashem"; why is al pi Hashem written before "and he died'? Furthermore, the words al pi Hashem are needed to describe the circumstances under which Aharon ascended Hor Hahor - he went up on Hashem's say-so (the usual interpretation of al pi). So how can al pi Hashem be used for an unusual meaning if it is needed, right where it is, for its plain meaning?

Rashi here is utilizing a fascinating device whereby words in the Chumash can sometimes be understood as being virtually repeated. In this instance al pi Hashem is understood both (a) in its normal sense, modifying what precedes it, so that Aharon ascended Hor Hahor because Hashem said to, and also (b) in the unusual sense of modifying what follows it, so that Aharon died with a "kiss". [Perhaps the justification for this is that al pi Hashem was not really necessary to be used at all to describe Aharon ascendance to Hor Hahor; the pasuk could have said, even more typically, 'as he was commanded, or 'as Hashem said' - by utilizing al pi Hashem the pasuk is alluding to the availability of the double usage.]

There is a perfect parallel to this in Parshas V'zos Habrocho where Rashi uses one phrase of al pi Hashem to prove both that Moshe died "with a kiss" (Moshe's death precedes al pi Hashem) and was also buried by Hashem (the burial follows al pi Hashem). See M'forshei Rashi there on 33:5,6.


Gal Einai, Copyright 2006 by Gedalia Litke and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Raising Children: The Secret of Success
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Beyond Youth
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Joint Efforts
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Resilience is Key
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Noach's Lessons for Our Day
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Who By Fire, Who By Water
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

ArtScroll

A World is Built!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

People In Stone Houses Should not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

In Man's Diminished Image
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Wasted Tragedy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

New Stage, Old Actors
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Before It Rains
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

> Join the Voices in the Ark
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Delight Amidst Devastation
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

The Flood
Shlomo Katz - 5769

The Din of the Din
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information