by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Last week (parashas Va'eschanan) we asked the following question:
"And you will serve there other gods, the handiwork of man, of wood and of stone, which do not see and do not hear and do not eat and do not smell."
"And you will serve there gods" Rashi: As the Targum translates it. Since you will serve the people who serve them (the gods) it is as if you are serving them (those gods).
Why does Rashi take the verse out its of simple meaning, 'They will serve other gods'?
Why does he interpret this to mean that they will serve the idol worshipers, but not the gods themselves.
An Answer: .
1) Worshipping idols is obviously a sin. This verse, on the other hand, is describing G-d's punishment to the Jews should they transgress the Torah. G-d would not punish a person by making him do a sin. A person has free choice in such matters. So Rashi interprets the verse as meaning the people will be subjugated to others (the punishment) who are idol worshippers.
2) A suggested answer to the second question (how is this likened to worshipping idols) is:
And now to this week's sedra.
"There will not stand up a man before you; Hashem, your G-d will place the fear of you and the awe of you on the whole land that you tread upon, as He spoke to you."
"There will not stand up a man etc." RASHI: I only know a man [will not stand up to you] a nation, a family or a sorceress with her witchcraft - how is this derived (that neither will they stand up to you- ? The Torah therefore teaches "they will not stand up" - in any case."
This is a typical Talmudic style deduction. But how can it be squared with what the verse actually says? It says "No man will stand up etc." In what basis does Rashi (and the Sages) derive more than just "a man" ?
Next week IY"H we will provide an answer.
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