by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Parashas Korach (71)Numbers 16:25
And Moses got up and went to Dasan and Aviram and the Elders of Israel went after him.
And Moses got up and went: Rashi He thought that they would show him some respect, but they did not.
Can you see what's bothering Rashi that led to his comment?
Hint: See the context.
WHAT IS BOTHERING RASHI?
An Answer: In the verse before ours (24) Hashem tells Moses to speak to the congregation. In the verse after ours (26) it says that Moses spoke to the congregation. The question is: What is this a verse doing here in the middle?
How does Rashi's comment deal with this?
An Answer: Rashi is filling in some information. He said that while Hashem told Moses to speak with the congregation to have them distance themselves from Dasan, Aviram and Korach, nevertheless Moses waited a while to see if they would do teshuva. Only when he saw that they weren't budging did he do as Hashem had said to speak with the congregation and give them the message from Hashem.
Rashi is telling us that is why our verse separates verses 24 and 26 which seem to fit together.
A CLOSER LOOK
If we look ar the Lead Words of this comment, we get a deeper insight into the Torah's phrasing. The verse says "Moses got up and went."
What is this "got up" about? Was he first sitting and then he rose up and went? That cannot be the meaning, because that fact is inconsequential. Of course if he was sitting he would have to get up first, so why tell us that?
Can you think on answer?
A LITERARY RULE OF BIBLICAL TERMINOLOGY
An Answer: Whenever the Torah says "He got up and did something" it does not mean the person literally rose up; whenever the word is followed by another verb (action) it means he did what ever he did with forethought, with determination. So we have by Cain (Genesis 4:8), "And he got up and killed" his brother. So we have by Abraham (22:3) "And he got and he went to the place that G-d had told him." So we have by Esau (25:34) "And he got up and he went and Esau despised the birthright."
These are idioms, a form of saying something where the words are not to be taken literally. In English we have "Hurry up" what does "up" mean? We also have "get going" what does "get" mean? These are idioms. So too is the Biblical "And he got up and did something." It means he did something with forethought.
And that is what it means in our verse. Moses first gave it some thought then he went to Korach to speak to them.
"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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