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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Masei

The following Rashi analysis was suggested by a reader Johnathan Joseph. I thank him.

Bamidbar 33:55

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you...


"then those whom you leave over will be.: Rashi: " It will be a source of misfortune for you.

What would you ask on this short comment?

Your Question:

Questioning Rashi:

A Question: What has Rashi added to our understanding with his comment. Why comment at all? What is bothering Rashi?

Your Answer:


An Answer: Rashi seems to be reacting to the word (Hebrew V'haya) which is in the singular "it will be" while the Torah mentions two consequences " pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides" so it should have said ,"they will be as…"

How does his comment deal with this?

Your Answer:


An Answer:

By referring to the consequence as a misfortune Rashi has chosen a singular noun so it now coincides grammatically with the word "V'haya" - in the singular.


(The following is Johnathan Joseph's contribution.)

The significance of Rashi's interpretation goes beyond the grammatical issue of singular and plural. According to Rashi, the Torah is not warning us of a practical, natural consequence; it is not saying that the nations that we allow to survive will, by their very nature, be troublesome to us. Rather, the Torah is telling us that our failure to fulfill G-d's commandment to destroy the Canaanites will come with a consequence, namely, that the Canaanites will harass us. The key to our nation's success is not in the very necessary assets of clever strategy and military strength, but rather in our efficiency and devotion in fulfilling G-d's commandments.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

We are planning to put out a second round of What's Bothering Rashi? G-d Willing with all new Rashi analyses. It will be a two volume set. Anyone interested in dedicating a volume to a loved one may contact Avigdor Bonchek at Drbonchek@gmail.com.

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