by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Behold its blood was not brought in the Sanctuary inside; you should eat it in the Holy as I have commanded.
אכל תאכלו אתה. היה לכם לאכלה אף על פי שאתם אוננים:
You should eat it: Rashi: You should have eaten it even though you are mourners.
WHAT IS RASHI SAYING ?
Rashi says these words are in the past tense ("you should have eaten") and not in the future tense as it seems to be.
Why does he do this?
What is bothering him?
Hint: See verse 16 above.
WHAT IS BOTHERING RASHI?
An answer: In verse 16 it says that the offering was burnt ("and behold it was burnt") so Moshe could not mean "you should eat it." Because it no longer existed.
How does Rashi deal with this difficulty?
An answer: By changing the tense from future to past Rashi avoids the difficulty.
But how can he do this?
A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING
An answer: We have pointed out elsewhere that in the Tanach verb tenses are quite flexible. Past can be present; future can be past etc etc.: This is a Biblical custom we cannot ask why. It is part of Biblical gramma
Avigdor Bonchek has published a new book on Rashi called "Rashi: The Magic and the Mystery" published by Gefen. Look for it at Jewish book stores.
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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