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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.21 no.1 Pretoria  2008


The ethical-religious precondition for miracle performance in Rashi's biblical commentary1



Dr. Lea Himmelfarb (Widawski)

Department of Bible, Bar Ilan University. Ramat-Gan, Israel,




This article explores the explicit occurrence of the term 'nes ' (miracle) in Rashi's biblical commentary. Seven examples from Rashi's commentary are presented which illustrate his tendency to draw attention to the theological principle that there are preconditions for G-d's miraculous intervention. Each example is preceded by the narrative background necessary to understand it and Rashi's commentary in each case is delineated, with emphasis placed upon the philosophical principle he introduces. According to Rashi there is a link between human behaviour and G-d's salvation, both regarding salvation of the individual and of the collective, Israel. In order to merit receiving miraculous intervention, the recipient may draw upon merit accruing from one of three sources: the recipient's present-day merits, his future merits, or his forefathers' past merits.

Keywords: Miracle, Rashi, Old Testament, Biblical exegesis, Ethical-Religious aspects.



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1 delivered a lecture on this topic at the eighth EAJS Congress in Moscow on July 27, 2006.

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