In some places, Rashi translates בירה as a "מגדל [גדול]‏", a "[large] tower" (Bava Kamma 61b, Taanis 16a). In other places he translates it as a "בית גדול", a "large house" (Bava Kamma 22a, Gittin 55a). In still other places, he translates it as a "טרקלין גדול", a "large palace" (Makkos 5a).

Why does Rashi translate the exact same word differently in different places? If he just means that a בירה is a large building, why doesn't he translate all of them as just that - a בנין גדול?

  • 2
    Perhaps it fits the context – Dr. Shmuel Apr 12 '19 at 0:05
  • @Dr.Shmuel Some of them don't seem to matter whether it's a palace or a house or a tower. In any event, calling it a large building would fit in all of these contexts. – DonielF Apr 12 '19 at 0:05
  • I would really like to hear your general approach to the interpretation of the Talmud - how clear, consistent, logical and traditional it should be in your eyes. When I describe it as art lacking rules and limitations I got scolded (not by you). So please tell why you see it as exact science? – Al Berko Apr 12 '19 at 10:40
  • Can you ask the same question on Unkelos translation of the Torah? He also translates the same word differently in different places. – Al Berko Apr 12 '19 at 10:41
  • @AlBerko Can you give an example of אונקלוס translating one word differently in different places? As far as I’ve seen he’s actually extremely consistent. My general approach is that different Rabbis have whatever their approach is, which varies by the Rabbi, and that approach is then applied in all of their discussions. In the few instances where they break from this approach, the question to be asked is why. Consider Beis Shammai almost always being stringent - why in some cases are they lenient? – DonielF Apr 12 '19 at 12:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .