Although Rashi ordinarily quotes old French every now and then throughout his commentary on the Torah, it seems like the beginning of Mikeitz is particularly filled with those translations. For instance, on Bereishis (41:2) writes

באחו. בָּאֲגַם, מריש"ק בְּלַעַז, כְּמוֹ יִשְׂגֶּא אָחוּ (איוב ח'): באחו IN THE REED-GRASS — in the marshy land. old French marais; English, marsh. Similar is (Job 8:11) “Can reed-grass (אחו) grow?”,

then on (41:3)

ודקות בשר. טינב"ש בְּלַעַז, לְשׁוֹן דַּק: ודקות בשר THIN-FLESHED in old French tenuis, meaning thin,

and again twice in (41:5)

twice בקנה אחת. טוד"ל בְּלַעַז: בקנה אחד ON ONE STALK— Tuyau in old French בריאות. שיינ"ש בְּלַעַז:

בריאות sains, English HEALTHY.

That pattern continue for many more pesukim. Is there something unique about Mikeitz that Rashi decided using old French to translate so many terms was necessary?

1 Answer 1


Rav Daniel Glatstein quotes the Ben L'Ashri who explains since Mikeitz normally falls out during or shortly after Chanukah, and the Yom Tov has the ability to infuse the most seemingly mundane areas of life with holiness, Rashi wanted to hint to this profound power of Chanukah through quoting so many translations of the Torah in a foreign language.

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