When reading Rashi, each comment on the pasukkim is split up by DiBur Hamatchil (quotes from the pasuk to let you know what Rashi is commenting on). Are these original to Rashi, or were they added? On a related note, wouldn't have been more helpful to put Rashi's question in its place?

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    Just pointing out that "Dibbur HaMatchil" literally means "Words that Start".
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 20:15
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    I don't understand what you mean by "wouldn't have been more helpful to put Rashi's question in its place?".
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 20:53
  • @msh, I think she means that if someone else put the headline there, couldn't they have added what prompted Rashi's comment as well, similar to sifsei chachamim but within the flow of Rashi.
    – YDK
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:14
  • Someone definitely played with the D"hM. Sometimes Rashi will explain a series of verses using the words of the pesukim, yet someone put them bolded followed by a colon, definitely not the intent of the author.
    – YDK
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:19
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    @YDK, that depends on the edition you're reading.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 0:32

3 Answers 3


Update: According to comments with better screen contrast than my own, there are marks indicating the Dibbur Hamaschil.

Here are pictures of Rashi Manuscripts. It appears to me, but maybe I'm just not seeing it, that the Dibbur Hamaschil is not in the manuscripts.


For example, check out p. 272


  • Looks to me like the dibbur hamaschil is there. In the first link for sure. I'm having trouble reading the second link, though.
    – jake
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:52
  • Excellent research! I can't help but notice that in the second link the peirush goes from Yeshayah to Trei Asar following a different order of Tanach.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:57
  • @jake, the second one indeed has the dibburei hamaschil too. The first column, for example, begins with the d.h. החרדים אל דברו.
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 0:48
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    When you identify these as original, just how original do you mean? Are these in Rashi's own hand?
    – Seth J
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 2:29
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    @SethJ they are manuscripts of Rashi from about 200 years after Rashi died.
    – avi
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 8:31

The Lubavitcher Rebbe learned many concepts in Rashi from the Dibbur Hamaschil. Therefore, it seems to come from Rashi himself.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe in a footnote says explicitly:

*ועפ"ז מובן גם מה **שרש"י מעתיק (לפני פירושו) את התות "וישלה יעקב מלאכים

"And now it's understood what [why] Rashi copied (before his explanation) the words "And Yaakov sent angels"...

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    Just to play devil's advocate, that doesn't really mean it has to come from Rashi, it just means who ever wrote it can be learned from. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 20:40
  • +1, Rabbi Yisrael Herzceg, translator of the Artscroll Rashi on Chumash and Tehillim, taught us the same thing. Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 16:10

In response to one of these questions Shmuel Brin has already commented that the Rebbe often attributed these headings to Rashi. It seems to me that many modern writers do this in the course of discussing the headings. I see three theories that would explain this: 1) They have concluded that Rashi did in fact write the headings, making headings significant and requiring explanation; 2) they don’t know whether Rashi wrote the headings or whether they are really significant, but wish to offer an explanation needed in that case; or taking a middle position, 3) they don’t know whether Rashi wrote the headings, but they see the headings as definitely significant, and just use the name “Rashi” as shorthand for “the true author of the headings, whoever that may be.”

Anyhow, the editors of ArtScroll's Sapterstein Edition of Rashi also sometimes suggest that Rashi wrote the headings. I note a few examples.

  • Gen 23:02. On p. 243, note 2, “Most versions of the text treat [Hebrew phrase]… as a heading, leading commentators to question why it is on these specific words that Rashi raises the issue… If [Hebrew phrase] is viewed as a heading, Rashi’s choice of these words to introduce his comment about the juxtaposition can be explained as follows…”
  • Gen 26:14. On p. 286, note 1, “Rashi appears to be defining only the word [Hebrew word]… Why then does he include the word [Hebrew word] in the headings?”
  • Gen 33:18. On p. 381, note 7, “Thus Rashi places this comment regarding Jacob’s escape from Laban and Esau under the heading “Upon his coming from Paddan-aram” and not under the heading “And Jacob came intact.”
  • Num 20:17. On p. 244, note 1, “The text, which includes… 'etc.' in the title, follows virtually all contemporary editions. Consequently, most of the super-commentaries on Rashi understand his comment as an explanation of the phrase “we shall not veer right or left,” which Rashi indicates with “etc.”

The notes also sometimes mention the correct headings without saying that Rashi wrote them, e.g. at Gen 37:02, p. 413 note 8 and Gen 49:04, p. 536 note 10.

Incidentally, I don’t know whom to ascribe these particular choices to, but on the title pages of this series the English translation is ascribed to Rabbi Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg in collaboration with Rabbi Yaakov Petroff and Rabbi Yoseph Kamenetsky. Contributing Editor: Rabbi Avie Gold.

I don't know of comparable examples from Rashi's other commentaries (on the other scriptural books or on the Talmud); I spend more time with this commentary than with those. But why would someone think that Rashi limited his headings to that one commentary and wrote no headings in the others?

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