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In Shemot 12:34 we are told that Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim מִשְׁאֲרֹתָ֛ם צְרֻרֹ֥ת בְּשִׂמְלֹתָ֖ם עַל־שִׁכְמָֽם Older translations followed Ibn Ezra and Targum, that they left Mitzrayim with their 'kneading troughs wrapped in their clothing, [carried] on their shoulders.' Rashi there, however, defines מִשְׁאֲרֹתָ֛ם as 'leftovers,' which Artscroll, Aryeh Kaplan etc follow, and there is the takeaway that, as Rabbi Frand put it, you don't pack what you really value in checked luggage; it stays with you as carry-on.

All fine and good.

But back in Shemot 7:28, when the frogs are invading every nook and cranny of Mitzrayim, that verse uses the same word וּבְמִשְׁאֲרוֹתֶֽיךָ and this time Rashi is silent.

Everyone seems to accept the kneading trough idea at 7:28. What led Rashi to offer a very different interpretation for 12:34?

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    What led Rashi to change his mind First of all, as you note, Rashi is silent there, so we don't know what he held. Even if he held it meant a trough, I assume you agree that words can have multiple meaning. There is therefore nothing internally contraditory about Rashi's position, even assuming that he interprets 7:28 as a trough. Rather, the question would appear to be, why Rashi assumes one meaning in 12:34. Just confirming that this is your intent... – mevaqesh Mar 8 '17 at 5:20
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Rashi had apparent access to early Midrash, which suggested that the מִשְׁאֲרֹתָ֛ם were “leftovers.” The halakhic Midrash that was extant at the time was from the school of R. Ishmael, which is the Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael. In tractate Pisḥa, Chapter XIII, we read the following in regard to Exodus 12:34:

Their kneading-troughs (Mishʾarotam). This refers to the “left-overs” of the unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You interpret it so. Perhaps this is not so, but it means the left-overs of the paschal sacrifices? When it says: “And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning” (v. 10), behold then it forbids having “left-overs” of the paschal sacrifice. Hence what is meant by “their kneading-troughs (Mishʾarotam) being bound up in their clothes”? The “left-overs” of the unleavened bread and bitter herbs.


Reference:
Lauterbach, Jacob Z. (2004). Mekilta de-Rabbi Ishmael (New ed.). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 72.

  • Then you should attribute it. IANAL, but even if there's no copyright violation, plagiarism is not nice and is against site policy. – msh210 Mar 9 '17 at 16:15

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