Post: At the start of parashat Behaalotecha, we have the following pasuk and Rashi:
|2. Speak to Aaron and say to him: "When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah."||ב. דַּבֵּר אֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ אֶת הַנֵּרֹת אֶל מוּל פְּנֵי הַמְּנוֹרָה יָאִירוּ שִׁבְעַת הַנֵּרוֹת:|
|When you light: Heb. בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ , lit., when you cause to ascend. Since the flame rises, Scripture describes kindling in terms of ascending. He is required to kindle the lamp until the flame rises by itself (Shab. 21a). Our Sages further expounded from here that there was a step in front of the menorah, on which the kohen stood to prepare [the lamps]. — [Sifrei Beha’alothecha 3]||בהעלתך: על שם שהלהב עולה, כתוב בהדלקתן לשון עליה, שצריך להדליק עד שתהא שלהבת עולה מאליה. ועוד דרשו רבותינו, מכאן שמעלה היתה לפני המנורה שעליה הכהן עומד ומטיב:|
The first part, about kindling the lamp until the flame rises by itself, is from Shabbat 21a. But it is not in Sifrei on Behaalotecha. Only the second explanation is. If we examine this derasha on Shabbat 21a, we find:
תני רמי בר חמא פתילות ושמנים שאמרו חכמים אין מדליקין בהן בשבת אין מדליקין בהן במקדש משום שנא' (שמות כז, כ) להעלות נר תמיד הוא תני לה והוא אמר לה כדי שתהא שלהבת עולה מאיליה ולא שתהא עולה על ידי דבר אחר
Rami b. Hama recited: The wicks and oil which the Sages said, One may not light therewith on the Sabbath, one must [also] not light therewith in the Temple, because it is said, to cause a lamp to burn continually. — He recited and he interpreted it: the flame must ascend of itself, and not through something else.The pasuk cited is not the pasuk in Behaalotecha, but rather, on the phrase להעלות נר תמיד, which according to the wikisource I just used as well as the source given in a standard gemara, is the pasuk in Shemot 27:20, which is in Tetzaveh.
Examining Rashi on that pasuk in Tetzaveh, we see that he indeed cites this derasha on this pasuk. Thus:
|20. And you shall command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.||כ. וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד:|
|to kindle the lamps continually: Heb. לְהַעִלֹת, lit., to cause to rise. [The kohen] shall light it until the flame rises by itself. -[from Shab. 21a]||להעלות נר תמיד: מדליק עד שתהא שלהבת עולה מאליה:|
Note the same source given, namely Shabbat 21a. However, the same exact phrase exists elsewhere, in sefer Vayikra 24, in parashat Emor. There Rashi does not comment on this particular phrase, though he comments on several of the other phrases in the pasuk. This verse reads:
|2. Command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.||ב. צַו אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד:|
Many of these phrases, which he comments on, are common to the pasuk in Tetzaveh, above. Why does Rashi not comment on this particular phrase, where it is identical, when he does so for the non-identical phrase, in Behaalotecha.
I'll make the question stronger. If we look at our midrashic sources, we find no such midrash on Behaalotecha. I mentioned as much above. But furthermore, I could find no such midrash specifically on parashat Tetzaveh, in Shemot.
However, if we look on the Sifra for parashat Emor, siman רי"א, we find:
להעלות נד תמיד שתהא שלהבת עולה
This would indicate that the derasha is rooted not on the pasuk in Tetzaveh, but on the nearly identical pasuk in Emor. And then, when the gemara in Shabbat 21a darshens it, it is darshening the phrase from Emor. Yet on that pasuk which is the source, Rashi doesn't darshen it.
All of this is my own presentation of the question, but the meforshei Rashi consider some aspects of this question. (My own answer later.) Thus, e.g., Gur Aryeh asks:
This ends my rough summary / translation of Gur Aryeh. I marked with an asterisk (*) aspects that I found difficult or unconvincing.
Namely, to me, this על שם vs. lacking על שם does not seem like much of a distinction, and I believe it is reading too much into Rashi's choice of language. Rather, Rashi is making an effectively identical comment in bother places.
Further, it seems strange to suggest להדליק here as a "better" option. Yes, it means to burn, but it is rather uncommon in Biblical Hebrew. Usually where it occurs it means to chase furiously (thus, heatedly). Sometimes it means fever. Sometimes it is used metaphorically. Maybe there are more, but as far as I can tell, the use in Biblical Hebrew (as opposed to Biblical Aramaic, as in sefer Daniel) is limited to two instances, once in Yechezkel and once in Ovadiah. That does not mean that it is a common word used for this idea, more than להעלות. Yes, it is extremely common in Aramaic, as well as in Mishnaic / Talmudic Hebrew, but that is not really the same thing.
The difficulty which Behaalotecha resolves seems somewhat contrived, but this may be a subjective point.
Finally, if Rashi is merely not commenting in Emor because it is merely a repeat, then he should not have repeated his explanation of the word תמיד, for example. But Rashi does.
Rather, I would offer the following explanation.
Why does Rashi not cite it in Emor, where the Sifra has it? Perhaps he was paying heed to the gemara only, and did not realize the pasuk on which the derash was rooted. Or perhaps he presented it in the first place he could, and sefer Shemot is earlier. So why not repeat it, when he repeated the explanation of תמיד? Because explaining תמיד is essential to understanding the peshat meaning of the pasuk, that it burnt from one night to the next, not literally continuously. But the peshat meaning of להעלות is to light, and one would know this. What Rashi presents from the gemara or Sifra is a derasha, and an additional, somewhat tangential aspect to this lighting. It is not essential to understanding the pasuk.
I think we can make a diyuk in Rashi to demonstrate that he regards it as midrash, rather than essential peshat, even though this should be an obvious point even without this. When introducing the second explanation in Behaalotecha, he introduces it as ועוד דרשו רבותינו. This indicates to me that the first thing was also a derasha from Rabboteinu.
Why repeat the derasha in parashat Behaalotecha, then? Didn't he already darshen it in one place?
I think the answer lies in part in the questions I raised above. Note that the gemara didn't darshen based on the word בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ. Nor does it seem to appear in any midrash on this particular pasuk. Rashi is rather borrowing a foreign midrash and applying it to this pasuk. Why would he do this?
My answer would be that we should remember that this is the start of a sidra, and indeed, the sidra is named בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ. Many commentators are well aware of the start of a new sidra, and comment on it. The word בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ, which occurs nowhere else in Tanach, is brought to prominence.
Because it is the beginning of a sidra, Rashi gives a nice introduction, relating it to a previous section:
|When you light: Why is the portion dealing with the menorah juxtaposed to the portion dealing with the chieftains? For when Aaron saw the dedication [offerings] of the chieftains, he felt distressed over not joining them in this dedication-neither he nor his tribe. So God said to him, “By your life, yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and prepare the lamps.” - [Tanchuma Beha’alothecha 3]||בהעלתך: למה נסמכה פרשת המנורה לפרשת הנשיאים, לפי שכשראה אהרן חנוכת הנשיאים חלשה דעתו, שלא היה עמהם בחנוכה, לא הוא ולא שבטו, אמר לו הקב"ה חייך, שלך גדולה משלהם, שאתה מדליק ומטיב את הנרות|
And then, he gives not one, but two explanations of Behaalotecha:
|When you light: Heb. בְּהַעֲלֹתְ, lit., when you cause to ascend. Since the flame rises, Scripture describes kindling in terms of ascending. He is required to kindle the lamp until the flame rises by itself (Shab. 21a). Our Sages further expounded from here that there was a step in front of the menorah, on which the kohen stood to prepare [the lamps]. — [Sifrei Beha’alothecha 3]||בהעלתך: על שם שהלהב עולה, כתוב בהדלקתן לשון עליה, שצריך להדליק עד שתהא שלהבת עולה מאליה. ועוד דרשו רבותינו, מכאן שמעלה היתה לפני המנורה שעליה הכהן עומד ומטיב:|
The second one is local, from Sifrei, and was actually said on the pasuk. But the first one, as we have seen, was borrowed from elsewhere. And this stress on the word makes sense when we consider that the parsha is named for this word.
The correct question, from my perspective, was to ask what was motivating Rashi rather than what was bothering Rashi. Considering מה קשה לרש"י is not always optimal, because it may well lead you on the wrong path, carefully analyzing insignificant changes in Rashi's phraseology, or inventing difficulties Rashi is coming to solve when nothing was really bothering Rashi. And this shifts for many of us, incorrectly, the very definition of peshat.