The virtue of the famous Bible commentary by Rashi, grape grower and teacher, lies in its diversity--and its lack of originality.

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“On account of: The power of his acts has he [God] related to his people, to give them the territory of nations. (Psalm 111:6) If the nations of the world say to Israel, 'Robbers are you, for you have conquered the lands of the seven nations!'—Israel can say to them: 'All the land is the Holy One blessed be He's. He created it, and he has given it to those who are right in his eyes. By his will he gave it to them, and by his will he took it back from them and gave it to us.'"

The Book of Genesis places seven peoples in the land of Canaan before Abraham came to possess it by the command of God. The Torah intro­duces in Genesis the notions of God's dominion over all that he created and of God's covenant with the ancestors of Israel. [Thus] Rashi elucidates the logic underlying the topical arrangement of the Torah.

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Edward L. Greenstein is professor of Bible at Tel Aviv University and author of Reader Responsibility: The Making of Meaning in Biblical Narrative.