The gemara Archin 8b darshens that “tzikascha k’harerei E-l” refers to nigei adam, which Hashem in his mercy limits to affecting a person for a week. The continuation of the pasuk, “mishpatecha tehom rabbah,” refers to nigei batim, where the punishment is more severe in that it can stretch out for three weeks.
The gemara then asks, “Pashtei d’kra b’mai?” and brings two similar explanations to the pasuk that read it as saying that G-d shows great mercy in tempering and mitigating the verdict that strict justice would call for.
What do Chazal mean when they refer to “pashtei d’kra?” Despite the word “pashtei” in there, it does not seem to mean what the Rishonim like Rashi call “pshat,” because if you look at Rashi or the Metzudas David, they don’t simply quote this gemara. It seems that the gemara’s “pashtei d’kra” is itself a derasha, albeit a derasha that is closer to the plain meaning of the words than the derasha that links the pasuk to nega’im. So are there different levels of derashos? The term “pashtei d’kra” is not all that common, so are these isolated exceptional cases, or in general are there different levels of derash? Does it make any nafka minah (except in our understanding of things?)