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About RASHI רש״י
Rashi was the outstanding Biblical commentator of the Middle Ages. He was born in Troyes, France, and lived from 1040 to 1105. He is considered the "father" of all commentaries that followed on the Talmud since the fifteenth century,
Acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of the text in a concise yet lucid fashion, Rashi appeals to both learned scholars and beginning students, and his works remain a centerpiece of contemporary Jewish study.
- Rashi in Wiki;
- Institut Universitaire Européen Rachi
- In the foots of Rashi - tourism in Troyes en Champagne;
- A glimpse on Rashi on YouTube
It is very difficult to mention any part of the Jewish Bible with out mentioning the commentary of Rashi. No one person seems to have had such a deep impact on Jewish learning in the past thousand years as this man has had. In addition to the monumentous and basic commentary on the five books of Moses, Rashi commented on most of the books of the Tanach, meaning the prophets and other biblical writings, plus most of the often-studied tractates of the Babylonian Talmud. His explanation is often the basis for all Jewish understanding of the scriptures and legal principles in Judaism.
Many people today wear the "tephilin of Rashi" and a type setting in Hebrew is called the Rashi script or font due to the popularity of his commentary that was written using it.
Who was Rashi?
Rashi is the acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, a French Jew who was born in Troyes, a city in the north of France in 1040. Rashi lived sixty-five years and died on 1105.
Legend has it that before Rashi was born, his father, Yitzchak had in his possession a very beautiful and precious gem. Some idolaters heard about this gem and wanted to acquire it to place it in the crown of their idol. The idolaters were incessant in their demands for the precious stone and offered exorbitant sums of money to Rashi's father. When he refused to sell it to them they threatened him physically. Fearing that his stone would be used for idolatry, his father threw the gem into the ocean. In the merit of self-sacrifice, it was decreed in heaven that the special soul of Rashi should come down and be the son of this man.
It is related that the prophet Eliyahu was given the honor of holding the baby Rashi on his lap for his circumcision. Dressed as a beggar he arrived at the circumcision close to the end of the eighth day. A crowd had assembled earlier in the day for the circumcision, as is the custom to make it early in the day. Rashi's father, however, refused to start until a strange beggar appeared close to the sunset. However, Rashi's father recognized that this beggar was the prophet Eliyahu and gave him the special honors reserved for important personages.
As a youth, Rashi studied the traditional Jewish subjects with some of the greatest Talmudic scholars of that period. One of the known teachers of Rashi was Rabbi Yaakov ben Yakar who lived in Germany, who himself was a student of the famous Rabbeinu Gershom who is still known today for placing the ban on polygamy. Since the ban of Rabbeinu Gershom, Jewish men ceased to have more than one wife, even though the Bible permitted it.
Although Rashi became one of the greatest scholars of his time and wrote on most of the basic Jewish texts, he had a house of study where he taught students also. Rashi, in keeping with the custom of not taking money for teaching, was a successful wine merchant.
Rashi had no sons. He had two daughters (some say he had three daughters). These two daughters were married to outstanding Torah scholars. His grandsons became the very famous "tosepoth" scholars whom are the prime dissenters on the famous commentary of Rashi on the Talmud. Although they argue strongly against many of Rashi's explanations in the Talmud, it is only with the greatest respect that they differ with him. The chief of this group was his grandson, Yaakov, known as Rabbainu Tam. His numerous grandsons, due to their constant use of Rashi's explanations on the Talmud and their disagreement with it, caused a great increase in the study of the Talmud and in the level of understanding. In addition to becoming outstanding scholars, Rashi's grandchildren dispersed though out Europe and were responsible for the increase in the level of Talmudic learning among the European Jewry. Many new Talmudic academies (yeshivot) were created by these grandchildren.
In addition to the famous "tosephot" explanations and commentaries of the Talmudic literature, another grandson, Shlomo, known as the Rashbam, who was literally raised on the lap of his illustrious grandfather wrote a commentary on the five books of Moses which differs sharply with that of Rashi.
It must be mentioned that although his grandchildren wrote many differing commentaries and explanations to the Talmud and the five books of Moses, Rashi's commentary still remains the undisputed prime source for understanding. Subsequent scholars have labored through out the generations to explain Rashi's ideas against those of his grandchildren.
Rashi left a legacy of scholarship and piety that continues to influence all Jewish thought through out all generations. It is difficult to find an institution of Jewish learning today that does not learn Rashi's various explanations. There is no article on Rashi that can take the place of actually learning his commentary. His explanation on the Torah has been translated by several different translators into English and is available at most Jewish bookstores. This is perhaps the best place to understand the traditional Jewish ideas and philosophies in the Bible.
33'rd generation to Rabbi Yohanan the Sandler, 4th generation to Rabban Gamliel the Elder, son of Shimon the Nassi (President), son of Hillel the Elder, of Shfatia ben Avital - son of King David
Page 65 of Anaf Etz Avot.
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Rashi Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, better known by the acronym Rashi, (February 22, 1040 – July 13, 1105), was a rabbi from France, famed as the author of the first comprehensive commentaries on the Talmud, Torah and Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
Acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of the text in a concise yet lucid fashion, Rashi appeals to both learned scholars and beginning students, and his works remain a centerpiece of contemporary Jewish study. His commentaries, which appear in all printed editions of the Talmud and most printed editions of the Torah (notably the Chumash), are an indispensable aid to both casual and serious students of Judaism's primary texts.
Born in Troyes, Rashi departed while in his teens to study at the Yeshivot of Mainz and Worms. He returned to Troyes and founded his own yeshiva in 1067. Scholars believe that Rashi's commentary on the Talmud grew out of the lectures he gave to his students in his yeshiva, and evolved with the questions and answers they raised. Rashi completed this commentary in the last years of his life. It was immediately accepted as authoritative by all Jewish communities, Ashkenazi and Sephardi alike. His commentary, which covers nearly all of the Babylonian Talmud (a total of 30 tractates), has been included in every edition of the Talmud since its first printing in the 1520s.
Rashi's surname Yitzhaki derives from his father's name, Yitzhak. The acronym is sometimes also fancifully expanded as Rabban Shel Israel, or as Rabbenu SheYichyeh" (רבינו שיחיה), our Rabbi, may he live.
Birth and early life
Rashi was the only child born to his parents, at Troyes, Champagne, northern France. On his father Yitzchak's side, he has been claimed by many to be a 33rd generation descendant of Rabbi Yochanan Hasandlar, who was a fourth generation descendant of Rabban Gamaliel Hazaken (the Elder) who was reputedly descended from the royal house of King David. Rashi himself, in his voluminous writings made no such claim at all. The major early rabbinical source about his ancestry, Responsum No. 29 by Rabbi Solomon Luria, makes no such claim either. His mother's brother was Rabbi Simon the Elder, community leader of Mainz.
Several legends surrounding Rashi's birth have passed into Jewish folklore. Two of the most famous stories concern his conception and birth:
Rashi's parents were childless for many years. One day, his father, a poor vintner, found a valuable gem (some versions say a pearl). A bishop (or mighty lord) wished to acquire this jewel for decorating the church (or his vestments), however rather than have this jewel be used for such a purpose, Yitzchak threw it into the Seine. When he arrived home, a man was waiting for him. "You threw the gemstone into the water so it wouldn't be used for idolatry," the man told him. "Now your wife will have a son who will illuminate the world with his Torah." This harbinger was none other than the Prophet Elijah; the following year, Yitzchak and his wife were blessed with a son.
Another legend tells that Yitzchak decided to move temporarily to the city of Worms, Germany. He and his wife lived in the Jewish quarter and attended the small synagogue there, awaiting the birth of their child. One day, as Yitzchak's wife was walking down the narrow alley, two large carriages came charging through the alley. There was no room to escape; she turned to the wall and pressed herself against it. According to legend, the wall softened and accommodated her pregnant form. The carriages rushed by and she was unscathed. To this day, an indentation in the size, height and shape of a woman's pregnant belly in the wall of the Rashi Shul (1175) is shown to visitors to the city.
According to tradition, Rashi was first brought to learn Torah by his father on Shavuot day at the age of five. His father was his main Torah teacher until his death when Rashi was still a youth. At the age of 17 Rashi married, and in the manner of young Torah scholars of the time, soon after went to learn in the yeshiva of Rabbi Yaakov ben Yakar in Worms, returning to his wife at the end of each semester. When Rabbi Yaakov died in 1064, Rashi continued learning in Worms for another year in the yeshiva of his relative, Rabbi Isaac ben Eliezer Halevi, who was also chief rabbi of Worms. Then he moved to Mainz, where he studied under another of his relatives, Rabbi Isaac ben Judah, the rabbinic head of Mainz and one of the leading sages of the Lorraine region straddling France and Germany.
Rashi's teachers were students of Rabbeinu Gershom and Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol, leading Talmudists of the previous generation. From his teachers, Rashi imbibed all the oral traditions pertaining to the Talmud as they had been passed down for centuries, as well as an understanding of the Talmud's unique logic and form of argument. Rashi's fellow yeshiva students contributed to the learning with their knowledge of international business, commodities production, farming, craftsmanship, sailing and soldiering. Rashi took concise, copious notes of everything he learned in yeshiva, incorporating much of this material in his later commentaries.
Return to Troyes
He returned to Troyes at the age of 25, after which time his mother died, and he was asked to join the Troyes beth din (rabbinical court). He also began answering halakhic questions. Upon the death of the head of the beth din, Rabbi Zerach ben Abraham, Rashi assumed the court's leadership and answered hundreds of halakhic queries.
About 1070, he founded a yeshiva which attracted many disciples. It is thought by some that Rashi earned his living as a vintner since Rashi shows an extensive knowledge of its utensils and process, but there is no evidence for this. Although there are many legends about his travels, Rashi likely never went further than from the Seine to the Rhine; the utmost limit of his travels were the yeshivot of Lorraine.
In 1096, the People's Crusade swept through the Lorraine, murdering 12,000 Jews and uprooting whole communities. Among those murdered in Worms were the three sons of Rabbi Isaac ben Eliezer Halevi, Rashi's teacher. Rashi wrote several Selichot (penitential poems) mourning the slaughter and the destruction of the region's great yeshivot. Seven of Rashi's Selichot still exist, including Adonai Elohei Hatz'vaot", which is recited on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, and Az Terem Nimtehu, which is recited on the Fast of Gedalia.
Rashi returned to help rebuild the destroyed Jewish Community of Worms, and rededicated the synagogue. He composed a liturgical poem, Titnem Leherpa, cursing those responsible for the destruction: "Make them a mockery, a curse, a disgrace; heap upon them a furious wrath and hateful vengeance; cast fear and panic upon them; send angels of destruction against them. and cut them down to the last man." Marching through Hungary, the Crusaders came into repeated conflict with the local population, and lost a quarter of their number.
Rashi had no sons, but his three daughters, Yocheved, Miriam and Rachel, all married Talmudic scholars. Yocheved married Meir ben Shmuel—their four sons were Shmuel (the Rashbam) (1085-1174), Yaakov (Rabbeinu Tam) (c. 1100- c. 1171), and Yitzchak (the Rivam)—who were known as the Baalei Tosafos—and the grammarian Shlomo, who died young. Yocheved's daughter, Chanah, was a teacher of laws and customs relevant to women. Rashi's daughter Miriam married Judah ben Nathan; their daughter, named Alvina, was a learned woman whose customs served as the basis for later halakhic decisions. Their son Yom Tov later moved to Paris and headed a yeshiva there. Rachel married (and divorced) Eliezer ben Shemiah. Rumours exist that his daughters put on tefillin (Jewish Ritual objects). However, both commentaries from Rashi and his grandsons the Baalei Tosafos on the Talmud Eruvin shows their view that such actions are not acceptable under Jewish law, even as early as the Davidic reign of ancient Israel.
From Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, comes a magical book that introduces us to the towering figure of Rashi—Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki—the great biblical and Talmudic commentator of the Middle Ages...
The incomparable scholar Rashi, whose phrase-by-phrase explication of the oral law has been included in every printing of the Talmud since the fifteenth century, was also a spiritual and religious leader. His perspective, encompassing both the mundane and the profound, is timeless...
Both beginners and advanced students of the Bible rely on Rashi’s groundbreaking commentary for simple text explanations and Midrashic interpretations. Wiesel, a descendant of Rashi, proves a consummate guide who enables us to appreciate both the lucidity of Rashi’s writings and the tumultuous world in which they were formed.
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi, (Hebrew: רבי שלמה יצחקי), better known by the acronym Rashi (Hebrew: רש"י)
Rashi was the outstanding Biblical commentator of the Middle Ages. He was born in Troyes, France, and lived from 1040 to 1105, surviving the massacres of the First Crusade through Europe. He was a fantastic scholar and studied with the greatest student of Rabbenu Gershom of Mainz
At twenty-five, he founded his own academy in France. Rashi's commentary on the Bible was unique. His concern was for every word in the text which need elaboration or explanation. Moreover, he used the fewest words possible in his commentaries.
Most of his explanations were not written by him. Apparently, students would ask him questions about the text, or he would rhetorically ask questions about specific words, and a student would write his short, lucid answers in the margin of the parchment text. These answers comprise Rashi's commentary. We now have the answers, but the trick to studying Rashi is to figure out what the problem was with the text or the grammar of a given word.
Besides explaining individual words, Rashi also made use of the the great oceans of midrash. However, instead of just quoting the early rabbis, Rashi applied the stories specifically to the Bible text; often abridging them. He assumed that his students knew the midrash; he just emphasized its immediate relevance to the TaNaCH.
Rashi is also important for students of French. Many words in the Bible were unknown to Rashi's students, and obviously there would ask what a particular word meant and Rashi would give the answer in Old French using Hebrew transliteration. These transliterations provide important insights into the development of French and its pronunciation.
The original printed Bible text by Daniel Bomberg in 1517 included Rashi's commentary. That commentary became so popular that there are now more than 200 commentaries on his commentary. It is assumed in traditional circles that when you read the TaNaCh, you also read Rashi.
Rashi's commentary on the Talmud was even more important than his TaNaCh commentary. The Talmud was written in legalese: terse, unexplained language with no punctuation. Rashi provided a simple explanation of all Gemarra discussions. He explained all of the terse phrases; he explained the principles and concepts assumed by the sages who put together the Gemarra.
His simple, brief explanations for practically every phrase of the Gemarra made the Talmud understandable to the non-scholar. It became an instant best seller, and, to this day, it is unthinkable to study Talmud without studying Rashi's commentary at the same time.
Rashi's explanations and commentaries on the Talmud were so important that for almost a hundred years after his death, Talmud students in France and Germany concentrated their brilliant minds on discussing and elaborating on Rashi's commentary. Just as the monks were concentrating on deep philosophical discussions of Christian theology, France's Jewish scholars were focusing on the Talmud and its text. Their complicated (and sometimes convoluted) commentaries were called Tosafot (Additions). The scholars who created these additions were called the Tosafists (Those Who Added).
The most famous of these Tosafists was Rashi's grandson, Rabbenu Tam, who frequently disagreed with his grandfather. Today on every page of Talmud you can find Rashi's commentary surrounding the text on the inside of the page, and the Tosafot surrounding the text on the outside of the page.
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, Rashi, French commentator on Bible and Talmud; born at Troyes in 1040; died there July 13, 1105. His fame has made him the subject of many legends.
The name of Yarḥi, applied to him as early as the sixteenth century, originated in a confusion of Solomon bar Isaac with one Solomon de Lunel, and a further error caused the town of Lunel to be regarded as Rashi's birthplace. In reality he was a native of Troyes, where, a century ago, butcher-shops were still shown which were built on the site of his dwelling and which flies were said never to enter.
According to tradition, Rashi's father carried his religious zeal so far that he cast into the sea a gem that was much coveted by Christians, whereupon he heard a mysterious voice which foretold him the birth of a noble son. Legend states also that his mother, imperiled in one of the narrow streets of Worms during her pregnancy, pressed against a wall, which opened to receive her. This miraculous niche is still shown there, as well as the bench from which Rashi taught.
As a matter of fact, however, Rashi merely studied at Worms for a time, his first teacher being Jacob b. Yaḳar, of whom he speaks with great veneration. After Jacob's death his place was successively filled by Isaac ben Eleazar ha-Levi, or Segan Lewiyah, and by Rashi's relative Isaac b. Judah, the head of the school of Mayence, a school rendered illustrious through R. Gershom b. Judah (the "Light of the Exile"), who may be regarded as Rashi's precursor, although he was never his teacher.
Tradition to the contrary notwithstanding, Rashi never made the extensive journey through Europe, Asia and Africa which have been attributed to him, and accounts of which have been embellished with details of a meeting with Maimonides and of Rashi's marriage at Prague.
About the age of twenty-five he seems to have left his masters, with whom he always maintained most friendly relations. His return to Troyes was epoch-making, for thenceforth the schools of Champagne and northern France were destined to rival, and shortly to supplant, those of the Rhenish provinces.
Rashi most likely exercisedthe functions of rabbi in his native city, but he seems to have depended for support chiefly on his vineyards and the manufacture of wine.
About 1070 he founded a school which attracted many disciples and which became still more important after the death of his own preceptors. His most noted pupils were Simḥah of Vitry and Shemaiah, who were his kinsmen, and Judah b. Abraham, Joseph b. Judah, and Jacob b. Samson.
He had no sons, but three daughters, of whom Miriam and Jochebed married two of his pupils, Judah b. Nathan and Meïr b. Samuel; so that his family became, in a sense, the diffusers of rabbinical learning in France.
Rashi's training bore fruit in his commentaries, possibly begun while he was still in Lorraine. His last years were saddened by the massacres which took place at the outset of the first Crusade (1095-1096), in which he lost relatives and friends.
One legend connects his name with that of Godfrey de Bouillon, to whom he is said to have foretold the defeat of his expedition; while another tradition attributes to him a journey to Barcelona, in the latter part of his life, to seek a man indicated to him in a dream as destined to be his comrade in paradise. Another legend further states that he died and was buried in Prague.J. M. Lib.
Rashi's commentary on the Pentateuch was first printed without the text at Reggio in 1475 (the first dated Hebrew book printed); five years later it was reprinted in square characters. Its first appearance with the text was at Bologna in 1482, the commentary being given in the margin; this was the first commentary so printed. Since that date there have been published a great many editions of the Pentateuch with Rashi's commentary only.
At different periods other parts of the Old Testament appeared with his commentary: the Five Scrolls (Bologna, c. 1484); the Five Scrolls, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah (Naples, 1487); Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Daniel (Salonica, 1515); the Pentateuch, the Five Scrolls, Ezra, and Chronicles (Venice, 1517). The editio princeps of Rashi on the whole of the Old Testament was called "Miḳra'ot Gedolot" (ib. 1525), in which, however, of Proverbs and the books of Job and Daniel the text alone was given.
Owing to its importance, Rashi's commentary was translated into Latin by Christian scholars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some parts several times. The most complete Latin translation is that of John Frederick Breithaupt, which appeared at Gotha: on the Pentateuch, 1710; on the Prophets, the twelve Minor Prophets, Job, and Psalms, 1713; on the Earlier Prophets and the Hagiographa, 1714. The whole commentary on the Pentateuch was translated into German by L. Dukes (Prague, 1838), and parts of it were translated into Judæo-German by Judah Löb Bresch in his edition of the Pentateuch (Cremona, 1560), and likewise by Jacob b. Isaac in his "Sefer ha-Maggid" (Prague, 1576).
No other commentaries have been the subject of so many supercommentaries as those of Rashi. The best known of these supercommentaries are: the "bi'urim" of Israel Isserlein (Venice, 1519); the "Sefer ha-Mizraḥi" of Elijah Mizraḥi (ib. 1527); the "Keli Yaḳar" of Solomon Ephraim of Lenchitza (Lublin, 1602); and finally the most popular one,the "Sifte Ḥakamim" of Shabbethai Bass (appearing in many Pentateuch editions by the side of Rashi's commentary.)
Lacunæ in Talmud Commentaries.
Rashi's commentary on the Talmud covers the Mishnah (only in those treatises where there is Gemara) and the Gemara. In the various editions Rashi is assumed to include all the treatises of the Talmud, with the exception of Makkot from 19b to end, Baba Batra from 29b to end, and Nedarim from 22b to end. Modern scholars, however, have shown that the commentaries on the following treatises do not belong to Rashi: Keritot and Me'ilah (Zunz, in his "Zeitschrift," p. 368), Mo'ed Ḳaṭan (Reifmann, in "Monatsschrift," iii. 229, who credits the commentary on this treatise to Gershon Me'or ha-Golah). Nazir and Nedarim (allotted by Reifmann, l.c., to Isaiah di Trani), and Ta'anit (Azulai, "Shem ha-Gedolim," i. 168). Rashi's commentary on the treatise Berakot was printed with the text at Soncino in 1483.
The editio princeps of the whole of the Talmud, with Rashi, is that of Venice, 1520-22. Rashi's mishnaic commentary was printed with the Basel 1580 (the order Ṭohorot) and the Leghorn 1654 (all six orders) editions. A commentary on Pirḳe Abot was printed, with the text, at Mantua in 1560 and was attributed to Rashi; the critics, however, doubt that the commentary is his work. Rashi's Talmudic commentary was soon afterward the object of severe criticism by the tosafists, who designated it under the term "ḳonṭres" (pamphlet).
But in the seventeenth century Joshua Höschel b. Joseph, in his "Maginne Shelomoh" (Amsterdam, 1715), a work covering several treatises, defended Rashi against the attacks of the tosafists.
Other works attributed to Rashi are: commentaries on Genesis Rabbah (Venice, 1568; not Rashi's according to Jacob Emden in his "'Eẓ Abot," Preface) and Exodus Rabbah (Vatican MS.): "Sefer ha-Pardes," a collection of halakot and decisions (a compendium, entitled "Liḳḳuṭe ha-Pardes" [Venice, 1519], was made about 1220 by Samuel of Bamberg); "Siddur Rashi," mentioned in Tos. Pes. 114 (MS. owned by Luzzatto); "Dine Niḳḳur ha-Basar" (Mantua, 1560), laws of porging. Several decisions found in the "Sefer ha-Pardes" are separately quoted as Rashi's. Rashi's responsum to the rabbis of Auxerre was published by Geiger in his "Melo Chofnajim" (p. 33, Berlin, 1840). Two other responsa are to be found in Judah b. Asher's "Zikron Yehudah" (pp. 50a, 52b, Berlin, 1846), and twenty-eight were published by Baer Goldberg in his "Ḥefes Maṭmonim" (Berlin, 1845). Rashi was also a liturgist; three seliḥot of his, beginning respectively: "Adonai Elohe ha-Ẓeba'ot," "Az ṭerem nimtaḥu," and "Tannot ẓarot lo nukal," are found in the seliḥot editions; his hymn on the unity of God ("Shir 'al aḥdut habore") has not yet been published.J. M. Sel.
Rashi's attainments appear the more remarkable when it is remembered that he confined himself to Jewish fields of learning.
Legend notwithstanding, he knew neither foreign languages, except French and a few words of German, nor secular science, save something of the practical arts. But in Biblical and rabbinical literature his learning was both extensive and reliable, and his numerous quotations show that he was familiar with nearly all the Hebrew and Aramaic works of his predecessors.
Rashi's celebrity rests upon his commentaries on the Bible and the Talmud, this vast task of elucidation being entirely his own, except for a few books in the one and certain treatises in the other. They are not consecutive commentaries, but detached glosses on difficult terms or phrases. Their primary quality is perfect clearness: Rashi's explanations always seem adequate. He manifests also a remarkable facility in the elucidation of obscure or disputed points, recurring, whenever he finds it necessary, to schemata.
His language is not only clear, but precise, taking into consideration the actual context and the probable meaning and reproducing every varying shade of thought and signification. Yet it is never diffuse; its terseness is universally conceded. A single word frequently suffices to summarize a remark or anticipate a question.
Rashi sometimes translates words and entire propositions into French, these passages, written in Hebrew characters and forming an integral part of the text, being called "la'azim." Rashi was not the first to employ them, but he greatly extended their use by adopting them.
His commentaries contain 3,157 la'azim, forming a vocabulary of 2,000 words, a certain number of which are contained in later Hebrew-French glossaries. These glosses are of value not only as expressions of the author's thought, but as providing material for the reconstruction of Old French, both phonologically and lexicographically. It is not difficult to retransliterate them into French, as they are transcribed according to a definite system, despite frequent corruptions by the copyists. A large number of manuscripts were read and much material bearing on the la'azim was collected by Arsène Darmesteter, but the work was interrupted by his death.
The Biblical commentaries are based on the Targumim and the Masorah, which Rashi follows, although without servile imitation. He knew and used the almost contemporary writings of Moses ha-Darshan of Narbonne and of Menahem b. Ḥelbo, of whom the former confined himself to the literal meaning of the text while the latter conceded much to the Haggadah. The two principal sources from which Rashi derived his exegesis were the Talmudicmidrashicmidrashic literature and the hermeneutic processes which it employs—the "peshaṭ" and the "derash." Rashi, unfortunately, attributed too great importance to the second process, often at the expense of the first, although he intended it, as he states on several occasions, only to elucidate the simple, obvious meaning of the text.
To his immediate followers he entrusted the honorable task of completing the reaction against the tendencies of his age, for his own scientific education was not without deficiencies. His grammatical knowledge was obviously inadequate, although he was acquainted with the works of the Judæo-Spanish grammarians Menahem b. Saruḳ and Dunash b. Labraṭ, and had gained a thorough knowledge of Hebrew. Rashi's qualifications for his task, and even his faults, have made his commentaries on the Bible, particularly on the Pentateuch, especially suitable for general reading and edification, and have won for him the epithet of "Parshandatha" (Esth. ix. 7), taken by some writers as "parshan data" (= "interpreter of the Law").
On the Talmud.
Rashi's commentaries on the Talmud are more original and more solid in tone than those on the Scriptures. Some were revised by the author himself, while others were written down by his pupils. Here, as in his Biblical exegesis, he followed certain models, among them the commentaries of his teachers, of which he often availed himself, although he sometimes refuted them. Like them, and sometimes in opposition to them, Rashi began by preparing a rigid recension of the Talmud, which has become the received text, and which is the most natural and most logical, even though not invariably authentic. To explain this text he endeavored to elucidate the whole, with special reference to the development and discussions of the Gemara, striving to explain the context, grammar, and etymology, as well as obscure words, and to decide the meaning and import of each opinion advanced. He was seldom superficial, but studied the context thoroughly, considering every possible meaning, while avoiding distortion or artificiality. He frequently availed himself of parallel passages in the Talmud itself, or of other productions of Talmudic literature; and when perplexed he would acknowledge it without hesitation.
A list of general rules to which he conforms and which may be found in his Biblical commentaries presents the rudiments of an introduction to the Bible, resembling the collection of principles formulated by him in his commentaries on the Talmud and constituting an admirable Talmudic methodology. These commentaries contain, more over, a mass of valuable data regarding students of the Talmud, and the history, manners, and customs of the times in which they lived. Whether they were derived from written sources, oral tradition, or imagination, their consistency and ingenuity are praised by scholars, who frequently draw upon them for material.
As a rule, Rashi confined himself strictly to commentatorial activity, although he frequently deemed it necessary to indicate what was the halakah, the definite solution of a problem in cases in which such a solution was the subject of controversy or doubt, or could not readily be discerned amid the mass of Talmudic controversy, or was indispensable for a clear comprehension either of a text under consideration or of passages relating to it. In every case Rashi's authority carried a weight equal to that of the leading "poseḳim," and it would have had still more influence if his rulings and his responsa, which his disciples carefully noted—as they did also even his slightest acts and gestures—had been united in one collection, as was the case with the Spanish and German Talmudists, instead of being scattered through a number of compilations. The most important of these collections are: the "Sefer ha-Pardes," often attributed to Rashi himself, but in reality composed of two others, one of which was probably made by Rashi's pupil Shemaiah; the "Sefer ha-Orah," also compiled from two other works, the first containing fragments which apparently date from the time of Rashi's followers; the "Sefer Issur we-Hetter"; the "Maḥzor Vitry," a more homogeneous work (with additions by Isaac b. Dorbolo), compiled by Simḥah of Vitry, a pupil of Rashi, who introduced into it, in the order of the events of the ecclesiastical year, his teacher's laws of jurisprudence and his responsa. The first and fourth of these works were published respectively at Constantinople in 1805 and at Berlin in 1892, and editions of the remaining two have been projected by Buber.
The responsa of Rashi throw a flood of light on the character of both their author and his period. The chief subjects of discussion are the wine of non-Jews and the relations between Jews and baptized Jews (possibly an echo of the times of the Crusades). In his solutions of these Rashi shows sound judgment and much mildness. No high degree of praise, however, can beawarded to several liturgical poems attributed to Rashi, for they rank no higher than the bulk of the class to which they belong, although their style is smooth and flowing and they breathe a spirit of sadness and a sincere and tender love of God.
If the merit of a work be proportionate to the scientific activity which it evokes, the literature to which it gives rise, and the influence which it exerts, few books can surpass those of Rashi. His writings circulated with great rapidity, and his commentary on the Talmud greatly extended the knowledge of the subject, thus increasing the number of Talmudic schools in France, which soon came to be of great importance, especially those at Troyes, Ramerupt, Dampierre, Paris, and Sens.
His two sons-in-law, Judah b. Nathan (RIBaN) and Meïr b. Samuel, and especially the latter's three sons. Samuel(RaSHBaM), Judah, and Jacob (R. Tam), were the first of a succession of tosafists who were closely identified in work and methods with Rashi. The achievements of their leader in Biblical exegesis, a favorite study of almost all of the tosafists, were equally lasting and productive, even though later commentaries, written in imitation of Rashi's, at times surpass their model. Samuel b. Meïr, Joseph Ḳara, Joseph Bekor Shor, and Eliezer of Beaugency are the best known but by no means the only representatives of this brilliant French school, which has never won the recognition which its originality, simplicity, and boldness merit.
The fame of Rashi soon spread beyond the boundaries of northern France and the German provinces of the Rhine. Shortly after his death he was known not only in Provence, but in Spain and even in the East. The Spanish exegetes, among them Abraham ibn Ezra and Naḥmanides, and such Talmudists as Zerahiah Gerondi, recognized his authority, although at first they frequently combatted his opinions.
In France itself, however, repeated expulsions by successive kings and the burning of Hebrew books, as at Paris in 1240, scattered the Jews and destroyed their institutions of learning. Throughout these persecutions the Bible and the Talmud, with the commentaries of Rashi, were their inseparable companions, and were often their supreme as well as their only solace, and the chief bond of their religious unity.
The French Jews carried their literature with them and diffused it among foreign communities, in which its popularity steadily increased. Rashi's commentaries on the Talmud became the text-book for rabbis and students, and his commentary on the Pentateuch the common study of the people. The popularity of the works extended to their author, and innumerable legends were woven about his name, while illustrious families claimed descent from him. This universal esteem is attested by the numerous works of which his commentaries were the subject, among them being the supercommentaries of Elijah Mizraḥi and Shabbethai Bass, which have passed through numerous editions and copies, while Rashi's commentary on the Pentateuch is the first Hebrew work of which the date of publication is known (Reggio, Feb., 1475).
Rashi's influence was not confined to Jewish circles. Thus the French monk Nicolas de Lyre (d. 1340), the author of the "Postillæ Perpetuæ" on the Bible, was largely dependent on the commentaries of Rashi, which he regarded as an official repository of rabbinical tradition, although his explanations occasionally differed from theirs. Nicolas in his turn exercised a powerful influence on Martin Luther, whose, exegesis thus owes much, in the last analysis, to the Jewish scholar of Troyes. In the same century the humanists took up the study of grammar and exegesis, then long neglected among the Jews, and these Christian Hebraists studied the commentaries of Rashi as interpretations authorized by the Synagogue. Partial translations of his commentaries on the Bible were published; and at length a complete version of the whole, based on the manuscripts, was published by Breithaupt at Gotha (1710-13).
Among the Jews themselves, in the course of the eighteenth century, such Talmudists as Joel Sirkes, Solomon Luria, and Samuel Edels brought to the study of Rashi both profound learning and critical acumen; but it was Rapoport and Weiss, by their extensive use of his writings, who created the scientific study of the Talmud. Mendelssohn and his school of bi'urists revived the exegesis of the peshaṭ and employed Rashi's commentaries constantly, even attempting an interpretation of the French glosses.
The name of Rashi is inseparably connected with Jewish learning. In 1823 Zunz wrote his biography; Heidenheim sought to vindicate him, even when he was wrong; Luzzatto praised him enthusiastically; Weiss devoted a monograph to him which decided many problems; while Geiger turned his attention especially to the school of tosafists of which Rashi was the founder, and Berliner published a critical edition of Rashi's commentary on the Pentateuch.
Rashi's lack of scientific method, unfortunately, prevents his occupying the rank in the domain of exegesis merited by his other qualities. Among the Jews, however, his reputation has suffered little, for while it is true that he was merely a commentator, the works on which he wrote were the Bible and the Talmud, and his commentaries carry a weight and authority which have rendered them inseparable from the text. Even if his work is inferior in creative power to some productions of Jewish literature, it has exercised a far wider influence than any one of them. His is one of the master-minds of rabbinical literature, on which he has left the imprint of his predominant characteristics—terseness and clearness. His work is popular among all classes of Jews because it is intrinsically Jewish.
- Zunz, Salomon b. Isaac, Genannt Raschi, in Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums, 1823, pp. 277-384 (Hebrew transl., with additional notes, by Bloch, Lemberg, 1840; 2d ed., Warsaw, 1862);
- idem, S. P.;
- idem, Literaturgesch.;
- Weiss, Rabbenu Shelomh bar Yiẓḥaḳ, in Bet-Talmud, ii., Nos. 2-10 (reprinted as part ii. of Toledot Gedole Yisrael, Vienna, 1882);
- Georges, Le Rabbin Salomon Raschi, in L'Annuaire Administratif . . . du Département de l'Aube, 1868, part ii., pp. 3 et seq.;
Clément-Mullet, Documents pour Servir à l' Histoire du Rabbin Salomon, Fils de Isaac, in Mémoires de la Société d'Agriculture . . . du Département de l'Aube, 1855, xix. 143 et seq.;
- idem, Poésies ou Sélichot Attribuées à Raschi, in Mémoires de la Société Académique de l'Aube, 1856, xx. 131-142;
- Grätz, Gesch. vi. (Hebr. transl., vol. iv., Warsaw, 1894);
- Kronberg, Raschi als Exeget, Halle, 1882;
- Geiger, Nite'e Na'amanin, Berlin, 1847;
- idem, Parschandata; die Nordfranzösische Exegetenschule, Leipsie, 1855;
- Lévy, Die Exegese bei den Französischen Israeliten, ib. 1873;
- Berliner, Raschi, Commentar zum Pentateuch, Introduction, Berlin, 1866;
- idem, Zur Charakteristik Raschi's, in Kaufmann Gedenkbuch;
- Zur Gesch, der Raschi-Commentare, 1904;
- Darmesteter, Reliques Scientifiques, vol. i., Paris, 1890;
- Weiss, Dor, iv. 321-334;
- Winter and Wünsche, Jüdische Litteratur, ii. 276 et seq., 458, 462.J. M. Lib.
from: The Jewish Encyclopedia: RASHI (SOLOMON BAR ISAAC), By : Joseph Jacobs Morris Liber M. Seligsohn
About רש"י (עברית)
רש"י נולד בעיר טרואה, ('טרוייש' בלשון הימים ההם) שבצפון צרפת קרוב לשנת 1040, ונפטר בשנת 1105. ההערצה הרבה של יהודי אירופה לרש"י יצרה סביבו אגדות רבות, אולם מעט ידוע על תקופת ילדותו. רש"י מעיד באחד מפירושיו למסכת עבודה זרה (פרק חמישי) שאביו היה מלומד גדול, בניגוד לדעה הנפוצה. גם דודו, רבי שמעון הזקן, למד תורה מפי רבנו גרשום מאור הגולה באשכנז
לרש"י נולדו שלוש בנות. הבכורה שבהן, יוכבד, נישאה לרבי מאיר בן שמואל ומהם נולדו ארבעה נכדים: שמואל הוא הרשב"ם, יעקב הוא רבנו תם מבעלי התוספות, הריב"ם, ושלמה שנפטר בצעירותו. ליוכבד ובעלה נולדה בת שהייתה נשואה לרבי שמואל בן רבי שמחה מחבר מחזור ויטרי, והיא אמו של רבי יצחק הזקן מבעלי התוספות. בתו השנייה של רש"י, מרים, נישאה לרבי יהודה בר נתן (ריב"ן) ולהם נולד רבי יום-טוב. בתו השלישית נקראה רחל, ומלבד שנישאה לתלמיד חכם בשם רבנו אפרים, לא ידוע עליה דבר
רש"י למד בישיבות מגנצא (מיינץ) וורמיזא (וורמס) שבאשכנז מגיל 20 עד הגיעו לגיל 30, ושם עוצב עולמו הרוחני. במקביל היה עליו לפרנס את אשתו ובנותיו. באותם ימים הוא לא היה אמיד כלל. הוא למד אצל רבי יעקב בן יקר, רבי יצחק הלוי סג"ל ורבי יצחק בן יהודה - שלושתם מתלמידי רבנו גרשום
בתום לימודיו חזר רש"י לטרוייש והשתלב מיד בחיי החברה היהודית. הוא הצטרף לבית הדין בעיר והחל לפסוק הלכות לכל יהודי הסביבה, אך סירב לקבל שכר על תפקידו זה. על פי הידע הרב שהוא מפגין בנוגע לגידול גפנים וההרחבה היתרה שהוא נוקט במקומות הקשורים להם, היו ששיערו שהתפרנס מגידול כרמים או ממסחר ביין, אך לדברי הרב חיים סולובייצ'יק האקלים באזורו של רש"י לא התאים לגידול יין, ואם כן לא ברור במה עסק. רש"י ייסד ישיבה בטרוייש אך גם ממנה לא קיבל שכר
שנותיו האחרונות היו בתקופת הרדיפות הגדולות של מסעי הצלב. הוא נפטר ביום חמישי כ"ט בתמוז בשנת ד'תתס"ה (1105 לספירה). מקום קבורתו נשכח במשך הדורות
מדרשי אגדה רבים סופרו על חייו ופטירתו. אחד מהם מספר שכאשר עסק בפירושו למסכת מכות, הגיע לדף י"ט, והספיק לכתוב את המילה "טהור" ואז יצאה נשמתו בטהרה. עוד אגדה מספרת שבשעת פטירתו יצאה בת קול ואמרה: "עתידים כל ישראל להיות בניך"
רש"י פירש כמעט את כל התנ"ך כולו: פירושו על המקרא הוא הפירוש הפשטי ביותר מביניהם. עם זאת, כשני שליש מפירוש רש"י למקרא מבוסס על מדרשי חז"ל, ועיקר מלאכתו הייתה בסינון הדברים המתאימים לפשוטו של מקרא או המוסיפים תוספות נחוצות, ובניסוחם בדרך קצרה
שילוב המדרש בפירוש המקרא, במקום ובמידה הנחוצה ללומד, מאפשר גם הבנת המקור המקראי ליסודות הלכתיים ולמדרשים (פעמים תוך ניתוח דיוק לשון המקרא). י
פירושיו על הנביאים והכתובים הם פשטניים אך נוטים עוד יותר למדרש
רש"י הוא המפרש העיקרי של מסכתות התלמוד הבבלי, אך ישנן מעט מסכתות שלא פירש או שפירושיו לא הגיעו אלינו, ומעט מסכתות שפירש רק את מקצתן. כך, בתחילת מסכת בבא בתרא (דף כט) נקטע פירושו, ומשם המשיך נכדו רשב"ם את הפירוש. וכן במסכת מכות (דף כ"ד), וכן במסכתות נדרים ונזיר. ישנן מסכתות שנחלקו לגביהן החוקרים: ספקות הועלו בנוגע לפירושו למסכת מועד קטן (מעבר לפירוש הנדפס, ישנם כתבי יד של שני פירושים אחרים המיוחסים לו, ויש הטוענים שאף אחד מהם אינו שלו, ושלא כתב פירוש למסכת זו), למסכת תענית, פרק חלק במסכת סנהדרין, חלקים ממסכת זבחים ומסכת מנחות, כמו גם מסכת הוריות ותמיד בכללותן. פקפוקים שוליים יותר היו בנוגע למסכת בבא קמא. בנושא זה ישנה מחלוקת בין קבוצת חוקרים אשר נוטה יותר לדחות פירושים המיוחסים לרש"י כאותנטיים במקרי ספק, וקבוצה אחרת הנוטה דווקא לדחוק את הספקות לרוב
פירוש רש"י על התלמוד (בדומה לפירושו על התנ"ך) מתאפיין בלשון קצרה, ברורה ומדויקת, הטומנת בחובה דרך מיוחדת בהבנת הגמרא. בדברי בעלי התוספות אנו מוצאים עדויות לכך שהיו לפירושו שתיים או שלוש מהדורות, דהיינו, הפירוש נערך על ידי רש"י במהלך חייו כמה פעמים, אם כי נקודה זו נתונה היום במחלוקת בין החוקרים. עם זאת, הדעה המקובלת היום היא שאמנם לא היו "מהדורות" במובן המודרני, של כתיבת הפירוש מחדש, אך ברור שרש"י תיקן במשך ימיו את פירושו, כאשר השאלה היא רק מהי כמות השינויים והתיקונים שערך במהלך ימיו, והאם כשהתוספות מדברים על "מהדורה ראשונה" ו"מהדורה אחרונה" אין הם מדברים אלא על שינויי נוסחאות רגילים ולא על שינויים של רש"י עצמו
פירוש התוספות על התלמוד מנתח ומדייק בכל מילה המובאת ברש"י, פעמים שמסכים עם דבריו, ופעמים שחולק עליהם. בשיטת דיוקם בדבריו הלכו רבים מפרשני התלמוד עד ימינו
פירושי רש"י היו פופולריים ביותר עוד בימי חייו. כבר בחייו התפרסמו פירושיו בחוברות שהופצו בעותקים רבים ונקראו "קונטרסים" ("מחברת" בלטינית), ולכן יש פרשנים אשר קוראים לפירושו "פירוש הקונטרס". רש"י המשיך את דרך קודמיו בתקופת ימי הביניים בפירוש המקרא והתלמוד, אך שיכלל אותה במידה רבה והתבסס מאוד על המדרשים ואגדות התלמוד בפירושו
רוב פרשני ימי הביניים המפורסמים כמו רשב"ם (נכדו של רש"י), דעת זקנים, רמב"ן ואבן עזרא הספרדיים, רחשו כבוד גדול לפירושיו. למרות שרש"י, להבדיל מפרשני ימי הביניים הספרדים, לא היה איש מדע, פירושו הוא כאבן בוחן לשאר הפרשנים והוא מתבטא בהשקפה ריאלית על המקרא. בפירושו לתלמוד הוא מאופיין בכך שבניגוד לפירוש התוספות שמנסה לגבש אחידות בכל התלמוד, רש"י בפירושו אינו מנסה ליישב סתירות
עיקרם של ספרי ההלכה הקדמונים מחזור ויטרי, ספר האורה וספר הפרדס, המכונים "ספרי דבי רש"י" נכתבו על ידי רש"י או על ידי תלמידיו, על פי פסקיו
רש"י גם שלח ידו במלאכת הפיוט, וחיבר מספר קינות על מסע הצלב שהיה בימי חייו. חלק מהפיוטים אותם כתב נוהגים לומר האשכנזים בסליחות
מתוך ספר "אוצר הגדולים אלופי יעקב" י
RASHI רש״י's Timeline
February 22, 1040
Troyes, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Troyes, Aube, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Troyes, Aube, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Worms & Mainz, Germany
Troyes, Aube, Champagne-Ardenne, France
July 13, 1105
Troyes, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Troyes, Champagne-Ardenne, France