Rashi

110

Rashi : biography

1040-2-22 – 1105-7-13
  • Rashi’s oldest daughter, Yocheved, married Meir ben Shmuel; their four sons were: Shmuel (Rashbam) (b. 1080), Yitzchak (Rivam) (b. 1090), Jacob (Rabbeinu Tam) (b. 1100), and Shlomo the Grammarian, who were among the most prolific of the Baalei Tosafos, leading rabbinic authorities who wrote critical and explanatory glosses on the Talmud which appear opposite Rashi’s commentary on every page of the Talmud. Yocheved’s daughter, Chanah, was a teacher of laws and customs relevant to women.
  • Rashi’s middle daughter, Miriam, married Judah ben Nathan, who completed the commentary on Talmud Makkot which Rashi was working on when he died.Makkot 19b: "Our master’s body was pure, and his soul departed in purity, and he did not explain any more; from here on is the language of his student Rabbi Yehudah ben Nathan." Their daughter 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, along with his brothers Shimshon and Eliezer.
  • Rashi’s youngest daughter, Rachel, married (and divorced) Eliezer ben Shemiah.

Supercommentaries

Voluminous supercommentaries have been published on Rashi’s commentaries on the Bible and Talmud, including Gur Aryeh by Rabbi Judah Loew (the Maharal), Sefer ha-Mizrachi by Rabbi Elijah Mizrachi (the Re’em), and Yeri’ot Shlomo by Rabbi Solomon Luria (the Maharshal). Almost all rabbinic literature published since the Middle Ages discusses Rashi, either using his view as supporting evidence or debating against it.

Rashi’s explanations of the Chumash were also cited extensively in Postillae Perpetuae by Nicholas de Lyra (1292–1340), a French Franciscan. De Lyra’s book was one of the primary sources that was used in Luther’s translation of the Bible.

=="Rashi script"==

The complete Hebrew alphabet in Rashi script [right to left]. The semi-cursive typeface in which Rashi’s commentaries are printed both in the Talmud and Tanakh is often referred to as "Rashi script." This does not mean that Rashi himself used such a script: the typeface is based on a 15th-century Sephardic semi-cursive hand. What would be called "Rashi script" was employed by early Hebrew typographers such as the and Daniel Bomberg, a Christian printer in Venice, in their editions of commented texts (such as the Mikraot Gedolot and the Talmud, in which Rashi’s commentaries prominently figure) to distinguish the rabbinic commentary from the primary text proper, for which a square typeface was used.

Works

Commentary on the Tanakh

Chumash, published by Artscroll]] Rashi’s commentary on the Tanakh — and especially his commentary on the Chumash — is the essential companion for any study of the Talmud at any level. Drawing on the breadth of Midrashic, Talmudic and Aggadic literature (including literature that is no longer extant), as well as his knowledge of grammar, halakhah, and how things work, Rashi clarifies the "simple" meaning of the text so that a bright child of five could understand it. At the same time, his commentary forms the foundation for some of the most profound legal analysis and mystical discourses that came after it. Scholars debate why Rashi chose a particular Midrash to illustrate a point, or why he used certain words and phrases and not others. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi wrote that "Rashi’s commentary on Torah is the ‘wine of Torah’. It opens the heart and uncovers one’s essential love and fear of G-d."

Scholars believe that Rashi’s commentary on the Torah grew out of the lectures he gave to his students in his yeshiva, and evolved with the questions and answers they raised on it. Rashi only completed this commentary in the last years of his life. It was immediately accepted as authoritative by all Jewish communities, Ashkenazi and Sephardi alike.

The first dated Hebrew printed book was Rashi’s commentary on the Chumash, printed by Abraham ben Garton in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, 18 February 1475. (This version did not include the text of the Chumash itself.)