Sunday, July 15, 2007

Yarzhreit - R' Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi)

Today (28th Tamuz) is the yarzheit of probably the most famous and most influential of all Ashkenazi Rabbis - Rashi. Arguably he is still the most influential Jewish author since the time of the Talmud. It is virtually impossible to move in the world of Chumash (and Nach) or Talmud without Rashi's commentary.

He wrote on almost all areas of Torah, and was one of the first to write a linear commentary on the Torah and Talmud.

This is a small part of the wikipedia entry for Rashi (there is much more there which is recommended reading:

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi (Hebrew: רבי שלמה יצחקי), better known by the acronym Rashi (Hebrew: ‏רש"י‎), (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. 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 many printed editions of the Talmud and Torah (notably the Chumash), are an indispensable companion 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 Torah 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 version of the Talmud since its first printing in Italy in the fifteenth century.

Rashi's surname as Yitzhaki, derives from his father's name, Yitzhak. The acronym is sometimes also fancifully expanded as Rabban Shel Israel (רבן של ישראל), Teacher of Israel [i.e. the Jewish People]), or as Rabbenu SheYichyeh" (רבינו שיחיה), our Rabbi, may he live.

May His Soul be Bound in the Bonds of Eternal Life

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