Friday, August 29, 2008

Meet Rashi, Most Innovative of Teachers

His real name was Shlomo (Solomon), and his father’s name was Itzhak (Isaac). RAbbi SHlomo Itzhaki, RASHI, is perhaps the most revered and the most popular of all commentators on the primary Jewish texts, namely the Bible and the Talmud. His lucid yet simple style is designed to answer elementary and fundamental questions that challenge students and prevent them from understanding the true meaning of the text.

Born in Troyes, in 1040, he lived in France most of his life, save for some of his academic years abroad and when he spent years traveling to test the need for his elucidations. His notes were recorded in notebooks--first by him and later by his students.

Rashi earned his living from his vineyards. He had two or three daughters, and was the father-in-law and grandfather to great scholars, some of whom argued with many of the teachings and writings of their revered grandfather, often suggesting “better” interpretations.

Toward the end of his life, the Crusades swept across France and the Rhineland, destroying many Jewish communities. Those murdered included some of Rashi's friends and relatives. He died in 1105, leaving an amazing legacy that exists to this day. Most Bibles and Talmuds printed by Jews contain Rashi’s commentary.

In order to remember the years of Rashi’s life, may we suggest a memorable “line”: “Rashi lived from 1040 to 1105. He accomplished a lot in 25 minutes.”

For more detailed biographies of Rashi:

Rashi900.com

Jewish Virtual Library

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