Rashi's 900th Yahrtzeit
ShofarNews did a nice write-up on 16 things you didn't know about Rashi, whose 900th Yahrtzeit is this Friday. I'll translate the main points:
- In Troyes, France, there is a street named after him. Troyes was the city in which Rashi was born and where he taught.
- His study hall in Troyes burnt down in 1524.
- Legend has it that flies never entered Rashi's home.
- Rashi had no sons - just 3 daughters, named Miriam, Yocheved, and Rahel. Some say he had a fourth daughter, but her name is unknown.
- Rashi's commentary was the first Hebrew book printed by the printing press in 1482. Due to the Spanish Inquisition and Expulsion, all but 1 of these books were lost. The remaining 1 resides in a library in Italy.
- "Rashi Script" is not attributable to Rashi at all. It was the old Sephardic script that the publisher used to differentiate between the words of the Humash and those of Rashi.
- Over 300 books were authored on Rashi's commentary, the most famous being the Mizrahi and Siftei Hachamim.
- His commentary on the Talmud was distributed while he was still alive in small pamphlets, thus the popular name for Rashi of "Kuntras".
- The Gemara with Rashi was first printed in Venice in 1520. It includes all tractates, except for Makot, Bava Batra, and Nedarim. Portions of his commentary on other tractates attributed to Rashi are not really his.
- He authored other books besides his famous commentary, including "Sefer Hapardes", "Rashi's Siddur", and 3 Piutim of Selihot.
- Rashi worked as a wine-producer on a vineyard, which was common for the Jews of Troyes.
- He uses Old French to translate Hebrew or Aramaic words in his commentary 3,157 times. The Hida writes that one word of Rashi can sometimes answer a bundle of questions so only special people can truly recognize his brilliance.
- Rashi was great in humility, as is evidenced by his usage sometimes of: "I don't know what this means."
- He lived in Worms, in present-day Germany, for a period of 10 years. "Rashi's House" was built in 1642 on land that is assumed to be where he lived, over an 800-year-old Mikveh. There are no Jews living in Worms today.
- He died in the middle of writing his commentary on tractate Makot, page 19b [YY - also, according to 1 printing, he died while writing on Bava Batra 29a, where it says "Kan Met Rashi Za"L"]. He died on Thursday, the 29th of Tamuz, 4865 (1105), at the age of 65.
- The burial place of Rashi is unknown, but his commentary is alive and living in the mouths of numerous Torah-learners everywhere.