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Thursday, August 04, 2005

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:

  1. In Troyes, France, there is a street named after him. Troyes was the city in which Rashi was born and where he taught.

  2. His study hall in Troyes burnt down in 1524.

  3. Legend has it that flies never entered Rashi's home.

  4. Rashi had no sons - just 3 daughters, named Miriam, Yocheved, and Rahel. Some say he had a fourth daughter, but her name is unknown.

  5. 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.

  6. "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.

  7. Over 300 books were authored on Rashi's commentary, the most famous being the Mizrahi and Siftei Hachamim.

  8. His commentary on the Talmud was distributed while he was still alive in small pamphlets, thus the popular name for Rashi of "Kuntras".

  9. 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.

  10. He authored other books besides his famous commentary, including "Sefer Hapardes", "Rashi's Siddur", and 3 Piutim of Selihot.

  11. Rashi worked as a wine-producer on a vineyard, which was common for the Jews of Troyes.

  12. 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.

  13. Rashi was great in humility, as is evidenced by his usage sometimes of: "I don't know what this means."

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. The burial place of Rashi is unknown, but his commentary is alive and living in the mouths of numerous Torah-learners everywhere.


At Thu Aug 04, 01:00:00 AM 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that the Kuntras preceded Rashi, and were the collected notes of many generations. And that is why Tosfos sometimes says Rashi explained, and sometimes says "as it was explained in the Kuntras."

At Thu Aug 04, 01:14:00 AM 2005, Blogger yaak said...

That doesn't seem to be the popular view, but it could be true, and it certainly answers the question you raised.

At Thu Aug 04, 04:35:00 AM 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yaak, your posts are timely and beautiful. Here's another amazing fact: 29 Tammuz is also the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Yochanan HaSandlar, the holy Tanna who's the talmid muvhak of Rebbe Akiva, and the great great etc. grandfather of Rashi! R' Yochanan HaSandlar is buried in Miron, about 200 meters from Rashbi, and many visit his gravesite also to commemorate Rashi's yahrtzeit. G-d willing, I hope to be there tonight with the Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a. Warmest regards from Eretz Yisroel.

At Thu Aug 04, 06:03:00 AM 2005, Blogger AS said...

You might want to checkthis
out. It seems someone has found the resting place of Rashi.

At Thu Aug 04, 09:56:00 AM 2005, Blogger yaak said...

R' Brody, thank you for your kind words, and for the interesting info about R' Yochanan HaSandlar.

JB, also interesting. Acc. to the article, they don't have the exact gravesite, but they know the approximate area.

At Thu Aug 04, 11:03:00 AM 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post... thanks.

my fish site: reef aquarium

At Thu Aug 04, 07:06:00 PM 2005, Blogger Reuven Chaim Klein said...

good post!

At Fri Aug 05, 04:49:00 AM 2005, Blogger Phillip Minden said...

- There are Jews in Worms today. When I was there first, some 15 years ago, there were only 3 or 4, but today there is a community mainly of Russian speaking immigrants, as far as I know.

- The famous "Rashi shul" of Worms, where they show you his seat, was build a short time after his petire, and, I think, was named for him. (Then the Nazis ym"sh destroyed it, and it was rebuilt after the war.) The place is the same, though.

- The Treves and Dreyfuss families have a tradition of going back to Rashi, the name meaning Troyes. They (used to) keep certain minhogim like not eating in the Sucke on the evening of Shmini atzeres, but in the morning, because this is what Rashi did.

- Not few people can trace their ancestors up to Rashi, which isn't that amazing, as he was famous ever since his lifetime, and with only some 20,000 Jews in Europe at the time, probably all Ashkenazim have several lines to Rashi. Of course, as he didn't have sons, nobody is ben achar ben.

- Rashi's ancestry goes back to Dovid hamelech.

- His comment to the Chumesh was so well respected that poskem ruled it may be learned instead of the Aramaic targum in the mitzve (!) of the weekly study of Shenayem mikro ve-echod targum.

At Fri Aug 05, 09:16:00 AM 2005, Blogger yaak said...

Lonnie and Rachak, thanks!

Lipman, good info. Thanks!

At Fri Aug 05, 10:00:00 AM 2005, Blogger Reuven Chaim Klein said...

your welcome.

At Fri Aug 05, 10:54:00 AM 2005, Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

alleged 4th child's name was marina(really)

At Fri Aug 05, 11:15:00 AM 2005, Blogger yaak said...

Amshi, if you're serious, do you have a source for this?

At Fri Aug 05, 12:01:00 PM 2005, Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

rabbi weins house of rashi tapes

At Sat Aug 06, 06:46:00 PM 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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