Sunday, July 15, 2007
Rashi: Parshandasa [THE Commentary]
Today, 29 Tamuz, is the 902nd yahrzeit of Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki of Troyes, France (1040-1105). Rashi's greatness as a commentator is unparalleled; his words are studied daily by students and scholars, in the yeshiva, seminary and in the Jewish home.
Rashi’s Torah commentary was the world’s first dated book printed in Hebrew and was widely distributed. His commentary on the Torah is included in virtually all editions of the Chumash (Pentateuch). In a clear and concise style he gave both the simple meaning of the text and its homiletic interpretation, based on Talmud and Midrash. He explained the text phrase by phrase, often commenting on grammatical anomalies and translating difficult words into Old French. Besides his Torah commentary, he also wrote a commentary on the Prophets and Writings.
Rashi's work has become a part of Jewish life, the favorite commentary of the common man and scholar alike. A measure of Rashi's greatness is the fact that 200 books have been written, probing his words.
His commentary to the Talmud is a masterpiece of clarity and brevity. Without it, the Talmud would be a closed book. Rashi gently takes the student by the hand, guiding him through the maze of complex forms of reasoning, obscure concepts, and knotty legal arguments. In clear and simple Hebrew, he clarifies the Talmudic text, almost line by line, anticipating the difficulties the student will encounter.
As a special treat to Heichal HaNegina readers, you can view a one-hour video of Rashi’s life, in animated form, here. The language of this video is Hebrew. The video can be obtained from Rabbi Berel Wein's website, in English, Hebrew or Russian.