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Bidding Information
Lot #    20284
Auction End Date    4/1/2008 11:15:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Zion Rashi
Title (Hebrew)    ציון רש'י
Author    [Signed Copy] R. Moses Avigdor Haiken
City    London
Publisher    Express
Publication Date    1921
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. vii, 240 pp. octavo 206:135 mm., wide margins, usual light age staining. A very good copy bound in contemporary boards, rubbed and split. Dedication by the author on title.
   Only edition of this comprehensive reference work on Rashi on Torah and Talmud by R. Moses Avigdor ben Israel Shraga Haiken (1852-1928). In Zion Rashi, R. Haiken, who was born in Shklov and made aliyah to Erez Israel in 1926, provides references in Rashi to his sources. The text, in a single column in square letters is organized by Talmudic tractate.

Rashi was the outstanding Biblical commentator of the Middle Ages. He was born in Troyes, France, and lived from 1040 to 1105, surviving the massacres of the First Crusade through Europe. He was a fantastic scholar and studied with the greatest student of Rabbenu Gershom of Mainz. At twenty-five, he founded his own academy in France. Rashi's commentary on the Bible was unique. His concern was for every word in the text which need elaboration or explanation. Moreover, he used the fewest words possible in his commentaries. Most of his explanations were not written by him. Apparently, students would ask him questions about the text, or he would rhetorically ask questions about specific words, and a student would write his short, lucid answers in the margin of the parchment text. These answers comprise Rashi's commentary. We now have the answers, but the trick to studying Rashi is to figure out what the problem was with the text or the grammar of a given word. Besides explaining individual words, Rashi also made use of the the great oceans of midrash. However, instead of just quoting the early rabbis, Rashi applied the stories specifically to the Bible text; often abridging them. He assumed that his students knew the midrash; he just emphasized its immediate relevance to the TaNaCH. Rashi is also important for students of French. Many words in the Bible were unknown to Rashi's students, and obviously there would ask what a particular word meant and Rashi would give the answer in Old French using Hebrew transliteration. These transliterations provide important insights into the development of French and its pronunciation. The original printed Bible text by Daniel Bomberg in 1517 included Rashi's commentary. That commentary became so popular that there are now more than 200 commentaries on his commentary. It is assumed in traditional circles that when you read the TaNaCh, you also read Rashi. Rashi's commentary on the Talmud was even more important than his TaNaCh commentary. The Talmud was written in legalese: terse, unexplained language with no punctuation. Rashi provided a simple explanation of all Gemarra discussions. He explained all of the terse phrases; he explained the principles and concepts assumed by the sages who put together the Gemarra. His simple, brief explanations for practically every phrase of the Gemarra made the Talmud understandable to the non-scholar. It became an instant best seller, and, to this day, it is unthinkable to study Talmud without studying Rashi's commentary at the same time.

Paragraph 2    "ציונים על כל הש'ס... להשוות את דברי רבנו, ולשום אותם אלה לעמת אלה" (עמ' [III]).
   BE zaddi 214; CD-EPI 0137958 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/rashi.html
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
England:    Checked
Bible:    Checked
Other:    Talmud
Autographed:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica