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3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Part of the Jewish Encounter series

From Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, comes a magical book that introduces us to the towering figure of Rashi—Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki—the great biblical and Talmudic commentator of the Middle Ages.

Wiesel brilliantly evokes the world of medieval European Jewry, a world of profound scholars and closed communities ravaged by out
ebook, 224 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Schocken (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 287)
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Philippe Malzieu
It is a small book. A bracket in work of Wiesel. Why to interest in a commentator of the Bible living in Champagne in XI century? After reading it, we understand.
At first the interpretations of Rashi will influence everybody including the Christians. They seem simple obvious, full of common sense.
There is a profound humanity at Rashi such as describes him Wiesel. But what strikes me, it is that he lives a terrible period of progrom. The question is : is it not derisory to comment on the Bible
Maggie Anton
Rashi [Rabbi Shlomo ben Isaac:] isn't just words on a page; he was a writer whose personality and opinions permeate his works, a father with three learned daughters in a time when women were forbidden to study the holy texts, and a teacher who attracted a cadre of disciples who wrote devotedly of the teachings they'd "received from his mouth." In this slim volume Wiesel writes a 'stream-of-consciousness' remembrance beginning with what he learned from Rashi as a child, then expanded with legends ...more
In this book, Elie Wiesel tells the story of Rashi, the most renowned Jewish commentator of the Jewish scriptures, and Talmud. Rashi, Shlomo Yitzhaki, lived in France in the 11th century and to this day, his commentary is used and respected. Wiesel tells a bit about France in the 11th century and how Jewish people were treated then and about the Crusades and their devastation on the Jewish people. Mostly, he speaks about Rashi being a genius, and he tells what is known about Rashi's life, howeve ...more
[Name Redacted]
A beautiful meditation on Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzakh (RaShI), concerned primarily with Wiesel's own personal relationship to Rashi's work and Rashi's place in Rabbinic Jewish tradition.

If you're seeking historiography, you're unlikely to find much of use here -- rather, it is a combination of hagiography and reflection on intimate human connections to the great scholars and teachers and artists who make the world in which we find ourselves born.
Michael Johnston
Very brief and simple biography of the great Jewish commentator Rashi. More about his approach to commentary than the details of his life, but unlike a lot of work of this sort, it is accessible, straightforward and easy to read. I would liked to have had more detail on the practical implications his private rulings or how his commentaries changed the way in which the Jewish faith was observed, but it was moderately more interesting than most biographies of this type. My only disappointment was ...more
This book isn't that long, so I won't be writing one of my usual thousand-word reviews of it. I'll just say that I knew very little about Rashi before reading this book, and not all that much more after reading it. There's an entire chapter devoted to the events that may or may not have happened in Rashi's life. We don't know his birthdate. We don't know how many children he had--probably three, but maybe four, and maybe the third daughter is a later error. How did he earn a living? Was he a win ...more
Elliot Ratzman
When traditional Jews read the Hebrew Bible, it is through the lens of Rabbinic commentary, not through some raw, spooky intuition of the text. As if we know what the Bible is really saying! Much of what is going on is not at all evident to the naked eye. Much context has been lost. Many narrative episodes are sparse, even mysterious. For the religious who understand the Bible as God-given, all details, every repeated word or mismatched tenses, for example, have deeper meanings. RASHI, Rabbi Shl ...more
I'm not a Talmudic scholar, so perhaps I did not get everything out of this that I could have, but that did not prevent me from enjoying it. This isn't a biography (there seem to be several of those, and fairly recent ones), but more of a long essay that is a summary of the life & work of Rashi, with a view to understanding the views & philosophy that made up the underpinnings of his work.

It was beautifully written, (although I would have liked a paragraph about the translator) even tho
I have essentially zero experience reading midrashim, and Rashi, which I would classify as "meta-midrashim," is a tough yet human and humane place to start. Essentially nothing is known about Rashi, aside from his extensive biblical exegesis and commentary; my classification as meta-midrashim is in reference to how, through Wiesel, we infer about the guy through his inferences about the Book. I most appreciated how this text pulled me out of my myopic historical perspective -- I often forget tha ...more
Max Maxwell
Jan 02, 2010 Max Maxwell rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wiesel completists like myself
This was good, but add it to the ever-growing pile of Elie's minor stuff. Short though the book was, it could've been shorter—the rehash of Rashi's Genesis commentary was fairly unnecessary. The best parts of the book were the history of Rashi's own life and the final chapter on the Crusades and the anti-semitism of the Gaonic period, some accounts of which filled me with rage and a palpable sadness. Wiesel's own musings on Rashi are cursory, introductory, begging to be expounded upon. I guess m ...more
After reading Night, it would be difficult to hold another book by Elie Wiesel and not compare it. Rashi is another beautifully written book by Elie Wiesel that talks about hardships and troubles that many Jewish people faced and Rashi. Rashi is a known scholar who was a known leader, both religiously and spiritually and his interpretations of different ideas have been used over and over by many.

I think after reading a powerful book like Night, it's hard for me to think of another book by Wiesel
Carol Catinari
3.5 to 4.0... a very succinct introduction to Rashi and some of his commentaries.
Michelle Jones
This small little book was a joy to read and deeply frustrating at the same time. A joy because Wiesel’s deep affection for Rashi is plain to see. A joy because Rashi the person and his influence on Judaism are so fascinating and rewarding to read about. Frustrating because the book really just barely scratches the service on Rashi and his contributions to Jewish scholarship. You can’t read this book and not be hungry for far more information about Rashi and his Torah and Talmud commentaries.
Well-written, but left something to be desired, IMO. I think this might be more informative/interesting for readers who aren't Jewish or know very little about Jewish history. I think this was a good introduction of Rashi's world and interpretive approach, but I didn't feel like it captured what made Rashi so revered and such a key part of Judaism. Then again, maybe that's quite a hard thing to capture. :) I definitely give Wiesel points for trying, and he is a very poignant writer.
I had no idea Elie Wiesel was descended from Rashi, the ace
Talmudic explicator, or that both of them were French! I mean Wiesel still lives. Or that Rashi believed that Adam (the first human) had sex with animals in Eden -- and was really prejudiced against Esau, Jacob's brother. And lived through the birth of anti-Semitism (i.e. the First Crusade). Yes, the book is somewhat notational, but in the best sense. In a French sense.
Very sweet, but Rashi remains an enigma.
Jeff Cadoff
Interesting book about a unique and important figure in Judaism. Sometimes difficult to understand. I believe that this book was translated into English, which would explain some of the sentence structure problems. That said, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the life of Rashi.
This simple short essay is basically a reflection on Rashi and his influence, particularly on Wiesel himself. A pleasant enough read, it didn't particularly move me.
I didn't have it available in French. Maybe it's more engaging in the original.
Not enough information for me. Also, the information given did not peak my interest enough to investigate further.

Why did I read it? Because Elie Wiesel wrote it. Read Souls on Fire - that I enjoyed.
Matthew Wilson
I guess I was hoping for more Rashi's wisdom & Jewish perspective, this is more straight biblical exegesis. Interesting historical insights too.
As I have always enjoyed reading Alie Wiesel, and I wanted to know more about Rashi, I chose this little book
Tashi deserves more of my time
Ben Pashkoff
A little on the light and flighty side, maybe a bit too poetic for me.
Jeff W
Thoughtful take on the life and teachings of Rashi by a giant
Well written ands an interesting perspective
short but provocative read
not my kind of book
Marla marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2015
Cindi marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2015
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Eliezer Wiesel is a Romania-born American novelist, political activist, and Holocaust survivor of Hungarian Jewish descent. He is the author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps.

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "
More about Elie Wiesel...
Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) Dawn (The Night Trilogy, #2) Day (The Night Trilogy, #3) The Night Trilogy: Night/Dawn/The Accident Open Heart

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