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3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  158 Ratings  ·  32 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)
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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
Jan 29, 2016 Maggie Anton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2011 Dana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 17, 2016 Hermien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and informative. I became interested in Rashi after reading the beautiful trilogy about Rashi's daughters written by Maggie Anton. Well worth checking out.
Elie Wiesel seems to have cared deeply about Rashi, which doesn't mean that he took the time to write a proper book about him. This is, in many respects, an unsatisfying piece of writing, a jumble of impressions with little structure.

Still, Wiesel can be worth reading even when he's kind of phoning it in. And if his primary objective is to pass on his enthusiasm for his purported ancestor, he succeeds in his mission. I've been learning that books like this, however forgettable they may be by the
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
Augusto Pinochet
I recommend this book both to people who are merely curious, as well as those who are well versed in Rashi and to whom most of the information is not new.
For the latter group, while the information may not be new, it is worth it to read a great author write about his personal connection to another great author. It should be noted that in addition to being an accomplished author, Elie Wiesel has remained throughout his life a student of the Talmud. This in itself makes eminently more qualified to
Jul 02, 2016 Deena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judaica
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
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
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
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
Jul 16, 2010 Mabel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Max Maxwell
Jan 02, 2010 Max Maxwell rated it liked it  ·  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
Michelle Jones
Jul 30, 2010 Michelle Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 21, 2010 Bryna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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.
Nov 04, 2009 Stan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 23, 2016 Zm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book. I enjoy Eli Wiesel's style and his attention to detail. His direction towards the reader really captured the style implied by Rashi's writing. A great read for learning and thought provoking as well.
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
Matthew Wilson
I guess I was hoping for more Rashi's wisdom & Jewish perspective, this is more straight biblical exegesis. Interesting historical insights too.
Mar 13, 2016 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An introduction to the great biblical and Talmudic commentator Rabbi Schlomo Yitzhaki. (Had never heard of him. Didn't get much from this slim volume.)
Peter Ahn
Mar 09, 2016 Peter Ahn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great starting point to learn from medieval Jewish scholars. Rashi's life makes my study commitments look mediocre at best, but doesn't fail to inspire me.
Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Nov 10, 2009
Gary Hainsworth
Gary Hainsworth rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2015
Constance  Scharff
Constance Scharff rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2014
Brant rated it liked it
Jan 15, 2017
Roberta rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2011
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Eliezer Wiesel was a Romania-born American novelist, political activist, and Holocaust survivor of Hungarian Jewish descent. He was 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...

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