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Rashi's daughters

Yocheved, Miriam, and Rachel (Hebrew: , ,( )11th-12th century) were

daughters of the medieval Talmudic scholar, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, better known by the
acronym, Rashi, who had no sons. These women married three of their fathers finest
students and were the mothers of the leaders of the next generation of French Talmudic
Many of their descendants were known as Baalei Tosafot (Tosafists) who wrote critical and
explanatory glosses on the Talmud. In all printed versions of the Talmud, the commentary
of Rashi appears on the inside column (next to the binding) and that of the Tosafists on the
outside column.
Yocheved and Miriam were born in Troyes, France (capital of the province of Champagne)
between the years 1058 and 1062. It is not known which is the eldest. Rachel was born in
Troyes around 1070.[1]

Yocheved and family[edit]

Yocheved married Meir ben Samuel of nearby Ramerupt. They had four sons: Isaac
("Rivam"), Samuel ("Rashbam") (10801174), Solomon the grammarian, and their
youngest child, Jacob ("Rabbenu Tam") (c. 1100-1171). Despite the
modern Ashkenazi naming custom, Joheved's son Solomon was born during her fathers
Samuel became head of the Troyes yeshiva after the death of his grandfather, Rashi, while
Jacob established a second school at Ramerupt. Isaac died during his parents lifetime,
leaving seven orphans.
Yocheved and Meir had at least two daughters who married Rashis students. Hannah, a
teacher of laws and customs relevant to women, married Samuel ben Simcha. Their
son, Isaac of Dampierre ("Ri"), became the leading Talmudic scholar of his generation.
Another daughter, whose name is unknown, married Samson ben Joseph.
Yocheved died in 1135 in Ramerupt. Meir died there a few months later. [2]

Miriam and family[edit]

Little is known of Miriams life. She married Judah ben Nathan and had a daughter, Alvina,
a learned woman whose customs served as an example for other Jewish women. Miriams
son, Yom Tov, later moved to Paris and headed a yeshiva there, along with his brothers,
Samson and Eliezer.[3] Miriam may have had other daughters whose names are unknown.
She is assumed to have died in Troyes, her birthplace, but her date of death is not

Rachel and another daughter[edit]

Almost nothing is known about Rachel except for a letter that Rabbenu Tam wrote to his
cousin, Yom Tov, in which he mentioned that their aunt Rachel was divorced from her
husband, Eliezer.[4] One of Rashi's responsa[5] discusses the case of his young daughter
losing a valuable ring at a time when Joheved and Miriam were adults, so there was clearly
another daughter much younger than her older sisters. In addition, Rashi is mentioned as

having a grandson, Shemiah, and a granddaughter, Miriam, whose mother was neither
Joheved nor Miriam. Judy Chicago, in her compendium of significant women in history,
[6] lists Rachel (b. 1070), daughter of Rashi, as a learned woman who acted as his
secretary and took his dictation when he was infirm.
Some scholars, based on a responsum that details how Rashi mourned for a little girl
during a Jewish festival even though such mourning is prohibited, have postulated that he
was mourning the death of his own young daughter, who would have been younger than

There are a couple of legends about Rashis daughters, all suggesting that they possessed
unusual piety and scholarship.[8]
The most well-known, and most likely to be true, states that they were learned
in Torah and Talmud at a time when women were forbidden to study these sacred texts.
[9] While it seems impossible for girls with a yeshiva in their home to grow up without
knowledge of Torah, there is more evidence than this. A responsum of Rashi notes that he
is too weak to write so he is dictating to his daughter, which indicates that she was
capable of understanding and writing complicated legal issues in Hebrew. Interestingly,
there are two versions of this responsa, the other stating that Rashi was dictating to the
"son of my daughter" instead of just "my daughter." However, it seems unlikely that Rashi
would use the awkward expression, "son of my daughter" instead of, "my grandson," and
more likely that "son of" was added in later. There is also evidence that Rashis daughters
and granddaughters taught Torah to local women and served as models for the proper
performance of Jewish rituals.[10]
While there is no evidence that Rashis daughters themselves wore tefillin, it is known that
some women in medieval France and Germany did,[11] and that Rabbenu Tam, Rashis
grandson, ruled that a woman doing any mitzvah that she is not obligated to, including
tefillin, must make the appropriate blessing.[12]

Meir ben Samuel

Mer ben Samuel () , also known by the Hebrew acronym RaM for Rabbi Meir,
was a French rabbi and tosafist, who was born in about 1060 in Ramerupt, and died after 1135. His
father was an eminent scholar. Mer received his education in the Talmudical schools of Lorraine,
his principal teachers being Isaac ben Asher ha-Levi and Eleazar ben Isaac of Mainz,[1] with whom
he later carried on a correspondence.[2]
Mer married Rashi's second daughter, Jochebed, by whom he had three
sons, Samuel ben Mer (RaSHBaM), Isaac ben Mer (RIBaM), and Jacob ben
Mer (Rabbenu Tam),[3]all of them well-known scholars. According to Gross, Mer
had also a fourth son, Solomon. Simhah ben Samuel of Vitry's son Samuel,
father of the tosafist Isaac the Elder, was Mer's son-in-law. Mer's son Isaac, the
often-quoted tosafist, died in the prime of life, leaving seven children.[4] This
loss distressed the father to such an extent that he felt indisposed to answer a
halakic question addressed to him by his friend Eleazar ben Nathan of Mainz.[4]
Mer attained a very great age, and is sometimes designated as "the old" (hayashish).[5] From the fact that his grandson, Isaac ben Samuel, born about
1120, speaks of religious customs which he found conspicuous in his
grandfather's house, and from other indications, it has been concluded that
Mer was still alive in 1135.
Mer was one of the founders of the school of tosafists in northern France. Not
only his son and pupil Rabbenu Tam,[6] but also the tosafot[7] quote his ritual

decisions. It was Mer ben Samuel who changed the text of the Kol
Nidre formula.[8] A running commentary on a whole passage of the Gemara,
[9] written by him and his son Samuel in the manner of Rashi's commentary, is
printed at the end of the first chapter of Menachot. Mer composed also
a seliah beginning "Abo lefaneka," which has been translated into German by
Zunz,[10] but which has no considerable poetic value.[11]

Samuel ben Meir (Troyes, c. 1085 c. 1158) after his death known as "Rashbam",
a Hebrew acronym for: RAbbi SHmuel Ben Meir, was a leading French Tosafist and grandson
of Shlomo Yitzhaki, "Rashi."[1]
He was born in the vicinity of Troyes, in around 1085 in France to his father Meir ben
Shmuel and mother Yocheved, daughter of Rashi. He was the older brother of the Tosafists
Isaac ben Meir (the "Rivam") and Jacob ben Meir ("Rabbeinu Tam"), and a colleague of
Rabbi Joseph Kara.
Like his maternal grandfather, the Rashbam was a biblical commentator and Talmudist. He
learned from Rashi and from Isaac ben Asher ha-Levi ("Riva"). He was the teacher of his
brother, Rabbeinu Tam, and his method of interpretation differed from that of his
His commentary on the Torah is renowned for its stress on the plain meaning (peshat) of
the text. He sometimes disputes his grandfather's interpretation and indicates that his
grandfather concurred with his approach.[3] He adopted a natural (as distinct from a
homiletical and traditional) method.[2] This approach often led him to state views that
were somewhat controversial. Thus Rashbam (on Genesis 1:5) maintained that the day
began at dawn and not from the previous sunset (as later Jewish custom assumed).
Another famous interpretation was Rashbam's view that the much disputed phrase in
Genesis 49:10 must be rendered Until he cometh to Shiloh, and refers to the division of
thekingdom of Judah after Solomon's death.[2]
His stance resulted in the omission of his commentary on the first chapters of Genesis in
many earlier editions of the Pentateuch. Parts of his commentary on the Talmud have been
preserved, and they appear on the pages of most of tractate Bava Batra (where no
commentary by Rashi is available), as well as the last chapter of tractate Pesachim.
Rashbam's notes on the Bible are remarkable for brevity, but when he comments on the
Talmud he is equally noted for prolixity.[2]
Rashbam earned a living by tending livestock and growing grapes, following in his family
tradition. Known for his piety, he defended Jewish beliefs in public disputes that had been
arranged by church leaders to demonstrate the inferiority of Judaism.

Isaac ben Meir (c. 1090 c. 1130), also known as the Rivam after his Hebrew acronym, was a
French rabbi and one of the Baalei Tosafos. He was the grandson of Rashi, and brother of
the Rashbam and the Rabbeinu Tam. His father was Meir ben Samuel and his mother was
Yocheved, the daughter of Rashi. He died before his father, leaving four children.[1] Although he
died young, the Rivam contributed to Tosafos, mentioned by Eliezer ben Joel HaLevi (Abi
ha-'Ezri, 417), to several tractates of the Talmud. Isaac himself is often quoted in the edited
Tosafos (Shab. 138a; Ket. 29b et passim).

Rabbeinu Tam
Jacob ben Meir (1100 in Ramerupt 9 June 1171 (4 tammuz) in Troyes),[1] best known
as Rabbeinu Tam, was one of the most renowned Ashkenazi Jewish rabbis and leading
French Tosafists, a leading halakhic authority in his generation, and a grandson ofRashi.
Known as "Rabbeinu" (our teacher), he acquired the Hebrew suffix "Tam" meaning
straightforward; it was originally used in the Book of Genesis to describe his biblical
namesake, Jacob.

Jacob ben Meir was born in the French country village of Ramerupt, in
the Aube dpartement of northern-central France, to Meir ben Shmuel and
Yocheved, daughter of Rashi. His primary teachers were his father and his brother, Shmuel
ben Meir, known as Rashbam. His other brothers were Isaac, known as the Rivam, and
Solomon the Grammarian. He married Miriam, the sister of R. Shimshon ben Yosef
of Falaise, Calvados, although she may have been his second wife.
His reputation as a legal scholar spread far beyond France. Avraham ibn Daud,
the Spanish chronicler of the sages, mentioned Rabbeinu Tam in his Sefer HaKabbalah, but
not Rashi. Rabbeinu Tam's work is also cited by Rabbi Zerachya HaLevi, a Provenal critic.
He also received questions from students throughout France and from
the Italiancommunities of Bari and Otranto.
Rabbeinu Tam gave his Beth Din the title of "the generation's [most] significant court", and
indeed, he is known for communal enactments improving Jewish family life, education, and
women's status. At times, he criticised Halakhic opponents, notably in his controversies
with Meshullam of Melun and Efraim of Regensburg.

Halakhic disputes[edit]
Legend has it that when Rashi was holding his infant grandson, the baby touched
the tefillin that were on Rashi's head. Rashi predicted that this grandson would later
disagree with him about the order of the scripts that are put in the head tefillin. Regardless
of the episode's veracity, Rabbeinu Tam did disagree with the opinion of his antecedent.
Today, both "Rashi tefillin" and "Rabbeinu Tam tefillin" are produced: the Shulchan
Aruch requires wearing Rashi's version and recommends that God-fearing Jews wear both
in order to satisfy both halakhic opinions. However: [2]
"It is worth noting that the Shulchan Aruch ... rules that Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin
should be worn only by one who is known to be a very pious person;
the Mishnah Berurah ... explains that it is a sign of haughtiness for anyone else
to do this because the accepted practice is to wear Rashi Tefillin."
However, many Sephardic and chasidic Jews[3] wear Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin (in addition to
wearing Rashi's) per opinions presented in the Shulchan Aruch and its extensive

commentaries authored throughout the early-modern and modern era. The rise and
articulation of chasidic philosophy has conflated the kabbalistic and halakhic aspects of
Rabbeinu Tam's position, popularizing the custom to wear both pairs every day. Wearing
Rabbeinu Tam tefillin is an almost universal custom among the many and diverse
communities that follow the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and his students.[4]
Another halakhic disagreement between Rabbeinu Tam and Rashi concerns the placement
of the mezuzah. Rashi rules that it should be mounted on the doorpost in a vertical
position; Rabbeinu Tam holds that it should be mounted horizontally. To satisfy both
opinions, Ashkenazi Jews place the mezuzah on the door in a slanted position/[5] Sephardi
Jews mount the mezuzah vertically, per the opinions of Rashi, Maimonides, and the
Shulchan Aruch.

Liturgical poet[edit]
In the field of Hebrew poetry the importance of R. Tam is not slight. He was influenced by
the poetry of the Spaniards, and is the chief representative of the transition period, in
Christian lands, from the old "payyeanic" mode of expression to the more graceful forms
of the Spanish school. According to Zunz,[6] he composed the following pieces for the
synagogue: (1) several poems for the evening prayer of Sukkot and of Shemini Atzeret; (2)
a hymn for the close of Sabbath on which a wedding is celebrated; (3) a hymn for the
replacing of the Torah rolls in the Ark on Simchat Torah; (4) an "ofan" in four metric
strophes;[7] (5) four Aramaic reshut; (6) two selichot (the second is reproduced by Zunz
in S.P.p. 248, in German verse;[8] It must, however, be remarked that there was a
synagogal poet by the name of Jacob ben Mer (Levi) who might easily have been
confounded with the subject of this article, and therefore Tam's authorship of all of these
poems is not above doubt.[9]
The short poems which sometimes precede his responsa also show great poetic talent and
a pure Hebrew style (see Bacher in Monatsschrift, xliv.56 et seq.). When Abraham ibn
Ezra was traveling through France R. Tam greeted him in verse, whereupon Ibn Ezra
exclaimed in astonishment, "Who has admitted the French into the temple of poetry?"
(Kerem emed, vii.35). Another work of his in metric form is his poem on the accents,
which contains forty-five strophes riming in; it is found in various libraries (Padua,
Hamburg, Parma), and is entitled Maberet. Luzzatto has given the first four strophes
in Kerem emed (vii.38), and Halberstam has printed the whole poem in Kobak's
"Jeschurun" (v.123).

Rabbeinu Tam and his brothers, the Rashbam and the Rivam, as well as other Tosafists,
were buried in Ramerupt. The unmarked, ancient cemetery in which they are buried lies
adjacent to a street called Street of the Great Cemetery. In 2005, Rabbi Yisroel Meir
Gabbai, a Breslover Hasid who renovates and repairs neglected gravesites of Jewish
leaders around the world, helped to determine the exact boundaries of the cemetery. In
addition, a member of the Jewish religious community in Paris bought a house at the site
and converted it into a beth midrash.[10]

Rabbeinu Tam's best-known work is Sefer HaYashar, which contained
both novellae and responsa, its main purpose to resolve Talmudic textual problems without
resorting to emendations of the received text. Even the best editions show considerable
corruption of the original work, and all present editions of Sefer HaYashar are fragments

collected from it. Responsa of Rabbeinu Jacob of Ramerupt (Hebrew) was published by
Rabbi Yosef Kafih in 1968.[11]

1. Jump up^ Solomon Schechter; Max Schloessinger. "Jacob Ben Mer Tam (known also as Rabbenu
Tam)". The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
2. Jump up^ Parshas Bo: Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin Archived July 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
3. Jump up^ "Torah scrolls, Sefer Torah projects, tefillin, mezuzah scrolls & Megillah scrolls from Israel". Retrieved 2013-04-05.
4. Jump up^
5. Jump up^ "soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Torah and Halachic Authority (3/12)Section Question 4.12: Who was
Rabbeinu Tam?". 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
6. Jump up^ Zunz, Literaturgesch. pp. 265 et seq.
7. Jump up^ see Luzzatto in Kerem emed, vii.35
8. Jump up^ see also "Nachalat SHeDaL" in Berliner's Magazin ["Oar ob"], 1880, p. 36.
9. Jump up^ See Landshuth, "'Ammude ha-'Abodah", p. 106; comp. also Harkavy, "adashim gam
Yeshanim", supplement to the Hebrew edition of Graetz, "Hist." v. 39; Brody, "unras ha-Piyyuim", p. 72
Jump up^ Friedman, Yisroel (7 January 2004). "A Man with a Grave Mission Part I". Dei'ah
VeDibur. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
Jump up^ Published by Mekize Nirdamim in Kobez Al Yad, new series, book 7 (17), Jerusalem
1968, pages 81-100. (Reprinted in Rabbi Kafih's Collected Papers, Volume 1, pages 453-470.)

(List of) Tosafists

Not to be confused with Tosefta.
Tosafists were medieval rabbis from France and Germany who are among those known in
Talmudical scholarship as Rishonim (there were Rishonim in Spain also) who created
critical and explanatory glosses (questions, notes, interpretations, rulings and sources) on
the Talmud. These were collectively calledTosafot ("additions"), because they were
additions on the commentary of Rashi. The Tosafists lived from the 12th century to the
middle of the 15th century and the Tosafot are a compilation of the questions, answers and
opinions of those rabbis. The Tosafot are very important to the practical application of
Jewish law because the law will differ depending on how the Talmud is understood and
Each generation of the Tosafists would add to those compilations and therefore there are
many different versions of the Tosafos. In addition each compilation of the Tosafos did not
contain everything that was said by the Tosafists on the subject so compilations will differ
in what they say. For this reason some things that were said by the Tosafists will be found
only in obscure versions of the Tosafos.
The final version of these commentaries was published on the outer side of the Soncino
edition of the Talmud, printed in Soncino, Italy (16th century), and was the first printed
edition of the full Talmud. The publisher of that edition was a nephew of Rabbi Moshe of
Spires (Shapiro) who was of the last generation of Tosafists and who initiated a project of
writing a final compilation of the Tosafos. Before he published his Talmud he traveled
throughout France to the schools where the Tosafists learned and gathered all of the
different manuscripts of that final version of the Tosafos and printed them in his Talmud.
Since then every publication of the Talmud was printed with theTosafos on the outer side

of the page (the inner side has the commentary of Rashi) and is an integral part of the
study of the Talmud.
During the period of the Tosafists the church enacted a law that prohibited possession of
the Talmud under pain of death and 24 wagon loads of scrolls of the Talmud were gathered
from all of France and burned in the center of Paris. The intention of the church was that
the study of the Talmud should be forgotten and once forgotten it would remain forgotten
for all generations since there would be nobody to teach it. As a result,
the Tosafists devised a system where they could study the Talmud without the existence of
a text despite the vastness of the Talmud. They appointed scholars, each to be expert in
one the volumes of the Talmud, to know it by heart and very well, and so through these
scholars they would have expertise and knowledge in all of the Talmud. As they would
study a particular text in one volume of the Talmud those scholars who were expert in
different volumes of the Talmud would tell of anything in the volume of the Talmud that
they were expert on that would contradict their understanding of the text at hand. Thus an
important aspect of the scholarship of the Tosafists is to use texts in different areas of the
Talmud to disprove certain interpretations of the Talmud (often those of Rashi) and to
determine the correct way to understand the Talmud.
Rabbinical Eras