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 outbursts of anti-Semitism and decimated by the Crusades. The incomparable scholar Rashi, whose phrase-by-phrase explication of the oral law has been included in every printing of the Talmud since the fifteenth century, was also a spiritual and religious leader: His perspective, encompassing both the mundane and the profound, is timeless.
Wiesel’s Rashi is a heartbroken witness to the suffering of his people, and through his responses to major religious questions of the day we see still another side of this greatest of all interpreters of the sacred writings.
Both beginners and advanced students of the Bible rely on Rashi’s groundbreaking commentary for simple text explanations and Midrashic interpretations. Wiesel, a descendant of Rashi, proves an incomparable guide who enables us to appreciate both the lucidity of Rashi’s writings and the milieu in which they were formed.
About the Author
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, has been the preeminent voice of conscience and Holocaust memory throughout the seven decades since the end of World War II. In 1984, Professor Wiesel delivered the keynote address at the First International Conference of Children of Holocaust Survivors in New York City, and he has graciously allowed us to publish excerpts from that address as his charge to the post-Holocaust generations as we explore who we are, what we believe and what we stand for in the pages of this book.
Catherine Temerson is the author and translator of over a dozen books. Her most recent translations include Amin Maalouf's Origins, Elie Wiesel's A Mad Desire to Dance, Florence Noiville's Isaac B. Singer: A Life and Hiner Saleem's My Father's Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan.
“Ever since childhood, Rashi has accompanied my with his insights and charm. Ever since my first Bible lessons in the Heder, I have turned to him in order to grasp the meaning of a verse or word that seemed obscure.
“He is my first destination. My first aid. The first friend whose assistance is invaluable to us, not to say indispensable, if we’ve set our heart on pursuing a thought through unfamiliar subterranean passageways, to its distant origins. A veiled reference from him, like a smile, and everything lights up and becomes clearer.
“Of course, it is the Jewish child in me who thanks him. But Rashi’s appeal is addressed to everyone. What I mean is this: his passion for delving in a text into order to find a hidden meaning passed on by generations can move, interest, and enrich all those whose life is governed by study.”
—FROM THE PREFACE
“Wiesel’s contribution to the Jewish Encounters series is an informative gem.”
–Ray Olson, Booklist