Thursday, October 27, 2005

There is a famous Rashi

Rabbis and laymen alike often cite "famous Rashis". It would be interesting if some kind of research on what are considered "famous Rashis", and by whom, and why were undertaken. Alas, all I have at my disposal at the moment is google. A very preliminary search reveals some examples, such as:

  • There is a very famous Rashi on the words "And these".
  • There is another famous Rashi [Vayikra 25:1] on the words "On Mount Sinai"
  • This is a famous Rashi quote. In Hebrew it is 'Acharon, acharon, chaviv."
  • Rav Tatz once quoted the famous Rashi which asks the question, "Why is the story of the spies juxtaposed with the punishment of Miriam?"
  • Remember another famous Rashi from this parsha (6, 11):
  • Quite often, when Rabbis speak, the refer to a " famous Rashi," a "famous Gemara" or some other source which they refer to as "famous." I realized that what "famous" really means is "I learned it!"
Oops, that last one is an observation on the phenomena. Anyway, I think to reduce it to "I learned it!" is to misunderstand the useage of the term. It's true that sometimes its clearly used because the speaker wants to lend that particular Rashi some kind of elevated level authority. But in some sense, there really are famous Rashis, Rashis that have been repeated so many times that they are well known, while others are not "famous" at all.

A study of the phenomena and any patterns and values it may reveal might well prove fascinating.

(Also see famous midrash and especially famous medrash, not to mention the famous gemoras, famous gemaras and famous chazals and rambans.)

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