Until modern times virtually every Jewish child imbibed the teachings, the narrative, and law of the Pentateuch with the assistance of Rashi's commentary, or, as the Yiddish expression has it, Humash mit Rashi. Rashi's Bible and Talmud commentaries are still unmatched for conciseness, clarity, and the sure touch of the born educator. Though of medieval French provenance, Rashi's expositions were adopted by Jews everywhere, Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Oriental, for nearly a thousand years. Nor was his influence restricted to Jews. Within a century after his death, his commentary was taken up by a learned Franciscan monk whose discourses were to lend shape to Martin Luther's rendition of the Hebrew Bible into German, thus indirectly affecting the King James Version.



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