Who was Rashi? What are some examples of his commentary on verses from Genesis through Deuteronomy?

Rashi was a medieval French rabbi whose commentary on the Bible is still widely studied and respected today. He was born in Troyes, France in 1040 and spent most of his life studying and teaching Jewish law and scripture. Rashi is best known for his commentary on the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, which he completed in the late 11th century.

Rashi's commentary on the Torah is renowned for its clarity, concision, and insight. His approach to interpretation was heavily influenced by the Talmudic tradition and he sought to elucidate the meaning of the text through careful analysis of the language and context. Here are some examples of his commentary on verses from Genesis through Deuteronomy:

  1. Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Rashi explains that the word "beginning" refers to the beginning of time, not the beginning of God's existence. He also notes that the use of the word "heavens" in the plural is meant to indicate the different levels of heaven.
  2. Exodus 3:14 - "I AM WHO I AM." Rashi interprets this as God's way of emphasizing his unchanging nature and eternal existence. He also notes that the Hebrew word for "I am" is related to the word for "being," indicating that God is the ultimate source of all existence.
  3. Leviticus 19:18 - "Love your neighbor as yourself." Rashi explains that this commandment is meant to apply to all people, not just fellow Jews. He also notes that the word for "neighbor" in Hebrew can also mean "friend," indicating that we should treat everyone with kindness and respect.
  4. Numbers 12:1 - "Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses." Rashi notes that Miriam was mentioned first, even though Aaron was the High Priest, to emphasize her role as a prophetess and leader in her own right.
  5. Deuteronomy 22:6 - "If you come across a bird's nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young." Rashi explains that this commandment is meant to teach us compassion and respect for all living creatures, even animals.