PREFACE

Some months ago the Jewish world celebrated the eight hundredth anniversary of the death of Rashi, who died at Troyes in 1105. On that occasion those whose knowledge authorizes them to speak gave eloquent accounts of his life and work. Science and devotion availed themselves of every possible medium--lectures and books, journals and reviews--to set forth all we owe to the illustrious Rabbi. The writer ventures to express the hope that in the present volume he has made at least a slight contribution toward discharging the common debt of the Jewish nation--that it is not utterly unworthy of him whose name it bears.

This volume, however, is not a product of circumstances; it was not written on the occasion of the centenary celebration. It was designed to form one of the series of the biographies of Jewish Worthies planned by the J EWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY OF AMERICA, the first issue of which was devoted to Maimonides. The biography of Rashi is the second of the series. It is not for the author to endorse the order adopted, but he hazards the opinion that the readers will find the portrait of Rashi no unfitting companion-piece even to that of the author of the Moreh.

Jewish history may include minds more brilliant and works more original than Rashi's. But it is incontestable that he is one of those historical personages

-3-

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