CHAPTER VI
THE BIBLICAL COMMENTARIES

"Thanks to Rashi the Torah has been renewed. The word of the Lord in his mouth was truth. His way was perfect and always the same. By his commentary he exalted the Torah and fortified it. All wise men and all scholars recognize him as master, and acknowledge that there is no commentary comparable with his." This enthusiastic verdict of Eliezer ben Nathan58 has been ratified by the following generations, which, by a clever play upon words, accorded him the title of Parshandata, Interpreter of the Law. 59 And, verily, during his life Rashi had been an interpreter of the Law, when he explained the Scriptures to his disciples and to his other co-religionists; and he prolonged this beneficent activity in his commentaries, in which one seems to feel his passionate love of the law of God and his lively desire to render the understanding of it easy to his people. Yet it is true that all scholars did not share in the general admiration of Rashi, and discordant notes may be heard in the symphony of enthusiasm.

Of what avail these eulogies and what signify these reservations?

If one reflects that the Bible is at the same time the most important and the most obscure of the books that

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