BOOK III
THE INFLUENCE OF RASHI

CHAPTER XI
FROM RASHI'S DEATH TO THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS FROM FRANCE

The preceding chapters show how voluminous and varied was Rashi's work. And yet we are far from possessing everything he wrote; a number of texts have disappeared, perhaps are lost forever. But this fertility is not Rashi's sole literary merit. If the excellence of a work is to be measured not only by its intrinsic value, but also by its historical influence, by the scientific movement to which it has given the impulse, by the literature which it has called into being, in short, by its general effect, no work should receive a higher estimate than that of Rashi, for, it may be said without exaggeration, no other work was ever the occasion of so much comment and discussion, and none exerted an influence so far- reaching and enduring. From the moment of their appearance his writings spread rapidly, and were read with enthusiasm. After profoundly affecting his contemporaries, Rashi continued to guide the movement he had started. His influence upon rabbinical liter-

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