Giant Figures


Rashi on the Pentateuch

Rashi on the Pentateuch, France, early 13th century

The difficult circumstances of Jewish life in medieval Europe required the creation of cohesive Jewish communities, which the Jews of Europe successfully fashioned. These communities in turn needed inspired leadership, which in fact emerged. All across medieval Europe, giant Jewish leaders came to the fore.

These leaders provided guidance for the everyday affairs of the Jewish communities in which they lived. At the same time, they addressed the pressing spiritual and religious problems of their times. In order to extend their leadership beyond the confines of their immediate environment, they put their insights into writings that were disseminated and treasured all across medieval Europe and down through the centuries.

These writings continue to be influential in the twentieth-first-century Jewish world.

Major Leaders

  1. R. Solomon ben Isaac (Rashi), EJ 13- 1558-1566.
  2. R. Jacob ben Meir (Rabbeinu Tam), EJ 15-779-781.
  3. R. David Kimhi (Radak), EJ 10-1001-1004.
  4. R. Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides/ Ramban), EJ 12-774-782.
  5. R. Meir ben Baruch of Rothenberg (Maharam), EJ 11-1247-1252.
  6. R. Isaac ben Judah Abrabanel, EJ 2-103-109.

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