Jewish Zeal

 

It has been widely acknowledged that the three people who had the most profound cultural and political influence over the last hundred years were Jews: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein.

The zeal of Marx was centered around his theory that the ultimate motivation of human beings was economics (money!). The zeal of Freud derived from his theory that the all-encompassing driving force behind human behavior was the desire for pleasure. These self-centered theories were disproved by Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychologist who survived imprisonment in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. In “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl reported that those who survived the camps were typically the ones who would share their last crust of bread with another starving prisoner. Frankl said it was a search for meaning, not pleasure or materialistic concerns, that was the ultimate motivator of human behavior. (Check out this amazing video from 1972.)

The zeal of Einstein drew its power from asking basic questions about the universe and, even if took many years, in answering them. Isidor Rabi, a Jewish physicist who won the Nobel Prize in 1944 (22.5% of all Nobel prize recipients have been Jews) and could have been speaking for Einstein and Jewish geniuses in general, explained how he entered the field of science when his neighborhood friends were all becoming doctors, lawyers, and accountants: ”My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: ‘So? Did you learn anything today?’ But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. ‘Izzy,’ she would say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’ That difference – asking good questions – made me become a scientist!”

Jewish Mother Zeal

Ah, the Jewish mother! She, no doubt, is the source of Jewish zeal. A Jewish mother is a nuclear reactor of energy that is measured in megatons. It is no wonder that her children are blessed with zeal. To mention one example of this, I am acquainted with a woman in Israel who has 10 children, works full time as a physician, and observes the Sabbath, too.

Jewish Zeal for Adopted Culture

The list of zealously enterprising and creative Jews includes the founders of the first five movie studios, as follows:

  • MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
  • Paramount (Adolph Zukor)
  • Universal (Carl Laemmle)
  • Warner Brothers (Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack)
  • 20th Century Fox (William Fox)

Speaking of culture, don’t forget Bugsy Siegel, who founded Las Vegas as a mecca for gamblers.

Do you subscribe to the philosophy of Ayn Rand? You are actually enthralled by the scribblings of Alissa Rosenbaum.

“God Bless America” was written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish composer and lyricist, as was “White Christmas.” Other Christmas songs written by Jews include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” and “Sleigh Ride.”

When Jews enter a foreign culture, they quickly and zealously adopt it as their own.

Donald Trump Has the Zeal of a Jew

Donald Trump is an incredibly zealous individual, which makes his daughter’s conversion to Judaism a reasonable proposition. The practice of Judaism is a highly zealous endeavor, where every aspect of life — from what you can eat and what you can wear to the days of the month when you can have marital relations — is scrupulously delimited. An aside: whenever I hear Trump speak, I hear the expressions and the cadence of New York Jews, who have surrounded Trump his entire life. Clearly, Jewish zeal has rubbed off on him.

Ultimate Zeal: the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The ultimate example, from our own times, of a life lived with zeal – since it has propelled so many others to live with zeal, too — was the life of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Having escaped from the Holocaust and arriving in America in 1941 at the age of 39, the Rebbe, from his headquarters in Crown Heights (Brooklyn), transformed a post-Holocaust Jewish world that was in tatters. The Rebbe inspired the creation of more than 2,000 Chabad Jewish centers around the globe. He and his emissaries rescued thousands of Jews from assimilation through an emphasis on the joy and zeal of Chasidic Judaism.

For a distillation of Chasidic zeal, read “Souls on Fire” by Elie Wiesel. Caution: while reading this book, wearing gloves is advised to prevent burning your fingers as you turn the pages.

If Your House is Burning Down, Save the Fire

There is a story about a Chasid whose house is burning down. He runs to his rebbe and asks what he should save. The rebbe tells him not to worry about his material possessions, but to make sure he saves some of the fire.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe was famous for personal interactions around the clock and his door was open to all who wanted to talk to him through the wee hours of the morning. My father, in 1967, was fortunate to spend an hour in the Rebbe’s presence and, upon returning home, commented that there was something uniquely extraordinary about that man.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s death, delivered a talk, in 2004, where he beautifully described what zeal is ultimately all about: personal transformation that has the power to transform the entire world. The following are excerpts from that talk.

“The Talmud, in a few short sentences, records a dispute that took place some 2000 years ago between the two major ideological schools of the time, Beit Shammai (‘House of Shammai’) and Beit Hillel (‘House of Hillel’). The subject of their dispute was: ‘Is it better for a man to be born or not to be born?’ For two and a half years they argued. When the decision finally came, it was agreed by all that it’s more worthwhile not to be born. The only qualifier was that once one is born, one should at least do the best one can.

“But there is a different way of answering the question. Instead of answering ‘yea’ or ‘no,’ to find a third answer. This is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe tried to do. He said, instead of answering the question ‘is man worthy of being here in this universe’ let us make a new human being, a new kind of existence from which the answer must be positive.

No Matter How Much You Do, You Must Do More

“I experienced this myself in my relationship with the Rebbe. I wrote a letter to the Rebbe where I tried to describe what I was doing, tried to explain that one project I’m involved with is enough work to occupy me all day, every day. There was also a second project, which was also enough work to fill my entire day. And then there was a third undertaking which was a full day’s work. I told the Rebbe that I find it hard to carry on with them all, and that every day is more difficult than the one before, because there is just so much. So what should my priorities be? What should I cut out? This is the letter I wrote. So he responded — this is practically the last letter I received from the Rebbe — the Rebbe’s answer was, ‘continue all these things that you are doing and add more to all of them.’

“You know the famous story about the farmer who comes to the rabbi complaining about his small house so full of children. It’s unbearable. So the rabbi tells him to take a goat into his house, a noisy, smelly, dirty goat. Very soon the farmer comes back to the rabbi. ‘Every problem I had is worse’ he cries. The rabbi tells him to take the goat out. So he takes the goat out of his house and soon he’s back to tell the rabbi what a big wonderful house he now has.

“A very old story but what the Rebbe did was similar and yet quite different. When people complained about how hard their work was he would give them more to do. When they complained how terrible that was he would give them even more. He told them to add the goat, and then he’d give them camels to put in their house! That was the way he worked all the time. Whenever anybody complained about their inability to cope or the hard times they endured, he would suggest ‘take on something more.’

“Obviously, this is against the laws of nature. You have a certain amount of space, you are confined by the limits of the human condition. What did the Rebbe do? How could he overburden people like this? I will give an answer from the realm of physics. There is something in physics — you have a certain amount of pressure on something, and there is a point at which it can take no more. When you put ten times, one hundred times that pressure on it, something happens. The molecules collapse and the very nature of the object changes. In astronomy you have what is called ‘white dwarves.’ These are small stars, the size of the earth, sometimes even smaller. The mass they contain is many times that of the sun. Each cubic centimeter of a white dwarf weighs many tons. Why? Because the matter collapsed and became something else, the laws themselves changed.

“In a way, this was what the Rebbe wanted to do. He wanted to change the very nature of human matter, human behavior, the very way the human being operates. With everybody he encountered, he tried to change their nature into something completely different. They weren’t people anymore, they were something else.

“The Rebbe wanted to do something that was far more reaching than any revolution. He wanted to make this kind of irreversible change in human nature, this change in human history, he wanted it to become entirely different.

“The Rebbe understood people, he understood them very well because many of them revealed themselves, became more than naked in his presence. They told everything that they had to tell, their failings, their weaknesses. And his message to us was: Run! And if you cannot run — Walk! And if you cannot walk — Crawl! But always advance, advance, advance!

The Nuclear Spark Inside

The Lubavitcher Rebbe often said that there is a spark of zeal inside of every Jew that, once harnessed, has indescribable power, on the level of atomic force. Just as an atom is infinitesimally small but, once split, megatons of force are released, so too the divine essence of the Jew which, once tapped, releases an unfathomable reservoir of transformative energy.

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  1. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Skyler (View Comment):
    For instance, the biggest threat to our country right now is fundamentalist Muslims.

    We disagree here, too. Muslims (how can you tell a fundamentalist from a moderate? Which is the same question as, “how do you know someone’s heart?” Answer: you don’t.) are the second biggest threat, at most. The biggest threat to this country (and the West generally) is leftism. People willing to destroy good, decent, accomplished people and their families for political power. People who indoctrinate youngsters to believe that there are no differences between the sexes (except when there are, because victim/oppressor is how we climb to status ladder now); that capitalism is evil (and not the source of their historic level of comfort and wealth) and socialism “works” (instead of causing poverty, suffering, and tyranny); that everyone has their own “truth” instead of everyone sharing objective truth; that only “science” can explain everything of importance…

    • #31
  2. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    For instance, the biggest threat to our country right now is fundamentalist Muslims.

    We disagree here, too. Muslims (how can you tell a fundamentalist from a moderate? Which is the same question as, “how do you know someone’s heart?” Answer: you don’t.) are the second biggest threat, at most. The biggest threat to this country (and the West generally) is leftism. People willing to destroy good, decent, accomplished people and their families for political power. People who indoctrinate youngsters to believe that there are no differences between the sexes (except when there are, because victim/oppressor is how we climb to status ladder now); that capitalism is evil (and not the source of their historic level of comfort and wealth) and socialism “works” (instead of causing poverty, suffering, and tyranny); that everyone has their own “truth” instead of everyone sharing objective truth; that only “science” can explain everything of importance…

    I can agree that leftism is the bigger threat. 

    Moderate Muslims are the ones that fight side by side with us against the others.  Azerbaijan comes to mind. They served shoulder to shoulder with my battalion in Iraq and their commander told me that they did not like the fundamentalists. 

    • #32
  3. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Your point doesn’t rule out religion, @skyler. In fact, equality of rights supports being able to live one’s religion when it doesn’t interfere with the practices of others.

    Islam is not a religion, it is an ideology. It interferes with the practices of all legitimate religions, in so much that all unbelievers of islam should be dead or paying “jizyah” to be allowed to live and becoming dhimmi. That our government allows this shows the ignorance or compliance with islam. It should be outlawed in this this country and all Western countries. And had been for the most part until recent times. They use our “freedom of religion” as an excuse to implement their nefarious practices. Child brides, mutilating their little girls, killing gays and Jews, and other things.

     

    Of course it’s a religion.  That’s just silly.

    • #33
  4. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Of course it’s a religion. That’s just silly.

    Of course it isn’t a religion, that’s just ignorance of islam.

    • #34
  5. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Of course it’s a religion. That’s just silly.

    Of course it isn’t a religion, that’s just ignorance of islam.

    Kay, not sure this is gonna further the conversation; there are folks like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, MD who are practicing Muslims – and patriots – who are currently walking a very fine line. We need to acknowledge them and that their expression of faith also represents Islam.

    • #35
  6. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Of course it’s a religion. That’s just silly.

    Of course it isn’t a religion, that’s just ignorance of islam.

    Kay, not sure this is gonna further the conversation; there are folks like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, MD who are practicing Muslims – and patriots – who are currently walking a very fine line. We need to acknowledge them and that their expression of faith also represents Islam.

    I don’t find him very persuasive on how he approaches this vs. what the others like Andrew C. McCarthy et. al. say. 

    • #36
  7. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Of course it’s a religion. That’s just silly.

    Of course it isn’t a religion, that’s just ignorance of islam.

    You will need to explain your alternative definition of the word, then.  

    And no, I am not especially ignorant of the religion of Islam. 

    • #37
  8. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    The tenants of Islam are: Allah is the one god and Mohamed was his only prophet. Whatever he said and did must be emulated. If you do not, you are an infidel and worthy of death. The only exceptions are those who pay “jizyah” to be allowed to live and becoming dhimmi. The United States have been paying “jizyah” for many years, to most of the Islamic countries, and still do. The Saudis were up to their eyebrows in 9/11 and have they been punished? No, we just keep giving them along with other muslim countries aid. I will not further respond, just keep your muslim friends close. When on a whim they hear that beautiful call to morning prayer and put a knife in your back, don’t be surprised.

    • #38
  9. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Of course it’s a religion. That’s just silly.

    Of course it isn’t a religion, that’s just ignorance of islam.

    Kay, not sure this is gonna further the conversation; there are folks like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, MD who are practicing Muslims – and patriots – who are currently walking a very fine line. We need to acknowledge them and that their expression of faith also represents Islam.

    I don’t find him very persuasive on how he approaches this vs. what the others like Andrew C. McCarthy et. al. say.

    Fair enough, persuasiveness is highly subjective, point taken; Mr. McCarthy’s sample size surely finds Islamo-fascism represented almost exclusively, one might say.

    • #39
  10. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
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    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Of course it’s a religion. That’s just silly.

    Of course it isn’t a religion, that’s just ignorance of islam.

    Kay, not sure this is gonna further the conversation; there are folks like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, MD who are practicing Muslims – and patriots – who are currently walking a very fine line. We need to acknowledge them and that their expression of faith also represents Islam.

    I don’t find him very persuasive on how he approaches this vs. what the others like Andrew C. McCarthy et. al. say.

    Fair enough, persuasiveness is highly subjective, point taken; Mr. McCarthy’s sample size surely finds Islamo-fascism represented almost exclusively, one might say.

    Islam is inherently political. It’s supposed to be integrated with government. 

    • #40
  11. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Of course it’s a religion. That’s just silly.

    Of course it isn’t a religion, that’s just ignorance of islam.

    Kay, not sure this is gonna further the conversation; there are folks like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, MD who are practicing Muslims – and patriots – who are currently walking a very fine line. We need to acknowledge them and that their expression of faith also represents Islam.

    I don’t find him very persuasive on how he approaches this vs. what the others like Andrew C. McCarthy et. al. say.

    Fair enough, persuasiveness is highly subjective, point taken; Mr. McCarthy’s sample size surely finds Islamo-fascism represented almost exclusively, one might say.

    Islam is inherently political. It’s supposed to be integrated with government.

    I get your viewpoint.  I just don’t agree that it applies, across the board, without exception. (And, please, don’t toss taqiyya in my lap, thank you.)  
    YB-E, it seems the post has traveled a bit far afield from what you wanted to share with us. Or, are you comfortable with where it’s settled at the moment?

     

     

    • #41
  12. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I like Jewish culture and the religion. I think it develops people better and makes for a more productive and fair world. I don’t know how  anybody can believe in uncaused causes. 

    • #42
  13. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    The tenants of Islam are: Allah is the one god and Mohamed was his only prophet. Whatever he said and did must be emulated. If you do not, you are an infidel and worthy of death. The only exceptions are those who pay “jizyah” to be allowed to live and becoming dhimmi. The United States have been paying “jizyah” for many years, to most of the Islamic countries, and still do. The Saudis were up to their eyebrows in 9/11 and have they been punished? No, we just keep giving them along with other muslim countries aid. I will not further respond, just keep your muslim friends close. When on a whim they hear that beautiful call to morning prayer and put a knife in your back, don’t be surprised.

    But how is it not a religion?  

    • #43
  14. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Skyler (View Comment):
    But how is it not a religion?

    Yes, @skyler, I wonder, too. Even when popes were also princes, that didn’t make Catholicism any less a religion.  That’s why I borrow Christopher Hitchens’ term to describe what’s currently in the ascendancy, rather than merely using the religious descriptor.   

    • #44
  15. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    the Antifa ninnies, shrieking feminists and earth firsters all believe that their behavior (smashing the windows at Starbucks, clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court, spiking trees) are deeply, even transcendently meaningful.

    For Frankl, a life of meaning is a search.  It is a life of idealistic yearning which taps into the best human qualities, such as kindness and goodness, and human potential is seen in a positive, optimistic light.

    The examples you bring are of individuals ruled by hysterical emotion, not by a search for meaning.  Notice Frankl’s book title  uses the word “search” since there is never ultimate certainty when you strive to lead a meaningful life, unlike the cases you bring of violent acts predicated on a narrow ideology where debate ends and no search for meaning is permitted.

    • #45
  16. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu: It has been widely acknowledged that the three people who had the most profound cultural and political influence over the last hundred years were Jews: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein.

    It’s often observed that the level of cultural contribution over time and distance specifically of Ashkenazi Jews has been even more extraordinary than that of Jews in general.

    @yehoshuabeneliyahu, could you comment on that idea?

    • #46
  17. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu: It has been widely acknowledged that the three people who had the most profound cultural and political influence over the last hundred years were Jews: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein.

    It’s often observed that the level of cultural contribution over time and distance specifically of Ashkenazi Jews has been even more extraordinary than that of Jews in general.

    @yehoshuabeneliyahu, could you comment on that idea?

    It depends on how far back you go.  Moses Maimonides is considered the most influential Jew (in the Jewish world at least) in history due to his voluminous scholarship and acute understanding of Jewish law, to say nothing of his insights as a medical doctor.  A thousand years ago, he prescribed a healthy diet and regular exercise as the two best practices for avoiding illness.  We have an expression that “from Moses to Moses, there was none like Moses.”  That is, Maimonides is considered the greatest Jew who ever lived, excepting the Biblical Moses himself.  Moses Maimonides was a Sephardic Jew who lived in Spain, Morocco, and Egypt during the 11th and 12th centuries.  Joseph Caro, also Sephardic, achieved considerable reknown through the Shulchan Aruch, a code of Jewish law that he published in the 16th century and is the ultimate source of Jewish law until today.  Caro lived in Spain until Jews were exiled from there in 1492.  That’s right.  The same Queen Isabella who financed Columbus’ famous voyage kicked the Jews out of Spain.  Three years ago, however, Spain passed a law granting Spanish citizenship to any  Jew whose ancestors lived in Spain prior to the expulsion.  (Nearly all Sephardic Jews today had ancestors who lived in Spain.)

     

    • #47
  18. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu: It has been widely acknowledged that the three people who had the most profound cultural and political influence over the last hundred years were Jews: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein.

    It’s often observed that the level of cultural contribution over time and distance specifically of Ashkenazi Jews has been even more extraordinary than that of Jews in general.

    @yehoshuabeneliyahu, could you comment on that idea?

    “It depends on how far back you go…”

    Thanks much for these two examples.  

    And I am sure that there is much more for to learn about the high cultural achievements of Sephardic Jews, especially in the period during which Ashkenazi Jews have existed for comparison. 

    I assume that the distinction* between (a) the two examples you gave of great Sephardic Jews and (b) the examples you and others give of Ashkenazi levels of achievement, is an artifact of your mentioning only two of the former.

    *(I guess the distinction I refer to is clear enough: between renown for (a) Sephardic contributions to Jewish law on the one hand and (b) more general achievement by Ashkenazim (sp?) cited by you and those commentators on the other.)

     

    • #48
  19. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu: It has been widely acknowledged that the three people who had the most profound cultural and political influence over the last hundred years were Jews: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein.

    It’s often observed that the level of cultural contribution over time and distance specifically of Ashkenazi Jews has been even more extraordinary than that of Jews in general.

    @yehoshuabeneliyahu, could you comment on that idea?

    “It depends on how far back you go…”

    Thanks much for these two examples.

    And I am sure that there is much more for to learn about the high cultural achievements of Sephardic Jews, especially in the period during which Ashkenazi Jews have existed for comparison.

    I assume that the distinction* between (a) the two examples you gave of great Sephardic Jews and (b) the examples you and others give of Ashkenazi levels of achievement, is an artifact of your mentioning only two of the former.

    *(I guess the distinction I refer to is clear enough: between renown for (a) Sephardic contributions to Jewish law on the one hand and (b) more general achievement by Ashkenazim (sp?) cited by you and those commentators on the other.)

    There was one enormous Sephardic contribution to general culture that needs to be mentioned.  Love poetry of Medieval Jewish poets, written 1000 years ago in Spain in Hebrew, underwent a revival that had a seminal influence on the European romantic movement, especially in poetry and novels, that dates from the late 18th and early 19th centuries in England, France, and Germany.  Romantic expression as we know it, whether in poems, songs, or stories, up until the popular music of our own day, has roots in the love poetry of Medieval Sephardic poets — which derives its inspiration, of course, from the Bible itself.

    • #49
  20. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    So far I haven’t seen Rashi mentioned. From My Jewish Learning: Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (Shlomo Yitzhaki), known as Rashi (based on an acronym of his Hebrew initials), is one of the most influential Jewish commentators in history. He was born in Troyes, Champagne, in northern France, in 1040.

    https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/who-was-rashi/

    My best friend from childhood lives in Troyes France, and she helps translate from French, and the French Hebrew that Rashi used, into English for English language visitors to the area.

    • #50
  21. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    So far I haven’t seen Rashi mentioned. From My Jewish Learning: Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (Shlomo Yitzhaki), known as Rashi (based on an acronym of his Hebrew initials), is one of the most influential Jewish commentators in history. He was born in Troyes, Champagne, in northern France, in 1040.

    https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/who-was-rashi/

    My best friend from childhood lives in Troyes France, and she helps translate from French, and the French Hebrew that Rashi used, into English for English language visitors to the area.

    From the linked article above:

    “Rashi’s influence extended beyond the Jewish community. The biblical commentaries of Franciscan monk Nicholas de Lyra, born in 1292, depended heavily on Rashi’s work; de Lyra’s work later influenced Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Rashi’s commentary on the Bible was translated into Latin by Christian scholars in the 17th and 18th centuries, and was translated into German in 1838.”

    • #51
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