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An unbroken, eternal chain of Torah scholars

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Chodesh tov! Have a good month! The new month of Av begins today. Rosh Chodesh Av is also when Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki), the most renowned Torah commentator, passed away 918 years ago.
In the margins of Rashi's commentary on the Talmud (Bava Batra 29a), we find these words: "Here Rashi died." Everyone who reads this surely stops in surprise and with much sadness.
Yet one line below this, we read: "From here on is the commentary of the Rashbam." The Rashbam (Rabbi Shmuel ben Rabbi Meir), a notable commentator in his own right, was a grandson of Rashi.
There is something special about the Rashbam stopping in the midst of his learning to acknowledge the death of his grandfather -- as if, while mourning his passing, to say farewell and thank you -- and then continue his grandfather's work without interruption. It's a shining example of how Torah scholars connect one generation to the next in an unbroken and eternal chain.
918 years ago, the words "Here Rashi died" were written, yet this very morning we will study his commentary, as well as the commentaries of those who have followed in his footsteps until today.


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