[Avodah] Mesora only through Rashi

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Tue Jul 28 10:38:17 PDT 2015

On Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 11:153am EDT, R Saul Guberman wrote:
: RGS makes the claim that we would not have TSP & our Mesora without Rashi &
: the Tosafists.
: http://www.torahmusings.com/2015/07/who-was-greater-than-rambam/
: Our *Torah shebe'al peh* is based on Rashi and the Tosafists. If Jewish
: history had not included Maimonides, the Jewish world would have missed a
: great deal. Maimonides enriched our thinking and world view tremendously,
: but the *Torah shebe'al peh* would have survived without him. However,
: without Rashi and the Tosafists, there would not have been any *mesora*,
: any chain of tradition; we could not teach *Torah shebe'al peh* today.

Which is a different statement than the subject line.

I took RGS's expansion of RYBS's idea to mean that we got our mesorah
through all these parallel strands. However, the loss of a codifier who
stands alone, like the Rambam, is less critical to the survival of
mesorah than the parshanim. Rambam added a lot to our mesorah. But
Rashi and Tosafos made it possible for later generations to continue
understanding the gemara.

But one thing RGS loses is RYBS's context. RYBS was saying this in
shiur, in a room where talmidim bring a compact edition of the Rambam
with them for reference. It's a different thing to make this statement
while sitting in Brisk, when you may intentionally state a perspective
re-setting idea more strongly than in other settings.

On Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 2:43pm EDT, R Sholom Simon wrote:
: We trace Rashi's mesorah pretty easily back to Rabbeinu Gershom -- but
: where did _he_ get _his_ mesorah from? How did it get from Bavel and the
: Gaonim to northern Europe? 

In a teshuvah, Rabbeinu Gershom says he was taught most of his Torah by
"R' Leon". He means Rabbi Yehudah (Leontin) ben Rabbi Meir haKohein.

R' Leontin was from Iraly, but he was in France before reaching Mainz. In
France he picked up talmidim who then followed him to Ashkenaz, including
Rabbinu Gershom and R' Yosef Tuv Elem (Tuv Elem = Bonfils, you will
see him the the Mordechai alot, Tosafos, and [if you ever have occasion
to look] Machzor Vitri).

Rabbeinu Gershom took over the yeshiva upon RYBRM's petirah, which is
probably why he is "Rabbeinu" rather than "Rav".

The thing is, the tradition in Provence is that they came from EY.
For example, in Luneil it was (is?) believed that the city was
founded by refugees from Yericho, who commemorated their city of
origin by using a translation of the same name: yareiach = luna.

Which brings me to RGS's reply to R Sholom, written yesterday, Jul 27,
2015, at 5:59pm EDT:
: Prof. Haym Soloveitchik has a theory of the origin of the German
: mesorah. He calls it the third yeshiva of Bavel. Prof. David Berger
: disagrees with the entire thesis, with arguments I find convincing.

: However, that said, Prof. Soloveitchik makes extremely good arguments
: against the conventional wisdom that Germany's tradition comes from
: Palestine. His essay and response to Prof. Berger can be found in volume
: 2 of his Collected Essays.

If there is any truth to the Israeli Provencial tradition, we have a
link in terms of rabbinic leadership to EY.

However, not only do nusach hatefillah, piyut, and a number of pesaqim
(which RRW educated me on repeatedly on these "pages" in the past)
point toward an EY origin of Ashkenaz, so does something I didn't see
R/Dr Soloveitchik address -- genetics.

A map of the Jewish genetic tree
shows the closes affinity for the Ashkenazi gene pool were the Italian,
Greek, Turkish and Syrian communities. Notably all under the Roman Empire.
Whereas the Jews of the geonic lands -- from Bavel through Qairouan,
Tunisia -- form a second grouping.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When faced with a decision ask yourself,
micha at aishdas.org        "How would I decide if it were Ne'ilah now,
http://www.aishdas.org   at the closing moments of Yom Kippur?"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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