Make your own free website on
      Home Page

Did Rashi Write the Commentary to Chelek Attributed to Him?

Much of the debate over whether Moshiach can come from the dead focuses on a comment by Rashi on Sanhedrin 98b. The meaning of this comment is discussed extensively in the book Can the Rebbe Moshiach? but a separate issue is whether Rashi actually wrote the comment under question. The first to question the authorship of the commentary on Sanhedrin chapter Chelek (chapter 11 in the Gemara, 10 in the Mishnah) was R' Nosson Nota Rabinowitz in his Dikdukei Sofrim. He noted that the usage of language indicated that the commentary was not written by Rashi. However, since R' Meir HaLevy Abulafia in his Yad Ramah attributed the commentary to Rashi, R' Rabinowitz accepted this claim. Later scholars have debated the topic at greater length and not arrived at any convincing conclusion. R' Ya'akov Nachum HaLevy Epstein, a noted academic scholar, wrote a long article in which he brought strong proofs that Rashi did not write the commentary. Prof. Saul Lieberman has tried to recreate parts of Rashi's real commentary based on medieval Christian writings. However, the evidence points in both directions and no one has yet been able to conclude the debate. It still remains unclear who wrote the commentary on Chelek attributed to Rashi.

In the attached document are the following:

1. The comments of Dikdukei Sofrim questioning the authorship.
2. The introduction to Sanhedri Gedolah discussing the issue.
3. R' Menachem Kasher's notes on the issue in his monumental bibliographical work Sarei HaElef.