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Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam)

(1083 - 1174)


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Samuel ben Meir (known as the RaSHBAM) was the son of Meir ben Samuel and the grandson of Rashi. He was born in 1083 in Ramerupt and died in 1174. He studied with both of them. Apparently, there were some occasions when Rashi accepted RaSHBaM's opinions and amended his commentary accordingly.

RaSHBaM raised sheep and wine grapes. He was one of the teachers of his brother, Rabbenu Tam.

Although he wrote a commentary to the entire Bible, only his Torah commentary is extant. He was a text literalist and objected to his grandfather's use of midrash and exegesis. Unlike his grandfather, he viewed cantillation marks as significant to understanding the meaning of the text. He viewed his commentary as complementary to Rashi's.

RaSHBaM wrote numerous piyyutim, and he was also one of the first tosafot. In two places (where his grandfather did not have commentary), RaSHBaM's explanations are printed where Rashi normally appears. Unlike his grandfather, his explanations tended to be LONG. His additional discussions (tosafot) to the Talmud were influenced by Alfasi's code.


Sources: Gates to Jewish Heritage

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