Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rashi Script

(Chart courtesy of rashi900.com)

Dixie Yid and I were recently having a discussion via e-mail in which he told me that he bought the new printing of Toldos Yaakov Yosef with an excellent commentary. I replied that I had bought another printing of this sefer since it was in regular block letters and not in Rashi script. Although I have taught myself Rashi script in the past, without regular practice I found that my attempts to read it were rather onerous, and because of this that I now steered clear of Rashi script seforim all together.

Receiving this response, Dixie Yid replied, "I'm sorry to hear that. So many seforim are published like that. I'm sorry to hear about that ikuv (delay/obstacle)."

These three sentences hit me like a ton of bricks and instantly forced me to recall something the Sudilkover Rebbe told me on the topic of printing seforim without nekudos. He mentioned that at the time when he puts out his new printing of Degel Machaneh Ephraim he plans to do so without nekudos since this was something the Degel discussed in his sefer. The Rebbe also mentioned that he would very much like to print the sefer in Rashi script since the sefer was originally printed in this fashion almost 200 years ago.

The night after my e-mail interchange with Dixie Yid, I went home and opened up the Artscroll Rashi to Parshas Shelach and began comparing the Rashi script with the Rashi written out in in the block letters. I resolved to continue this practice on a regular basis until I can effortlessly read the Rashi script.

I am investing the time now so that when the new printing of Degel Machaneh Ephraim is released the only obstacle that I will encounter is my understanding of the content, and not the elementary skill of how to read the Degel's words.


At July 1, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM EDT, Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Learning Gemara makes you pretty used to rashi script pretty quickly..

[Just a word on rashi script- it's obviously well known that 'rashi script' has very little to do with rashi, but rather was the cursive Hebrew writing of Jews in Muslim countries (till recently, though it changed a little in some places), and is referred to as חצי קולמוס. The script we use in Hebrew today is purely a European invention, and caught on among Sefaradim too when Ashkenazim increasing in number and influence. ...I personally think that if the 'rashi script' is written right it can look very visually pleasing..almost artistic..]

At July 1, 2008 at 10:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger DixieYid said...

Wow. I didn't mean to make you feel bad. But once again, I stand in awe of how dedicated you are to learning and growing. kol hakavod to you my friend!

-Dixie Yid

At July 1, 2008 at 10:29:00 AM EDT, Blogger Jewish Blogmeister said...

Speaking of Dixie Yid you can check out the interview I did of him. He mentions your blog quite a few times :)

At July 1, 2008 at 10:32:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Giving a person sweet medicine at the time that he needs bitter medicine can actually be harmful. If a person always flatters another person he ultimately is not helping them.

Thank you, Dixie Yid. You told me exactly what I needed at the time I needed it.

At July 1, 2008 at 10:45:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it worth just to remember the shape of the letters first (but remember very well). Since you are an adult you can do it in one day. After that your reading skill (for given script/font) will improve immensely. This applies to any script actually, for which you know the letters themselves, but aren't enough familiar with their particular representation.

At July 1, 2008 at 2:06:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...


At August 7, 2008 at 8:48:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Mendy said...

Hey! I just stumbled upon your blog when searching for a chart of Rashi script.

I would like to note that the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged the printing of seforim (chassidus & nigleh) in "osiyos meruba'os"=block letters, to make seforim available to those who are not familiar or fluent in Rashi script. I believe this began with the printing of Lekutei Torah of the Alter Rebbe. More recently, Shay Lamora printed a Chumash that focuses on Rashi, while one of the editions are in block letters.

It seems to be a growing trend that is shunned by some as a sign of an iliterate generation, however, it appears that for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, making Torah accesible to as many as possible was a top priority.

At August 7, 2008 at 8:54:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Mendy said...

I found that Motel posted something similar here: http://asimplejew.blogspot.com/2008/06/finally-menukad-after-197-years.html


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