Rishonim

One of the important times in the History of Judaism is the time between the 11th and the 16th, whose name is called “the time of the Rishonim”(Hebrew: ראשונים). This time was crucial for the survivor of Judaism around the world especially in Europe, where the Jewish people were in the middle between the battle of Islam and Christianity.

The time when this period started is related to the time when the Jewish center in Babel lost its ability and the center of Judaism moved to Europe.

In the time of the Rishonim, many important books came to this world, from the interpretation of the Torah and the Talmud, through the book of Zohar, the books of the Jewish Law and liturgical poems (Hebrew: פיוטים- piyyutim)


The words of these sages began in Germany, Spain France and North Africa. The famous Sages of this period were:

Rif – Rabbi Isaac Alfasi (1013-1103), who was born, educated and worked in North Africa;
Rashi (1040-1105)-the greatest interpreters of the Torah and the Talmud in Germany;
Rosh -Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (1250-1327) – the great commentator of the Talmud.
Maimonides (1138-1204) – the philosopher and the one who wrote “Mishneh Torah”.
Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575), who wrote the most important book in the Jewish Law- The “Shulchan Aruch” (with the additions of Ashkenazi Rabbi Moshe Isserlish -1525-1572).

For me, if there is a time that we can learn the most about Judaism outside the Promised Land- that’s the time!

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