Shemaiah of Troyes

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SHEMAIAH OF TROYES (11th century), French scholar. Shemaiah was one of *Rashi's closest pupils and appears to have been the father-in-law of Rashi's grandson, *Samuel b. Meir. Shemaiah helped Rashi edit his responsa and afterward collected and assembled them from the notes of his master. He also wrote up for him some of his halakhic decisions. He also assisted Rashi in editing his commentaries to the Talmud and in particular his commentary to the Bible, which Rashi read with him, correcting as he went along. Traces of Shemaiah's activities are detectable in Rashi's works. Occasionally short additions and notes made by Rashi orally have been added with Shemaiah's signature. Very often the additions have been merged with the text and are identifiable as additions only by comparison with manuscripts. Shemaiah himself, under the direction of Rashi, wrote commentaries to a number of tractates, but only those to Middot and Tamid have been preserved in two versions, one of which appears in all large editions of the Talmud since the Venice edition of 1522, and another in a work published by A. Berliner from a manuscript (in Sefer Rashi, see bibl.). Numerous rishonim, however, quote from his commentaries to many other tractates, and there are rulings of his which are known to have been handed to Rashi for his approval and signature. Shemaiah's Seder Leil Pesaḥ was published at the end of the Dikdukei Soferim to Pesaḥim (1874), and there remain in manuscript remnants of his commentaries on piyyutim. It is possible that this Shemaiah is identical with Shemaiah ha-Shoshanni, author of the Midrash to the weekly portion Terumah, who is known to have written commentaries to the maḥzor. Shemaiah served as the main source for knowledge of Rashi's teaching, and his collections were the basis of most of the extant anonymous books of the "school of Rashi," among them Sefer ha-Pardes, Maḥzor Vitry, Siddur Rashi, and others. The son of Shemaiah, Moses, was the editor of the halakhic work Ha-Orah, which contained much valuable material after the tradition of Rashi, and which was apparently the basis of the extant Sefer ha-Orah (1905).


Epstein, in: mgwj, 41 (1897), 257–63, 296–312; Kitvei Abraham Epstein, 1 (1950), 271–95; Berliner, in: mgwj, 13 (1864), 224–31; idem, in: Sefer Rashi (1956), 141–8, 157–62; Poznański, in: Perush al-Yeḥezkel u-Terei Asar le-Rabbi Eliezer mi-Belganẓi (1913), xii–xiii (introd.); A. Aptowitzer, Mavo le-Sefer Ravyah (1938), 414–6; Urbach, Tosafot, index.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]