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It is worthwhile to take some time out, and study the people who influenced Rashi’s learning. As noted above, Rashi began his studies in his birthplace Troyes. Being that his rather was also a scholar, it is clear that he received a basic Torah education at home. However, his main influences were his teachers in ttforms and Mainz, the disciples of Ra-beinu Gershom.

His foremost Rebbi was Rebbi Yaakov Ben Yakar, who took over the Yeshiva in Mainz from Rabeinu Gershom Rashi often quotes Rebbi Yaakov as “my teacher”. In one place, Rashi refers to him as “the greatest of all”, but Rebbi Yaakov’s humility did not allow him to make any new enactments, as such enactments would bring him renown. It is clear that Rashi learned this lesson of humility and internalized it well, as we shall see in later chapters.

After the death of Rebbi Yaakov (1064), Rashi went to learn in the Yeshiva of Rebbi Yitzchak Halevi Segal. He then traveled back to Mainz and learned for a short period with his uncle, Rebbi Yitzchak Ben Yehuda.

In order to understand the methodology Rashi learned from his teachers, we first must understand a little about the learning of Rabeinu Gershom.

Aside from other aspects of his righteous and scholarly life which is enough to fill a separate book, Rabeinu Gershom worked most of his life clarifying the proper text of the Talmud. Before me advent of the printing press, copies of the Talmud were copied over by hand, causing greater room for error. For example, if a copier encountered an unclear word or line in his text, he would often be inaccurate in copying over the text.