The Gemera in Meggilah 15a and Pirkei Avot 6:6 says, כל האומר דבר בשם אומרו מביא גאולה לעולם שנאמר ותאמר אסתר למלך בשם מרדכי. My question is, if quoting teachings of other people is very important (because it brings redemption to the world), then why does Rashi on his commentary to Chumash rarely quote his sources (which might only take up a bit more space)?

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Tuvia Bloy in the sefer כללי רש"י - Klalei Rashi (p.112), the principles of Rashi, explains that since Rashi only comes to explain the most simple meaning of the posuk - pshuto shel mikra - everything that Rashi explains has one goal: to convey the simple meaning of the posuk. For this very reason, even though most of Rashi's words are taken from our Sages, he does not indicate the sources, since indicating where the idea comes from is not necessary when explaining the pshuto shel mikra.

כיון שרש"י לא בא אלא לפשוטו של מקרא הרי כל מה שכותב רש"י בפירושו מכוון לביאור והסברת פשוטו של מקרא. משום כך, למרות שרוב דברי רש"י לקוחים ממקורות שונים של חז"ל, הרי ברוב המקרים אין הוא מציין את מקורם, שכן ציון המקור אינו הכרחי (ולרוב אף אינו תורם) להבנת פשוטו של מקרא. יתר על כן: לתלמיד בן החמש, שלימודו במקרא בלבד, אף אין ציון המקור אומר דבר. כל שכן שאין רש"י מציין, בדרך כלל, את שמות התנאים או האמוראים האומרים את הדברים'.

The author goes on to explain that for a five year old, the basic meaning is the one that counts, not where the idea is gotten from.

Sometimes, Rashi does cite his sources, for example Midrashim. This is only the case when there is an difficulty which Rashi tries to solve, in this case, he will point to the sources as an solution to the issue/contradiction. Thus, when Rashi does cite a source, this is only to resolve a difficulty and is always part of his commentary (p. 113).

When Rashi sees the need to mention his source, he does (p. 114).

רש"י מציין, בדרך כלל, את המקור, כשהוא מוצא לנכון לציינו, ובמיוחד כאשר המקור הוא מדרש אגדה בסיום דבריו, פרט למקרה שיש בדברים חידוש, עד כדי כך שפירושו אפשרי רק לאחר הסברת החידוש, אז הוא מציין תחלה את המקור, כדי לבסס את החידוש

Most of the times, when his own chiddush is based on a Midrash, he does cite that Midrash.

I would recommend reading the entire pages, starting from around p. 110.

  • 1
    thanks so much, that answers the question! I will definitely take a look at the Sefer Klalei Rashi Mar 19, 2023 at 21:11
  • No problem and glad to be of help. This is my second answer where I cite Klalei Rashi, it is such a wonderful sefer which explains why Rashi does what he does :)
    – Shmuel
    Mar 19, 2023 at 21:13
  • 1
    @Avishai Tebeka love the question! The interesting thing is that quite a number of times Rashi does indeed quote the source like you've mentioned. I recommend you looking up this unique and brilliant sefer, where the author dedicated an entire sefer to explain every Rashi that does so. See here (hebrewbooks.org/51157) Mar 19, 2023 at 21:18
  • @shayachagigah, wow! This sefer is incredible, thanks for sharing Mar 19, 2023 at 21:41
  • "The author goes on to explain that for a five year old, the basic meaning is the one that counts, not where the idea is gotten from." While true, it ignores the adults who (past tense) read it to verify that what Rashi wrote are correct.
    – RonJohn
    Mar 20, 2023 at 7:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .