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Supposedly, the knowledge was transmitted from teacher to student in each generation and so Rashi learned it all from his teacher and wrote it all down.

Was it common for people to be familiar with the entire Shas?

I'm guessing his contemporaries learned everything slightly differently from their own teachers. Is all of that knowledge gone because we only kept Rashi?

Or are the differences really not that serious and everyone else knew more or less the same material, only Rashi wrote it all down?

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    How did anyone learn before Artscroll? Some had teachers, some figured it out, some got it wrong. Why do you think the differences were lost? There are many commentaries that have various disagreements with Rashi. He was just the most comprehensive and accessible.
    – shmosel
    Commented Jun 11 at 10:49
  • @shmosel totally agree with the gist of your comment. I don't think that Rashi is the main commentary only because "he was just the most comprehensive and accessible " that is quite belittling of Rashi's great position as a Gadol of his time (and later on) as well as his accomplishment
    – Yoreinu
    Commented Jun 11 at 13:31
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    @Yoreinu I don't see how that's belittling
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 11 at 16:06
  • "Supposedly, the knowledge was transmitted from teacher to student in each generation and so Rashi learned it all from his teacher and wrote it all down." Where did you get that from? Doesn't seem right.
    – MichoelR
    Commented Jun 11 at 16:42
  • A number of masechtos have the peirush of Rabbeinu Gershom. It's pretty usable.
    – MichoelR
    Commented Jun 11 at 16:43

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