Rashi frequently uses French words in his explanation to Chumash or the Gemara. However, he doesn't write it in the original language, but he writes it in a "transliteration" of French in Hebrew lettering.

Are there any rules to "transliterate" it back to French?

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    Inspired by this question as to how to pronounce the Shin in La'az. Mar 5, 2012 at 23:43
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    I wish I could +100 this. I've been wondering this for years!
    – HodofHod
    Mar 6, 2012 at 0:13
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    Wow, talk about a blast from the past. The הת' אלכסנדר הפנהיימר who wrote that question - is me!
    – Alex
    Mar 6, 2012 at 1:05
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    FYI, this "French" you speak of is not French as spoken now, and many words are different. I'll even go so far as to say that you may assume words will be different. In Rashi's time they still spoke what we now call Old French (from which, incidentally, many English words derive, due to the Norman Conquest).
    – msh210
    Mar 6, 2012 at 3:23
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    @Alex I'm tempted, a la meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9134/jon-skeet-facts , to create some sort of contest looking for references to you in the literature. :)
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 6, 2012 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


If I'm not mistaken, Dayan Gukovitzky's Targum HaLaaz has a transliteration guide. It seems that Rashi did have a specific set of rules for doing this.

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    As does Otzar Laazei Rashi, pp. 12-13.
    – Alex
    Mar 6, 2012 at 1:09
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    @Alex, why not a separate answer?
    – HodofHod
    Mar 6, 2012 at 22:33
  • @HodofHod: I think both Dayan Gukovitzky's and Catane's lists both go back to a common source, so they're not really separate answers.
    – Alex
    Mar 6, 2012 at 23:50
  • @Alex aha......
    – HodofHod
    Mar 7, 2012 at 0:10
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    @SethJ: a 1929 work by David Shimon Blondheim and Arsene Darmesteter, Les gloses françaises dans le commentaire talmudique de Raschi. Catane mentions it at the beginning of his introduction.
    – Alex
    May 30, 2012 at 14:27

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