I have heard about Rashi that he measured his words very meticulously and that consequently every word he chose to write in his commentary is important for understanding his view. There are even rabbis who's daily lectures in Yeshiva are called "Rashi Shiurim", because they are devoted to understanding every last bit of this great Rishon's written words.

Are other Rishonim's commentaries given similar treatment, or does Rashi stand alone in this regard? Are there any sources that discuss the exacting nature of the Rishonim (aside from Rashi), or is it tradition?

  • Rambam, as per the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (MMS) sichos, Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 4:33
  • There are even acharonic works that are given this treatment in some quarters; the Tanya (Likutei Amarim) comes to mind.
    – Tatpurusha
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


Regarding if the commentaries of other Rishonim are treated this way, in the sefer דרכי התלמוד by R' Yitzchok Kanpanton (קנפנטון), written in 1593, he writes that one must be exacting and careful with the words of the Ramban and understand that there are no extra words in it.

I have never seen this sefer, but the Machon Maarava Chiddushei HaRamban quotes it at length in the beginning of the first chelek. Here is the first line:

בחדושי הרמב"ן ז"ל צריך אתה לעיין בעיון דק היטב ולהשתדל להוציא ולצמצם כל לשונו בענין שלא ישאר בו דבר מיותר, אפילו אות אחת, כי כל דבריו הם במשקל במספר ובמידה

The Mishptei Shmuel Siman 120 has the following to say about the Rambam:

כל דברי הרמב"ם הם בתכלית הדיוק, ויש לדקדק ולפלפל בדבריו כאשר תוכל לדקדק בגמרא עצמה

All the words of the Rambam are written with the epitome of precision, and one should be precise and debate his words in the same way that one could be precise with the Gemara itself

  • IMHO one can make inferences form Rambam much more than one can from the Talmud, since the Talmud was composed by numerous unknown people, in turn citing hundreds of different people with different possible opinions and assumptions, in term edited by more unknown people with their own possible views, and then let to sit and accrue copyist errors. Rambam's works the works of a single person, and we often posses manuscripts from the author's own hand.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 7:29

The Brisker method of learning analyses every word and phrase of the Rambam (Maimonides)'s Mishne Torah.

You must log in to answer this question.

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