In Rashi on the Rif?, a number of questions are posed about this commentary, however, there is one big question still remaining:

Who actually wrote or compiled this Peirush? Was it Rashi himself, or a student, or a group of later students? Please provide sources (either modern or traditional) for any answer given.

  • behind a pay wall, (I don't have access to it), but if you a library has this book 2 of the chapters are on your questions רש"י עיונים ביצירתו kotar.co.il/KotarApp/… Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 18:08
  • @Efraim thanks, I am also stuck without access... Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


The consensus of the majority of traditional and modern authorities is that the "Rashi on the Rif" is not written by Rashi, but rather by a different scholar around the 13th and 14th centuries.

The following image is taken from the Oz V'hadar edition of Masectha Brachos, from page 3 of the introduction to the Rif. It is referring to a paragraph in which the Oz V'hadar editor claims that during the Middle Ages, The Halachos of the Rif had gotten so popular, and the Talmud itself was burned/banned (around the 13th century), that the Rif started to replace the Talmud in terms of learning. The footnote (לב) reads (with my summary/translation): footnote

Rabbi Rafael Rabinowitz (author of Dikdukei Sofrim) writes that "in the time that the Talmud was being burned, a certain Gadol (great one) copied Rashi's commentary on the Gemara onto the Rif, and in many places added and subtracted from the commentary as he saw fit." See also Yad Malachi, in which he writes that "the commentary of Rashi on the Rif, even though most of it is taken from the Rashi on the Talmud with additions and subtractions, is not written by Rashi himself, but rather someone else, and I don't know who it is."

The consensus of these classic authorities is that the author is not Rashi, but based himself primarily on Rashi, and added or subtracted according to his will. The editor then cites an article Rabbi Avraham Havatzelet in Moriah (19:1/2) pages 106-116, and I quote his conclusion below, (though it is worthwhile to read the entire article if possible to see his expanded source material.)

מיהו אם כן המחבר? קודם יש לברר מתי היה והיכן. מתוך חשיפת מקורותיו של החיבור עולה שהשתמש בספרים נוספים מלבד רש"י האחרון שבהם הוא ספר המרדכי שנערך לכל המוקדם בשנת נ' לאלף השישי. בידינו כמה כתבי יד מפירוש זה והם הועתקו בשנים ק"מ-ק"נ. הרי שהמחבר חי בערך בשנים נ'- ק"מ לאלף השישי.

אשר לשאלה השניה - היכן. כמה מן הלעזים בפירוש זה שנו מצרפתית לגרמנית. הוא מעתיק מילה במילה מפירש"י ורק הלע"ז שונה. הרי שחי בארץ דוברת גרמנית. כתבי היד של החיבור שהגיעו לידינו כולם אשכנזים. עובדה זו מטה לכך שהחיבור נערך בארצות מרכז אירופה. המחבר השתמש במרדכי הארוך ולא במרדכי הקצר, וכבר הראינו במבוא למרדכי עמ"ס ר"ה שהמרדכי הארוך נפוץ בעיקר באוסטרייך, ולכן נקרא מרדכי של אוסטרייך ואילו הקצר - במדינות שסביב הריין ולכן נקרא מידכי של ריינוס. מסתבר לפי זה שהמחבר התגורר באוסטרייך בערך במאה הי"ד.

ידיעה חשובה נוספת עולה מכתבי היד. מחבר זה כתב פירוש נוסף - תוספות אלפס במקביל לפירושו לר"יף. למעשה ניתן לומר שהוא כתב פירוש שבו שני חלקים: רש"י על הרי"ף ותוספות על הרי"ף... החלק הראשון, רש"י רי"ף, נדפס בכל השסי"ם. החלק השני, תוספות אלפס, לא נדפס מעולם. ראשוני האחרונים עוד הכירוהו והם מביאים אותו בספריהם. בתשובות מהרי"ל ובני דורו מוזכר גם שם המחבר: מהר"ר זוסלין. א"כ עלה בידינו שמהר"ר זוסלין כתב את "פירוש רש"י" שסביב הרי"ף.

הנחה זו מקבלת אישור נוסף מרשימה שנכתבה בזמן המהרי"ק ע"י חכם לא ידוע, ובה נכתב "ישראל ב"ר יואל זוסלין כתב פירוש ותוספות על האלפסי".

My summary:

In analyzing the sources for the commentary on the Rif, besides for Rashi the author used the Mordechai. The earliest time that the Mordechai was compiled was the [Jewish] year 5050. The earliest manuscripts we possess of the Mordechai are from the years 5140-5150, and therefore the author of the "Rashi on the Rif" lived around the years of 5050-5150. In regards to where, all of the manuscripts of the "Rashi on the Rif" are Ashkenazi, and in many places, the author copies Rashi word for word, but replaces Rashi's translation into French with a German word. The author also used the Austrian version of the Mordechai (as opposed to the Rhine version, see link to Mordechai above), and therefore lived around Austria in the 14th century CE.

The author of the "Rashi on the Rif" wrote an additional commentary which was like a "Tosfos on the Rif." This was never printed, and several early Rishonim clearly identify this author. The 14-15th century Rabbi, Maharil, and those of his generation clearly identify the author of these two commentaries on the Rif as being written by Rabbi Zuslin. This is corroborated by an anonymous note written in the time of the 15th century Rabbi, Maharik, which states that "Yisrael the son of Yoel Zuslin wrote a commentary, and a Tosfos, on the Rif."

For biographical information on Rabbi Zuslin, (sometimes spelled Zislin) who is quoted in the Shita Mekubetzes see page י"ג of R' Havatzelet's article Moriah 20 (18:5/6).

For additional perspectives, see the article cited in my comment.


Look at Rashi on the Rif?.

Bibi's answer there links to


The last paragraph reads:

It should be noted that what is referred to as Rashi's commentary on the Rif's Hilchot Rabati was probably not written by Rashi and scholars have yet to agree on the identity of its author.

He also asks us to look at https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/רי"ף which says:

ברוב הדפוסים כיום מופיע גם פירוש "רש"י" על הרי"ף. מוסכם על רוב החוקרים בתחום שרש"י עצמו לא כתב פירוש זה. ונפלגו הדעות מי כן חיבר. יש שסוברים שזהו מחבר אנונימי, יש מזהים אותו עם ר' ישראל בר' יואל, ויש האומרים שזהו ליקוט מפירוש רש"י ומפירושים אחרים.

In most of the current editions a commentary of 'Rashi' appears. Most researchers agree that Rashi himself did not author it and there are different opinions as to who is the author. Some think the author is anonymous, some ascribe it to R' Yisroel ben R' Yoel and some say that it is a collection from Rashi's commentary and other commentators.

Mevaqesh in a comment wrote,

I dont remember where I saw it, but modern day consensus is that it was authored by a 14th century German. (I think he quotes laaz in German as opposed to French) .

So the possible answers are:

  • not Rashi - scholars have yet to agree

  • anonymous

  • R' Yisroel ben R' Yoel

  • Rashi and others

  • 14th century German author.

  • I saw these when I looked at that question. I don't consider what "some think" (or an unsourced wiki page) to be an authoritative source. I don't consider "scholars" an authoritative source. I don't consider Mevaqesh's memory (as much as I like him) to be an authoritative source. But I still appreciate the answer bringing together the possibilities. +1 Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 19:57
  • That is very generous of you. I guess if I had seen Efraim's answer before I started work on mine, I might not have bothered. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 21:31

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