- Rashi script
Rashi script (Hebrew: כתב רש"י) is a semi-cursive
typefacefor the Hebrew alphabet, in which Rashi's commentaries are printed both in the Talmudand Tanakh( Hebrew Bible). This does not mean that Rashihimself used such a script: the typeface is based on a 15th century Sephardic semi-cursive hand and was called by the Ashkenazic Rishonim- the Provencial script. What would be called "Rashi script" was employed by early Hebrew typographers such as the Soncino family and Daniel Bomberg, a Christianprinter in Venice, in their editions of commented texts (such as the Mikraot Gedolotand the Talmud, in which Rashi's commentaries prominently figure) to distinguish the rabbinic commentary from the text proper, for which a square typeface was used.
With the introduction of the
printing press, the selection of a style of type depended upon the same conditions as in the case of the execution of manuscripts. Square or block letters were cast for Biblicaland other important works; in the various countries different models for letters were often followed; one form was preferred at one time, another at another; however, the style selected by the Ashkenazim prevailed and maintained its preeminence over all the others. Books of a secondary character, works which accompanied another text, such as commentaries and the like, were printed in the cursive; and here a style of type became popular which very closely resembled the Hispano-Africancursive. (The development could be compared to that of Italic scriptfor the Latin alphabet.) Since the script occurs oftenest in commentaries on the Bible and the Talmud by Rashi, it has become known as the Rashi script. For the printing of Yiddish (Judeo-German) texts, a further development of the Ashkenazi alphabet, called "Weiber-Deutsch," was created.
Until shortly before modern times, the handwriting of Sephardic Jews for Hebrew and
Ladinowas closely based on Rashi script. Modern Israeli cursive, which is essentially nineteenth century Ashkenazic handwriting, is more distantly related, but is still recognisably closer to Rashi script than to the square type.
* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1308&letter=A#3548 Jewish Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.easyrashi.com/ Rashi commentary for non Rashi script readers]
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