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1040 BACHYA IBN PAKUDA (Saragossa, Spain)

Published the first book on Jewish morals and ethics, entitled Chovot Halevavot (Duties of the Heart). In the 19th century his work, among others, became an integral part of the talmudic academy (yeshiva) curriculum. It was considered a tool for introspection and self-evaluation.

1040 - 1560 RISHONIM ( the earlier ones)

A term given to those rabbis and 'resolvers' of Jewish law after the period of the Geonim ( 658-1038) and before the Acharonim ( which some say continue to this day). Although this is no specific date, it is more or less agreed that it began with Samuel Ha-nagid (990) and ended with Joseph Caro and his publishing of the Shulchan Aruch in 1563. Prominent Rishonim include Gershom ben Judah 960 Maimonides( 1135) , Rashi (1040) , the Tosafists (1100), Don Isaac Abravanel 1437) etc.

1040 - 1105 (29 Tamuz 4865) SOLOMON BEN ISAAC (Troyes, France)

Better known as Rashi. He had studied under the students of Rabbenu Gershom and at the age of 25 became the rabbi in Troyes. Rashi is renowned for his illuminating and succinct commentaries on the Bible and the Talmud, which are still considered indispensable by both Jewish and Christian scholars. Rashi did not hesitate to comment "I don't understand" on Biblical passages which he found perplexing and often paraphrased the words in his native French. His sons-in-law (known as the Tosafists - see 1100) continued with his commentaries, further helping to explain difficult portions of the Talmud. During the First Crusade in 1095-1099, many of Rashi's relatives and friends perished, and some of his manuscripts were destroyed or lost.

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