Following in Rachi's footsteps
Culturel , Insolite , Religieux à Troyes
« We don’t take away any funerary stele in memory of the Righteous. The reminder of their teaching represents the best tribute we could pay to them.”SALOMON BEN ITSHAK, more known under the acronym of RACHI, Rabbi Chlomo, son of Isaac, born in Troyes in 1040.
Talmud of Jerusalem – Treaty of Shekalim (II, 5)
Discover the symbolic places of the city of Troyes by following the steps of Rachi…
Little is known about his youth, although we heard about many legends.
Rachi spends his young years at Troyes, before he leaves to go to Rhineland during a decade. There, he studies at the Talmudic schools of Mayence and Worms. In Worms, he studies with Jacob Ben YAKAR, student of Rabbenou GUERSHOM, also known as “The light of the Exile”.
Back to Troyes, Rachi founds his own Talmudic school at the age of twenty five years old. This Yechiva gets such a recognition that it will welcome students from all over Europe. Rachi will lead his school until the end of his life.
Maried in 1067, Rachi has three daughters that he marries to his best disciples. Those take over the passing on and the comment, thus forming the famous school of the Tosafists.
Rachi, considered as the wise character of his generation, dies on July 13th 1105 in Troyes, at the age of sixty five years old. According to the tradition, he would have died while writing the word “pure”. His burial site is still unknown, even though we can suppose that his tomb is in the middle of the Jewish medieval cemetery of the City of Troyes, which no longer exist today.
Rachi was called during his life by the nickname Parshandata, an Aramaic word meaning “the ultimate commentator”, a quality that we still attribute to him today.
He was called by this nickname by Abraham Ibn Ezra since the second half of the XIIth century in Spain.
Rachi develops a very modern exegesis (a deep study and critique of the Holy Scriptures) of the Bible and of the Talmud which will mark the interpretation of the sacred writings used in the Jewish religion. In his commentaries, he emphasizes the first meaning of the text, phsat, and his reasoning, taâm, with precision and concision, while insisting in explaining the text in its integrality.
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1 The Rachi University Institute
In the room on the ground floor, you will be able to contemplate the sculpture made by Raymond Moretti (1931-2005), called “Yonah”. The Dove is made of Hebrew alphabet letters. It depicts the hope for peace and spirituality.
The institute also offers you to visit the exhibition “Rachi and the Jewish of Troyes during the Middle Age”, conceived by the media library of the area of Troyes in 2005 in collaboration with the Rachi Institute, for the commemoration of the 900th anniversary of the death of Rachi.
Free entrance: from Monday to Thursday, from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm. On Friday: from 9 am to 1 pm.
Adress: 2 rue Brunneval, at Troyes. Phone number : 03.25.73.82.67
Website : http://www.institut-rachi-troyes.fr
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
2 The Synagogue
Adresse : 5 rue Brunneval at Troyes.
Opening hours: On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 4 pm. On Wednesday: from 2 pm to 6 pm.
3 The Sainte Madeleine Church
This stained glass represents the genealogical ancestry of the Christ since Jess, father of King David. According to the prophet Isaiah, “A branch will come out of the trunk of Jesse, a sucker will grow from its roots. Upon him, will rest the Spirit of the Lord “. The iconography of the Tree of Jesse developed with the worshiping of the Virgin Mary at the XIIIth century, the commentators seeing the Virgin Mary in the branch, and seeing the sucker as being the Christ.
Jesse is usually represented as an old man, wearing a long beard on his face. From his chest comes out a tree, from which the last branch carries the Virgin holding Jesus in her arms.
4 The former Jewish cemetery
Near the Preize street, the esplanade in front of the media library carries the name of “ Rachi, Rabbi and exegete from the XIth century and from Troyes “.
5 The Moretti monument
The artist drew his inspiration from the contrast of colors as Cabbale defines it.
You will see intaglio, the acronym of Rachi in Hebrew and the dates of birth and death of the great exegete. You will contemplate the sobriety of the monument which, originally, was equipped with a laser beam indicating the direction of Jerusalem. This laser was shut down in order not to disturb the planes flying other the area.
6 The former Jewish quarter of the city: the Saint Frobert quarter
During the Middle Age, the Saint Frobert quarter carried the name of “Brush of Jews” or of “Jewry “. The Brush referred to the bushes that obstructed the streets of this quarter, close to the countryside.
At the XIth century, this quarter sheltered several Jewish families including Rachi’s family.
The Jewish community of Troyes could have developed thanks to the protection the counts of Champagne provided for them from the XIth to the XIIIth centuries, between the reigns of Henry the Liberal and Thibault IV. Even though the Jewish families would gather in this quarter, nothing could distinguish them from the rest of the population. It’s only in 1215 that the Church forced the Jews to wear a distinctive sign on their clothes which took the form of a yellow piece of fabric, called a roundel.
The Hennequin street is supposedly the location of the vineyard cultivated by Rachi to provide for his family’s needs.
7 The Saint Frobert street
8 The Paon street
9 The Saint Pierre and Saint Paul Cathedral
10 The Girouarde Door
Its name is said to come from the champagne word « girour », meaning « the man with the gold calf “ or “ The door of Jews “.
11 The Saint Pantaléon Church
At the end of the XVth century, merchants and rich bourgeois financed the building of a new church.
The new church shelters today sculptures from the destroyed churches of Troyes.
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