2021 Annual Assessment

The Situation and Dynamics of the Jewish People

PROJECT HEAD: Shmuel Rosner

Dan Feferman, Shlomo Fischer, Shuki Friedman, Avi Gil, Inbal Hakman, Michael Herzog, Gitit Levy-Paz, Dov Maimon, Steven Popper, Uzi Rebhun, John Ruskay, Noah Slepkov, Adar Schieber, Yedidia Stern, Shalom Salomon Wald

Barry Geltman

2021 Annual Assessment

Jacob ben Meir Tam (1100-1171) of Ramereau, France, known as Rabbenu Tam (per the description of his Biblical namesake – tam = whole/straightforward), is not a familiar figure to all Jews. But he was one of the great personages who shaped Torah study and halachic thought over the past millennium. A grandson of Rashi and one of the greatest of the Tosafists, or Ashkenazic medieval commentators on the Talmud, Rabbenu Tam revived the Talmudic dialectic and interpreted the Talmud by raising and resolving contradictions within it. A new intellectual biography by Professor Avraham (Rami) Reiner, Rabbenu Tam: Interpretation, Halakha, Controversy (Bar-Ilan University Press) illuminates additional aspects of Rabbenu Tam’s legacy in the spheres of textual correction and the shaping of Halacha. This is the first attempt ever made at a complete intellectual portrait of the prominent Tosafist.