Words of Comfort

December 4 1104 – 15 Kislev 4865


Rabbi Natan ben Yehiel of Rome completed his Arukh, the first Talmudic dictionary, explaining phrases from the Talmud based on the interpretations of Rabbenu Hananel, Rabbi Nissim of Kairouan, and Rabbi Zemah Gaon. Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (Rashi) and his Tosafist disciples quoted the Arukh in their Talmudic commentaries. Tragically, Rabbi Natan lost four of his five sons, some well known for their rabbinic scholarship. He found solace in study and philanthropy. The rabbi built a ritual bath and synagogue in Rome, dedicating the latter together with his brothers in 1101.