Re: The Rashi Connection/Correction #general
In a message dated 3/5/2001 1:29:48 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< Concerning the Askenazic connection to Rashi, the mathematics is not too
difficult to follow, and is rather interesting for reasons other than merely
wondering whether we are all related to a great leader. Actually, some years
ago I posted this amazing little calculation on JewishGen, and would like to
present it again.
==Actually, the mathematics is not too difficult, but I think there are two
errors in this particular formula:
Approximately 1000 years have passed since Rashi died. If we assume that
there are at least 5 generations every 100 years, then about 50 generations
have happened since Rashi's time. If one wishes, we can assume even a
greater number of generations, but it really does not affect the conclusion
==I don't think that's borne out by the facts. 5 generations a century
suggests that the average age of a parent when a child was born was 20. That
is most ulikely; even 4 generations would suggest an average age of 25 at
the birth of a child. >from the data I have collected (back to the 16th/17th
century, in Germany) the avergae age would have been more like 33, or three
generations per century.
For 50 generations the number of people who have come before each of us
(that is parents, grandparents, ggparents, gggp) is 2 + 4 + 8 +16 +...+
2^50, where the last number is 2 raised to the 50th power.
==How many people have gone before is not the issue. We're not trying to
establish how many ancestors were alive 200 or 500 or 1000 years ago,
because we're interested in only one, specific, ancestor.
==The real issue is how many current descendants of Rashi are theoretically
possible now, as our contemporaries, given an average of two children per
parent per generation.
==Assuming 30 gernations of an average of 2 children, gives us 2 to the
power of 30, which is approximately 10 followed by 10 zeros. A number that's
quite formidable enough!
==We keep talking about German Jews (among whom, essentially, Rashi and his
successors lived and worked). The Rashi gene penetration may have been not
at all lower in more eastern areas of Europe. What we fail to ask ourselves
is about the Rashi gene dispersion among Sfardim. My guess is is was
significant in Spain, more significant in Provence, and even more
significant in northern Italy (which, until recent centuries, was
predominantly Ashkenazi--in fact the Jews in the Rhine area, including
Rashi's ancestors, arrived mostly >from the Italian peninusula, especially
after the year 800).
==So, yes, there would have been, by the 16th century, a significant number
of Rashi descendants in North Africa, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the
Holy Land and Egypt--even Syria and Babylonia.
==As the rabbis said "Kol Yisrael Chaverim"--we're all related!
Michael Bernet, New York
WOLFF (Pfungstadt, Frankfurt/M, Koenigsberg, Amsterdam, N.Carolina); BERNET,
BERNERT, JONDORF(Frensdorf, Bamberg, Nurnberg); FEUCHTWANGER
(Schwabach, Hagenbach & Fuerth); KONIGSHOFER (anywhere); BERG, WOLF(F),
(Demmelsdorf & Zeckendorf); Shim`on GUTENSTEIN (Bad Homburg ca 1760);
FRENSDORF/ER (anywhere); MAINZER (Lorsch); anyone in Ermreuth or Floss;
GOLDSCHMIDT (B. Homburg, Hessdorf). ALTMANN (Silesia); TIMMENDORFER