Re: Who was Rashi's maternal uncle? #rabbinic

Dan Rottenberg


You raise some new avenues to pursue, notably the possibility  that Simon the Elder was not born Simon b. Isaac b. Abun. 
I am persuaded that Simeon b. Isaac b. Abun ("Ha-Gadol," c. 960-1020, born & died in Mayence) and Rashi's uncle Simon the Elder (b.c. 1000) were two different people. But I suspect they were related to each other somehow. Both lived in Mayence (now Mainz), a relative intimate rabbinic community. I've found at least one human connection between the two Simons: Gershom ben Judah ("Me'or ha-Golah," b. Metz 960, died Mayence 1040) was a colleague of Simon ha-Gadol and was also the teacher of Simon the Elder. Also, the Jewish Encyclopedia article on Mayence notes that the Kalonymos family (Rashi's mother's presumed relatives) established a rabbinic academy in Mayence. about the year 1000. These threads lead me to suspect that Simon ha-Gadol and Simon the Elder were somehow cousins.
You also raise another question in my mind: What was the given name of Rashi's mother? I've seen her called Miriam or Leya, but mostly just "Rashi's mother." I'm not persuaded by what evidence I've seen so far.
One more question: Has anyone seen a biography of Simon the Elder? I haven't.
To be continued....!
Dan Rottenberg
Philadelphia PA

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