RISHONIM ROUNDUPS
by David Fhima

רד"ק

Rabbi David Kimchi

Rabbi David Kimchi was born in Narbonne, Provence in Southern France in the year 4920 (1160), the city being his primary residence throughout his life.  He was the youngest child in his family and at the young age of ten, he was orphaned due to the death of his father. His older brother, Rabbi Moshe Kimchi, assumed the responsibility for his education.


He is most famous for his commentary on the Bible. Whilst it is believed that the commentary originally covered all of Scripture, we possess only that of Bereshit, Tehillim, Mishle, Divrei Hayamim and the books of the Prophets. The popularity of his commentary led to a paraphrase of a Mishna in Avot (3:17) which states ‘’without ‘’kemach’’ one cannot learn Torah’’, using ‘’kemach’’ as a play on his surname. He quotes his father in his commentary implying he was a great scholar too. His commentary is mentioned by great giants such as the Ramban who lived not long after. He also wrote a book on Hebrew grammar. Dotted throughout his works were polemics against Christianity as well as a defense of the Scriptures from erroneous claims and interpretations made by Christians. These were censored in previous generations but have since been republished. Radak was a staunch defender of Rambam’s philosophical works. During the controversy over Rambam's works, Radak traveled southward to the Castilian Kingdom of Spain to in an attempt to resolve between he parties. Radak passed away in Narbonne in the year 4995 (1235).

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