Alternative Spellings



  • "Earlier rabbis and scholars, who lived from around the 11th to the mid-15th century C.E., before the Shulchan Arukh, the compilation of Jewish law, was written." (JPS)

Example Sentences

  • "What was the attitude of other Rishonim to Maimonides and his philosophy?" (Glinert)
  • "The scholarly and literary output of the Rishonim is staggering" (https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2617006/jewish/Who-Were-the-Rishonim.htm)

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew


ראשון rishon 'first'

Who Uses This

Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


North America


The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)


Plural rishonim, reeshonim. "What the Mishna took for granted, the Talmud had to spell out. And what the Talmud transcribes in a kind of live debate, the Rishonim, the medieval scholars, tried to codify and justify. The Rishonim were the giants of medieval Judaism: Rashi, Yehuda Halevi, Maimonides, Ramban, the Tosaphists..." (Glinert)

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