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The Tosafot (Hebrew name) are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. The authors of the Tosafot are known as Tosafists (ba'ale ha-tosafot). The period of the Tosafot began immediately after Rashi had written his commentary; the first tosafists were Rashi's sons-in-law and grandsons, and the Tosafot consist mainly of strictures on Rashi's commentary.

Scholars assert that "tosafot" means "additions" (from Hebrew lehossif, to add) to the Talmud, that is to say, they are an extension and development of the Talmud. For just as the Gemara is a critical and analytical commentary on the Mishnah, so are the Tosafot critical and analytical glosses on those two parts of the Talmud.

Further, the term "Tosafot" was not applied for the first time to the glosses of Rashi's continuators, but to the Tosefta, the additions to the Mishnah compiled by Judah ha-Nasi I. "Tosefta" is a Babylonian term, which in Palestinian writings is replaced by "Tosafot". The Tosafot resemble the Gemara in other respects also, for just as the latter is the work of different schools carried on through a long period, so the former were written at different times and by different schools, and gathered later into one body.

The chief home of tosafot literature was incontestably France, for it began with Rashi's pupils, and was continued mainly by the heads of the French schools. It is true that, practically, tosafot began to be written in Germany at the same time as in France, but the French tosafists always predominated numerically.