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Someone told me this morning that he had, years before, seen a commentary published in the back of a volume of g'mara, likely Maharsha or Maharam, say that many of the agados throughout shas were said in order to break up the dry material and keep students awake. He has been unable to find this and asked me if I knew where it is. I did (and do) not, and turn to you.

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This was also done during actual lectures (Shir HaShirim Rabba, 1:15:3): רבי היה יושב ודורש ונתנמנם הציבור, בקש לעוררן אמר ילדה אשה אחת במצרים ששים רבוא בכרס אחת, והיה שם תלמיד אחד ורבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי שמו אמר ליה מאן הות כן, אמר ליה זו יוכבד שילדה את משה ששקול כנגד ששים רבוא של ישראל. –  Fred Nov 24 '13 at 19:49
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@Fred, yes, also the one about Sara's 127 years and Ester's 127 states (though I don't know where that is). –  msh210 Nov 25 '13 at 0:02
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B'reishis Rabba (58:3): רבי עקיבא היה יושב ודורש והצבור מתנמנם בקש לעוררן אמר מה ראתה אסתר שתמלוך על שבע ועשרים ומאה מדינה אלא תבא אסתר שהיתה בת בתה של שרה שחיתה ק' וכ' וז' ותמלוך על ק' וכ' וז' מדינות. –  Fred Nov 25 '13 at 0:11
    
Gemara Pesachim is shayach. I also don't recall specifically where it is. –  Adam Mosheh Nov 27 '13 at 3:05

1 Answer 1

The Rashb"o in Chindushai HaHagodos (Mosad Horav Kook) to Brochos 54b states that after a long halachik discussion the Ameroim switched to Agadato to awaken the students.

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