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3
votes
2answers
231 views

Is there any precedent to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as metaphorical?

I believe this will be related to a similar question about a statement by Rabbi Sacks. Rabbi Jeremy Wieder said in a lecture titled Non Literal Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Tradition (and ...
8
votes
4answers
570 views

Werewolf in the Torah

I have been told that there are Pirushim on the Torah who speak of werewolves. Can anyone locate them?
12
votes
1answer
320 views

Understanding “The Bruriah Incident”

Masecheth 'Avodah Zarah (18b) cryptically mentions "מעשה דברוריה" - "The Beruriah Incident" - as a reason R' Meir fled to Bavel. Rashi (ad loc) explains that R' Meir was teasing his wife (the noted ...
4
votes
2answers
152 views

Is Aggadah the same thing as Midrash?

(Inspired by a comment on this question.) What characteristics define Aggadah and Midrash, and how are they related? If the distinction is merely that Aggadah is a more general category of "legend" ...
21
votes
6answers
582 views

Looking for more information about a story of positive atheism/heresy

In a 2006 article (original link no longer available), Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells the following story: “DO YOU believe,” the disciple asked the rabbi, “that God created everything for a purpose?” ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

Source for story of Rashi, the King, and the Four Horsemen

There is a story (you can read the details here) about Rashi telling a King that he will conquer Yerushalaim for 3 days and return with 3 horses and 3 riders. The King returned with 4, but as they ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Source for Osnat's Locket

I've heard that the reason Joseph knew he could marry Osnat was because he saw her wearing a locket / pendant with a Hebrew inscription on it so he knew she was a Hebrew. Has anyone heard this story ...
10
votes
2answers
221 views

Was Rabbi Akiva obligated to divulge that his daughter was destined to die on her wedding day?

Inspired by this question (perhaps even a duplicate). From the Talmud (Shabbat 156b) (Soncino Translation): From R. Akiba too [we learn that] Israel is free from planetary influence. For R. Akiba ...
6
votes
4answers
579 views

Rashi's Daughters wearing Tefillin

There is a commonly held "tradition" that Rashi's daughters wore Tefillin. One highly educated rabbi/professor has publicly stated that he's spent 35 years searching for a source but to no avail. ...
6
votes
2answers
129 views

“Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention!” Literally?

Abaye makes a rather harsh judgment on someone who is unattentive in prayer (Ber. 34a): Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention! Is this meant to be taken as Halachah? Or is it just meant to ...
6
votes
1answer
178 views

Jews were on 49th level of Tumah. Says who?

There is a well known idea that when the Jews left Egypt during the Exodus, they were on the "forty-ninth level of tumah". Many explanations are given for this and it is expounded upon at length by a ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Source for story about R' Yishmael ben Elisha's mother?

This article tells us the following story about R' Yishmael ben Elisha and his mother: Rabbi Ishmael's mother was a very pious woman, and she worshipped her son. But one day she astonished the ...