Exegetical interpretation, often of verses in Tanach. The term also refers to books based on these interpretations, e.g., Midrash Rabba, Midrash Tanchuma, et al.

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Midrashic non-literalism in the Taz

The Taz writes in his Divrei David (Genesis 2:23) regarding a Midrash: ואין לנו להפקיע דברי חכמים מפשטן "We should not remove words of the Sages from their simple interpretations." Does the Taz ...
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49 views

Relationship between “Tafasta mi'uta tafasta” and Occam's Razor

The Talmud often invokes the principle of תפסת מרובה לא תפסת תפסת מועט תפסת. (E.g. Yoma 80a) This would seem to be a presentation of Occam's razor. I am looking for confirmation (or rejection) of the ...
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13 views

Example of Solomon's 1005 interpretations

This website states that "Rashi brings the Midrash that Solomon taught three thousand parables on every single verse of the Torah and gave 1,005 explanations of each parable (see Rashi on vv 11-12)" ...
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45 views

What does “made into a pile of bones” mean?

Several places in Chazal we find the expression נתן בו עיניו ועשהו גל של עצמות - someone was looked at and made into a pile of bones (e.g. Sanhedrin 100a, Bava Basra 75a, Brachos 58a, Shabbos 34a). ...
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22 views

According to Bamidbar Rabba, why was Caleb so adamant about the fruit?

Bamidbar Rabba 16:14 has an interesting back-story for the giant fruits that Numbers 13:23 tells us the twelve spies retrieved from Canaan: ויבאו עד נחל אשכול - לא רצו ליטול מפירות א"י, אילולי כלב ...
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1answer
35 views

Devarim Rabbah 2:24 - conversion without beit din?

In Devarim Rabbah 2:24, there is a story where the Rabbis pay condolences to a Roman senator who committed suicide to save the Jews. The Rabbis hint that it was a shame that the senator died ...
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65 views

Reshit is Torah or khalla ? Contradiction

In the beginning of midrash rabbah we read from rav Oshaya : וְאֵין רֵאשִׁית אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה There is no "Reshit" except Torah and there, just after : וְאֵין רֵאשִׁית אֶלָא חַלָּה There is no ...
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26 views

Authorship of Midrash Tehillim

What do traditional sources say regarding the date of authorship of Midrash Tehillim?
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60 views

Why didn't the Ten Martyrs answer differently?

Without arguing either the historicity or the historical accuracy of the midrash of Eleh Ezkerah, the 10 Martyrs, I am wondering about the details of the story as told. According to the version on ...
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36 views

Where is the Medrash about natural disasters showing Hashem is boss?

I recall coming across a Medrash that said, in passing, every couple of years Hashem brings about a disaster to show that he controls the world (or perhaps that we don't). This idea, I've seen in אור ...
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1answer
31 views

Traditional Approaches to Midrash Tanchuma

What do traditional Jewish sources say about Midrash Tanchuma (in contradistinction to the Midrash Tanchuma Yashah) regarding its date of redaction and authority vis-à-vis works of Chazal (such as ...
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1answer
45 views

Traditional Approaches to B'midbar Rabba

What do traditional Jewish sources say about B'midbar Rabba regarding its date of redaction and authority vis-à-vis works of Chazal (such as other Midrashim).
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1answer
77 views

What are the philosophical implications behind g'zerah shavah?

I am wondering about G'zerah Shavah. It is a rule that I have a hard time accepting, at times. I am wondering what philosophical and theological implications this rule holds. If it is assumed to be a ...
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1answer
215 views

Midrash About God Repeating Words of Torah

I am drawing a blank as to the source of this midrash, that when a person learns Torah, at the same time God is learning that same section, or that He repeats what the person said? (Hopefully I am ...
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67 views

Help with finding a Pirkei Avot Citation

Hebrew Wikipedia writes, commenting on the well known quote "אבות אכלו בוסר, ושיני בנים תקהינה:" אבות אכלו בוסר ושיני בנים תקהינה הינה סוגיה דתית-פילוסופית מרכזית ביהדות ובדתות אחרות. פסוק ...
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41 views

Location for medrash cited by the Chizkuni

The Chizkuni in Parshas Achrei Mos 16:22 writes that the ish iti (the person who would take the goat to har azazel) would not live through the year. He cites from a medrash that the person knew he was ...
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57 views

Was the Mishkan Built on Shabbat?

There is a famous midrash that relates the 39 prohibitions of Shabbat to the various types of activities that were required for the mishkan's construction. Implicit within this idea is the notion that ...
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2answers
99 views

Rebbe Akivah's background

I heard from someone that Rabbi Akiva was a shepherd, a laborer, an am ha’aretz – religious in observance, but ignorant of Torah knowledge. At age 40, he didn’t even know how to read the aleph-beis. ...
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35 views

Sifrei on Book of Devarim

Where can I find the Sifre on the book of Devarim online in text form (as opposed to Pdf)? The commentary of the Netziv would also be appreciated.
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1answer
69 views

The End of Prophecy amongst the Nations

There is a medrash that after the story with Bilaam attempting to curse the Jewish people and instigating the incident with the Midianites and Baal Peor, Moshe prayed that there never again be ...
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21 views

Half-Hallel in commemoration of the fallen Egyptians

There seem to be two separate explanations as to why we only say a "half" hallel on the intermediate and final days of Pesach. According to one opinion (as attributed to the Shibolet Haleket here) it ...
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1answer
32 views

Can someone help me understand Genesis Rabbah 4?

The beginning of Genesis Rabbah 4 talks mainly about the firmament in creation account. It goes as follows (from the Artscroll Mesorah publication): (4:2): "At the moment the Holy One, Blessed is ...
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66 views

What was the Plague of the Sword?

In the Haggadah you will find the following exegesis of part of Deuteronomy 26:8: וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה. זוֹ הַחֶרֶב, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ, נְטוּיָה ...
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228 views

Is there any evidence of time-zones in Talmud? (Tanaim and Amoraim only)

There are many verses in the Talmud, Midrash and Siddur that state that the sun and moon rise and set through gates in the firmament. This would imply that there are no time-zones. To this world view ...
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43 views

Midrashic(?) Proof from Design story about overturned inkwell

I believe I read years ago about an instance where a rabbi presented a heretic with a well written poem that he claimed had actually formed accidentally when he overturned his inkwell. I though I had ...
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1answer
65 views

Locating a copy of Sifra (Torat Kohanim)

Now that we are starting Sefer Vayikra, this seems like an opportune time to ask a question that has been bugging me for years! Where can I find a good copy of Sifra (aka "Torat Kohanim")? A ...
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89 views

From where do we learn that women did not accept the report of the meragelim?

Rabbi Eliyahu Mansour in his derashah on Parashot Wayaq'hel/Pequdei (@ 19:15-19:56) mentioned that, during Het HaMeragelim, the righteous women of 'Am Yisra'el did not accept the meragelim's bad ...
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1answer
122 views

Was Vashti Evil?

Is there any basis within the text of the Megillah itself to lend credence to the common Midrashic theme that Vasti was evil?
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42 views

Do we learn any hilchos shechita from the Akeida?

The Binding of Isaac (Gen. 22) is a fascinating story, for a multitude of reasons. One thing that appeals to me, as a shochet (slaughterer), is that it has in it (as far as I could tell) the earliest ...
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1answer
102 views

Daddy, is this story true?

My daughter was reading a parsha book and came across a certain medrash which seemed unbelievable prompting her to ask me 'daddy, is this story real?' Being that she is only nine I took the cheap way ...
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310 views

Belief in midrashim

The ramban in sefer havikuach asserts with regard to medrash " mi shemaamin bo tov, mi shelo maamin bo lo yazik" whoever believes in it, good, he who does not believe it, will not be harmed. Are ...
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53 views

Translation/Commentary on Targum

I'm looking for a translation or commentary on Targum Onkelos, especially for the non-literal parts (such as on Birkas Yaakov and Shiras Hayam). It can be in either Hebrew or English.
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1answer
69 views

Why does Rashi on Shmos 12 (41) not quote the Sifrei which he does quote on Devorim 32 (48)?

Why does Rashi on Shmos 12 (41) not quote the Sifrei which he does quote on Devorim 32 (48)? In relation to the words בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה and the Exodus from Egypt, the Sifrei there says, ...
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134 views

Zoroastrianism .v.s. Judaism [closed]

Does anybody think Zoroastrianism inflenuced Judaism, cause online people say Zoroastrianism was the first monotheistic religion http://avesta.org, and that Judaism copied it, also that Zoroastrianism ...
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282 views

Why did Hadrian care about hair specifically?

In Midrash Eicha 5:5 It says that Hadrian (May his Bones be Crushed) commanded that if a Jew was found with hair, his head should be removed? Midrash Eicha What is pshat here, is it talking about ...
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49 views

Animals in the plague of 'Arov'

Where is the source that wild animals even from different habitats came to Egypt to attack the locals? Is it a Medrash, if so, where?
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119 views

Explanation of the midrash of the Donkey of moshe

In Shmot 4:20, Rashi explains that the donkey which Moshe took on the way to Egypt was the same donkey which Avraham used for the akeda (Binding of Isaac), and this is the donkey of the Mashiach. ...
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1answer
62 views

how do i know if a midrash is an allegory [duplicate]

There are midrashim which are clearly allegories, like the midrash that hashem wears tefilin. How do I know if a midrash is an allegory or kipshuto? Can I explain a midrash which looks like pshat in ...
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42 views

Ramban and the generations

I heard someone mention the folowing: The Ramban in the writings on sefer koheles make an interesting diyuk. Koheles (1:4) tell us, “A generation goes and a generation comes.” The Ramban tell us that ...
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44 views

Elihu (who helped Job) is Yitzhak?

In the Yerushalmi Sotah (5:8) it says that Elihu ben Berachel was Yitzhak Avinu, who was niftar according to my calculations 10 years before Yaacov + fam descended to Egypt, which was around 93-94 ...
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59 views

Rabbi Akiva seeing Bar Kochba sleeping on his back?

I once saw it in some sefer that Rabbi Akiva saw Bar Kochba sleeping on his back (not on his side) and then he knew that he wasn't Mashiach. Does anyone know where this is written? I'm pretty sure its ...
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48 views

Why was Pharaoh displeased?

In Parshas Mikeitz (Beraishis 41), Pharaoh receives an interpretation for this two dreams from necromancers. Rashi (41:8) says that they told Pharaoh that “You will beget seven daughters, and you will ...
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35 views

Why does the language in the 13 Midot of Drasha shift?

In shacharit, we recite the 13 middot (already a strange word) through which a piece of Torah text is explained (explicated?) This comes from Braita d'Rav Yishma'el and, admittedly, I haven't look at ...
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73 views

Did the brothers know about the snakes and scorpions in the pit?

Yosef's brothers took him and threw him into a pit (Bereishis 37:24). Chazal tell us that the pit had snakes and scorpions in it (see Rashi there). Reuvein seems to think he is saving Yosef by ...
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1answer
59 views

How to reconcile a sod the conflicts with the peshat?

We have a tradition that the Torah can be learned with four methods: pshat, remez, derush and sod. It is also known that the pshat (simple meaning) holds true. If so, how then can it be reconciled ...
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84 views

Understanding the cherem to tell Yaakov that Yosef was alive

In Bereshis 37:33 Rashi cites the midrash that the brothers pronounced an excommunication and curse on anyone who would reveal what they did. This is why God, as well as Yitzhak didn't tell Yaakov. I ...
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1answer
106 views

Where does this midrash (for Vayetze) come from?

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, in his book, Accepting the Yoke of Heaven, quotes a midrash before concluding his parsha analysis: All those things which Jacob wished to refrain from, came upon him. He ...
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173 views

What did women have to do with the moon's shrinking?

In the Mishna Berurah (426:1) it says (with loose translation): ונשים פטורות מלקדש הלבנה דהוי מ"ע שהזמן גרמא ואף דכל מ"ע שהזמן גרמא נוהגות הנשים שמקיימות ומברכות עליהן מ"מ מצוה זו אין צריכין ...
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84 views

Who did the Avos give maaser to?

Rashi in parshas Toldos (25:27) tells us about Esav: יודע ציד: לצוד ולרמות את אביו בפיו, ושואלו אבא היאך מעשרין את המלח ואת התבן, כסבור אביו שהוא מדקדק במצות׃ who understood hunting: [He knew ...
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1answer
77 views

What does 'the New Torah' in these medrashim mean?

The Yalkut Shimoni on Yishaya, remez 429, mentions how Hashem will sit and be doresh a new Torah that he will give by the hand of Moshiach. This medrash is apparently taken from the Osios diRabi ...