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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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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How did Vashti grow a tail?

In מגילה דף יב (Megillah 12a-b) it gives two reasons as to why Vashti did not go to Achashveirosh when he requested her to the party. The first reason is that Vashti had Tzarat (a metaphysical skin ...
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1answer
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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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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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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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1answer
295 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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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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2answers
121 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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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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46 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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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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4answers
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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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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
36 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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170 views

What is the earliest source of the story of Serach bas Asher and the harp?

This post indicates that the earliest source for the story of Serach bas Asher and the harp, wherein she notified Yakov that Yosef was still alive in a very subtle musical fashion, is a very late ...
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1answer
108 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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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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Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
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Why do the men (of Menashe) get no credit?

The Daughters of Zlophchad pointed out that the inheritance of their father would be passed to a different family because he had no sons. Moshe responds that they, the daughters, will inherit him ...
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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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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 ...
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Seven compartments of Gehinnom according to Midrash Tehillim

In Midrash Tehillim (Midrash Shocher Tov) on Psa. 11:6,(1) it is written, וכנגדם שבע בתי דירות בגיהנם ואלו הן שאול ואבדון גיא דומה וצלמות וארץ תחתית וארץ ציה Perhaps I'm not looking at the right ...
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114 views

source for a story: man who went to milk a lion

When I was a kid I heard the following story at least a few times in grade school from the school headmaster (probably around Rosh Hashanah time). It's based on a Jewish legend or midrash, and I'd ...
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Anyone who says these people sinned is mistaken. For real?

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli Shabbos 55b-56b) relates that several Biblical figures who, from the text itself, seemed to have sinned, in reality did not. These statements take the form of "כל האומר פלוני ...
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Chazal and Medrash Tanchumah

I was reading A Time to Laugh; A Time to Listen by Rabbi Yehoshua Kurland. On page 116 he brings down a Chazal (Medrash Tanchumah, Toldos 18) which says, "You make a small opening like one made by the ...
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Did the ancient Rabbanim believe that the spirits of the dead walked the Earth?

In the Midrashim I noticed that Rabbanim keep mentioning events in which the Rabbi would be walking along and come across a man doing some task and it would turn out to be the spirit of a dead man who ...
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Who was Rabi Tanchuma?

Was there an actual person Rabi Tanchuma attributed to writing the medrash that goes by this name? Do know anything about him?
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War, Pray and Learn

The Medrash Rabbah and the Yalkut relate that during the war against Midyon, for every one that went out to battle there was a designated person whose task it was to pray and learn for him. Where in ...
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1answer
109 views

How could Moshe write on Shabbos?

I once saw this question in the magazine Kolmus: There's a tradition that Moshe wrote thirteen sifrei Torah on the day of his death. However, there are many opinions that Moshe died on Shabbos, ...
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1answer
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Medrash, Witness and G-d

I heard someone mention that the Medrash teaches us, “[If] You are My witnesses... and I am G-d,” but, “If you are not My witnesses... I am not G-d.” Do you know where this Medrash is from?
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Why did Esav care about burial in machpelah?

The midrash records that Esav tried to stop Yaakov from being buried in the cave of machpelah. I would like to know if any commentators explain why Esav would care about this? I recall hearing that he ...
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87 views

Soul for a Soul?

בס"ד In both Mishpatim and Shoftim there is a verse (Exodus 21:23 and Devarim 19:21) saying "a soul for a soul". I know that we don't take these verses literally and restitution is the punishment. ...
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1answer
109 views

Who said many agados were to wake students?

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 ...
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94 views

Looking for a drasha on Yerach ben Yomo/Karnei Para [duplicate]

Anyone have any links to any drashos explaining the significance of the Yerach ben Yomo/Karnei Para trop, and why it appears (uniquely in chumash) in the portion about the Levite cities (Numbers ...
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183 views

What do Chazal mean when they say that when Moshiach comes there will be another note added to the octave making a total of 8 notes?

Related: What were Chazal referring to when they said there were 7 notes in a musical octave? There is a well known Medrash (anyone help with the source?) [I think on the Posuk 'Lamnatzeich Al ...
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1answer
49 views

Source for exemption of hekdesh by nizkei adam

What is the source of the פטור (exemption) of הקדש by נזקי אדם (damage to property done by a person)? Tosfos on Bava Kama 7a (continued from 6b sv שור רעהו; on 7a, beginning of narrow lines) teaches ...
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How can there be machlokes in gezairah shavos?

The Gemara says (Nidah 19b, among other places), אין אדם דן גזירה שווה מעצמו - a person can't make up gezaira shavos, they have to have been learned from one's teacher. If so, how can there ever be a ...
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What are some examples of chazal making a midrash about the way a letter looks?

So, for instance, one could say that the nekudot over the word "kissed" in the verse in which Esau kissed Jacob suggest that Esau tried to bite Jacob because the line of dots looks like bite marks. ...
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What exactly did Yaakov learn at Yeshivat Shem v'Ever? [duplicate]

The Midrash (Bereshit Rabba 84:8) says ר' נחמיה אמר שכל הלכות שמסרו שם ועבר ליעקב מסרן לו All the laws that Yaakov learned by Shem and Ever, he taught to Yosef (his son). What exactly did ...
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41 views

Babies born in Generation of Spies not entering the Land

Hashem says: “All who anger me shall not see [the land]” (Bamidbar 14:33) According to the Midrash (see חידושי מרן הגרי"ז who brings this medrash), this means that everyone, even the young children, ...
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256 views

Why pray for Y'hoshua and not Kalev?

Rashi to Sh'lach 13:16 notes that Moshe prayed that God save Y'hoshua from the other spies' plot. This is a paraphrase of a g'mara (Sotah 34b) which implies strongly that Moshe did not similarly pray ...
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1answer
89 views

Are some Apes banished Humans

Had read some midrash or zohar that some apes were human beings who were banished and became apes. Don't remember the source. Does anyone know this?
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Coffee and the Source for Reason for Staying Up for Shavuos

In a fascinating article , Elliot Horowitz credits the introduction of coffee for the spread of the custom of staying awake at night. In the 15th century, the drinking of coffee originated in Yemenite ...
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236 views

Why did the angels object to the Torah being given to Moshe – what did the angels think?

The well-known Gemoro Shabbos 88b reports the angels protesting against HKB”H giving the Torah to Israel. HKB”H tells Moshe to answer the angels and Moshe shows that the Torah is only applicable to ...
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How is repeating what Bnei Yisrael did somehow a “correction”?

According to this answer, it seems as though staying up late is somehow a correction for Bnei Yisrael sleeping late. I've heard it explained that they thought nevua would only come while they are ...
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2answers
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How does the midrash know that the Jews had to be awakened for the giving of the Torah?

Considering the pretty obvious excitement, written in the Torah itself, that B'nai Yisra'el had about receiving the Torah, it seems contradictory that they would be sleeping on the day the Torah was ...
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Hair in Aggadah

I have encountered two different instances in midrashim which mention hair doing peculiar things. Genesis Rabah 93:6 and 7, regarding a sign of Judah's anger: אמר רבי חנין בשעה שהיה יהודה מעלה ...
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Is “al tikri” ever used for a midrash halacha?

In maseches Rosh Hashana 13a–b, the Gemara attempts to prove that certain crops count as having grown in the year in which they achieve one-third of their total growth: מנלן כדתניא רבי יונתן בן ...
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4answers
277 views

How do Rishonim argue on Drashos Chazal?

There is a known rule that Rishonim cannot argue on the Gemara when it comes to "Halachic" drashos. For example, a Rishon will never give a different answer to a question which the Gemara already ...