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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The Fourth Exile, Persia or Rome?

When Avraham experiences a vision of 'fear, darkness, great, descending upon him', (Gen 15:12), the Midrash says that these four words refer to the 4 exiles. Fear is Babylon, darkness is Medea, great ...
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3answers
511 views

What does the angel Gavriel represent?

In trying to come up with an answer to this question, I became aware that the angel Gavriel plays a common role in several aggados and midrashim. Not only in the midrash with Moshe and the burning ...
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49 views

Didn't Shem already have an altar on Moriah?

We learn from the Torah that Akedat Yitzhok took place on the mountain of Moriah. We also know that Malki-Tzedek came to Avraham Avinu, bringing bread and wine. (Bereishit 14:18) Rashi brings the ...
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4answers
176 views

Ben Noach Stealing less then a Perutah

The Medrash Rabbah בראשית ל''א ס''ק ה says that what the people of the Dor Hamabul did in order not to have to be punished by their courts is to steal less that a Prutah (minimal Monetary Value) which ...
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2answers
120 views

Why did Yosef cry about the future destruction of the Batei HaMikdash at that particular moment?

After Yosef revealed himself to his brothers, he fell upon Binyamin's neck and wept, and Rashi comments there that he was weeping about the future destruction of the two Batei HaMikdash. But why did ...
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1answer
109 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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34 views

Which edition of Midrash Tanchuma is this?

There are a couple editions of Midrash Tanchuma floating around. The following is based on the Buber edition from Vilna: http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/vl/tohen.asp?id=280 But, can anyone discern what ...
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4answers
974 views

Basic laws, why is milk with meat not kosher?

I've recently read (again) the verse "לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו", meaning, "Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk". How did anyone get from that, to "Don't eat meat with milk at all"? I've always ...
6
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89 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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3answers
173 views

Seemingly weak proof-texts from Tanach

What is the best way to understand how texts from Tanach are brought in the tradition (such as in the Talmud) to add proof or solidity to a point... according to a really unintuitive reading of the ...
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2answers
119 views

How to understand the Medrash that Isaac's eyes were weakened by the tears of the angels?

Rashi's second interpretation of Braishis 27 (1) (based on the Medrash Rabbah 65 (10)) is that Isaac's eyes were weakened by the tears of the angels at the Akeidah. Rashi speaking about the angels ...
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2answers
91 views

What's a good beginner-friendly collection of aggadah in English?

A friend with a secular background is now becoming more connected with Judaism (yay!), and has told me she finds the aggadic stories that fill in the gaps in the torah to be particularly helpful. ...
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7answers
184 views

References for learning Aggada

I often run into aggadic passages in the Talmud, and would like to get a list of references beyond the standard 4 (Ein Yaakov, Maharsha, Benayahu/Ben Yehoyada and the Chiddushei Aggados of the ...
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1answer
205 views

Criteria for the list of Nashim Kesheiros (Medrash Breishis Rabsi)

The Medrash Breishis Rabsi Parshas Chaya Sara 23:1 lists 22* Nashim Kesheiros. כ"ב נשים כשרות היו בעולם ואלו הן שרה, רבקה, רחל, לאה, סרח בת אשר, יוכבד, מרים, בתיה בת פרעה, דבורה, צללפונית אשת מנוח, ...
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196 views

Do angels have jealousy?

In a famous Midrash in Shab. 87a-b, the angels object to the Torah being given to humans, until Moshe proves that it is only relevant to humans because of their nature. In one example, he asks ...
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2answers
205 views

Why does Rashi cite the Midrash of Pharaoh's daughter stretching out her arm?

There's a famous Midrash cited by Rashi (Shemoth 2:5), that says Pharaoh's daughter stretched out her arm and that it extended beyond its natural length to pull in the basket containing the baby from ...
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140 views

What is meant by the 974 “worlds” that were “created and destroyed”?

Midrash Tehillim 90:13 says that God created and destroyed 974 worlds before this one. What exactly does that mean? I've heard it used in defense of a modern understanding of evolution and cosmology ...
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274 views

Halachot learned from gematria

The gemara in nazir learns that an unspecified nezirut is 30 days long from the pasuk "kadosh yihyeh" with yihyeh having gematria 30. Can anyone think of other places where halachot are learned from ...
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1answer
50 views

What was the name of the wife of Elozor HaCohen?

What was the name of the wife of Elozor HaCohen? (Assuming she was the sister of tzipporah and daughter of Yisro)
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2answers
552 views

How were Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai “Sons of Giants”?

In Bamidbar 13:22, the Torah tells us that the spies saw Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the sons of Giants. Rashi tells us they were the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, angels who fell from heaven ...
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45 views

Examining the Zav

Does anyone know of any rabbinic sources (Talmudic/midrashic) that indicate that a Zav would go to a halakhic authority to be examined regarding his Zivah?
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328 views

Flying and sorcery

Rashi (Sanhedrin 44b, s.v. D'ba'ya) relates the story of Shimon ben Shetach's capture of 80 witches. He instructed his students to pick up the witches because the sorcery would be powerless against ...
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1answer
187 views

What is so special about wearing Egyptian clothing

Why was moses dressed up as a mitsri when the daughters of yisro found him and according to some midrash he had left Egypt 50 or more years previously. Being Jewish it is unlikely he spoke like a ...
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66 views

Halachic extension of the Giving of the Torah and marriage analogy

The sages frequently liken the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai to a chuppah (wedding ceremony), where Hashem is symbolized by the chosson (groom) and the Knesses Yisroel is symbolized by the kallah ...
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187 views

Sefer Milhamot Hashem - from Bamidbar 21:14

Does anyone know of any discussion of the the "sefer Milkhamot Hashem" mentioned in Bamidbar 21:14? Someone had asked me about the content of the book and I had no idea of what to answer him.
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120 views

Did Kayin and Hevel grow quickly or were they born fully developed?

The sefer Seder Hadorot brings different opinions as to how old Hevel was when he was killed by Kayin. Bershit Rabbah Ch. 22: 50 days (or 90 days [Seder Hadorot says 50 is a printing mistake]) Ibn ...
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40 views

Symbolic relationship between Mothers and Exiles

I am interested in what is the correspondence between the Four Mothers (Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah) and the Four Exiles (Babylonian, Persian/Medean, Greek and Roman). There is a lot of indirect ...
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40 views

War between Ten Tribes and Yehuda

There is a reference to Bereshis Rabba 65:20 and Vayikra Rabba 33:5 to 2 Chronicles 13:17 which says that 500,000 soldiers of the northern tribes killed by the army of Yehuda. The Midrash states that ...
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39 views

Charging interest to “your brother”

A deleted post from a long time ago made the claim that [W]e are [allowed to charge interest to other Jews] but not from immediate family. Even from another Jew, if he or she is not a member ...
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2answers
199 views

Why Ishmalites are accused of rejecting the Torah?

Being an Ishmalite myself i can clearly say that we don't reject the Torah as false as accused here. It is considered to be one of the revealed books by God and is called as "Torat" in our scripture. ...
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2answers
99 views

Midrashim concerning Balaam?

Where can I find Midrashim about Balaam the Gentile Prophet, who appears in this week's Torah Portion?
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1answer
151 views

Was Og responsible to follow the commandments for B'nei Noach?

The Midrash relates that Og, later to become King of Bashan, survived the flood in the generation of Noach (Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer, 23). Was he responsible for following the seven commandments despite ...
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3answers
176 views

Midrashic sources regarding the Sea splitting into twelve paths

Tehilim 136:13 says: לְגֹזֵר יַם סוּף לִגְזָרִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ To Him Who cut the Sea of Reeds asunder, for His kindness is eternal. Rashi's commentary indicates that this is ...
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209 views

Why did Avraham wait to have a bris?

Chazal tells us (Midrash Rabbah Bereishis 64:4 and 95:3; Yoma 28b, based on. Gen. 26:5; Kiddushin 82a) that the Patriarchs observed the mitzvahs before they were given. But Avraham did not circumcize ...
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99 views

What is the talmudic or midrashic term for “do not take the text literally?”

I need a word that says the opposite of the term, כמשמעו.
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182 views

Why is the Evil Inclination Called a “Fool”?

Koheles (4:13), (as explained by the Midrash Rabba) describes the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination) as "A king, old, and a fool". It explains: "...ולמה קורא אותו כסיל? שהוא מלמד לאדם דרך רעה...". ...
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1answer
104 views

Aggadah Of Great Bird Destroying Towns

I once heard about Jewish aggada telling about big bird throwing huge eggs made of steel which were destroying towns. Does anyone knows if there such aggada exists and what the source for it is?
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154 views

When was Moshe conceived?

We know that Amram and Yocheved (Moshe and Miriam's parents) divorced so as not to give birth to baby boys and Miriam explained to them that they should get remarried because not only are they killing ...
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101 views

Source of Midrash regarding Yaakov's saying Shema

There is a famous Rashi in Parashat Vayigash (46:29) where Rashi explains that Yaakov didn't cry on Yosef's shoulders because he was reciting Shema. He cryptically quotes this in the name of ...
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1answer
119 views

Years and years and years of Yishmael

Genesis 25:17 says: וְאֵלֶּה שְׁנֵי חַיֵּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל מְאַת שָׁנָה וּשְׁלשִׁים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וַיִּגְוַע וַיָּמָת וַיֵּאָסֶף אֶל עַמָּיו׃ And these are the years of the life of ...
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83 views

is there an authoritative list of the ways to expound the torah?

We are all familiar with Rebbi Yishmael's 13 principles for expounding the torah, however there are other systems not included in his list. I remember once hearing a shiur that there are over 40 ways ...
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1answer
52 views

Why are tzadikim compared to myrtles?

The gemarah (megillah 13b, sanhedrin 93a) states that tzadikim are compared to haddasim. We also know that of the four species the haddas is described as only having a pleasant fragrance but not a ...
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2answers
114 views

Pharoh's privacy at the Nile

How did Pharaoh prevent people from seeing him use the Bathroom at the Nile? We know he went early morning, but what prevented others from seeing him? A source for this information would be ...
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2answers
66 views

Yaakov's Stone Pillow

Yaakov placed twelve stones around his head to protect him from animals. Why was he not scared that animals would attack the rest of his body and how would those small stones, which were small enough ...
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1answer
220 views

Was Joseph considered a Tzaddik as he went down to Egypt?

Rashi on 37 (25) cites the Medrash about what the camels were carrying: and their camels were carrying, etc.: Why did Scripture publicize their burden? To let you know the reward of the ...
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3answers
185 views

Why can't Moshe hit the water?

As a kid I learned that Moshe wasn't allowed to hit the water because it saved him when he was a child and he had to show hakaras hatov (similar answer for why he couldn't hit the sand that saved him ...
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1answer
126 views

Why did the 40th-year Jews think they'd erred about Av? Sanhedrin had declared it

Rashi says that ובשנת ארבעים שנה עשו ולמחר עמדו כולן חיים וכיון שראו כך תמהו ואמרו שמא טעינו בחשבון החדש חזרו ושכבו בקבריהן בלילות עד ליל חמשה עשר וכיון שראו שנתמלאה הלבנה בט"ו ולא מת אחד מהם ...
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67 views

Is there a sourced edition of Tz'enah Ur'enah?

Tz'enah Ur'enah looks like a worthwhile collection of midrashim -- insightful, accessible, and physically easy to read (this last is why I'm less likely to curl up with my Sefer Ha-Aggadah for an ...
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145 views

What were Chazal referring to when they said there were 7 notes in a musical octave?

Related: 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? There is a well known Medrash (anyone help with the ...
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1answer
68 views

Genesis 3:22 as a reference to Yona?

I was told that there is a midrash that learns Genesis 3:22 as a reference to the navi (prophet) Yona ben Amitai, but cannot find the source. Do you know where it is?