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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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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37 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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226 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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85 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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175 views

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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219 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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34 views

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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90 views

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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94 views

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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41 views

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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263 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 ...
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192 views

Where does the proverb “as you teach you learn” come from?

I ran across the proverb "As you teach, you learn" on a list of Jewish proverbs. (Here is an example of it online.) Does anyone know its source? I saw a few cites attribute it to "Midrash Tehilim", ...
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65 views

Law before a drashah was made

What was the law before a drasha (a law derived from the 13 middos) was made? Were all the laws given at Sinai, and only their sources derived from the Torah by Chazal, or did Chazal learn new laws ...
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61 views

Why use the language of לֹא-תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי, בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ

The concept of לֹא-תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי, בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ is brought down three times in the Torah. The Gemarah learns from this that there are three prohibitions: 1) The prohibition against cooking milk ...
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215 views

Explanations from חז״ל for Noah's ark?

Today, a very learned friend of mine and I were discussing the difficulty of the literal interpretation of Noah's ark. That is, we could not fathom how multiple samples of every animal on earth could ...
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363 views

Is the midrash about the moon and sun being the same size intended literally?

The Rambam in his introduction to perek Chelek discusses midrashic literalist, and classifies different approaches of different groups to midrash. He writes: You should know that as to ...
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1answer
140 views

How do I know if a midrash is accepted?

I have found many different types of midrashic works. Some are, as far as I can tell, accepted as being authoritative. Meaning they were written (compiled?) by the sages in roughly the talmudic era. ...
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133 views

Does Midrash count as Torah sheBichtav (Written Torah)?

The Shulchan Aruch and Rama (47:2) write: "[You] need to bless [birkas hatorah] whether for mikra (Tanach), whether for mishnah, whether for gemara. Note: (3) Whether for midrash (Tur)." The Mishnah ...
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132 views

Where is Adam created?

The Torah tells us G-d brought Adam into Gan Eden after his creation from earth (Bereishis 2:15). If this is the case where was Adam created?
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Source for medrash that Klal Yisroel counted the omer when they came out of Mitzraim

The sefer Tur Bareket (OC 489 1) brought here quotes a medrash that Moshe Rabbeinu told Klal Yisroel to count 50 days towards matan torah. Do any of our readers know the exact source in the medrash of ...
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Were Esav, Yishmael, and Nimrod Evildoers?

This question asserts that Ishmael was an evildoer (rasha). However, based on a simple (p'shat) reading of the relevant texts (in Genesis), neither he nor Esau nor Nimrod appear to do anything ...
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117 views

Hints and thoroughness in Talmudic referencing of Tanach

There are times when the Talmud uses references to Tanach that do not seem to be proofs per se. They may not follow the middot and are more like hints. This has been discussed in answers to another ...
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64 views

Hidden treasure for speaking lashon Harah?

The Torah Vayikra 14:34 introduces the topic of tzara'ath on houses as if it were a good tiding - from this, the Midrash learns that the good tiding is finding hidden treasure when having to demolish ...
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134 views

Why identify personalities in midrash?

As noted previously on this site (quoting Mail-Jewish), there's a general tendency in midrashim to claim two persons in Tanach are the same. This is familiar to anyone who has studied Rashi's ...
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118 views

Moshe Rabainu burning his mouth with the coals

Per this answer Moshe and the Red-Hot Coals Moshe Rabainu took the coals and placed it in his mouth and his mouth got burned. It does not mention that his hand got burned. Did his hand get burned or ...
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151 views

Seforim with Drashos on the Torah (Recommendation)

What are good Seforim for using to help in developing drashos to say on the weekly Parsha (i.e. to use as a starting point, to quote, to find Medreshim, "nice vertlach", various "p'shatim" in pasukim, ...
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53 views

Why did the bull demand Eliyahu hand it over?

In the Yalkut Shim'oni on Ⅰ M'lachim 18 (remez 214), we see a bit more of the story found in that chapter of Navi: Eliyahu's bull continued following him. But the bull that was designated for ...
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25 views

What right did Rivka have to use Eisav's coat against him? [duplicate]

The midrashim bring that Rivka dressed up Yaakov in Eisav's special coat (originally given to Adam) that he used to serve his father. [See Rashi on 27:15 for partial source.] Since Rivka was ...
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268 views

Why did Esther make two parties; why not just one?

What was the purpose of the two parties that Esther made for Haman and Achashverosh (Esther 5:4–8 and chapter 7), if one could have done the job? In other words, what happened that she needed a ...
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112 views

How many approaches to Torah are there?

Our sages tell us that there are שבעים פנים לתורה (Bamidbar Rabbah). Does this mean that every word, or verse, or some unit, has 70 interpretations, and there are theoretically billions of ...
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151 views

If Sarah's Death is a “Merit” for Cheshvan, Why Isn't Moshe's Death a “Merit” for Adar?

When I was young(er) I used to listen to to Toravision's Purim Story tape. (Yeah, I know, I'm dating myself.) It's a great tape, and the older I've gotten, the more it's amazed me how close the tape ...
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1answer
92 views

Source for book of Tehillim out of order?

I recall learning a midrash (shochar tov?) that the book of Tehillim is out of order and Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi wanted to put it back in order but was not allowed to do so. Where is this statement ...
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142 views

Issachar's Banner in Halacha

Inspired by this answer. Bamidbar Rabbah 2:7 describes the symbol on Issachar's banner as the sun and the moon. I have researched the topic of what it is permitted to draw, and it seems that ...
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55 views

Joseph's Garment- Made or hand me down?

Source 1: Targum Yerushalmi Bereishit 48:22 which says that Yosef coat was originally Adam's. Source 2: Bereishit 37:3 Says Yaakov made Joseph's coat How can this be resolved? Source 1: כב וַאֲנָא ...
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123 views

Did HaShem “regret” creating someone/something

I heard once that it says somewhere in Chazal that there were certain things or people that HaShem "regretted" (had "charatah") in creating. Although I don't remember which examples were given or if a ...
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4answers
247 views

How did Abraham conclude that the world must have a master?

Abraham is said to have arrived at the existence of Gd in Gen Rabah 39: אמר רבי יצחק משל לאחד שהיה עובר ממקום למקום וראה בירה אחת דולקת אמר תאמר שהבירה זו בלא מנהיג הציץ עליו בעל הבירה אמר לו ...
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433 views

Why 1,000 generations of ungiven Torah, not X years?

The Mainz Anonymous reads, in part (in my own translation): He created the Torah 974 generations before the world was created, then twenty-six generations [passed] from the creation of the world ...
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126 views

Why did Yitchak not follow in Avraham's footsteps regarding hospitality

Avraham is described in the midrashim as being extreme in the mitzva of hachnasat orchim (hospitality). Through this method, he was able to mekarev (reach out to) thousands of people and teach them ...
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77 views

Why is Midrash not in the Torah

If midrashim are so important and add crucial historical/sociological details and ethical teachings and enrich our understanding of Hashem's wisdom, why are they not included in the Torah?
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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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707 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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52 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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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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131 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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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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181 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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126 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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111 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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208 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 ...