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 shall become of his dreams?” - Q on Rash"i on Breishit 37:20

I'm having trouble understanding Rashi on Genesis 37:20 When Joseph came towards his brothers, they plotted to kill him. They said, (Gen. 37:20): וְעַתָּה | לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ ...
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1answer
237 views

Is there a set of “foundational” midrashic/symbolic numbers and what are they?

I've always wanted to do an analyses of the Torah based on the numbers given and their midrashic meanings. Specifically, I'm looking for symbolic, midrashic numbers: that is, which are symbolically ...
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1answer
42 views

נִפְתַּ֛לְתִּי “my prayer was accepted” notarikon

In Genesis 30:8 Bilhah, Rachel's maidservant, conceived and Rachel named the son Naftali נִפְתַּלְתִּי It says here that for נִפְתַּ֛לְתִּי "my prayer was accepted" There are many aggadic ...
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2answers
182 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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45 views

Implication of uncertain letters in the Torah

I learned that there are a number of uncertain letters in the written Torah This article lists 12 (counts vary). (1) Bereishit 4:13 "Mineso" (E&T w/o Vav) (2) Bereishit 7:11 "Ma'ayanos (E&...
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231 views

Why is the test (Nisayon) of Kivshan Haish not mentioned in the Torah?

One of the difficult tests Avraham Avinu faced was when Nimrod threw him into the (Kivshan Haish) fire. It is not mentioned in the Torah at all. Why?
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124 views

What dates were the Talmuds and Midrashes written?

Can we prove what dates in history these texts were written? Also, do we know exactly when the various Rabbis of these texts lived? What are those dates? Are there disputes about this? Further, ...
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1answer
34 views

Where did the Assyrian language originate from according to Chazzal?

Rashi in parshas Noach 10 11, seen here quotes the Medrash Rabba: From that land: Since Asshur saw his sons obeying Nimrod and rebelling against the Omnipresent by building the tower, he departed ...
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29 views

Vilna Gaon on the Mechilta

I'm looking for the Vilna Gaon on the Mechilta for Shemos. Does anyone know where I can procure his sefer online?
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0answers
100 views

How tall was Moshe Rabbeinu?

The Gemara in the last Perek of Berochos (referenced by the last Rashi of Parshas Chukas)tells about the encounter of Moshe with the giant Og... Moshe was ten Amos tall - (between 15-20 feet, based ...
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57 views

How does Tehillim 33:15 imply all creatures pass before Him on Rosh HaShanah?

The Mishnah (Talmud Bavli, Masekhet Rosh HaShanah 16A; Original, English) states that "At New Year all creatures pass before Him like Bene'i Maron, as it says (Tehillim 33:15), ‘He that fashioneth the ...
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1answer
93 views

Is the Leviatan real?

I've heard that he is a giant fish that will be eaten by the tzadikim when the Messiah arrives. But I've also read that it may be just a metaphor. If it is real, what about the Behemoth and the Ziz? ...
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2answers
91 views

In Sifra, what's the difference between a 'perek' and a 'parshata'

Sifra, or Torat Kohanim, has an unusual layout. Within each Parasha, the book is divided into sections called 'Perek' and 'Parshata'. Neither one appears to contain the other, they appear one after ...
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51 views

Adam 's sin out of deveikut?

I found this online: In his sefer "Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh," R' Itamar Shwartz emphasizes the important point that our existence in this world is for the purpose of being davuk to our Creator; to be ...
6
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1answer
122 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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4answers
488 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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107 views

Why Pinchas = Eliyahu?

The Midrash says that Pinchas and Eliyahu are the same person. According to most of the Rishonim, I believe, this (as any other Midrash) should not be taken literally. Which are some of the non-...
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2answers
180 views

Non-literal Midrashim

Sometimes I'll hear a Midrash and sometimes people might say, "Well, I don't know if it's meant to be taken literally." When do we know when Midrashim are speaking metaphorically or when they are ...
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44 views

Midrashic non-literalism in the Taz

The Taz writes in his Divrei David (Genesis 1:23) 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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37 views

Any more 'daughters of God'?

As far as I have been able to ascertain, there were only two individuals explicitly referred to as a "daughter of God" or had God refer to them as "My daughter": Batya/Bithiah the daughter of ...
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51 views

Location of source for a midrash of Zipporah on Har Sinai?

A friend was expounding a midrash to me about Zipporah but was unaware of the provenance. The story involves Zipporah, prior to meeting Moshe, searching for her lost flocks near Har Sinai. She ...
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1answer
61 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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64 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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30 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
59 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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2answers
108 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
38 views

Authorship of Midrash Tehillim

What do traditional sources say regarding the date of authorship of Midrash Tehillim?
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70 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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1answer
54 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
86 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
33 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
227 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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2answers
76 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 זה,...
6
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1answer
81 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
105 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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1answer
97 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
80 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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4answers
4k 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 ...
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0answers
33 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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2answers
94 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 עַל-יְרוּשָלָיִם..&...
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1answer
70 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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1answer
246 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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1answer
56 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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5answers
345 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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1answer
148 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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8answers
353 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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38 views

Pshat in Pasuk of Velo Yavor

Chazal say that the reason why we don't read the Megillah on the 16 is because the passuk (Esther 9:27) says "velo yavor" - וְלֹא יַעֲבוֹר. Why is there a need for this Passuk? The Megillah said that ...
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1answer
114 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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1answer
56 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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4answers
440 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 ...