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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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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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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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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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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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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149 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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102 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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151 views

Is there a set of “base”(factor?) midrashic 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 "base" numbers: that is, which are meaningful inherently, not ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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77 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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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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Looking for a drasha on Yerach ben Yomo/Karnei Para

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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1answer
151 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
43 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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1answer
35 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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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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83 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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335 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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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. ...