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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15
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5answers
663 views

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 ...
14
votes
6answers
723 views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
14
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7answers
462 views

How did the moon shrink?

The Bavli, Chulin 60:2, says (in my own loose translation): Rabbi Shim'on ben Pazi noted a contradiction: [B'reshis 1:16] says, "God made the two big luminaries" and "the big luminary… and ...
14
votes
1answer
488 views

What happened to Zeresh (Haman's wife)?

Virtually all of the major charachters (and some of the minor ones) in Megillas Esther have a clear ending for them. Mordechai and Esther live happily ever after (sort of). Haman and his ten songs are ...
12
votes
1answer
128 views

At what age should we start teaching the distinction between Midrash and Text?

At a very early age children learn the history of the world and the Jews through the enthralling stories found in many varied sources. They learn that the world was created in six days; that ...
12
votes
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
441 views

Moshe and the Red-Hot Coals

A midrash that myself and I'm sure many others have heard in grade school is that when Moshe was a baby, still crawling, his "grandfather" Pharaoh, incited by an incident in which Moshe took off ...
11
votes
2answers
267 views

Why do we say that Hashem chose us if He offered to the Torah to all the other nations first?

According to Midrash Sifri (Deuteronomy 343), Hashem first went around to all the nations and offered them the Torah before offering it to Bnei Yisroel. So why do we say in Kiddush and Birchas ...
10
votes
5answers
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
247 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
221 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
190 views

How did Avrohom learn that nine doesn't work?

The Midrash says (Bereshis Rabbah 49:13 quoted in Rashi Genesis 18:32) that Abraham stopped asking HaShem to save Sodom in the merit of less than 10 people because Noah and his family who were 8 ...
9
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3answers
112 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?
9
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3answers
195 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 ...
9
votes
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
509 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
959 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
55 views

Why does “בני ישראל” sometimes include גרים and sometimes not?

Tosafos (to Suka 28, Sanhedrin 86, and M'nachos 61; and Tos'fos Harosh to Sanhedrin 86) cite various verses containing the words "בני ישראל", b'ne Yisrael. In some cases, they note, the g'mara seeks ...
8
votes
2answers
119 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
174 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
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...". ...
7
votes
3answers
126 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
122 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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
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.
7
votes
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, ...
7
votes
1answer
255 views

Published Ladino version of Meam Lo'ez?

The Me'am Lo'ez (מעם לועז‎), begun by Rabbi Yaakov Culi in 1730, is a commentary to Tanakh written in Ladino. It was subsequently translated to Hebrew and translated from the Hebrew to English in a ...
6
votes
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
234 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
216 views

God's Pair of Teffilin

How when moshe turns his head not to see God's face, he sees He's got on teffilin? I thought God had no physical form.
6
votes
2answers
366 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
549 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
254 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
208 views

Who are the tzaddikim in olam ha-ba?

The midrash tells of various things that will happen to the righteous in olam ha-ba, such as feasting on Leviathan. Who are these? Everybody except those who have no share in olam ha-ba per Pirke ...
5
votes
7answers
207 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
306 views

How tall was Adam?

I once read a post on Answering-Islam about the Height of Adam, and it said that the Islamic view of Adam was simple Muhammad copying the Jewish stories/belief's about Adam. As I don't know what ...
5
votes
3answers
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
119 views

Rashi's apparent internal confusion over יתרו/רְעוּאֵל

Per Bamidbar 10:29 (see below), חֹבָב בֶּן רְעוּאֵל was the father-in-law of מֹשֶׁה. There, רש"י asks why רְעוּאֵל is referred to in Shemoth 2:18 as the "father" of בנות יתרו, and he answers that ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
139 views

Does p'shat explain everything?

Ways of reading Chumash are commonly divided into four headings: p'shat, simple readings; d'rash, exegeses; remez, hints; and sod, secrets. The g'mara and midr'she halacha are full of d'rash: they ...
5
votes
1answer
66 views

Is there a list of things that have been put away until “l'atid lavo”?

There are many mamarei chazal that discuss things that at one point existed and were hidden or saved for "l'atid lavo" (ex the ohr haganuz) does an extensive list of such things exist?
5
votes
2answers
119 views

Honor of old people vs. honor of parents

Who has precedence in honor: A father or an old person? It seems that the answer would be a father; (*) however, there is a midrash that implies otherwise: Yalkut Shimoni, end of Bemidbar 752 ...