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18

The problem with how we read Aggada today is that our approach, instead of being idiomatic, is idiotic. -- Rabbi Moshe Hauer. From the Rambam's commentary to the last chapter of Sanhedrin: There are three categories of people with regards to interpreting Aggada. The first category take everything literally and teach it as such, going to ...


15

R' Yonasan Eibeschutz explains as follows: When Esther entered Achashverosh's throne room, a place full of idols, the Divine Presence left her (Megillah 15b). She realized, then, that such a place is not suitable for a miracle to take place. So she was going to have to get Achashverosh someplace where none of these would be present in order to be successful ...


14

Targum (to Esther 9:14) says that she fled, with seventy of Haman's surviving sons, and they were all reduced to begging.


14

There is an aggadah in Bavli Sotah 11b that is almost exactly what you're describing. It's in the section that starts with Rav Avira saying that B'nei Yisrael were redeemed from Mitzrayim on account of the righteous women. First they would encourage their husbands in the mitzvah of p'ru ur'vu, then they would stay in their houses while pregnant, and then ...


13

Hai Gaon, Sherira Gaon, Shmuel Hanagid, Rambam and others all tell us we cannot rely on aggados or take them literally. Where empirically disproven it is certainly unnecessary or even criminal to do so, e.g., Talmudic physiology and medicine. It is also logically impossible, considering that aggados are often mutually contradictory, and there are often ...


13

In the Vilna Gaon's commentary to a story in the Gemara (Bechoros 8b) about a debate between R' Yehoshua and the "Sages of Athens" (this commentary has been adapted into English, in The Juggler and the King, by R' Aharon Feldman), he explains that Hashem's reason for offering the Torah first to the nations was indeed to demonstrate that it doesn't "fit" with ...


13

See here for more. Basically, if you look carefully in Biblical Hebrew, g'di actually means "a young animal" -- usually if you didn't specify it meant a goat, but it could be a generic term for any young. Thus elsewhere it might specify g'di izim -- "a young goat." So that gives us "don't cook a young animal in its mother's milk." Why the thing about ...


12

Teach the difference from the very beginning. Even if they don't really understand the difference between saying that a story is written in the Torah, or is from a Midrash/Gemara/Rashi but doesn't appear in the Torah, you wont damage them by inserting a little comment right before/after a story giving its source. Kids are smart - they will hear what you ...


11

The Rabbis learn out that there are 39 Melachot because of a numerical value (kind of). From here (or here, if that link doesn't work), quoting Talmud Shabbat 70A: ...it says, (Shemot 35:1-2) And Moshe gathered together the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and he said to them: 'Eileh HaDevarim' (these are the things--plural) that HaShem ...


10

According to Shemos Rabba 1:13, Yocheved was three months pregnant with Moshe when Amram divorced her. רבי חנינא בר רב יצחק אמר: שפרה, שהעמידה ישראל לאלהים, שבשבילם נבראו השמים, שכתוב בהם (איוב כו, יג) ברוחו שמים. שפרה, פועה, שהופיעה פנים כנגד אביה, שהיה עמרם ראש סנהדרין באותה שעה, כיון שגזר פרעה, ואמר (שמות שם, כב) כל הבן הילוד. אמר עמרם: ולריק ...


10

I got this from askmoses.com, since I am not a Jew and don't know Hebrew and am not familiar with all the sources noted there, please tell me if I have made a mistake and if my answer here is not appropriate. The Midrash relates an interesting tradition: Moses was an exceedingly handsome baby; whoever saw him could not take their eyes off him. ...


10

I think I remember learning in elementary school that the Moon and the Sun had, as they have now, the same angular diameter when viewed from the Earth, and they also had coronas of equal size, so their total sizes, including coronas, were equal. When the Moon complained about their equality, literally in terms of a "crown" (which a corona resembles and which ...


9

The Chumash Shai LeMorah brings the Be'er Mayim Chaim (A commentary on Rashi written by the Maharal of Prague's brother, R' Chaim of Friedberg) says that once G-d agreed to save the 5 cities if there were 45 righteous people, Avraham understood that G-d was willing to be complete the quorum in order to save the city. (as Rashi 18:28 explains). Once Avraham ...


9

The g'mara in Mo'ed Katan 28 derives that the age of "death at the hands of heaven" is 60 from the pasuk תָּבוֹא בְכֶלַח אֱלֵי קָבֶר כַּעֲלוֹת גָּדִישׁ בְּעִתּוֹ in which the bold word has the numerical value of 60, yielding the interpretation You will come to the grave at 60, like a stack that goes in its proper time I am not sure if this ...


9

Rambam (Hil. Sotah 3:3), based on the Gemara (Sotah 7b), states that a sotah is told the story of Reuven in its literal sense, to induce her to confess: "Many great and honorable people before you were overpowered by their inclinations and stumbled [and yet they confessed, so you should do the same]." Which would seem to imply that there is indeed room to ...


9

The source of this midrash is actually the Talmud in Chagigah 13b -- 14a. The Talmud states: תניא אמר רבי שמעון החסיד אלו תשע מאות ושבעים וארבע דורות שקומטו להיבראות קודם שנברא העולם ולא נבראו עמד הקב"ה ושתלן בכל דור ודור והן הן עזי פנים שבדור which Soncino translates as: It is taught: R. Simeon the Pious said: These are the nine hundred and ...


9

Yalkut Shimoni on Balak Tanchuma on Balak Midrash Rabah on Balak The gemaras mentioned in Toldos Aharon on Balak For a collection of all midrashim, you can look at R' Menachem Kasher's Torah Shleimah


9

The Gur Arye explains that Y'hoshua's falling into the spies' plot would reflect poorly on Moshe, whose protege he was. This reasoning doesn't apply to Kalev. The Avodas Yisrael explains (not in answer to this question) that Y'hoshua did not want the honor of leading the people, and wanted Moshe to retain that position. (See Rashi to B'haalos'cha 11:28.) ...


8

The Torah speaks in allegory. Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim


8

Some say that the Dor HaMabul had the halachik status of Bnei Yisroel, so they did have a shiur of Shava Prutah. Source: Rabbi Yechiel Halpern of Minsk (1660- 1747) in Sefer HaLikutim, Mabul, §1


8

The earliest source I can find is Shemot Rabba (Vilna) 1:26 היתה בת פרעה מנשקת ומחבקת ומחבבת אותו כאלו הוא בנה ולא היתה מוציאתו מפלטרין של מלך, ולפי שהיה יפה הכל מתאוים לראותו מי שהיה רואהו לא היה מעביר עצמו מעליו, והיה פרעה מנשקו ומחבקו והוא נוטל כתרו של פרעה ומשימו על ראשו כמו שעתיד לעשות לו כשהיה גדול ... והיו שם יושבין חרטומי מצרים ואמרו מתייראין אנו ...


8

The explanation referenced in my answer here (I'm still looking for the underlying source - it must be in some maamar or sicha) seems to indicate that the "diminishment" is closer to your second possibility - though focusing not so much on the moon's waxing and waning, but on the fact that it is not self-luminous but receives its light from the sun. (Is ...


8

We call them the "sheva mitzvos bnei Noach," but I think that the term is "lav davka" (imprecise). See Rambam, Melachim 9:1. From his language, it seems that Og was obligated in all seven except ever min hachai. But see the Kesef Mishneh there ('ד"ה על ששה דברים כו); from his language it seems that Og was either not allowed to eat meat at all or was also ...


8

You seem to be looking for the Bar Yuchnei. Talmud Bechoros 56b: פעם אחת נפלה ביצת בר יוכני וטבעה ששים כרכים ושברה שלש מאות ארזים Once the Bar Yuchnei's egg fell and it flooded sixty cities and destroyed three hundred cedars. The gemara there says that normally this wouldn't happen, but this particular egg was rotten so the bird threw it away. It ...


8

From part of my answer here: The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likutei Sichot Volume 5, page 146) gives a very practical reason why Avraham waited to have a bris. Rashi explains that G-d's commandment to Noach after the flood, forbidding spilling a mans blood (Genesis 9:6) applies to spilling ones own blood as well. As such, Avraham was legally unable to circumcise ...


8

It's not so much "reject the Torah" as shorthand for "reject the traditional Jewish interpretation of the Torah, including to what extent it is binding today." Maimonides, Laws of Repentance 3:17 ג,יז שלושה הן הכופרים בתורה: האומר שאין התורה מעם ה', אפילו פסוק אחד, אפילו תיבה אחת--אם אמר משה אמרו מפי עצמו, הרי זה כופר בתורה; וכן הכופר בפירושה, והיא ...


8

It is important to understand that there is more than one way that a scriptural passage might be brought, to which your question may have already deliberately alluded. You refer to passages being brought as proof and also as providing solidity. These are not the same thing. In the Mishna, most of the legislation lacks a stated explanation, but amongst those ...


7

Here are some additional sources: אין מקשין על האגדה We do not ask questions regarding Aggada. Various sources expressing this idea: (Rashba Megillah 15a) (R' Saadia Gaon, R' Hai Gaon, Otzar HaGeonim, Chagiga 13; Otzar HaGeonim, Pesach, 3a) (Meiri, Magen Avot 1) (Shiltei Giborim, Avoda Zara, 6a) (Ramban in his Disputation, also brought in responsa Chatam ...


7

The general view of the Geonim and Sephardi Rishonim was that not every Aggadta is authoritative or needs to be taken literally. Some Ashkenazi rishonim were more inclined to take a literalist stance for much of aggadata. The machloket continues to this day, with many haredim taking the literalist stance. Specifics: Rambam was already cited. Ramban has a ...


7

One of the first Tosafot in Gitin brings that the reason the Get has 12 lines is because the Gimtarya of Get is 12.



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