I recall a Gemara where Rabbi Akiva makes an Aggadic (“midrashic”) comment on a story in the Torah, and he is told by a colleague that he has no business with aggadeta. The Gemara on Shabbat 96b is similar but not explicit. Anyone know the source?


1 Answer 1


Chagigah 14a: אמר לוֹ רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה: עֲקִיבָא, מָה לְךָ אֵצֶל הַגָּדָה! כְּלָךְ מִדַּבְּרוֹתֶיךָ אֵצֶל נְגָעִים וְאֹהָלוֹת. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said to him: Akiva, what are you doing occupying yourself with the study of aggada? This is not your field of expertise. Take [kelakh] your words to the topics of plagues and tents. Rashi says he was telling him to avoid teaching Aggadah until he learnt negaim and ohalos

  • Thank you! That’s what I was thinking about.
    – dwachss
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 13:20
  • 1. Rashi says "Kelakh" means "cease". 2. He was not telling him to avoid Aggadah until he learnt Negaim etc. but rather he was telling him to keep silent until he "leafed" so to speak to Negaim etc, - in other words he was telling him to just stick to Negaim etc. and be silent about topics such as Aggadah.
    – nzn
    Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 12:16
  • Correct about 1. Never said otherwise. However the translation I used is following Adin Steinsaltz who translated it as take your words כלך מדברותיך (הולך את דבריך) אצל נגעים ואהלות, כלומר, מוטב שתדבר ותלמד הלכות טומאת צרעת וטומאת המת שבהם כוחך גדול. Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:18
  • And as for 2 Rashi says census until you reach. עד שתגיע. Which is mashma that when you learn those than you could learn aggadah. Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:19

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