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 telling a real story?
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The answer Here here which he says Rambam in the Moreh and the Ramchal are speaking metaphorically
Midrashim do not tell true events
In his work called Chelek, Maimonides writes that those who take Midrashim literary are "fools," while those who reject them out of hand are also "fools." Midrashim are imaginative parables, sermons designed to teach moral lessons. People should mine Midrashim for lessons about proper behavior.