It is quite clear from context that it means a type of heavenly group punishment, like a flood or a plague* where both good and bad die, l'a. It seems mainly connected with the sin of זִּמָּה/זְנוּת i.e. inappropriate sexual behaviour, on a societal level. It is associated in several places with a teaching from Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi that this is one sin that Hashem does not overlook.

My question is, is that all we know about it?

I would still love to hear from an expert who has studied the word and concept and its use in Torah. Some questions that come to mind:

  1. How did this particular greek word/idea make its way into Chazal? Perhaps through Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi?
  2. What is its original meaning and other etymology? Perhaps it is Androlepsy? This is how Berman translates it in Midrash Tanhuma-Yelammedenu.
  3. Why is there no Hebrew word for this?
  4. Why does the word not seem to appear much outside of a handful of Midrashim?
  5. Are there any other words for this concept in use?
  6. Where would be some good sources that discuss the concept itself?
  7. Any other interesting, and on topic information about אנדרלמוסיא

* Note the different wording in this definition

  • In modern Hebrew, it's used to mean a mess or a lack of order, similar to בלאגן balagan
    – Lo ani
    Jan 10 at 22:38
  • In the context of Tanchuma B'midbar 32 and B'midbar Rabba 5:3 it seems to refer to something related to androlepsy: "אין מדתו של הקב"ה כמדת בשר ודם מלך בשר ודם שמרדה עליו מדינה הוא עושה בה אנדרולומוסיא והורג הטובים עם הרעים ואינו אומר זה חטא וזה לא חטא אלא הורג את כולה והקב"ה אינו כן אלא בשעה שהדור מכעיס לפניו הוא ממלט את הצדיקים ומאבד את הרשעים".
    – Fred
    Jan 11 at 1:44
  • 1
    "How did this particular greek word/idea make its way into Chazal? Perhaps through Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi?" R. Saul Lieberman wrote two books on the topic of the Hellenic/Rabbinic interaction Jan 11 at 19:50
  • 1
    @RabbiKaii There's often some corruption when a word migrates to another language, and this is often true as well when Greek words migrated into the Talmudic-era Aramaic lexicon.
    – Fred
    Jan 11 at 20:53
  • 1
    @RabbiKaii ארוכה מארץ מדה ורחבה מני ים :)
    – Fred
    Jan 11 at 21:34


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