As cited here, Rashi on I Kings 5:12 states:

In the Medrash Aggada [we find Solomon’s great wisdom enabled him] to say three thousand allegories in each sentence of the Torah, and in each of the allegories one thousand and five reasons.

Is there an example for either listing 3000 parables for a given verse or listing the 1005 interpretations for a given parable?

  • Are you asking for an example of anyone listing 3000 parables (or interpretations thereof) for a given verse in TaNa"Kh? Or are you specifically asking if any of King Solomon's parables (and interpretations thereof) have survived to the present day?
    – Lee
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 11:48

3 Answers 3


Malbim's reading of Song of Songs breaks it into five chapters, plus a coda about an orchard that was worth thousands. Thus: "his song was five, and a thousand."


It's a good question which will lead you to some very interesting territory. This concept is not to be taken in a straightforward way. It is, after all, appearing in Midrash. Like most things in Midrash, it is alluding to a different concept. The allegory only gives a simple model to make it possible to comprehend a much more complex concept.

For an excellent discussion of this subject and what the concept is about these 3000 allegories, you should try learning this Chassidic Discourse of the Lubavitcher Rebbe entitled, "להבין ענין תחיית המתים". In particular chapter 6, which appears on page 225, is explaining the concept and pointing to additional explanatory sources. Happy learning!


Rav Hutner explains that the 3000 parables were not 3000 parables that related to distinct topics.

The purpose of a parable is to allow grasping of a concept that is too abstruse and so removed from the pupils capacity to comprehend. The familiar (mashal) then serves as a tool to access the foreign (nimshal).

The concepts Shlomo sought to explain were 3000 steps of comprehension removed from the ordinary so that each mashal was the nimshal for the next sequential mashal.

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