Are there places in halacha where content from a purely midrashic source (like midrash rabbah, pesikta, sifra, sifrei, etc.) find their way into halacha? Anything in the Talmud is excluded for the purposes of this question. I'm curious if something went from a midrash to codification in halacha (perhaps via a rishon), without appearing in the Talmud as well.

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    Just to be clear, you are curious about both midrash halakha and midrash aggada?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 17:32
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    Consider the whole issue of Serara for women.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 17:33
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    @DoubleAA Yes, both midrash halacha (sifra, sifrei, etc.) and midrash aggadah (midrash rabbah, mechilta) count. Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 18:38
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    I'm also confused by the inclusion of Sifra and Sifrei. Of course halachic works end up in halachic discussion. How many knots are on the tzitzis you're wearing. Unless you're Yemenite (although Baracharach is a city in Yekee-land) or a tekheiles wearer of a certain mindset, you are wearing tzitzis with 5 knots on each corner following the Sifra. (And against the simpler ways of reading the gemara.) Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 13:08
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    In sefer Sdei Chemed there is a lengthy discussion about this (its been years since I've seen it so can't tell you exactly where, but it goes in order of Aleph Beis so shouldn't be too hard to find. Perhaps try 'Midrash'). Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 6:01

2 Answers 2

  1. A Yissachar-Zevulon relationship is one in which the Yissachar learns Torah all day and the Zevulun works all day and they split their respective profits in this world and the next world. The halachos of this partnership are discussed in YD 246:1, Minchas Yitzchak 6:100 and 7:87, Igros Moshe YD 4:37, Avkas Rocheil 2, Yabia Omer 7 YD 17. The source for this relationship is recorded in several Midrashim - Bereishis Rabbah 72:5, 99:9, Vayikra Rabbah 25:2, Agadas Bereishis 82, Yalkut Mishlei 934 - but AFAICT it appears nowhere in Gemara. (The Midrash does darshen two Mishnayos, Zevachim 1:2 and Tohoros 8:7, as referring to this practice with how it records a Tanna's name, but those sugyos never discuss it explicitly.)

  2. Doing dangerous things during the Nine Days. I will refer readers to a question of mine on the topic for more detailed sources in Halacha. Eichah Rabbah 1:29 is ultimately the source for this prohibition; Pesachim 111b only made its way into that post in the context of discussing Ketev Meriri.

  3. While saying Baruch Shem during Shema is explained by Pesachim 56a (Yaakov said it in response to his children saying Shema Yisrael) and Devarim Rabbah 2:35 (Moshe taught it from the angels’ song), only in the latter is it explained why we say the verse aloud on Yom Kippur (since we are like angels on that day, we are able to say the praise of the angels).

  4. The Rema (YD 240:24) quotes a Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 94:5) as a source to honor one’s grandparents. I address this at length here.

  5. That a father makes a Baruch Shepetarani when his son reaches Bar Mitzvah (Rema, OC 225:2) is based on Bereishis Rabbah 63:10 and Yalkut Shimoni on the Torah 110:28. The Mishnah Berurah (ad. loc. §8) explains that it’s for this reason - that the Beracha is not found in the Gemara - that one does not make the Beracha with Hashem’s Name.


R. Jacob Ettlinger gives an example of this.

Shu"t Binyan Tzion siman 173:

הר"ת פסק שאין לאכול בין מנחה למעריב בשבת מטעם הנזכר במדרש

Rabbeinu Tam ruled that one cannot eat between Mincha and Ma'ariv on Shabbos for a reason mentioned in the Midrash.

  • Does he quote the Midrash?
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 19:07
  • @DonielF Who? R. Ettlinger, or Rabbeinu Tam?
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 17:00
  • Rabbeinu Tam [15]
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 17:40
  • @DonielF Yeah. Tosafos Pesachim 105a ד"ה והנ"מ.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 17:43
  • Not what I mean. I meant, does he quote where the Midrash is, not just the wording of the Midrash. Seeing it inside I guess the answer is no.
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 17:50

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