Various articles cite to this section from עין יעקב

בן זומא אומר: מצינו פסוק כולל יותר והוא 'שמע ישראל'. בן ננס אומר מצינו פסוק כולל יותר והוא 'ואהבת לרעך כמוך'. שמעון בן פזי אומר: מצינו פסוק כולל יותר והוא 'את הכבש האחד תעשה בבקר ואת הכבש השני תעשה בין הערביים'. עמד רבי פלוני ואמר: הלכה כבן פזי, דכתיב: 'ככל אשר אני מראה אותך את תבנית המשכן"

However, one of the article authors mentions that he did not actually find this Midrash in the Gemara: "לא מצאתיהו בכל שיתא סדרי (היינו בכל התלמוד) וזה נסח https://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/pinchas/araq.html

Does this midrash have much authority if it seems to have no Talmudic basis?

  • 1
    Lots of Midrashim aren't in the Talmud. I'd even expect most aren't. – Double AA Mar 7 '18 at 3:38
  • So would this fall under the category of בראייתא? What would other sources of non-Talmudic midrash be? – Haim Mar 7 '18 at 3:49
  • 1
    עין יעקב contains stuffs Yerushalmi and other versions of bavli – kouty Mar 7 '18 at 6:43

It is from R' Yaakov ibn Chaviv's introduction to the Ein Yaakov. He is quoting a Midrash that he had access to or had learned, but we do not have that Midrash. Our only source for it is the Ein Yaakov.

this is not uncommon. There were many Midrashim (and other works for that matter) that have been lost, and the only remnants of them are where they are quoted by other works.


While Menachem is correct that many midrashim are known only from citations, and that this doesn't necessarily mean they are not authoritative, this particular midrash was questioned in Yefe Mar'e to Yerushalmi Nazir 9:3:

ולא אאמין שהנוסחה הזו מחז"ל שאין לה הבנה לפי הפשט ופי' הנזכר הלציי אלא א' מן התלמידים המציאו להתגדר בפי' הלציי הזה

I don't believe this version (i.e. as quoted by Ein Ya'akov) is from the sages, because it can't be understood simply, and the above explanation is rhetorical; rather, one of the students invented it in order to make room for this rhetorical explanation.

His difficulties with this midrash are presumably the fact that it some of the verses are hard to understand as being most important, and the fact that it quotes "Rabbi Ploni" as deciding the halacha, and that deciding the halacha on an aggada is out of place.

I found this reference in this book.

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