Questions tagged [agada-stories-legends]

Questions about the understanding and interpreting of the story-like content found in the Talmud and Midrash

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What is the difference between the Benayahu and the Ben Yehoyada?

Among his many sefarim, the Ben Ish Chai wrote the Ben Yehoyada and the Benayahu, each an exposition on the Aggadita in the Gemara. First he wrote the Ben Yehoyada, then the Benayahu. Why are they two ...
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Why didn't the Sages also subdue the inclination for murder?

The Talmud, on Sanhedrin 64a recounts how the Sages subdued and imprisoned the evil inclination for idolatry and then subdued and injured the evil inclination for sexual immorality. Those are two of ...
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Where is Rabbi Akiva told to stick to Halacha and not try Aggadah?

I recall a Gemara where Rabbi Akiva makes an Aggadic (“midrashic”) comment on a story in the Torah, and he is told by a colleague that he has no business with aggadeta. The Gemara on Shabbat 96b is ...
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Is there a connection between "מקום מים רעים" and "מקום מים יפים"?

In Avot D'Rabbi Nathan 14:6 it says: "כשיצאו מלפניו הוא אמר אלך לדמסית למקום יפה ומים יפים ונאים והם אמרו נלך ליבנה למקום שתלמידי חכמים מרובים אוהבים את התורה הוא שהלך לדמסית למקום יפה ומים יפים ...
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What are some Gemarot that contain a lot of stories and aggadah?

Looking for a list of Gemara's that has lots of aggadic stories. The following can be excluded from the list- Avoda Zara and Perek Chelek in Sanhedrin.
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How does this verse show that Vespasian will be emperor?

In the famous story about the meeting between Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakai and Vespasian, RYb"Z brings an asmachta from a verse to show that Vespasian will become emperor. The verse is: "And ...
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What tractates have the most aggada?

Recently, Daf Yomi completed Mesechet Taanis, which has a bunch of awesome Aggada. It got me thinking, which tractate has the most aggada? I know there may not be a perfect quantifiable number, but I ...
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Remote Viewing and Judaism

I’m fascinated to know if there are any kabbalistic ideas and/or aggadic references in chazalic literature that refer to or discusses the idea of “remote viewing” ( the practice of seeking impressions ...
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Where do I find compassionate references to the Angel of Death

The references that I find to the malach hamoves, Angel of Death, in our folklore and tale are largely filled with images of fear and trepidation . Where do I find stories depicting compassion?
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The origins of Rabbi Akiva

In this lecture, historian Gershon Bar-Kochva recounts the story of how Rabbi Akiva's parents met. In short, his mother, Sarah, was an orphan living in Lod. Her neighbor was a non-Jew who was ...
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What is the occupation of the soul, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the months prior to birth?

After reading an interesting scientific article concerning how mammals apparently dream prior to birth, it reminded me of Rabbi Simlai in Niddah 30b discussing how each Jewish soul learns the entire ...
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Stories of Eliyahu HaNavi in Gemara

Throughout the Gemara there are many stories in which Eliyahu HaNavi appears in one form or another and is in conversation with Chazal. Have any commentators or scholars provided a systematic approach ...
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Why was Nevuchadnezer able to command horses not to whinny, and birds not to fly?

In the second chapter of Daniel in verse 38, At the beginning of his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream Daniel explains "Hashem, gave you rule over People, wild breasts and birds of heaven, ...
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How do Rishonim ignore R Yehuda's opinion on not making aliyah in Ketubot 111a?

As an amateur in the workings of Gemara, and as a Jew who has just made Aliyah, this is a problem that is really biting at me. R Yehuda's statement is obviously Aggadeta, and is seemingly refuted by R ...
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Sources in the Talmud Aggaditah and/or Midrashim on Samal and Lilit?

I know that there are sources in the Gemara Aggaditah on Samal and Lilit (לילית & ס"מ) as well as in the Zohar. I have seen her mentioned in Shabbat, Eruvin, and Niddah. Still, not a clear ...
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Amount of Aggadeta in Talmud Bavli

Was wondering whether anyone has seen a write-up of/knows off-hand the amount of daf of aggadeta in the Talmud Bavli (for argument's sake, let's take the Daf Yomi count of 2711.) Thanks!
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What does sacrificing a soul mean?

The Talmud Bavli in Chagiga 12b mentions that there is a place where the angel Michael offers korbanos to Hashem. The Chiddushei Aggados commentary (can be seen on the above link on Sefaria) states a ...
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Why did the guy on Shabbat 127b change the order of events?

The following story appears in the Babylonian Talmud on Shabbat 127b: Our Rabbis taught: He who judges his neighbour in the scale of merit is himself judged favourably. Thus a story is told of a ...
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Why was Levi's davening wrong?

In Taanis 25a there is a story with Levi where rain didn't come so he fasted. He then 'shot' words towards heaven, and Rabbi Elazar then says A person should never shoot words onto the God up high, ...
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How could Abba Ḥilkiyya do that?

In the Gemara in Berochos daf 61 it says that one may not walk behind ones wife. So how is it that Abba Ḥilkiyya in Tananis daf 23 went after his wife into the house, even if he didn't want to check ...
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Yaakov Avinu didn't die and connection to not eating?

In Taanis 5b there is a story with two amoraim רב נחמן ור' יצחק הוו יתבי בסעודתא א"ל רב נחמן לר' יצחק לימא מר מילתא א"ל הכי א"ר יוחנן אין מסיחין בסעודה שמא יקדים קנה לושט ויבא לידי ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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Divorce and Mizbeach

The gemara in Gittin 90b has a memoir that says if a man divorces one's wife the mizbeach, the altar, cries over this. Why and how is the mizbeach connected to marriage and the separation of man and ...
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In story of Rebbe Akiva's students, found in yevamos 62b, how is it possible that they didn't show honour to one another [duplicate]

Rabbi Akiva, the tanna who has the famous quote " this is the greatest rule, love your fellow like you love yourself". If that is what he stands for how could it be that his students disregarded that ...
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Were there really 5x as many makkos at yam suf?

Towards the end of the haggadah, there is a paragraph discussing how many makkos there were at yam suf: רבי יוסי הגלילי אומר- מנין אתה אומר שלקו המצרים במצרים עשר מכות ועל הים לקו חמישים מכות? ...
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Story about a shepherd who prays to God but not using traditional prayers?

I'm looking for the story about a shepherd who prayed to G-d using only his own prayers. When a rabbi heard him praying one day he decided to teach him to pray using only traditional Jewish prayers. ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Berachot 3a - Verb choices regarding Temple destruction

Pesikta Rabasi (28 mid.) suggests that there are two aspects of the Temple. An upper [spiritual] one and a lower [physical] one. אחריבנו אמר רבי תחליפא בר קרויה באותה שעה נכנסו כל מלאכי השרת ועמדו ...
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6 votes
0 answers
110 views

Where does Rabbeinu Tam discuss the "aspaklaria ha-meira"?

In Bernard-Henri Levy's book, "The Genius of Judaism", on p222-3, the author describes what appears to be the discussion in the gemara in Yevamot 49b about Moshe's level of prophecy. He says that ...
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1 answer
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Source for electricity in the times of the Talmud?

Many years ago I was told a story about an Amorah (Talmudic sage) who had an electric lamp, and when discovered said something along the lines of, the world isn't ready for this yet. I'm looking for ...
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Is one allowed to publicize stories about Rabbis without asking them first?

THe approach of learning Halochos or Middos or behaviors from observing Tzaddikim's behavior alone is very common in our literature and is even rooted in Gemmorah (Brochos 62): תניא אמר רבי עקיבא פעם ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is weeping at death a bad omen (סימן רע) or not?

The Talmud (Kesubos 103b; see Avos Rebbi Nason 25:2) says: מת מתוך השחוק סימן יפה לו מתוך הבכי סימן רע לו If one dies from laughter it is a good omen for him, but it is a bad omen to die from weeping....
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3 votes
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Why do many masechtot conclude with a portion of Aggadata?

From what I've seen, many Masechtot in Shas seem to conclude with an aggadata portion that can be found towards the end of that particular Masechta. Is there a documented or stated reason as to why ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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Sefer explaining why Aggada stories in the Talmud are located where they are

I saw a great reason given by R' Tzaddok HaKohen about why the story about the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and its aftermath is specifically in Maseches Gittin 55b-58a: (adapted from a Jewish ...
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Why did Moses have a ten-cubit-long axe?

The Talmud in Berachot 54b relates the following tale: אבן שבקש עוג מלך הבשן לזרוק על ישראל גמרא גמירי לה אמר מחנה ישראל כמה הוי תלתא פרסי איזיל ואיעקר טורא בר תלתא פרסי ואישדי עלייהו ואיקטלינהו אזל ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Deceased individuals appearing after death

Inspired by this answer: Are there any documented stories of deceased people appearing after death to live people? [I am not looking for stories where someone dead appeared in a dream] The Gemara in ...
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4 votes
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What message is the "witness" on Rosh Hashanah 22b trying to convey?

The gemara in Rosh Hashanah 22b quotes a beraisa which tells the story of the בייתוסים trying to trick the chachamim into establishing the new month on the wrong date: בראשונה היו מקבלין עדות החדש ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Where can I find R. Hirsch's Hebrew essay on Agaddos?

There is a essay on Aggados written by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, sometimes it appears in loose translation in English here and there. But I feel that doesn't convey its meaning properly (I suppose). ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Making a siyum on Avos D'reb Nosson [duplicate]

Does one make a siyum on finishing Avos D'reb Nosson?
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4 votes
4 answers
488 views

Animal R'aim of the midrash

I saw in the book, "The midrash says" by Rabbi Moshe Weissman that the Midrash Socher Tov 22 explains that a creature called R'aim that David mistook as a hill, lifted David up into the sky and only ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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How to understand Chullin 127a: "All found on land is found also in the sea?" [duplicate]

(saw a similar question suggested) How are we to understand the gemara from Chullin 127a which states: "כל שיש ביבשה יש בים" all that exists on land there is an equivalent animal in the sea ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Story of Megaddalela, rabbi tells man to marry woman of ill-repute

I once read a story in the Talmud about a woman of ill-repute named Megaddalela, whom a rabbi told a man to marry. I used it for a research project and can no longer find the original source. And I do ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
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Did Moses (pbuh) raise the dead [closed]

This story is in the Quran, is it also in Jewish scripture? And when Moses said unto his people: Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye sacrifice a cow, they said: Dost thou make game of us? He answered: ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Did the Maharatz Chiyus write any chiddushim on Agadeta?

I'm looking for any chiddushim the Maharatz Chiyus wrote on the Agadeta. He wrote a "Mavo HaAgados" in which he lays down principles for learning Agadeta and I'd like to see how he puts them into ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Rabbi Dovid Oppenheim's introduction to the Ein Yaakov- Where is it?

In the commentary Eitz Yosef to Gemara Berachos daf 3a, on the words "ve'ha kamashma lan..." he references an introduction to the Ein Yaakov by Rabbi Dovid Oppenheim. I looked around and could not ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Did the descendants of Esav literally taste soil?

The pasuk in Bereshit says (36:20) אֵ֤לֶּה בְנֵֽי־שֵׂעִיר֙ הַחֹרִ֔י יֹשְׁבֵ֖י הָאָ֑רֶץ לוֹטָ֥ן וְשׁוֹבָ֖ל וְצִבְע֥וֹן וַעֲנָֽה׃ Chazal explain that they are called the dwellers of the earth because ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Do we know of any animals that behave this way? (Bava Basra 16a)

The Gemara in Bava Basra 16a explains certain pesukim in Sefer Iyov to be referring to a conversation between Hashem and Iyov in which Hashem rebukes Iyov for denying or complaining about Hashem's ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Know who the Tanna/Amora is before trying to understand what he said?

The Maharats Chiyus (or Chayos) writes in his Mavo HaAgados that not all of Chazal were born equal, so to speak. More specifically, that among Chazal, there are different levels of intelligence, ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Were Midrashim and Aggadeta transmitted to Moshe on Sinai like the Halachic Torah She'be'al Peh?

The halachic part of the Torah She'be'al Peh was transmitted to Moshe on Sinai along with the written Torah (or in the Ohel Moed afterward). Sifra: How is Shemitta relevant to Mount Sinai? Were ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Why is the first mishna of Brachos included in the Ein Yaakov?

Rav Yaakov ibn Habib collected aggadeta from the shas bavli and yerushalmi. He called this collection Ein Yaakov. He also wrote a commentary on a bunch of it which is called HaKoseiv. The very first ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Examples of the sages in the Talmud going above and beyond in kindness

What are some examples in the Talmud where it tells a story of one of the sages from the time of the Mishna or Gemara showing exceptional kindness that could be a good example to other people? For ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Reb Yitzhak's diamond, Rashi's birth - the source? [closed]

There's a famous story, mentioned here and in many other places – the legend of Reb Yitzhak's diamond. What's the source of this story? Tizku lmitvois!
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