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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A person should never cast harsh statements toward God on High, when and who can say it?

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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77 views

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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3answers
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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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74 views

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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1answer
69 views

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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1answer
100 views

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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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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122 views

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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3answers
264 views

A theological problem with the Miriam “Magdalene” story in Chagiga 4b

There is an interesting story at the bottom of Chagiga 4b, top of 5a. The Angel of Death is telling a Rabbi of an incident that happened. The AoD has an assistant. The AoD tells him to reap Miriam ...
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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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78 views

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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266 views

Are there examples of backward time travel in the talmud and/or midrash?

The gemarah discusses a story where Moshe is taken to see the lecture hall of Rebbi Akiva and the midrash discusses God showing Adam ensuing generations and their scholars. I would like to know if ...
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Why did R' Yochanan ben Zakkai ask for multiple things?

In Gittin 56b there is a conversation between Vespasian and R' Yochanan ben Zakkai. Vespasian offers to grant a wish of R' Yochanan's אלא בעי מינאי מידי דאתן לך R' Yochanan proceeds to ask for 3 ...
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Is weeping at death a bad omen (סימן רע) or not?

The Talmud (Kesubos 103a; 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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Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...
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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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148 views

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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55 views

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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554 views

Source for story about Chazon Ish and mischief

I once heard a story along the lines of the following: A man brought his 7 or 8 year old son to meet the Chazon Ish. He wanted to show him what a masmid his son was. The Chazon Ish, after asking ...
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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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229 views

Source that Gr“a finished the ”whole" Torah?

I heard from a friend that he read that the Vilna Gaon did a Sium on the Torah. Not just the חמישה חומשי תורה, but that he basically claimed that he finished all there is to learn in Jewish studies. ...
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100 views

Help finding a chazal, could be עין יעקב

I was asked to find a maamar Chazal that contrasts the Gaava (haughtiness) a woman can have with that of a male talmid chochom. I am unclear which way they differentiate, i was told there's something ...
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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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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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1answer
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Seeking teachings or stories involving the rabbis mentioned in the hagadda, to add a little more spice to the seders

To help me prepare for conducting seders again this year, can anyone point me to a compilation of teachings or stories involving any or all of the rabbis in the hagadda? Autobiographical tidbits? ...
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3answers
304 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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26 views

Making a siyum on Avos D'reb Nosson [duplicate]

Does one make a siyum on finishing Avos D'reb Nosson?
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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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1answer
101 views

Story that Hashem kept the ability open to destroy the Bais Hamikdash to avoid destroying the Jews

I am looking for a source for this. Someone told me that there is a story that Hashem asked Dovid hamelech not to build (continue building) the Bais Hamikdash to be able to destroy it instead of ...
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1answer
142 views

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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1answer
244 views

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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59 views

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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310 views

Shabbos sent a letter to Ibn Ezra

I heard in a shiur that Shabbos sent a letter to Ibn Ezra. Can anyone find the text of the letter or if it exists, and/or summarize it and find out who the source for this legend is?
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What was the pillar of stone of Seth's children mentioned by Josephus?

According to Josephus (Book 1, Chapter 2, 68-71), the family of Seth, the third son of Adam, was noted for constructing a particularly long-lasting edifice or monument. ...Now this Seth...did ...
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1answer
44 views

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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112 views

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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1answer
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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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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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94 views

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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2answers
84 views

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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Is Julia Donaldson's “a squash and a squeeze” based on a Jewish source?

The children's book 'A Squash and a Squeeze' by Julia Donaldson is about a woman who feels that her house is not big enough. She meets a 'wise old man' (who looks uncannily like an old chassidish ...
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2answers
256 views

What were the peiros Genosar?

In Brachos 44a there is a brief discussion of an apparently extraordinary type of fruit they call the peiros Genosar. The sages seemed to love it even though there were consequences after eating too ...
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94 views

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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1answer
947 views

The Messiah's hair will be greenish?

I think I saw somewhere in the Gemara (almost certain it was in a commentary, not the text itself) that the Messiah's hair will be ירקרקת (green/greenish/blonde)? Unfortunately, I cannot seem to ...
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2answers
518 views

Source for story about the Chasam Sofer, Rav Nosson Adler and an Amalekite?

I heard a story that goes roughly like this: after the death of his Rebbi, the Chasam Sofer decided to make Rav Nosson Adler his new Rebbi. He therefore undertook a long voyage to meet Rav Adler. On ...
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4answers
322 views

Information about Arab Travelers in Aggadah

Pesachim 110b and Bava Metzia 86a mention ההוא טייעא‏ in the midst of aggadic stories. Professor Jastrow translates this word as a traveler, esp. an Arabian caravan merchant. Soncino Translates it ...
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86 views

Source for a story about mistakenly thinking Mashiach was here

What is the story in the Gemara or Ein Ya'akov about the guy who ran into the streets when he thought the Mashiach was here, but really it was a wedding ceremony? I can't find it anywhere. The Rosh ...
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2answers
248 views

Was Rabbi Akiva exempt from his conjugal duties?

The Gemara (in Kesubos 63a) says, “When Rabbi Akiva returned, he brought twelve thousand students with him. As he approached his home, he heard a certain old man saying to [his wife], ‘Until when will ...