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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Where is there a reference to Moshe in the Torah? Please explain Chullin 139b [duplicate]

We read in Chullin 139b: משה מן התורה מנין בשגם הוא בשר Where is there a reference to Moshe in the Torah? "Since he is but flesh" (Bereishit 6:3) The gemara finds a hint to Moshe in this passuk as ...
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Why didn't Titus consort with someone worse than a harlot?

In the Talmud (Gittin 56b) it states that upon entering the holy of holies Titus had relations with a harlot, to defile that place. Is there a reason he chose to consort with a harlot in that spot as ...
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Does Halakhah require one to believe in Gilu'i Eliyahu, Gilu'i Maggid, and the like?

I have heard many stories from many independent sources about Rabbis receiving teachings via individual revelation in the form of Gilu'i Eliyahu (i.e. "the appearance of Eliyahu") or Gil'ui Maggid (e....
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255 views

Looking for a source which was mentioned in a shiur

Kind of a longshot but has anyone heard of a Gemorah or any text which mentions the following: ... he wondered why there were old Jews in Bavel, the verse says in order you shall lengthen your days ...
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253 views

Why did Metatron receive 60 lashes?

In the story of the 4 who entered Pardes (Chagigah starting on 14b) it says that Elisha ben Abuyah saw Metatron the angel sitting and therefore became a heretic. In order to show Elisha that Metatron ...
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3answers
536 views

Why did the R' Akiva marry the wife of Tyrannus Rufus?

The gemara in Avodah zara 20a brings a Baraisa that says, ואף רבי עקיבא ראה אשת טורנוסרופוס הרשע רק שחק ובכה רק שהיתה באה מטיפה סרוחה שחק דעתידה דמגיירא ונסיב לה בכה דהאי שופרא בלי עפרא We know that ...
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Why did Chiya bar Ashi seperate from his wife?

In the gmara kidushin 81b according to the translation http://www.dafyomi.co.il/kidushin/points/kd-ps-081.htm the following story happened (h)Whenever R. Chiya bar Ashi would fall on his face in ...
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74 views

Whoever is greater than his friend has a greater inclination

Sukkah 52a has an interesting story with Abaye (translation from Sefaria.org) כי הא דאביי שמעיה לההוא גברא דקאמר לההיא אתתא נקדים וניזיל באורחא אמר איזיל אפרשינהו מאיסורא אזל בתרייהו תלתא פרסי ...
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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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When exactly did Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus die?

In Moed Qatan 27a, a difference of opinion is brought between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua as regards the point at which mourners need to overturn their beds. The case is brought of Rabban Gamliel ...
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229 views

What's the source for the aggadah about Adam sacrificing a unicorn?

In The Legends of the Jews, Ginzberg relates this story: The first time Adam witnessed the sinking of the sun be was also seized with anxious fears. It happened at the conclusion of the Sabbath, ...
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Where is Moshe in the Torah?

The Gemara in Chullin (137b) asks where several characters of the Megillah are found in the Torah: Esther (Devarim 31:18), Mordechai (Shemos 30:23), and Haman (Bereishis 3:11). Then it throws a ...
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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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286 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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117 views

Is there a source for Og throwing a mountain?

There is a well known aggadata from maseches Brachos 54b concerning Og desiring to throw a mountain on klal yisroel and how Hashem arranged his demise. However, I was reading to one of my children ...
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Why does Nero convert to Judaism in folio 56a in tractate Gittin in the Babylon Talmud?

In the Gittin tractate, folio 56a (focusing on the destruction of Jerusalem), it briefly mentions Nero: "He [the Emperor] sent against them Nero the Caesar. As he was coming he shot an arrow ...
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why are bad thoughts worse than actual sin?

The Talmud states "sinful thoughts are worse than the sin itself" (Yoma 29a) in what senses is this true? it seems for example that actual adultery is worse than thinking about it. for it irreparably ...
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Help finding a Noam Elimelech

I recently finished Meseches Makkos and went through the Agadetahs (Summed up very quickly) of when Raban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaria, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Akiva were together and Rabbi Akiva ...
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Elijah the prophet as one who appears in times of need

Various Christian commentators state that Jewish literature represents Elijah as one who appears from heaven to help in times of need. The only example given is contained in the Babylonian Talmud ...
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Is the Luz the Sacrum?

The Luz bone has been identified as the bone Techias Hameisim will be performed from, see for instance in Bereishis Rabba 28 3 the discussion between Rabi Yehoshua ben Chananya and Hadrian. It is ...
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Where is the story from (I believe in the Talmud ) about a Rebbe who was head of a beis din in regards to a widow and his sentencing to death?

This is a question is referenced the Gemara or Mishna I think. I believe in the mishna, or gemara there's a story about either Rebbe Yehuda or Rebbe Yosi(Or another head of the Beis Din). The story ...
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Is it permissible to listen to a Rabbi instead of a doctor?

Recently, an article published on a popular Jewish website, told the story of man who was told by a doctor that he needed to have surgery. He went to a Gadol Hador (great Rabbi) to ask him for advice ...
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Did Rabbeinu Yonah write Shaarei Teshuva in response to the burning of the Gemara?

It is widely believed that Rabbeinu Yonah played a part in having the Rambam's works burned around 1232, and that after the 1242 burning of twenty-four wagonloads of Gemaras he felt that it was a ...
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What is the source of this story about suffering and having a dream about it..?

I remember a story about a person that suffered very much and went to see a certain rebbe to help him. While waiting he feel asleep and had a dream where he saw his mitzvos and aveiros and the ...
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Did Elisha get his tefillin back?

The story of אלישע בעל כנפים (Elisha-the-man-of-the-wings) is told on Shabbos 130a: דא"ר ינאי תפילין צריכין גוף נקי כאלישע בעל כנפים [...] ואמאי קרו ליה אלישע בעל כנפים שפעם אחת גזרה מלכות הרשעה ...
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Significance of 13 Attributes of Mercy in Prayer

According to the Gemara Rosh Hashana (17b) the recitation of the 13 attributes of God leads to forgiveness: א"ר יוחנן אלמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו מלמד שנתעטף הקב"ה כשליח צבור והראה לו למשה סדר ...
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Are Synagogues “holy ground,” offering protection from evil creatures?

I'm not a Jew, but I'm writing a fantasy novel set in medieval Europe, and one of my characters is a Jew. I've got a group of people with diverse backgrounds who've come together to fight a great evil....
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Halachic issues with using a frozen river as a mikvah

One hears a lot of legends about women who went to extraordinary lengths to go to mikvah in difficult times. One popular story is about a woman who would make a hole in a frozen river and tovel in the ...
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Why does the Talmud record the Rabbis' thoughts and theories about the science of natural phenomenon?

There are various areas in the Gemara where there is discussion about natural events, often appearing like a tangential discussion. Some examples are in Bechoros 7-8 or Pesachim 94. I understand that ...
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How does the talmud know that the mashiach's name was known before creation?

The talmud on Nedarim 39b (English) lists seven things that were created before the world: torah, repentance, Gan Eden, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and "the name of the mashiach&...
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580 views

Is there a prohibition in the Torah against calling someone by their nickname?

I remember vaguely about a story of a certain sage in the Talmud that would never call anyone by a nickname. Is this just proper moral behavior or is there an actual halachah against giving people ...
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Why do we bring a sin offering on rosh chodesh, given the midrash about changing the size of the moon?

We bring a sin offering as a 'kapara' for hashem for decreasing the size of the moon. The story goes that the moon said we cant have two 'kings' the same size so I want to be bigger. Hashem says no ...
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Rabbi Akiva and Ketarim

In Menachos the Gemara relates the Moshe asked Hashem about the meaning of the "crowns" on many Hebrew letters as written in the Torah. Hashem then gives the following response: אמר לו, אדם אחד יש ...
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244 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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169 views

Midrashic(?) Proof from Design story about overturned inkwell

I believe I read years ago about an instance where a rabbi presented a heretic with a well written poem that he claimed had actually formed accidentally when he overturned his inkwell. I though I had ...
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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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Why are different Agadot in different masechtot

I once heard that the agadot of each masechta are in that particular masechta fora reason. does anyone know the source of such a claim
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Is the leviathan kosher?

The leviathan seems to be a unique sea creature, which I've always pictured as some sort of sea serpent. This is consistent with Yeshayahu 27:1's description of it as a snake (nachash). An answer to ...
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Source for an Aggadah about Moshe feeding a bird

I was reading a book called "Shylock" by Hermann Sinsheimer and he made reference to a story from "the Jewish Talmud." (can be seen here) I don't know to what he is referring. I ...
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Legend About Rashi

In the book "Rashi and Maimonides" (pg 302), I found the following (paraphrasing): Another story has it that Rashi sat fasting for 613 days to purify himself for the task of commenting on the Torah....
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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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Source for eulogy of lost bookcases

I recall learning a gemarah (Bavli) where a certain scholar passed away and when another scholar was asked to eulogize him he responded with something akin to, "What should I say? We lost our ...
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What was the ריב"א thinking?

In ריקאנטי number 166 (brought down here, #4), he brings a story about the ריב"א: ושמעתי כי ריב"א חלה חוליו שמת בו וחל יוה"כ באותם הימים וא"ל הרופאים אם לא תאכלו ודאי תמות ואם תאכל שמא לא תחיה ...
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Why did the rich Gentile buy a pearl?

In the story of Yosef Mokir Shabbat, Yosef is a Jew who honors Shabbat above all, and ends up becoming very rich because of it. There was a very rich Gentile who was told that all of his wealth would ...
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282 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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620 views

source for a story: man who went to milk a lion

When I was a kid I heard the following story at least a few times in grade school from the school headmaster (probably around Rosh Hashanah time). It's based on a Jewish legend or midrash, and I'd ...
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621 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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235 views

Source for story of rabbi's claiming land said “you're both mine”

I heard the following story recently (though I paraphrase, and may have some details wrong): When Rabbi M'nachem Perr lived in Queens, New York, he had an Italian, non-Jewish neighbor who, during ...
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273 views

Is there a Jewish tradition of God reviving Israel at Sinai?

I once heard that according to "Jewish tradition", though it could be mere hearsay, that there was a story or legend that when the Israelites saw God's presence upon Mt. Sinai (or heard His audible ...
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616 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 ...