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Questions tagged [midrash]

Exegetical interpretation, often of verses in Tanach. The term also refers to books based on these interpretations, e.g., Midrash Rabba, Midrash Tanchuma, et al.

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Is belief in Midrashim optional?

The Ramban in Sefer Havikuach (page 32, the bottom of the first column ) asserts with regard to Midrash: מי שיאמין בו טוב. ומי שלא יאמין בו לא יזיק ‏ Whoever believes in it, good, he who does not ...
Abish's user avatar
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28 votes
9 answers
3k views

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
RCW's user avatar
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16 votes
5 answers
887 views

Rabbi Akiva's students died because lack of respect, but he said Veahavta Lireacha Kamocha is Klal Gadol?

שנים עשר אלף זוגים תלמידים היו לו לרבי עקיבא ... וכולן מתו ... מפני שלא נהגו כבוד זה לזה Rabbi Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of students ... and they all died... because they did not treat each ...
Moses Supposes's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
345 views

Non-literal Midrashim [duplicate]

Sometimes I'll hear a Midrash and sometimes people might say, "Well, I don't know if it's meant to be taken literally." When do we know when Midrashim are speaking metaphorically or when they are ...
Hacham Gabriel's user avatar
23 votes
9 answers
1k views

Halachot learned from gematria

The Gemara in Nazir 5a learns that an unspecified nezirut is 30 days long from the pasuk "kadosh yihyeh"(Bamidbar 6,5) with יהיה- yihyeh having a gematria (Numerical value) of 30. Can anyone think of ...
Double AA's user avatar
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23 votes
7 answers
3k views

Anyone who says these people sinned is mistaken. For real?

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli Shabbos 55b-56b) relates that several Biblical figures who, from the text itself, seemed to have sinned, in reality did not. These statements take the form of "כל האומר פלוני ...
jake's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
665 views

How do Rishonim argue on Drashos Chazal?

There is a known rule that Rishonim cannot argue on the Gemara when it comes to "Halachic" drashos. For example, a Rishon will never give a different answer to a question which the Gemara already ...
Am Haaretz Gamur Mideoraysa's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

How were Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai "Sons of Giants"?

In Bamidbar 13:22, the Torah tells us that the spies saw Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the sons of Giants. Rashi tells us they were the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, angels who fell from heaven ...
Menachem's user avatar
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18 votes
7 answers
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How did the moon shrink?

The Bavli, Chulin 60:2, says (in my own loose translation): Rabbi Shim'on ben Pazi noted a contradiction: [B'reshis 1:16] says, "God made the two big luminaries" and "the big luminary… ...
msh210's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
306 views

Why identify personalities in midrash?

As noted previously on this site (quoting Mail-Jewish), there's a general tendency in midrashim to claim two persons in Tanach are the same. This is familiar to anyone who has studied Rashi's ...
msh210's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
441 views

Order of events in parashas Bereishis

BH I am having a lot of trouble understanding the order of the following events: The creation of Man The births of Cain and Hevel The death of Hevel The snake Eating from the ...
SAH's user avatar
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0 votes
4 answers
197 views

Reshit is Torah or khalla ? Contradiction

In the beginning of midrash rabbah we read from rav Oshaya : וְאֵין רֵאשִׁית אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה There is no "Reshit" except Torah and there, just after : וְאֵין רֵאשִׁית אֶלָא חַלָּה There is no "...
BarBerit's user avatar
6 votes
8 answers
809 views

Why did Avraham wait to have a bris?

Chazal tells us (Midrash Rabbah Bereishis 64:4 and 95:3; Yoma 28b, based on. Gen. 26:5; Kiddushin 82a) that the Patriarchs observed the mitzvahs before they were given. But Avraham did not circumcize ...
Bruce James's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why is milk with meat not kosher?

I've recently read (again) the verse "לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו", meaning, "Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk". How did anyone get from that, to "Don't eat meat with milk at all"?
Madara's Ghost's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers
784 views

Why pray for Y'hoshua and not Kalev?

Rashi to Sh'lach 13:16 notes that Moshe prayed that God save Y'hoshua from the other spies' plot. This is a paraphrase of a g'mara (Sotah 34b) which implies strongly that Moshe did not similarly pray ...
msh210's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why do we say that Hashem chose us if He offered to the Torah to all the other nations first?

According to Midrash Sifri (Deuteronomy 343), Hashem first went around to all the nations and offered them the Torah before offering it to Bnei Yisroel. So why do we say in Kiddush and Birchas ...
SimchasTorah's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
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Moshe and the Red-Hot Coals

A midrash that myself and I'm sure many others have heard in grade school is that when Moshe was a baby, still crawling, his "grandfather" Pharaoh, incited by an incident in which Moshe took off ...
jake's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
255 views

Years and years and years of Yishmael

Genesis 25:17 says: וְאֵלֶּה שְׁנֵי חַיֵּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל מְאַת שָׁנָה וּשְׁלשִׁים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וַיִּגְוַע וַיָּמָת וַיֵּאָסֶף אֶל עַמָּיו׃ And these are the years of the life of ...
Danield's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
577 views

Canaanite wives of the Bnei Ya'akov (Sefer HaYashar)

Avraham was extremely careful that Yitzchak not marry a Canaanite and as we know, he married Rivkah bas Besuel ben Nachor. Yitzchak was very careful that Ya'akov not marry a Canaanite and as we know ...
Joshua Pearl's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is the midrash about the moon and sun being the same size intended literally?

The Rambam in his introduction to perek Chelek discusses midrashic literalist, and classifies different approaches of different groups to midrash. He writes: You should know that as to [...
josh waxman's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
287 views

What does 'the New Torah' in these medrashim mean?

The Yalkut Shimoni on Yishaya, remez 429, mentions how Hashem will sit and be doresh a new Torah that he will give by the hand of Moshiach. This medrash is apparently taken from the Osios diRabi ...
user6591's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
176 views

What was the law before a drashah was made?

What was the law before a drasha (a law derived from the 13 middos) was made? Were all the laws given at Sinai, and only their sources derived from the Torah by Chazal, or did Chazal learn new laws ...
Ish Ploni ViKohen's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
898 views

Why is braiding hair "building"?

The gemarah in niddah (45) says that when the torah says that God "built" Eve out of the bone of Adam what actually happened is that God braided Eve's hair and presented her to Adam as a wife. This is ...
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5 votes
2 answers
435 views

Were Esav, Yishmael, and Nimrod Evildoers?

This question asserts that Ishmael was an evildoer (rasha). However, based on a simple (p'shat) reading of the relevant texts (in Genesis), neither he nor Esau nor Nimrod appear to do anything "evil."...
Shmuel's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
212 views

The Fourth Exile, Persia or Rome?

When Avraham experiences a vision of 'fear, darkness, great, descending upon him', (Gen 15:12), the Midrash says that these four words refer to the 4 exiles. Fear is Babylon, darkness is Medea, great ...
user4634's user avatar
  • 171
3 votes
1 answer
166 views

Traditional Approaches to B'midbar Rabba

What do traditional Jewish sources say about B'midbar Rabba regarding its date of redaction and authority vis-à-vis works of Chazal (such as other Midrashim).
mevaqesh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
260 views

Michoel/Gavriel Wrestling Yaakov

Although Rashi follows Chazal in identifying the angel which wrestled with Yaakov as the Sar (archangel) Shel Esav, the Yalkut Shimoni (132), Zohar Bo (51b), and the Pirkei D'Rav Elazar all identify ...
NJM's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
1k views

Paul being sent as a double agent by the Sanhedrin

I think there's a pretty popular conspiracy theory supposedly based on a censored Midrash that Paul was sent by the Sanhedrin to revolutionize Christianity in order to fully differentiate it from ...
robev's user avatar
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13 votes
6 answers
4k views

What is meant by the 974 "worlds" that were "created and destroyed"?

Midrash Tehillim 90:13 says that God created and destroyed 974 worlds before this one. What exactly does that mean? I've heard it used in defense of a modern understanding of evolution and cosmology ...
A L's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why 1,000 generations of ungiven Torah, not X years?

The Mainz Anonymous reads, in part (in my own translation): He created the Torah 974 generations before the world was created, then twenty-six generations [passed] from the creation of the world ...
msh210's user avatar
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12 votes
8 answers
899 views

References for learning Aggada

I often run into aggadic passages in the Talmud, and would like to get a list of references beyond the standard 4 (Ein Yaakov, Maharsha, Benayahu/Ben Yehoyada and the Chiddushei Aggados of the Maharal)...
gt6989b's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
343 views

How did Avrohom learn that nine doesn't work?

The Midrash says (Bereshis Rabbah 49:13 quoted in Rashi Genesis 18:32) that Abraham stopped asking HaShem to save Sodom in the merit of less than 10 people because Noah and his family who were 8 ...
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

What were the 300 plagues of the Exodus?

The הגדה says: במצרים לקו חמשים מכות, ועל הים לקו חמשים ומאתים מכות In Egypt, they were struck with 50 plagues, and by the Sea [of Reeds], they were struck with 250 plagues What were ...
SLaks's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
230 views

Do we care or do we not care about beauty?

Rashi Breishis 23:1 says that when Sarah was 20 she was beautiful as when she was 7. Mishlei 31:30 says שקר החן והבל היפי אשה יראת ה' היא תתהלל. Why is Rashi saying that Sarah was beautiful if it is ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

How did Rivka get married when she was three years old?

What does the Medrash mean when it tells us that Rivka was three years old when she married Yitzchok? Is that meant in a literal sense? If so, how is this to be explained in a rational way?
Mark A.'s user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
394 views

Source text behind Rabbinic view on Dinah, Simeon, and Shaul noted in Jewish Encyclopedia

Regarding Dinah, the Jewish Encyclopedia states (bolding added by me): —In Rabbinical Literature: Dinah is blamed for the affair with Shechem because she "went out" (Gen. xxxiv. 1), and her ...
ScottS's user avatar
  • 183
7 votes
1 answer
257 views

How many approaches to Torah are there?

Our sages tell us that there are שבעים פנים לתורה (Bamidbar Rabbah). Does this mean that every word, or verse, or some unit, has 70 interpretations, and there are theoretically billions of ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
276 views

Who did the Avos give maaser to?

Rashi in parshas Toldos (25:27) tells us about Esav: יודע ציד: לצוד ולרמות את אביו בפיו, ושואלו אבא היאך מעשרין את המלח ואת התבן, כסבור אביו שהוא מדקדק במצות׃ who understood hunting: [He knew how] to ...
Shmuel Wise's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
695 views

Is Aggadah the same thing as Midrash?

(Inspired by a comment on this question.) What characteristics define Aggadah and Midrash, and how are they related? If the distinction is merely that Aggadah is a more general category of "legend" ...
Adam Mosheh's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
307 views

Criteria for the list of Nashim Kesheiros (Medrash Breishis Rabsi)

The Medrash Breishis Rabsi Parshas Chaya Sara 23:1 lists 22* Nashim Kesheiros. כ"ב נשים כשרות היו בעולם ואלו הן שרה, רבקה, רחל, לאה, סרח בת אשר, יוכבד, מרים, בתיה בת פרעה, דבורה, צללפונית אשת מנוח, ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
894 views

Pharaoh ruled Nineveh for 500 years?

A footnote in this edition of the Midrash Vayosha refers to "Pharaoh's assignment to rule Nineveh for 500 years". I'm aware of midrashim around Pharaoh being the King of Nineveh. But where does this ...
Zarka's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
194 views

Translation/Commentary on Targum

I'm looking for a translation or commentary on Targum Onkelos, especially for the non-literal parts (such as on Birkas Yaakov and Shiras Hayam). It can be in either Hebrew or English.
Ypnypn's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
276 views

Looking for a drasha on Yerach ben Yomo/Karnei Para [duplicate]

Anyone have any links to any drashos explaining the significance of the Yerach ben Yomo/Karnei Para trop, and why it appears (uniquely in chumash) in the portion about the Levite cities (Numbers 35:5)?...
Shaul Behr's user avatar
  • 4,368
6 votes
1 answer
288 views

Paskening Shlomo out of Shamayim?

R' Yehudah tells us in the name of Shmuel (Sanhedrin 104b) that the Anshei Kenesses HaGedolah wanted to include Shlomo HaMelech on the list of kings who lost their portion of Olam Haba. An image of ...
DonielF's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
320 views

Seemingly weak proof-texts from Tanach

What is the best way to understand how texts from Tanach are brought in the tradition (such as in the Talmud) to add proof or solidity to a point... according to a really unintuitive reading of the ...
Annelise's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
3k views

How are we supposed to interpret "Derech eretz kadma l'Torah"?

I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how we should interpret the pseudo-midrash "דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה", ~~ "Derech eretz should come before Torah." The actual text of the ...
SAH's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
470 views

Did HaShem "regret" creating someone/something

I heard once that it says somewhere in Chazal that there were certain things or people that HaShem "regretted" (had "charatah") in creating. Although I don't remember which examples were given or if a ...
Yehoshua's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
328 views

From where do we learn that women did not accept the report of the meragelim?

Rabbi Eliyahu Mansour in his derashah on Parashot Wayaq'hel/Pequdei (@ 19:15-19:56) mentioned that, during Het HaMeragelim, the righteous women of 'Am Yisra'el did not accept the meragelim's bad ...
Lee's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
630 views

Was Eliezer a tzaddik or a rasha?

Derech Eretz Zuta (1:5) says that Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, was one of the people to have entered Gan Eden alive, while in Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer (16:14) we are told Eliezer is the same person ...
Avi's user avatar
  • 567
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

What age were Leah and Rachel when they got married

Do we know what age Leah and Rachel were when yakove married them? If yes what is it? Source please. Are there any midrashim on the subject?
hazoriz's user avatar
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