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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Medrash Tanchumah 0n Teshuvah

I read a book which quoted the Medrash Tanchumah (Parshas Vayeira 18) as stating the following: "Teshuvah so powerful that it eradicates one’s sins so that no blemishes remain on his soul." I looked ...
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Why the reverse order of “Zachor Veshamor” in “Lecha Dodi”?

The first "stanza" in the Lecha Dodi hymn sung Friday night starts שמור וזכור בדיבור אחד I gather that this expression is a "condensed version" from Mechilta on Yitro (parsha 7) זכור ושמור ...
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How tall was Chava?

Rashi here brings a Midrash that Adam Harishon's height was from earth until the Heavens. Based on the Midrash, was Chava that tall as well? Otherwise it would have been quite difficult to be married ...
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A man is half a person (source)

I often hear Jews, including Jewish "Rabbis", say that a man is half a person. (And his wife is his other half) What are the sources for this? I know only of sources that a man is not a man ...
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Ten commandments for judges

The Ba'al HaTurim to Devarim 1:13 notes that the word ואשמם, "And I will place [the judges as your head]," is written without the י after the ש. (This is up to debate amongst the commentaries, and not ...
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what does the “uncovering of Boaz’ legs” have to do with Keri?

I was shown Shulchan Aruch Harav 619 : וְעַל כָּל פָּנִים יִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא לְכַסּוֹת רַגְלָיו, זֵכֶר לַדָּבָר "וַתְּגַל מַרְגְּלֹתָיו" שֶׁל בֹּעַז, שֶׁלֹּא יָבוֹא לִידֵי חִמּוּם: One should at ...
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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 ...
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What “really” occurred with Moshe having to ask G-d a “halachic” question? [duplicate]

I begin with Rashi's explanation on Vayikra 25:1 that says that all the mitzvoth including their details were mentioned to Moshe at Mt. Sinai. Assuming this explanation, why did Moshe not know the ...
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Origin of אין משיבין על ההגדה

What is the original source for the phrase: "אין משיבין על ההגדה" (or: "אין משיבין באגדה", "אין משיבין על דברי אגדה" etc. - which I believe is generally used to mean that it is inappropriate to derive ...
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Four kings with special abilities

I heard from one rabbi about 4 king, each of them has a special ability: one ran fast, one saw far away, one has a good memory. And Hashem punished them accordingly: the first was ill with a gout, the ...
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Superspeed of Naphtali

Why did Yaakov bless Naphtali with speed? And why him? Moreover, in two cases that I know of - with Eisav (how the funeral of Jacob described in midrash, that Naphtali was sent to bring sales document)...
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Which foreign names did Jews associate with Hebrew names, and why?

A famous Medrash appears in slightly different versions in Lev Rabbah 32:05 and Songs Rabbah 4:12. The Medrah praises the Jews of the Egyptian slavery for certain attributes, such as their retention ...
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Proofs that Hashem doesn't eat

The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 21:16-19) brings several proofs that Hashem doesn't need to eat, and therefore the passuk that states that the Karban Tamid is "my karban, my bread" (Bamidbar 28:2) is not ...
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Why did Caleiv mention the quail?

After the meraglim gave their negative report on the Land of Israel, the Torah says (translations from Sefaria) Numbers 13:30 וַיַּ֧הַס כָּלֵ֛ב אֶת־הָעָ֖ם אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה Caleiv hushed the ...
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Where is the source of this Midrash/Agadita in the Ein Yaakov

I saw in the הקדמת הכותב of the Ein Yaakov the following midrash/agadita cited: בן זומה אומר מצינו פסוק כולל יותר והוא שמע ישראל וגו׳ בן ננס אומר מצינו פסוק כולל יותר והוא ואהבת לרעך כמוך ...
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Looking for midrash on the reason why Avraham bought Machpelah

In Bereishit 23, Avraham buys Maarat HaMachpelah for four hundred shekels even though Ephron generously offers to give him the cave for free. I recall there being a midrash that explains the reason ...
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Is there a Jewish midrash that parallels Christian tradition regarding Shavuot

I've read from a number of Christian sources that there is a Midrash pertaining to Shavuot that parallels the Christian tradition. However, I have not been able to find Jewish sources which support ...
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How could the angel of the sea disobey?

The Midrash in Bamidbar Rabbah 18:22 expounds Iyov 26:12 that when HaShem created the world, he told Rahav, the angel in charge of the ocean, to "open his mouth and swallow all the waters of Creation" ...
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Why did HaShem punish the Benei Yisrael through quail in particular?

According to the Midrash, the Benei Yisrael in Bamidbar 11 wished to have illicit relations with close relatives. In response, HaShem punished them with death via eating quail. Why was this an ...
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Does the Midrash imply that one should give up his life for “smaller” mitzvos?

The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 14:6) expounds the Pesukim in Koheles (8:2-3): Based on several incidents, the Midrash interprets "ani" as indicating that one's awe should be over you. Thus, "Ani, the ...
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Why are these the examples of HaShem abrogating nature?

The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 14:1) presents several expositions of the following verses (Tehillim 60:9-10): To Me is Gilead and to Me is Menasheh. Ephraim is the stronghold of My head, and Yehudah ...
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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 ...
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Seventy approaches to Torah

It is often said that there are seventy approaches to Torah. What is the earliest known source that says this? (This related question merely quotes "Bamidbar Rabbah," and I assume he refers to 13:15 ...
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Why is it in the merit of flags that Klall Yisoel becomes worthy to be redeemed?

I saw in the Midrash Tanchuma on Parshas Bamidbar the following: (Source provided by Sefaria.org) אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, נִתְאַוֵּיתֶם לִדְגָלִים, וּמִלֵּאתִי ...
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What does עמלות בתורה actually mean?

Poroshas beĥukosai begins with the words אם בחוקותי תלכו which rashi, somewhat famously explains, based on toras kohanim that this means 'if we will be עמלים בתורה'. This is a commonly quoted rashi ...
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Expressing benefit in the Pentateuch

Regarding the prohibition of deriving benefit from a murderous animal (shor haniskal), the gemara (e.g. Bava Kamma 41a) suggests (in an initial interpretation) that, from the fact that the Torah uses ...
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If Adam had eaten sooner, would he have survived?

According to Avos d'Rebbe Nassan 1:8 and Sanhedrin 38b, Adam was brought into Gan Eden in the ninth hour, was commanded not to eat in the tenth hour, ate in the eleventh hour, and was kicked out in ...
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“They could have walked out of Egypt” Source?

I have heard on multiple occasions of a Chazal that states something along the lines of: "Had Binei Yisroel merited/been righteous enough, they could have walked out of Egypt." There are a number of ...
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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?
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Did Adam have intercourse with animals?

Yebamoth 63a states that Adam had intercourse with animals: א"ר אלעזר מאי דכתיב (בראשית ב, כג) זאת הפעם עצם מעצמי ובשר מבשרי מלמד שבא אדם על כל בהמה וחיה ולא נתקררה דעתו עד שבא על חוה And Rabbi ...
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If only 1/5th of the Jews left Mitzrayim, how could they be happy?

Unless the 4/5th who died were completely separate set of families from those who left, each family that left would probably have lost a significant number of close family members. Would it not then ...
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אצבע אלוקים היא - *how* many? [duplicate]

We all know the part of the seder in which we talk about how many makot were part of an אצבע (10) and how many were part of a יד (50). But wait a minute. The phrase אצבע אלוקים היא was not told at ...
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Is adultery permitted if the husband allows it?

Bamidbar Rabbah 9:6: וְאוֹמֵר (תהלים לז, כא): לֹוֶה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם וגו', יֵשׁ אָדָם לֹוֶה וְאֵינוֹ פּוֹרֵעַ שֶׁאֵין הַדְּנֵיסְטֵיס מְשַׁבֵּר שִׁנָּיו וְגוֹבֶה אוֹתוֹ, מַהוּ: לֹוֶה רָשָׁע ...
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How Could Adam Harishon Have “Stolen” from Anyone?

On vayikra pasuk 1:2 rashi quotes vayikra rabba 2:7 saying that the Torah's choice of the word אדם teaches that just as Adam harishon didn't offer stolen sacrifices since everything belonged to him we ...
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How many righteous men are in each generation?

I have been reading questions about the lamed-vav, the 36 righteous people who exist in each generation. But Rashi, in Zecharia 11:12 cites the gemara in Chullin 92a which has an opinion that there ...
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Is there a Mesorah of Kal VaChomers?

The Gemara (Pesachim 66a and others) write that one can deduce a Kal VaChomer on his own (and doesn't require a tradition). On the other hand, there's a rule that the Kal of a Kal VaChomer cannot be ...
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Yachol merosh chodesh - why not the day of the fifteenth?

We say in the Haggadah, quoted from the Mechilta: יָכוֹל מֵראשׁ חֹדֶשׁ? תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא. אִי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יָכוֹל מִבְּעוֹד יוֹם? תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה - בַּעֲבוּר זֶה ...
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Why is the actual length of Galus Mitzraim not mentioned in the Torah?

Chazal expound that the Jews were in Mitzraim for 210 years (see Rashi to Bereishis 42:2, and to Avodah Zarah 9a). Why is this figure mentioned nowhere explicitly, especially when other numbers are (...
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957 views

What is the Luz Bone?

What is the Luz bone? What is the source of this concept? I saw it referred to in the Mishneh Berurah - 300:2 Wikipedia quotes from Medrash Rabah 28:3. I know the basic description given. If it ...
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Was King Achashverosh Jewish?

In this beautiful animated interpretation of the Purim story, at the crowning of King Achashverosh, the crowd announces (as soon as the crown is put upon his head): "And he will rise upon the ...
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Who fasted with Ester?

The Bavli, M'gila, says that the seven servants that Ester had while in Hegay's harem were שהיתה מונה בהן ימי שבת, used by Ester to count the days of the week. Rashi explains שהיתה משרתת לה אחת באחד ...
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Why is Mordechai called Ben Kish and not Ben Sha'ul?

Several commentaries ask the question on Esther 2:5 as to why the passuk says Ben Kish when Shim'i was Kish's fifth-great grandson (Targum Sheini). Some explain it's because Mordechai shared traits of ...
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Midrash About the Kohen Gadol Seeing God as a Man

If G-D Has no physical form why midrash which say Kohen Gadol saw G-D as an old man while the Kohen Gadol went into the kodesh hakadashim I saw this in the midrash says and I don't know the exact ...
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Why is the name Yerushalayim in the reverse order?

The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 56:10) tells us that Avraham called the city Yireh and Malki-Tzedek called it Shalem. Hashem combined the two names and called the city Yerushalayim. But we know that ...
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A name adding to our development into who we are/become?

In Bereshit 2:19 Adam gets the honorable task to name the animals. The Midrash Genesis/Bereshit Raba 17:4 tells us that the first man, Adam, looked into the essence and nature of every creature and ...
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Understanding Avot D'Rav Natan 33:2 regarding spliting of the Sea of Reeds

I'm trying to reconcile Avot D'Rav Natan 33:2's description of what occurred on the bank of the Sea of Reeds. He seems to indicate that Moshe had to coax B'nai Yisra'el to enter the sea. Each time, ...
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214 views

The Jews Dying in the Plague of Darkness

Rashi writes that one of the reasons for the plague of darkness was so that all of the wicked Jews who did not want to leave Mitzrayim could be killed and the Mitzrim would not say the Jews are also ...
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Makkas Dam; monetary exchange

Midrash Rabbah describes how the Jews in Egypt became wealthy through the plague of blood by selling their water to the Egyptians who were desperate. This may be a thought experiment as I haven't seen ...
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The Stones of Yaakov

the gemora in Chulin 91b comments on the pasuk in parsha vayetzei Rabbi Yitzchak said: This tells us that all the stones gathered themselves together into one place and each one said: 'Upon me ...
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No mention of Aharon

In שמות ב:ו it says, "והנה נער בכה" - "and behold a lad was crying". The basic interpretation is that this refers to the crying baby Moshe who sounded older than he was (Rashi) However the ...

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