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Midrash

Midrash

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The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic
Homiletics
Homiletics , in theology the application of the general principles of rhetoric to the specific department of public preaching. The one who practices or studies homiletics is called a homilist....

 method of biblical exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

.

Midrash is a way of interpreting biblical stories that goes beyond simple distillation of religious, legal or moral teachings. It fills in many gaps left in the biblical narrative regarding events and personalities that are only hinted at.

Etymology


Gesenius ascribes the etymology of midrash to the Qal
Qal
Qal can refer to:* Gal, Azerbaijan* Qal , simple form of a Hebrew verb...

 of the common Hebrew verb darash (דָּרַשׁ) "to seek, study, inquire." The word, "midrash" occurs twice in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

: 2 Chronicles 13:22 "in the midrash of the prophet Iddo
Iddo
Iddo or Eido was a minor biblical prophet, who appears to have lived during the reigns of King Solomon and his heirs, Rehoboam and Abijah, in the Kingdom of Judah...

", and 24:27 "in the midrash of the Book of the Kings."

Methodology


According to the PaRDeS
Pardes
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 approaches to exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

, interpretation of Biblical texts in Judaism is realized through peshat (literal or plain meaning, lit. "plain" or "simple"), remez (deep meaning, lit. "hints"), derash (comparative meaning, from Hebrew darash—"to inquire" or "to seek") and sod (hidden meaning or philosophy, lit. "secret" or "mystery"). The Midrash concentrates somewhat on remez but mostly on derash (Some thinkers divide PaRDeS into pshat, remez, din (law) and sod. In this understanding, midrash aggada deals with remez and midrash halakha deals with din).

Many different exegetical methods are employed to derive deeper meaning from a text. This is not limited to the traditional thirteen textual tools attributed to the Tanna
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

 Rabbi Ishmael
Ishmael ben Elisha
Rabbi Ishmael or Ishmael ben Elisha was a Tanna of the 1st and 2nd centuries . A Tanna is a rabbinic sage whose views are recorded in the Mishnah.-Disposition:...

, which are used in the interpretation of halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

(Jewish law). Presence of apparently superfluous words or letters, chronology of events, parallel narratives or other textual anomalies are often a springboard for interpretation of segments of Biblical text. In many cases, a dialogue is expanded manifold: handfuls of lines in the Biblical narrative may become long philosophical discussions. It is unclear whether the Midrash assumes these dialogues took place in reality or if this refers only to subtext or religious implication.

Many midrashim start off with a seemingly unrelated sentence from the Biblical books of Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

, Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

 or the Prophets
Nevi'im
Nevi'im is the second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. It falls between the Torah and Ketuvim .Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:...

. This sentence later turns out to metaphorically reflect the content of the rabbinical interpretation offered. This strategy is used particularly in a sub-genre of midrash known as the "petikhta."

Some Midrash discussions are highly metaphorical, and many Jewish authors stress that they are not intended to be taken literally. Rather, other midrashic sources may sometimes serve as a key to particularly esoteric discussions. Later authors maintain that this was done to make this material less accessible to the casual reader and prevent its abuse by detractors.

Forms of Midrashic literature


In general the Midrash is focused on either halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (legal) or Aggadic (non-legal and chiefly homiletical) subject matter. Both kinds of Midrashim were at first preserved only orally
Oral law
An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted....

; but their writing down commenced in the 2nd century, and they now exist in the shape chiefly of exegetical or homiletical commentaries on Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 (the Hebrew Bible). Midrashic literature is worthwhile reading not only for its insights into Judaism and the history of Jewish thought, but also for the more incidental data it provides to historians, philologists, philosophers, and scholars of either historical-critical Bible study or comparative religion.

Halakhic midrashim



Midrash halakha
Midrash halakha
Midrash halakha was the ancient Judaic rabbinic method of Torah study that expounded upon the traditionally received 613 Mitzvot by identifying their sources in the Tanakh , and by interpreting these passages as proofs of the laws' authenticity. Midrash more generally also refers to the...

are the works in which the sources in the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 (Hebrew Bible) of the traditionally received laws are identified. These Midrashim often predate the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

. The Midrash linking a verse to a halakha will often function as a proof of a law's authenticity; a correct elucidation of the Torah carries with it the support of the halakhah, and often the reason for the rule's existence (although many rabbinical laws have no direct Biblical source). The term is applied also to the derivation of new laws, either by means of a correct interpretation of the obvious meaning of scriptural words themselves or by the application of certain hermeneutic rules.

Origins


After the return of Jewish refugees from their exile in Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, some argue that the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 was central to Jewish life at home and abroad. This is certainly the case in some strains of Judaism, although scholars agree the period was marked by wide diversity, so the centrality of Torah would vary greatly for different groups. A significant concern of Jewish authorities was to ensure compliance with the Torah's commandments, the enactments of the Mosaic Law
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

; yet, as these laws had been written in circumstances of the past, they seemed to call for adaptation or explication if they were to fit the circumstances of contemporary life. Explanations of the terms of the Mosaic legislation are legal, or halakhic
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 Midrashim. Relatedly, the Mishnah does not generally cite a scriptural basis for its laws; connecting the Mishnaic law with the Torah law is also undertaken by the later Midrash (and Talmuds).

Aggadic midrashim



Homiletic midrashim embraces the interpretation of the non-legal portions of the Hebrew Bible. These midrashim are sometimes referred to as aggadah
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

or haggadah, a loosely defined term that may refer to all non-legal discourse in classical rabbinic literature.

Aggadic explanations of the non-legal parts of Scripture are characterized by a much greater freedom of exposition than the halakhic Midrashim (midrashim on Jewish law.) Aggadic expositors availed themselves of various techniques, including sayings of prominent rabbis. These aggadic explanations could be philosophical or mystical disquisitions concerning angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s, demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s, paradise
Paradise
Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and...

, hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

, the messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

, Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

, feasts and fasts, parable
Parable
A parable is a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human...

s, legends, satirical assaults on those who practice idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

, etc.

Some of these midrashim entail mystical teachings. The presentation is such that the Midrash is a simple lesson to the uninitiated, and a direct allusion, or analogy, to a Mystical teaching for those educated in this area.

An example of a Midrashic interpretation:
"And God saw all that He had made, and found it very good. And there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day." (Genesis 1:31)—Midrash: Rabbi Nahman said in Rabbi Samuel's name: "Behold, it was good" refers to the Good Desire; "And behold, it was very good" refers to the Evil Desire. (It only says "very good" after man was created with both the good and bad inclinations, in all other cases it only says "and God saw that it was good") Can then the Evil Desire be very good? That would be extraordinary! But without the Evil Desire, however, no man would build a house, take a wife and beget children; and thus said Solomon: "Again, I considered all labour and all excelling in work, that it is a man's rivalry with his neighbour." (Kohelet IV, 4) (Genesis Rabbah 9:7, translation from Soncino Publications).



Tannaitic

  • Mekhilta
    Mekhilta
    This article refers to the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael. There is a separate article on the Mekhilta de-Rabbi ShimonMekhilta or Mekilta is a halakic midrash to the Book of Exodus...

    . The Mekhilta essentially functions as a commentary on the Book of Exodus. There are two versions of this midrash collection. One is Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael, the other is Mekhilta de Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai. The former is still studied today, while the latter was used by many medieval Jewish authorities. While the latter (bar Yohai) text was popularly circulated in manuscript form from the 11th to 16th centuries, it was lost for all practical purposes until it was rediscovered and printed in the 19th century.
    • Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael. This is a halakhic commentary on Exodus, concentrating on the legal sections, from Exodus 12 to 35. It derives halakha from Biblical verses. This midrash collection was redacted into its final form around the 3rd or 4th century; its contents indicate that its sources are some of the oldest midrashim, dating back possibly to the time of Rabbi Akiva. The midrash on Exodus that was known to the Amoraim is not the same as our current mekhilta; their version was only the core of what later grew into the present form.
    • Mekhilta de Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai
      Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon
      The Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon is a Halakic midrash on Exodus from the school of R. Akiba, the "Rabbi Shimon" in question being Shimon bar Yochai. No midrash of this name is mentioned in Talmudic literature, but medieval authors refer to one which they call either "Mekilta de-R. Simeon b. Yoḥai," or...

      . Based on the same core material as Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael, it followed a second route of commentary and editing, and eventually emerged as a distinct work. The Mekhilta de Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai is an exegetical midrash on Exodus 3 to 35, and is very roughly dated to near the 4th century.
  • Sifra
    Sifra
    Sifra is the Halakic midrash to Leviticus. It is frequently quoted in the Talmud, and the study of it followed that of the Mishnah, as appears from Tanḥuma, quoted in Or Zarua, i. 7b. Like Leviticus itself, the midrash is occasionally called "Torat Kohanim" , and in two passages also "Sifra debe...

    on Leviticus
    Leviticus
    The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

    . The Sifra work follows the tradition of Rabbi Akiva with additions from the School of Rabbi Ishmael. References in the Talmud to the Sifra are ambiguous; It is uncertain whether the texts mentioned in the Talmud are to an earlier version of our Sifra, or to the sources that the Sifra also drew upon. References to the Sifra from the time of the early medieval rabbis (and after) are to the text extant today. The core of this text developed in the mid-3rd century as a critique and commentary of the Mishnah, although subsequent additions and editing went on for some time afterwards.
  • Sifre
    Sifre
    Sifre refers to either of two works of Midrash halakhah, or classical Jewish legal Biblical exegesis, based on the biblical books of Bamidbar and Devarim .- The Talmudic-Era Sifre :The title "Sifre debe Rab" is used by R. Hananeel on Sheb. 37b, Alfasi on Pes...

    on Numbers
    Book of Numbers
    The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

     and Deuteronomy
    Deuteronomy
    The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

    , going back mainly to the schools of the same two Rabbis. This work is mainly a halakhic midrash, yet includes a long haggadic piece in sections 78-106. References in the Talmud, and in the later Geonic literature, indicate that the original core of Sifre was on the Book of Numbers
    Book of Numbers
    The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

    , Exodus and Deuteronomy
    Deuteronomy
    The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

    . However, transmission of the text was imperfect, and by the Middle Ages, only the commentary on Numbers and Deuteronomy remained. The core material was redacted around the middle of the 3rd century.
  • Sifre Zutta
    Sifre Zutta
    Sifre Zutta is a midrash on the Book of Numbers. . Medieval authors mention it under the titles "Sifre shel Panim Aḥerim" and "Wi-Yeshalleḥu Ẓuta"; and to distinguish from it the Sifre, Or Zarua Sifre Zutta (Hebrew: ספרי זוטא) is a midrash on the Book of Numbers. (Zur Gesch. der Jüdischen...

    (The small Sifre). This work is a halakhic commentary on the book of Numbers. The text of this midrash is only partially preserved in medieval works, while other portions were discovered by Solomon Schechter
    Solomon Schechter
    Solomon Schechter was a Moldavian-born Romanian and English rabbi, academic scholar, and educator, most famous for his roles as founder and President of the United Synagogue of America, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and architect of the American Conservative Jewish...

     in his research in the famed Cairo Geniza
    Cairo Geniza
    The Cairo Geniza is a collection of almost 280,000 Jewish manuscript fragments found in the Genizah or storeroom of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, presently Old Cairo, Egypt. Some additional fragments were found in the Basatin cemetery east of Old Cairo, and the collection includes a number of...

    . It seems to be older than most other midrash, coming from the early 3rd century.

Post-Talmudic

  • Midrash Qohelet, on Ecclesiastes
    Ecclesiastes
    The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

     (probably before middle of ninth century).
  • Midrash Esther, on Esther
    Book of Esther
    The Book of Esther is a book in the Ketuvim , the third section of the Jewish Tanakh and is part of the Christian Old Testament. The Book of Esther or the Megillah is the basis for the Jewish celebration of Purim...

     (A.D. 940).
  • The Pesikta, a compilation of homilies on special Pentateuchal and Prophetic lessons (early eighth century), in two versions:
    • Pesikta Rabbati
      Pesikta Rabbati
      Pesikta Rabbati or P'sqita Rabbita is a collection of Aggadic Midrash on the Pentateuchal and prophetic lessons, the special Sabbaths, etc. It was composed around 845 CE and probably called "rabbati" to distinguish it from the earlier Pesiḳta.In common with the latter it has five entire...

    • Pesikta de-Rav Kahana
      Pesikta de-Rav Kahana
      Pesikta de-Rab Kahana is a collection of Aggadic midrash which exists in two editions, those of Solomon Buber and Bernard Mandelbaum . It is cited in the Aruk and by Rashi. It consists of 33 homilies on the lessons forming the Pesikta cycle: the Pentateuchal lessons for special Sabbaths Pesikta...

  • Pirqe Rabbi Eliezer (not before eighth century), a Midrashic narrative of the more important events of the Pentateuch.
  • Tanchuma or Yelammedenu (ninth century) on the whole Pentateuch; its homilies often consist of a Halachic introduction, followed by several poems, exposition of the opening verses, and the Messianic conclusion. There are actually a number of different 'Midrash Tanhuma' collections. The two most important are Midrash Tanhuma Ha Nidpas, literally the published text. This is also sometimes referred to as Midrash Tanhuma Yelamdenu. The other is based on a manuscript published by Solomon Buber
    Solomon Buber
    Solomon Buber was a Jewish Galician scholar and editor of Hebrew works. He is especially remembered for his editions of Midrash and other medieval Jewish manuscripts, and for the pioneering research surrounding those texts....

     and is usually known as Midrash Tanhuma Buber, much to many students' confusion, this too is sometimes referred to as Midrash Tanhuma Yelamdenu. The fact is even though the first one is the most widely distributed today, when the Medieval authors refer to Midrash Tanchuma, they usually mean the second one.
  • Midrash Shmuel, on the first two Books of Kings (I, II Samuel).
  • Midrash Tehillim
    Midrash Tehillim
    Midrash Tehillim or Midrash to Psalms is a haggadic midrash known since the 11th century, when it was quoted by Nathan of Rome in his Aruk , by R. Isaac ben Judah ibn Ghayyat in his Halakot , and by Rashi in his commentary on I Sam. xvii. 49, and on many other passages. This midrash is called also...

    , on the Psalms
    Psalms
    The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

    .
  • Midrash Mishlé, a commentary on the book of Proverbs.
  • Seder Olam Rabbah
    Seder Olam Rabbah
    Seder Olam Rabbah is a 2nd century CE Hebrew language chronology detailing the dates of biblical events from the Creation to Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia...

    (or simply Seder Olam). Traditionally attributed to the tannaitic Rabbi Yose ben Halafta. This work covers topics from the Creation of the universe to the construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem
    Temple in Jerusalem
    The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

    .
  • Yalkut Shimoni
    Yalkut Shimoni
    The Yalkut Shimoni or simply Yalkut is an aggadic compilation on the books of the Hebrew Bible. From such older haggadot as were accessible to him, the author collected various interpretations and explanations of Biblical passages, and arranged these according to the sequence of those portions of...

    . A collection of midrash on the entire Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh
    Tanakh
    The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

    ) containing both halakhic
    Halakha
    Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

     and aggadic
    Aggadah
    Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

     midrash. It was compiled by Shimon ha-Darshan in the 13th century CE and is collected from over 50 other midrashic works.
  • Tanna Devei Eliyahu
    Tanna Devei Eliyahu
    Tanna Devei Eliyahu is the composite name of a midrash, consisting of two parts, whose final redaction took place at the end of the 10th century CE. The first part is called "Seder Eliyahu Rabbah" ; the second, "Seder Eliyahu Zuṭa"...

    . This work that stresses the reasons underlying the commandments, the importance of knowing Torah, prayer, and repentance, and the ethical and religious values that are learned through the Bible. It consists of two sections, Seder Eliyahu Rabbah and Seder Eliyahu Zuta. It is not a compilation but a uniform work with a single author.
  • Alphabet of Akiba ben Joseph
    Alphabet of Akiba ben Joseph
    Alphabet of Akiba ben Joseph, or Otiot de-Rabbi Akiba , is the title of a Midrash on the names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet...

    , a midrash on the names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet
    Hebrew alphabet
    The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

  • Midrash Tadshe
    Midrash Tadshe
    Midrash Tadshe is a small midrash which begins with an interpretation of Gen. i. 11:The name of the author occurs twice , and the midrash closes with the words "'ad kan me-dibre R. Pineḥas ben Ya'ir." No other authors are named...

     (called also Baraita de-Rabbi Pinehas ben Yair):

Midrash Rabbah

  • Midrash Rabbah. Widely studied are the Rabboth (great commentaries), a collection of ten midrashim on different books of the Bible. However, despite the similarity in their names, these are not a cohesive work. They were written by different authors, in different locales, in different historical eras. The ones on Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are chiefly made up of homilies on the Scripture sections for the Sabbath or festival, while the others are rather of an exegetical nature.
    • Bereshith Rabba
      Genesis Rabba
      Genesis Rabba is a religious text from Judaism's classical period. It is a midrash comprising a collection of ancient rabbinical homiletical interpretations of the Book of Genesis ....

      , Genesis Rabbah. This text dates from the sixth century CE. A midrash on Genesis, it offers explanations of words and sentences and haggadic interpretations and expositions, many of which are only loosely tied to the text. It is often interlaced with maxims and parables. Its redactor drew upon earlier rabbinic sources, including the Mishnah, Tosefta, the halakhic midrashim the Targums. It apparently drew upon a version of Talmud Yerushalmi that resembles, yet was not identical to, the text that survived to present times. It was redacted sometime in the early 5th century.
    • Shemot Rabba
      Exodus Rabbah
      Exodus Rabbah is the midrash to Exodus, containing in the printed editions 52 parashiyyot. It is not uniform in its composition.- Structure :In parashiyyot i.-xiv...

      , Exodus Rabbah (tenth or eleventh and twelfth century)
    • Vayyiqra Rabba
      Leviticus Rabbah
      Leviticus Rabbah, Vayikrah Rabbah, or Wayiqra Rabbah is a homiletic midrash to the Biblical book of Leviticus . It is referred to by Nathan ben Jehiel in his Aruk as well as by Rashi in his commentaries on , and elsewhere. According to Leopold Zunz, Hai Gaon and Nissim knew and made use of it...

      , Leviticus Rabbah (middle seventh Century)
    • Bamidbar Rabba
      Numbers Rabbah
      Numbers Rabbah is a religious text holy to classical Judaism. It is a midrash comprising a collection of ancient rabbinical homiletic interpretations of the book of Numbers ....

      , Numbers Rabbah (twelfth century)
    • Devarim Rabba
      Deuteronomy Rabbah
      Deuteronomy Rabbah is an aggadic midrash or homiletic commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy. Unlike Bereshit Rabbah, the Midrash to Deuteronomy which has been included in the collection of the Midrash Rabbot in the ordinary editions does not contain running commentaries on the text of the Bible,...

      , Deuteronomy Rabbah (tenth century)
    • Shir Hashirim Rabba, Song of Songs Rabbah (probably before the middle of ninth century)
    • Ruth Rabba
      Ruth Rabbah
      Ruth Rabbah is an haggadic and homiletic interpretation of the Book of Ruth, which, like that of the four other scrolls , is included in the Midrash Rabbot. This midrash, divided into eight chapters or sections , covers the whole text of the Biblical book, interpreting it verse by verse, now in...

      , (same date as foregoing)
    • Eicha Rabba
      Lamentations Rabbah
      The Midrash on Lamentations or Eichah Rabbah , like Bereshit Rabbah and the Pesiḳta ascribed to Rab Kahana, belongs to the oldest works of the Midrashic literature. It begins with 36 consecutive proems forming a separate collection, certainly made by the author of the Midrash...

      , Lamentations Rabbah (seventh century). Lamentations Rabbah has been transmitted in two versions. One edition is represented by the 1st printed edition, 1519 Pesaro; the other is the Buber edition, based on manuscript J.I.4 from the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome. This latter version (Salomon Buber) is quoted by the Shulkhan Arukh, as well as medieval Jewish authorities. It was probably redacted sometime in the 5th century.

Contemporary Midrash


A wealth of literature and artwork has been created in the 20th and 21st centuries by people aspiring to create "Contemporary Midrash". Forms include poetry, prose, Bibliodrama (the acting out of Bible stories), murals, masks, and music, among others. The Institute for Contemporary Midrash was formed to facilitate these reinterpretations of sacred texts. The institute hosted several week-long intensives between 1995 and 2004, and published eight issues of Living Text: The Journal of Contemporary Midrash from 1997 to 2000.

See also


  • Allegory in the Middle Ages
    Allegory in the Middle Ages
    Allegory in the Middle Ages was a vital element in the synthesis of Biblical and Classical traditions into what would become recognizable as Medieval culture...

  • Archetype
    Archetype
    An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated...

  • Biblical studies
    Biblical studies
    Biblical studies is the academic study of the Judeo-Christian Bible and related texts. For Christianity, the Bible traditionally comprises the New Testament and Old Testament, which together are sometimes called the "Scriptures." Judaism recognizes as scripture only the Hebrew Bible, also known as...

  • Icon
    Icon
    An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

  • Midrasz
    Midrasz
    Midrasz is a Polish language monthly journal founded in 1997 by Konstanty Gebert, a renown Polish journalist, war correspondent and Polish-Jewish activist. The journal is devoted to Polish, Jewish and Polish-Jewish culture, art, literature, history and religion, as well as contemporary matters....

    , a Polish language journal on Polish Jewish matters
  • Pardes
    Pardes
    The soundtrack was composed by the duo of Nadeem Shravan while the lyrics were penned by Anand Bakshi. It was released under the label of Tips Music Films. The album was very successful amongst the audience. The tracks "I Love My India", "Meri Mehbooba", "Do Dil Mil Rahe Hain" and "Nahin Hona Tha"...

  • Semiotics
    Semiotics
    Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

  • Symbol
    Symbol
    A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

  • Typology
    Typology (theology)
    Typology in Christian theology and Biblical exegesis is a doctrine or theory concerning the relationship between the Old and New Testaments...



External links

  • Sacred Texts: Judaism: Tales and Maxims from the Midrash extracted and translated by Samuel Rapaport, 1908.
  • Midrash—entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith—An early twentieth century Christian
    Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

     commentary

Full text resources

  • Tanchuma (Hebrew
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

    )
  • Abridged translations of Tanchuma in English.
  • Yalkut Shimoni (Hebrew
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

    )