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What Is Midrash? Essay

863 words - 4 pages

What is Midrash? This is quite an intractable issue. It doesn’t only contain very wide and very old texts, but also multitudinous philosophers. Even though Midrash is not a good scientific source for studying Bible today, it powerfully helps us understand the spirit of authors from later the Old Treatment, the developing of Judaism, and the constitution of the New Treatment’s mission.
Midrash was an exegetical method used in early Jewish religion. The word usually is used for any written or oral commentary on a biblical text. It is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by plumbing ?? the meaning of the words of the Torah. (Efron ...view middle of the document...

The rabbis themselves state that the aggadah is not authoritative and insist that no halakhah may be derived from aggadot, but it is held in high esteem concerning insight and piety. (Midrash 101) In line with the accepted tendency to define aggadah as "that which is not halakhah," one could say that the relation between aggadah and halakhah is similar to the relation between theory and practice, between idea and application, and, in the area of ethics, between character and behavior.
For instance, a Midrash may attempt to explain why Adam didn’t stop Eve from eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. One of the best-known Midrashim (plural of Midrash) deals with Abraham’s childhood in early Mesopotamia, where he is said to have smashed the idols in his father’s shop because even at that age he knew there was only One God. Midrash aggadah can be found in both Talmuds, in Midrashim collections and in Midrash Rabbah, which means "Great Midrash."
The largest volumes of Midrash aggadah are often referred to collectively as Midrash Rabbah. Midrash Rabbah, which forms a complete commentary on Genesis, and exemplifies all points of Midrashic exegesis, is divided into parashiyot (sections, chapters); and derives its peculiar character from the proems which head these sections. For example:
“A philosopher said to R. Gamaliel: Your God was a great craftsman, but he found himself good materials which assisted him: Tohu wa-Bohu, and darkness, and wind, and water, and the primeval deep. “ (Midrash Rabbah)
It is essential to note that the “philosopher” insists that God, though a great...

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