Tag: midrash

Unusual explanations in Midrashim on Jonah

                                                 Unusual explanations in Midrashim on Jonah   Midrashim, the singular is Midrash, are many books composed over centuries that contain laws as well as a myriad of legends. The name is derived from the Hebrew root d-r-sh, to sermonize and to expound. In the beginning of his book Chelek, Maimonides warns that […]

Three tales with profound lessons

                                             Three rabbinical tales with profound rational lessons[1]   Maimonides, in his Commentary on the Mishnah, Introduction to Perek Chelek, describes how one should understand rabbinical stories and declares that most people do not deal with rabbinic Midrashim[2] correctly. According to Maimonides, three clusters of people exist, each taking a radically different approach to […]

Tetzaveh – What is Midrash?

                                                                             TETZAVEH                                                                (Chapters 27:20–30:1)                                                               Moses’ Name is Missing   This biblical portion Tetzaveh is the only one from Exodus through Deuteronomy that does not contain Moses’s name. Why? And what can we learn from this?   One midrashic[1] suggestion for this unusual occurrence is that it has to do with Moses’ plea […]

A Startling Reevaluation of Three Rabbinical Tales

By Israel Drazin                                       This essay is adapted from my book Maimonides: The Exceptional Mind.   Maimonides[1] describes how one should understand rabbinical tales and Midrashim,[2] and declares that most people do not deal with rabbinic Midrashim[3] correctly. According to Maimonides, three clusters of people exist, each taking a radically different approach to […]

Rashi: Sermons, commentaries, or both?

                                                                                       By Israel Drazin   I described the style of Rashi’s commentary in the past. It is brilliant, but it does not offer readers the plain meaning of the biblical text. Rashi (1040-1105) follows the worldview of the second century Rabbi Akiva: God composed the Torah, God is perfect, and must have written the […]

How should people understand strange midrashic tales?

                                                                                         By Israel Drazin   The Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 11a, tells a tale that is not even hinted in the Torah. Before enslaving the Israelites, Pharaoh asked Balaam, Job, and Jethro whether it is advisable to do so. Jethro, according to this story, protested, and God rewarded him by having Moses become his son-in-law. Job […]

Unusual Biblical Interpretations 12

                                                                                By Israel Drazin     We have been offering some controversial and conventional Jewish Bible interpretations by the iconoclast Arnold B. Ehrlich (1848-1919) from his book Mikra Ki-Pheshuto (The Bible According to its Literal Meaning), the Orthodox Jewish thinker Baruch Epstein (1860-1919) from his commentary Torah Temimah (The Perfect Torah), homiletical views […]

What really happened to Cain?

By Israel Drazin   People think that biblical narratives are clear and easily understandable, and that the explanations of the stories offered in clerical sermons or written in ancient documents such as the Talmud, Midrashim (imaginative elaborations of the Bible), and medieval commentaries are true. Actually neither idea is true. Good literature contains ambiguities and […]

The Secret of the Book of Esther

                                                                                                                                                             By Israel Drazin   The Book of Esther is one of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. Curiously, God is not mentioned in this volume of Scripture and there is no indication that God was involved in any way in helping Esther and Mordecai save the Jews of Persia from […]

A revolution in Bible study

Bringing the Prophets to Life By Neil N. Winkler Gefen Publishing House, 2011, 193 pages   Many Jews consider the Bible to be the sacred text revealed by God to the Israelites trough Moses. Multiple commentaries were composed on the Torah. Some emphasized the Torah’s literal meaning, such as the commentaries of Rashbam, David Kinchi, […]

Do You Want To Be Notified of New Blog Posts?

Email:

Categories

Archives