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(mĭd`räsh) [Heb.,=to examine, to investigate], verse by verse interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures, consisting of homily and exegesis, by Jewish teachers since about 400 B.C. Distinction is made between Midrash halakahhalakah
or halacha
[Heb.,=law], in Judaism, the body of law regulating all aspects of life, including religious ritual, familial and personal status, civil relations, criminal law, and relations with non-Jews.
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, dealing with the legal portions of Scripture, and Midrash haggada, dealing with biblical lore. Midrashic exposition of both kinds appears throughout the TalmudTalmud
[Aramaic from Heb.,=learning], in Judaism, vast compilation of the Oral Law with rabbinical elucidations, elaborations, and commentaries, in contradistinction to the Scriptures or Written Laws. The Talmud is the accepted authority for Orthodox Jews everywhere.
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. Individual midrashic commentaries were composed by rabbis after the 2d cent. A.D. up to the Middle Ages, and they were mostly of an aggadic nature, following the order of the scriptural text. Important among them are the Midrash Rabbah, a collection of commentaries on the Torah and the Five Scrolls (the Song of Songs, Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes), and the Pesikta Midrashim, concerning the festivals. This body of rabbinic literature contains the earliest speculative thought in the Jewish tradition.


See H. L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1931, repr. 1969); L. Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible (1956); N. N. Glatzer, Hammer on the Rock (1962).

References in periodicals archive ?
In general, a midrash draws on its source text, usually the biblical text, and changes it or adds to it in order to create new meaning.
By opening a new program, Rabbi Channen now combines an active Beis Midrash and dynamic on line rapport with talmidim around the world which sets Keter HaTorah apart as the premier Smicha Program.
It seems that the Rabbis of the Midrash read this idea into the sons of Noah as well, and understood that since Shem is the ancestor of the Israelites, he must follow the pattern of other biblical heroes and be a younger brother who usurps an unworthy older one.
In Alfred Dreyfus: Man, Milieu, Mentality and Midrash, Simms draws from an impressive array of historical, philosophical, literary, scientific, archival, and religious tools to explicate Dreyfus's story, one he claims has been told in "thousands of books" (22, 36).
Midrash could explore the difference between two versions of a story or the psychological motivations behind the all-too-human behavior of the forefathers and mothers.
Several interpretations are given in the Midrash (ancient rabbinic homiletical texts) as to why Cain killed his brother Abel beyond the explicit one given in the Bible.
CDATA[ The Shaf Yativ Beit Midrash program for men with severe mental illness is located in Jerusalem, and recently expanded to a branch in Ramat Gan.
Representatives for the Hens said donations to assist the family can be made to a non-profit organization that has a trust account designated for the the family: Beit Midrash, c/o Hen, Union Bank account number 3000135436, routing number 122000496.
professor of Midrash and Homeletics, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York) and Kerry M.
Wright begins by providing a useful and very readable gloss on both the practice of rabbinic midrash and on Harold Bloom's influential The Book of J (1991).
Of Matthew Powell's essay on Kafka, one judge noted that it "is far-ranging in taking in Kafka's Jewishness and the Hebrew use of midrash and parable.
Reading this midrash against the backdrop of an ancient theological controversy--the "Two Powers in Heaven" heresy--and probing the likely sources of its language suggests that it argues against more than one supernatural participant in delivering the last plague and not against a human role in the Exodus.