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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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
(7) The filmmakers were aware of that confrontation, as Handel said: "We set out very purposefully to upset expectations and change expectations people had about this story." (8) The general disgruntlement of both viewers and critics might derive from three very different kinds of unfamiliarity with midrash tradition: the first is unawareness of the many midrashic details in the film's narrative; the second is misunderstanding of the creative midrashic style adopted by the filmmakers, in line with this tradition, and thirdly the midrashic mode of interpretational openness, which transcend the literal biblical text.
Midrash sometimes sacrifices immediate narrative or legal context for the sake of structural context.
Where other scholars try to show midrash rather than tell it, or summarize midrash as a totality, Neusner in contrast permits the reader to get into the whole midrash genre; exegetical in the case of Genesis Rabbah, and homiletical in the case of Leviticus Rabbah.
But this argument flies in the face of another midrash, also quoted by Rashi--one so basic that any religious Jew should have learned it by third grade.
This second aspect of midrash describes the form of many of the texts of the Kabbalah, beginning with the Zohar.
In terms of methodology, we must identify three basic functional elements in order to understand our midrash: 1.1) the textual tradition that serves as its starting point, its source text; 1.2) its exegetical aims, its purpose (what is it trying to tell us about the biblical text or about another context?); and 1.3) pieces of information that serve to link the source text to the purpose of the midrash (such links usually take the form of distortions of the source text).
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).
One of the interior design challenges was bringing natural light to the Beit Midrash study hall located on the lower level.
Lodahl's presentation of Jewish midrash and Christian theology illuminate his side-by-side readings of biblical and qur'anic quotations.
An example of an ethos that is critical of the kind of religious possessiveness that leads to intransience can be found in the abovementioned midrash. The initial religious desire to want the house of God to be located on our land, close to us and under our jurisdiction is easy to understand.
In this way, Twain, who Wright argues likely had some knowledge of rabbinic midrash, forces modern readers to confront the myriad questions arising from the terse biblical rendition of the story.
We begin by reviewing these references in light of the Haggadah's evolution and then turn to the Haggadah's midrash, "Not by an angel...." 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.