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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 ?
(27) Another group of midrashim tells of the metals and gems which were gathered by men and of the fallen angels who taught them how to utilize the metals to make weapons and shields.
Midrashim differ in the extent to which they do so, from adding or adjusting minor details to outright and extensive eisegesis.
These midrashim were seen as everything from creative, resourceful, and playful "uncoverings" of the ramifying levels of meaning inherent in a pasuk, to maddening, misleading, and even fatuous alterations of the peshat of that pasuk.
Although this is explained along the way, the many different midrashim employed leave us with what could be construed as a rather narrow, far-fetched version of the events.
Azzan Yadin-Israel, Boyarin's student, has investigated whether Boyarin's insights can be applied systematically to the legal portions of the Tannaitic midrashim as well.
DR JACOBS considers questions about the process leading to the Midrashim which we now have.
Resulting questions that I thus ask of the many and varied midrashim include: who is the audience for these materials, how are the texts transmitted, what are other texts to which they may be related aside from the obvious biblical materials, and what is their reality?
A study of various midrashim involving the stories found in Exodus and Psalms clears up the ambiguity in Psalms.
In this collection of articles that places midrash within other contexts of hermeneutics, the contributors of these 12 articles cover the origins of midrash in the Second Temple period, resistance to midrash in the Halakhic Midrashim, rewritten bible and rabbinic midrash as commentary, textual criticism, Christian and Hellenistic hermeneutics in relation to midrash, midrash as social history, methodology and literary approaches, interpretations of experience, feminism, justifications for women's disabilities and deconstruction/reconstruction.
Her refusal to comply may have arisen out of modesty, defense of the rights of women, insolence, or solicitude for her own guests; in any case, she doesn't deserve disgrace, and certainly not the death penalty that some midrashim, including the earlier portion of the first midrash cited above, interpret as her fate.
To resume the thread: Steudel's reason for renaming the two texts is that she believes they are two parts of a single work; indeed, such a suspicion was already raised by Allegro's fellow editors, Skehan and Strugnell; in a preliminary publication Allegro referred to 4Q174 as 'A Scroll of Eschatological Midrashim', and Vermes calls it 'A Midrash on the Last Days'.
(2.) These midrashim may be seen to represent a deeper level of meaning, what has been referred to as "omek peshuto".