Bereshith Rabbah (The Great Genesis) is a midrash comprising a collection of rabbinical homiletical interpretations of the Book of Genesis. It contains many. Books & Judaica: Parperaot LaTora El Midrash Bereshit (H) Menajem Becker [W] – The core of Jewish thought and it cosmovision finds its. I. The Earliest Exegetical Midrashim—Bereshit Rabbah and Ekah Rabbati. (For Midrash Shemu’el, Midrash Mishle, Midrash Tehillim see the several articles.).

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The interpretations which follow the proems and the halakic exordium in the halakic midrashim are confined, as mentioned above, to some of the first verses of the lesson. The Haggadah of the Amoraim is the continuation of that of the Tannaim; and, according to Bacher, there really is no difference between the Amoraim and the Tannaim with reference to the Haggadah.

Rabbinic literature Talmud Readers by Adolf Behrman. Retrieved from ” https: The highest product of the Haggadah, the public discourse drawing upon all the arts of midrashic rhetoric—sentence, proverb, parable, allegory, story, etc. But with the notoriously loose construction of the haggadic exegesis it became easy to string together, on every verse or part of a verse, a number of rambling comments; or to add longer or shorter haggadic passages, stories, etc.

Genesis Rabbah

The other exegetical midrashim not dealing with the Pentateuch. Jonathan, said, “When Moses wrote down the Torah, he noted therein the creative midrasg of each day; when he reached the verse, ‘And God said, Let us make man,’ he said, ‘Lord of the World, why dost Thou give cause for attack to the “minim” [heretics]? Berechiah said, “When the Holy One, praised be He, was about to create the first man, He foresaw that both the pious and the wicked would descend from him.

Johanan, who always carried a Haggadah with him, is the author of the saying, “A covenant has midrsh made: Creative haggadic activity ceases with the end of the Talmudic period.

The bereahit then came to be used in a more general sense, designating not the haggadic interpretation of single passages, but haggadic exegesis in general, the body of haggadic interpretations—in fine, everything which does not belong to the field of the Halakah.

Jose, the story is told of R. Aibu, said, “He created him with circumspection, for He created first the things necessary for his life [the same thought and a parable similar to the following are found also in Philo].


This was the genesis of the midrashim which are in the nature of running haggadic commentaries to single books of the Bible, as Bereshit Rabbah, Ekah Rabbati, the midrashim to the other Megillot, etc. The date of the redaction of Bereshit Rabbah is difficult to determine exactly; but it is probably not much later than that of the Jerusalem Talmud.


The disproportion between the proems and the interpretations has not yet been satisfactorily explained, in spite of various attempts to do so. From the above-mentioned prefaces it is known that Machir b.

But the haggadic midrash is the well-spring for exegesis of all kinds, and the simple exposition of Scripture is more and more lost in the wide stream of free interpretation which flowed in every direction.

It is of the utmost importance, in considering the several midrash works, to emphasize the fundamental difference in plan between the midrashim forming a running commentary to the Scripture text and the homiletic midrashim.

A brief bereshitt to these three works, more fully discussed under their respective titles, may here be given.

Here the literal and textual explanation is not yet in contrast to the Midrash Haggadah, as it often was in the time of the scientific exegesis. Exegetic material for use in the proems, especially the composite ones, which are often very extensive, was always at hand in abundance; and the art of the haggadist appeared in the use he made of this material, in the middash combination, grouping, and connection of the several sentences and interpretations into a uniform midrashh so developed that the last member formed the fitting introduction to the exposition of the lesson proper.

Many references to contemporary philosophical thought are made with the purpose of refuting the opinions of nonbelievers. Thus, beginning with the Torah portion Vayishlachextensive passages are found that bear the marks of the later haggadah, and have points of connection with the Tanhuma homilies. He took Truth and cast her midrasy the ground. When the scholars undertook to edit, revise, and collect into individual midrashim the immense haggadic material of centuries, they followed the method employed in the collections and revisions of the halakot and the halakic discussions; and the one form which suggested beresyit was to arrange in textual sequence the exegetical interpretations of the Biblical text as taught in the schools, or the occasional interpretations introduced into public discourses, etc.

Simlai said, “As he praises only after the animals and birds [comp. The Torah portions of the customary one-year cycle are not regarded at all in the divisions of Genesis Rabba, neither are they marked in the best manuscripts or in the editio princeps of the midrash; the sections, therefore, can not be regarded as mere subdivisions of the sedarim, as which they appear in later editions of this midrash.


The present Genesis Rabba shows a singular disproportion between the length of the first Torah portion and that beeshit the eleven midrssh.

The single prefaces, of which there is a large number, contain explanations of their text which refer entirely midash in its last part to the verse or passage of Genesis to be expounded in that section.

The character of the exposition in the exegetic midrashim like Bereshit Rabbah has been discussed in Jew.

On the manuscript of the Bereshit Rabbah and some of the other rabbot to the Pentateuch see Theodor in “Monatsschrift,” xxxvii. It is characteristic of the midrash to view the personages and conditions of the Bible in the light of the contemporary history of the time.

This portion may have been taken from another and a larger haggadic work on Genesis that remained incomplete, and from which the midrash may have derived also the name “Bereshit Rabbah.

He said, ‘If I create beershit, then the wicked will descend from him; if I do not create him, how can the pious descend from him? Midrash Rabba Book of Genesis.

Bereishit Rabbah

Spira, Berlin,not complete ; to the Psalms ed. There must also have been collections of legends and stories, for it is hardly conceivable that bereshig mass of haggadic works should have been preserved for centuries by word of mouth only.

It may be said in particular, that in the field of the Haggadah the century after the completion of the Kidrash may be fairly compared with the century before its completion, as regards not only the wealth of the extant material and the number of the authors to be considered, but also the independence and originality of the subject-matter treated comp. They begin with the verse of the text, which often stands at the head of the proem without any formula of introduction.

Perhaps the editor made use also of different collections on the several parts of Genesis. Many quotations in the Shulchan Aruch mention the passage of Genesis Rabba by the number of the section. Hence the words “Rabbah” and “Rabbati” are added to two only of the midrashim, each of the three others being called merely “Midrash.

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