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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There are in the Genesis Rabba about of these passages. It does not saybut ” [the verb in the singular; Gen.

The old midrash contains many Scriptural interpretations which are exegetic in the truest sense of the word, affording a deep insight into the contemporary attitude toward the Scripture. For the power of this exegesis lay not in literal interpretation and in natural hermeneutics.

Even if the editors of the midrashim combined the proems of different authors from the various homilies they had at hand, it yet seems strange that they should have been able to select for each homily several proems, including some very long ones, while they could find only a limited number of interpretations to the lessons, these interpretations, furthermore, covering only a few verses.

The remaining portion of this Torah portion, the comment on Jacob’s blessing Gen. Benaiah, and heard that it was to hear R.

Genesis Rabbah – Wikipedia

Sometimes the results of the Midrash Haggadah—specific deductions on the one hand, general precepts, sentences, and maxims on bereehit other, obtained by a study of the Biblical books from the religio-ethical or historical side, or by penetration into the spirit of Scripture—were collected in special works, forming special branches of the Haggadah, such as ethical Haggadah, historical Haggadah, Cabala, etc.

The chief difference in composition between the tannaitic midrashim and Bereshit Midrasy lies in the fact that the parashiyyot into which the latter is divided, begin, with a few exceptions, with proems, such as are always found at the beginning of the homilies collected in the homiletic midrashim.

Among the stories included those are most characteristic of the work in which the author speaks through the mouth of the prophet Elijah; furthermore, many parables, maxims, prayers, and exhortations enliven the discourse.

I have taught him the entire Haggadah, with the exception of that on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Levi himself says that he once looked into a haggadic work “sifra di-Agadta”and he quotes numerical interpretations therefrom Yer.

It is by these means distinguished from the tannaitic midrashim to the other books of the Torah, such as MekiltaSifraand Sifre. These are characteristic of a different class of midrashim, the homiletic, in which entire homilies and haggadic discourses as delivered during public worship or in connection with it were collected and edited, and which accordingly do not deal in regular order with the text of a book of the Bible, but deal in separate homilies with certain passages, generally the beginnings of the lessons.


Hence the words “Rabbah” and “Rabbati” are added to two only of the midrashim, each of the three others being called merely “Midrash. Moses Heida, with a modrash cabalistic commentary Prague, The word midrasu 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.

Perhaps the comments on Genesis were originally divided into sections that corresponded with the above-mentioned sections of the text, and that contained the beginnings of the simplest introductions, as the first traces of such introductions are found also in the tannaitic midrash. Many references to contemporary philosophical thought are made with the purpose of refuting the opinions of nonbelievers.

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Why should this sorrow be created? Midrash ha-Gadol, Preface, xi. Bereshti editor of the midrash has strung together various longer or shorter explanations and aggadic interpretations of the successive passages, sometimes anonymously, sometimes citing the author. Zunz has divided the Haggadah into three groups, following the old designations which were subsequently summed up in the word: On the manuscript of the Bereshit Rabbah and some of the other mudrash to the Pentateuch see Theodor in “Monatsschrift,” xxxvii.

Theodor in “Monatsschrift,”pp.

Perhaps the editor made use also of different collections on the several parts of Genesis. Eleazar said, ” ; i. And God said, Let us make manetc. The editor adds to the running commentary longer aggadic disquisitions or narratives, connected in some way with the verse in question, or with one of the explanations of it — a method not unusual in the Talmud and in other midrashim.

Much material from the various early midrashic collections, which gradually increased in numbers, was doubtless incorporated in the exegetic midrashim which have been preserved; and the latter clearly indicate the nature of the early exegesis, the “manner of discourse of antiquity”; but only the above-mentioned tannaitic midrashim—the Mekilta, Sifre, and Sifra, containing Haggadah mixed with Halakah—date in their earliest component parts from the second century, having been definitively edited in the post-tannaitic time.

Definitely characterized as they are in their beginning by these introductions, the sections of Genesis Rabba have no formal ending, although several show a transition to the Biblical passage that is expounded in the following section. The work is written in pure Hebrew, the diction of many passages is notably beautiful, and the style is fluent though frequently verbose; it is not always easy to follow the train of thought and to find the real connection between the several passages.

Simeon, in the name of R. The last chapter may be recognized as spurious.

Genesis Rabbah

The present Genesis Rabba shows a singular disproportion between the length of the first Torah portion and that of the eleven others. For these introductions, which are often quite bereshhit, the material for the several expositions was ready at hand. In brief, the arrangement and division of the Pentateuch midrashim, with the exception of Bereshit Rabbah, it is generally recognized, is based on the Palestinian three-year cycle, with the sedarim of which its sections correspond almost throughout.


The disproportion between the proems and the interpretations has not yet been satisfactorily explained, in spite of various attempts to do so. He put him into a deep sleep [comp. Zunz holds that it was collected and edited in the sixth century. Bereshit Rabbahconsisting of different interpretations of the same extraneous verse, by one or by various authors, and connected in various ways, but always of such a nature that the last interpretation, the last component part of the proem, leads to the interpretation of the lesson proper.

Prefaces head these sections. This portion may have been taken from another and a larger haggadic work on Genesis that remained incomplete, and ek which the midrash may have derived also the name “Bereshit Rabbah. Do what seems best to Thee'” [Ps.

Or, finally, the mass of haggadic matter was collected and edited in the exegetic midrashim proper—the midrashim par excellence, which formed either running haggadic commentaries to the single books of the Bible, or homiletic mjdrash, consisting of discourses actually delivered on the Sabbath and festival lessons or of revisions of such discourses.

But even then the text was probably not finally closed, for longer or shorter passages could always be added, midrrash number of prefatory passages to a section be increased, and those existing be enlarged by accretion.

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.

By the method of selecting extraneous texts for the proems so many non-Pentateuchal, especially Hagiographic, verses were expounded, even in early times, in the proems to the Pentateuch homilies and interpretations, that these homilies became mines for the collectors of the non-Pentateuch midrashim.

Between the beginning and the completion of these works — if ever they were completed — a long period elapsed during which there was much addition and collection. Talmud Readers by Adolf Behrman. In the Friedmann edition Vienna,after a Vatican manuscript of the yearpart i.

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