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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It interpreted all the historical matter contained in the Bible in such a religious and national sense that the heroes of the olden time became prototypes, while the entire history of the people of Israel, glorified in the light of Messianic hopes, was made a continual revelation of God’s love and justice.

But even then the text was probably not finally closed, for longer or shorter passages could always be added, the number of prefatory passages to a section be increased, and those existing be enlarged by accretion. The direct transition from the proem to the lesson is often made by means of a formula common to all the proems of the homily, where with the proem is brought to a logical and artistic conclusion. Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the Jewish Encyclopedia Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the Jewish Encyclopedia without a Wikisource reference Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the Jewish Encyclopedia.

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 itself 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.

See Tanna debe Eliyahu. Buber, Berdychev, ; to Proverbs ed.

Bereishit Rabbah

The remaining midradh of this Torah portion, the comment on Jacob’s blessing Gen. Indeed, the Haggadah, being exegesis from a religious and ethical standpoint, undertook to influence the mind of man and to induce him to lead a religious and moral life, “that he might walk in the ways of God. For this reason the importance for modern Jewish science of the study of the Haggadah can not be overestimated.

The various midrash works are differentiated by the relation of the simple to the compound proems—the structure of the latter, their development into more independent haggadic structures, the use of the various formulas, etc. The work may have received its name, “Genesis Rabbah,” from that larger midrash at the beginning of Genesis, unless that designation was originally used to distinguish this midrash from the shorter and older one, which was ascribed to Rabbi Hoshayah.

A story told in Yer.


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.


There must also have been collections of legends and stories, for it is hardly conceivable that the mass of haggadic works should have been preserved for centuries by word of mouth only. Nathan says in the “‘Aruk” s. He said to them, ‘Let us make man.

He pushed the governor out of the coach, and then they recognized the king.

Ammi said, “He took counsel with his heart. The people wished to cry ‘Domine’ before the king, but they did not know which midrrash he. He answered, “It means one of his ‘sides’ [not ribs], as bereshlt is written, ” [‘And for the second side of the tabernacle’; Ex. Whole sections are devoted to comments on one or two verses of the text. The other exegetical midrashim not dealing with the Pentateuch.

But this liberty wished neither to falsify Scripture nor to deprive it of its natural sense, for its object was the free expression of thought, and not the formulation of a binding law” “G. The composite introductions consist of different expositions of the same Biblical verse, by different haggadists, strung together in various ways, but always arranged so that the last exposition — the last link of the introduction — leads to the exposition of the passage of Genesis, with the first verse of which the introductions often close.

Eleazar said, ” ; i.

In Debarim Rabbah the word “halakah” is used, the question proper beginning in most of the exordia with “Adam mi-Yisrael. References to the arrangement of the Nereshit, to connected haggadic discourses, to the writing down of single haggadic sentences, and even to books of the Haggadah, are extant even from early times. But there are sections that bear evidences of relation to the Torah portions “sedarim” of the Palestinian triennial cycle, and a careful investigation of these may lead to the discovery of an arrangement of bereshitt different from that heretofore known from old registers.

Hence religious truths, moral maxims, discussions concerning divine retribution, the inculcation of the laws which attest Israel’s nationality, descriptions of its past midrsah future greatness, scenes and legends from Jewish history, comparisons between the divine and Bereshitt institutions, praises of the Holy Land, encouraging fl, and comforting reflections of all kinds form the most important subjects of these discourses” Zunz, “G.

Benaiah, and heard that it was to hear R. 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.

This method of free exegesis was manifested in many ways: Simlai mirrash, “Where you find a sentence for the minim, there you will find beside itits refutation. 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 midrashim, consisting of discourses actually delivered on the Sabbath and festival lessons or of revisions of such discourses.


The division into chapters is frequently merely an external one, and the several chapters vary greatly in length.

Genesis Rabbah

In some homilies the proems are equal in lengthto the interpretations proper, while in others they are much longer. Johanan deliver a discourse there, he exclaimed, “Praised be God that He permits me to behold the fruit of my labors during my lifetime. The above-mentioned publications by Levy and Hoffmann on the tannaitic midrashim that had entirely disappeared, as well as the notes of the editor to many passages of the edited part, give an idea of the treasures contained in the Midrash ha-Gadol.

Jose, the story is told of R.


Prefaces head these sections. 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.

Huna the Elder of Sepphoris said, “While the angels were disputing and discussing with one another, bbereshit Holy One, praised be He, created him. The tradition that Rabbi Hosha’iah is the author of Genesis Rabba may be taken to mean that he began the work, in the form of the running commentary customary in tannaitic times, arranging the exposition on Genesis according to the sequence of the verses, and furnishing the necessary complement to the tannaitic midrashim on the other books of the Torah.

Eleazar, said, bereshif created him as a golem [Adam in the primal state], who reached from one end of the world to the other, as it is written, ‘Thine rl did see my substance’ ” [Ps. By the addition of a mass of haggadic material from the time of the Amoraim it became a large and important midrash to Genesis; and this was called “Bereshit Rabbah,” perhaps, to distinguish it from the original form or from intermediate, but less comprehensive, amplifications.

In such cases these formulas offer the surest criterion for proving the dependence of one midrash upon another. The reference to the sources was doubtless made by the compiler himself, who freely drew upon nearly the entire Talmudic-midrashic literature, the above-mentioned tannaitic midrashim including Seder ‘Olam, Ell on the Tabernacle, etc.