- 1. Midrash Abkir:
- 2. Midrash Al Yithallel:
- 3. Midrash 'Aseret ha-Dibrot:
- 4. Dibre ha-Yamim shel Mosheh:
- 5. Midrash Eleh Ezkerah:
- 6. Midrash 'Eser Galiyyot:
- 7. Midrash Esfah:
- 8. Midrash Hallel.
- 9. Midrash Leku Nerannena.
- 10. Midrash Ma'aseh Torah:
- 11. Midrash Peṭirat Aharon:
- 12. Midrash Peṭirat Mosheh:
- Other Recensions.
- 13. Midrash Ṭa'ame Ḥaserot we-Yeterot:
- 14. Midrash Tadshe (called also Baraita de-Rabbi Pineḥas b. Ya'ir):
- Analogies with the Book of Jubilees.
- 15. Midrash Temurah (called by Me'iri Midrash Temurot):
- 16. Midrash Wa-Yekullu:
- 17. Midrash Wayissa'u:
- 18. Midrash Wayosha':
This midrash, the extant remains of which consist of more than fifty excerpts contained in the Yalḳuṭ and a number of citations in other works, dealt, according to all accessible evidence, only with the first two books of the Pentateuch. It derived its name from the formula with which all these homilies closed, according to the testimony of R. Eleazar of Worms in a manuscript commentary on the prayer-book, and according to a codex of De Rossi. It is possible that these religious discourses were arranged in the order of the sedarim of Genesis and Exodus, the beginnings of the sedarim being Gen. i. 1, ii. 4, iii. 22, vi. 9, xii. 1, xvii. 1, xviii. 1, xxii. 1, xxvii. 1, xliv. 18; Ex. iii. 1, xvi. 4, and xxv. 1, to which belong the excerpts in Yalḳ., Gen. 4, 17, 34, 50, 63, 81, 82, 96, 120, 150, and in Yalḳ., Ex. 169, 258, and 361. If it may be assumed that in these homilies of the Midrash Abkir the expositions are not confined to the first verses, the fact that certain passages are not connected with the beginning of any seder need cause no surprise.
The language of this midrash is pure Hebrew, while its contents and discussions recall the works of the later haggadic period. As in the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer, angels are frequently mentioned (comp. the excerpts in Yalḳ. 132, 234, 241, and 243). Shemaḥsai and Azael, according to the account in the Midrash Abkir, descended to earth to hallow the name of God in a degenerate world, but could not withstand the daughters of man. Shemaḥsai was entrapped by the beauty of Istahar, who, through the marvelous might of the Divine Name, which she had elicited from him, ascended to heaven. As a reward for her virtue she was placed among the Pleiades, while the angel did penance before the Flood, and in punishment of his seduction of the daughters of men was suspended head downward between heaven and earth. Azael, however, still wanders unreformed among mortals, and through dress and adornment seeks to mislead women (Jellinek, "B. H." iv., pp. ix., et seq.). The version of this story in Yalḳ. 44 (on Gen. vi. 2) concludes; "Therefore do the Israelites offer as a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement a ram [sic] to the Eternal One that He may forgive the sins of Israel, and a ram [sic] to Azazel that he may bear the sins of Israel, and this is the Azazel that is referred to in the Torah." This passage of the midrash explains the words of Yoma 67b: "According to the school of R. Ishmael, Azazel is he who atones for the deed of Usa and Azael." It is to be noted that in the editio princeps of the Yalḳuṭ (Salonica, 1526-27) the source of the legend of the fallen angels (in § 44) as well as of the legend concerning the temptation of R. Mattithiah b. Ḥeresh by Satan (in § 161), who was successfully resisted by the pious hero, is simply the ordinary midrash, not the Midrash Abkir. The latter legend is found also in the Midrash of the Ten Commandments (Jellinek, l.c. i. 79) and in Tanḥuma (ed. Buber, "Ḥuḳḳat," Addenda, § 1).
In several other excerpts from the Yalḳuṭ, which, according to later editions, are derived from the Midrash Abkir, the source is indicated in the first edition merely by the word "Midrash," as in § 241, which discusses the legend of Usa, the patron of Egypt; here "Midrash" apparently means "Midrash Wayosha'" (Jellinek, l.c. i. 39 et seq.). Yalḳ. 235 (on Ex. xiv. 24) relates that the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres obtained wings by their art and soared to heaven, but were dashed down into the sea by the angel Michael. It can not be determined, however, whether this passage belongs to the fragment excerpted from the Midrash Abkir in Yalḳ. 234. This midrash was at all events known to the author of the "Shemot Rabbah," and was used or cited in the following works among others: the "Leḳaḥ Ṭob" of R. Tobias b. Eliezer, the "Ha-Roḳeaḥ" of Eleazar ben Judah of Worms, the "Pa'aneaḥ Raza," the "Ketab Tamim" of Moses Talhu, the "Kad ha-Ḳemaḥ" of Baḥya ben Asher, a manuscript commentary by a grandson of R. Samuel of Speier, and the Yalḳuṭ Re'ubeni. The entire midrash was likewise known to Azariah dei Rossi (comp. "Me'or 'Enayim." ed. Wilna, p. 455) and to Abraham ibn Akra. The extracts in the Yalḳuṭ, which had been listed almost completely by Zunz, were collected by Buber in "Ha-Shaḥar," xi. (reprinted separately, Vienna, 1883) and by Simon Chones in "Rab Pe'alim," pp. 133 et seq. The legend of the two angels was also reprinted by Jellinek, l.c. iv. 127 etseq. Jannes and Jambres are mentioned also in Men. 85a and "Shemot Rabbah," 9.
- Zunz, G. V. p. 282;
- Abraham Wilna, Rab Pc'alim, ed. Chones, pp. 22 et seq., 133 et seq., Wilna, 1894;
- Buber, Yeri'ot Shelomoh, pp. 9 et seq.;
- Neubauer, in R. E. J. xiv. 109;
- Brüll's Jahrb. v., vi. 98 et seq.
- On the name of the midrash see especially Brüll, l.c. i. 146;
- Chones, l.c. p. 27;
- on the legend of the angels Shemaḥsai and Azael see Enoch, vi. et seq. in Kautzsch, Apokryphen, ii. 238 et seq., 275;
- Targ. Yer. on Gen. vi. 4;
- Pirḳe R. El. xxii.;
- Midr. Peṭirat Mosheh, in Jellinek, B. H. i. 129;
- Recanati on Gen. vi. 4;
- Jellinek, l.c. ii. 86, v., pp. xlii., 172;
- Epstein, Bereshit Rabbati, p. 21;
- Brüll's Jahrb. i. 145 et seq.
A midrash containing stories from the lives of the wise Solomon, the mighty David, and the rich Korah, illustrating Jer. ix. 23. The text has been published according to a manuscript at Munich by Jellinek ("B. H." vi. 106-108), and according to a manuscript from Yemen by Grünhut ("Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim," i. 21 et seq.), with valuable references to sources and parallels. With the story of Solomon may be compared the passage cited in Jellinek (l.c. ii. 86 et seq., from the "`Emeḳ ha-Melek"); the history of David is similar to the midrash of Goliath (ib. iv. 140 et seq.); and that of Korah to the passage in the Midrash Tehillim (ed. Buber on Ps. i. 15).
- Jellinek, B. H. iv., p. xiii.; vi., pp. xxvi. et seq.
A midrash which dates, according to Jellinek, from about the tenth century, and which is devoted entirely to the Feast of Weeks, being actually called in a Vatican manuscript "a haggadah for Shabu'ot." Its author seeks to inculcate the doctrines of the Decalogue by citing pertinent tales of a moral and religious nature; and he employs, in addition to much material from unknown sources, many passages from treatises on the Creation, revelation, and similar topics, which he introduces with the phrase "ameru ḥakamim" (the sages say); he seldom cites his authorities. He writes in a lucid Hebrew style. The separate commandments are prefaced by a general introduction based on Ps. cvi. 2: "Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise?" This verse is explained, with reference to Pirḳe R. El. iii., as follows: "Even the angels are unable to recount His mighty acts; only faintly may be shown what He hath created and what shall come to pass, that the name of the King of all kings, the Holy One, blessed be He! may be praised and honored."
After a few sentences follows the haggadah of the strife of the letters, which contended with each other for the honor of forming the beginning of Creation. The victor in this contest was the letter "bet," the initial of the word , while "alef" was comforted by the promise that with it, as the first letter of , the revelation of the Ten Commandments should begin (comp. the recension of the Midrash of the Alphabet in Jellinek, "B. H." iii. 50 et seq.; Gen. R. i., ed. Theodor, p. 9). The word is explained as a noṭariḳon and as Egyptian (comp. Shab. 105a; Pesiḳ. 109a). This section is followed by a mystic and cosmological discussion of the magnitude of the world, of the waters above and below the firmament, and of the seven heavens (comp. "Seder Rabbah de-Bereshit" in Wertheimer, "Batte Midrashot," i. 9, 22 et seq.). The introduction then makes excursus on the modesty of Moses, which gained for him the honor of God's revelation of the Torah; on the preexistence of the Torah, and on God's invitation to the Gentiles to accept it, which they all refused; and on the pledges which God required of Israel to keep the Torah, these pledges being their children (comp. Cant. R. to Cant. i. 3). In the discussion of the several commandments (, etc., to , which are included in the editions of this midrash) only the first and sixth commandments, which have no story attached to them, are treated at any length in haggadic fashion. In the case of the other commandments, legends form the principal part of the discussion, and are arranged as follows: commandment ii., the mother and her seven children, the limping Jew; commandment iii., one who never swore; commandment iv., the pious man and the cow; Joseph, who kept holy the Sabbath-day, the emperor and R. Joshua b. Hananiah, Tinnius Rufus and Rabbi Akiba; commandment v., three examples of the love of children, the child and the Book of Genesis; commandment vii., the temptation of Mattithiah b. Ḥeresh, Rabbi Meïr and the wife of his host, Mattaniah's wife and death; the history of Saul, who by the help of Elijah was reunited with his wife after a long separation; commandment viii., Solomon and the thief, the merchant and the thievish innkeeper; commandment ix., the son of the publican Baya.
- Zunz, G. V. pp. 142, 144;
- Jellinek, B. H. i., p. xviii.;
- text of the Midrash, ib. pp. 62-90;
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 301;
- Horowitz, Uralte Tosefta's, v. 66 et seq.;
- Wertheimer, Batte Midrashot, ii. 8, 26.
- On another recension of this midrash in the Ḥibbur ha-Ma'asiyyot, Verona, 1647, which contains a story on the honor due the Torah, as well as on a , and which is contained in a manuscript of historical miscellanies, comp. Epstein in Ha-Shaḥar, i. 67;
- Maḥzor Vitry, Introduction, p. 183.
- Winter and Wünsche's Die Jüdische Litteratur, i. 669 et seq., contains a translation of some fragments of another midrash to the Ten Commandments, attributed to Saadia Gaon (comp. Eisenstadter, Arabischer Midrasch zu den Zehn Geboten, Vienna, 1868;
- see also Weiss, Dor, iv. 152).
This midrash, which is written in pure Hebrew, and which is in many portions a mere cento of verses from the Bible in close imitation of Biblical style, presents a history of the life of Moses embellished with many legends which must be very old, since the same or similar stories are found as early as Josephus ("Ant." ii. 9, §§ 2 et seq.).; viz., the stories of the wise men's prophecy to the king of the birth of a child who some day will destroy the power of the Egyptians (in the midrash the interpretation of a dream replaces the prophecy; comp. also Targ. Yer. 1 to Ex. i. 15), upon which prophecy followed the command of the king to cast the male children of the Israelites into the river; the crown which the king places upon Moses' head, and which the latter casts to the earth (in the midrash Moses is described as taking the crown from the king's head); Moses as leader of the Israelites in a war against the Ethiopians, his use of the ibis in combating the snakes that have made his way dangerous, and the love of the king's daughter for him (according to the midrash Moses enters the camp of the Ethiopian king , upon whose death he marries the latter's widow, and, overcoming the dangers due to the snakes, captures the longbesieged city). For other older sources which agree in part with this midrash and differ fromit in some respects, see Moses in Rabbinical Literature.
According to Jellinek ("B. H." ii., p. viii.), the life of Moses was originally treated in detail in a chronicle which employed sources still older. This work was incorporated in the well-known collection of legends entitled "Sefer ha-Yashar"; and from this the Yalḳuṭ took extracts which agree with the "Sefer ha-Yashar" and not with the present Chronicle of Moses. At a later time, however, a shorter recension of the older chronicle was made, which is the one now existing. It was published at Constantinople in 1516, at Venice in 1564, and elsewhere, and was reprinted by Jellinek (l.c. ii. 1-13). Extracts were made from the chronicle by the author of the "Midrash Wayosha'"; and it was one of the sources of the "Shemot Rabbah"; it was likewise cited in the "'Aruk," by Ibn Ezra (who rejects it as apocryphal) on Ex. ii. 22, and by Samuel ben Meïr on Numbers.
- Zunz, G. V. p. 145;
- Rab Pe'alim, p. 45;
- Jellinek, B. H. ii., pp. vii. et seq.
This midrash receives its name from the fact that a seliḥah for the Day of Atonement, which treats the same subject and begins with the words "Eleh ezkerah," recounts the execution of ten famous teachers of the Mishnah in the time of the persecution by Hadrian. The same event is related in a very ancient source, Ekah Rabbati on Lam. ii. 2, ed. Buber, p. 50b (comp. also Midr. Teh. on Ps. ix. 13, ed. Buber, p. 44b). According to the Midrash Eleh Ezkerah, a Roman emperor commanded the execution of the ten sages of Israel to expiate the guilt of the sons of Jacob, who had sold their brother Joseph—a crime which, according to Ex. xxi. 16, had to be punished with death. The names of the martyrs are given here, as in the seliḥah already mentioned (varying in part from the Ekah Rabbati and the Midrash Tehillim), as follows: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, R. Ishmael the high priest, R. Akiba, R. Ḥanina b. Teradion, R. Judah b. Baba, R. Judah b. Dama, R. Ḥuzpit, R. Hananiah b. Ḥakinai, R. Jeshebeab, and R. Eleazar b. Shammua'.
Although this midrash employs other sources, borrowing its introduction from the Midrash Konen, and the account of the conversation of Rabbi Ishmael with the angels in heaven probably from the "Hekalot," it forms, nevertheless, a coherent work. It was edited, on the basis of a Hamburg codex, by Jellinek (Leipsic, 1853, and in his "B. H." ii. 64-72), and, according to another manuscript, by Chones, in his "Rab Pe'alim" (pp. 157-160). A second and a third recension of the midrash were edited, on the basis of manuscript sources, in "B. H." (vi. 19-35), and a fourth is contained in the Spanish liturgical work "Bet Ab" (Leghorn, 1877). According to Jellinek, "the fourth recension is the oldest, since it has borrowed large portions from the 'Hekalot'; next to this stand the second and the third; while the youngest is the first, which, nevertheless, has the advantage of real conformity with the spirit of the race and represents this the best of all." The martyrdom of the ten sages is also treated in the additions to the "Hekalot" ("B. H." v. 167 et seq.) and in the ḳinah for the Ninth of Ab.
- Zunz, G. V. p. 142;
- Jellinek, B. H. ii., pp. xxiii. et seq.; v., p. xli.; vi., pp. xvii. et seq.;
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 299.
- On the problem of the synchronism of the ten martyrs see Grätz, Gesch. iv. 175 et seq., and Monatsschrift, i. 314 et seq. A German translation by P. Möbius appeared in 1845.
This midrash treats of the ten exiles which have befallen the Jews, counting four exiles under Sennacherib, four under Nebuchadnezzar, one under Vespasian, and one under Hadrian. It contains also many parallels to the Seder 'Olam, ch. xxii. et seq. A citation of the commentator R. Hillel on Sifre, ii. 43 (ed. Friedmann, p. 82a) justifies the inference that the Midrash 'Eser Galiyyot originally stood at the end of the Seder 'Olam; and it is also possible that Abraham ben David likewise drew material from it, for an older edition of his "Sefer ha-Ḳabbalah" includes this midrash. The haggadah at the beginning of the midrash, to the effect that the Jews had suffered ten exiles, was cited, with the formula "Our teachers have taught," by R. Ẓemaḥ Gaon in his letter addressed to the community of Kairwan in the latter part of the ninth century. The midrash has been edited by Jellinek ("B. H." iv. 133-136) and, with valuable notes, by Grünhut ("Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim," iii. 2-22). A later recension which "cares little about haggadic chronology, but much about haggadic embellishment," was printed in "B. H." v. 113-116.
- Jellinek, B. H. iv., p. xii.; v., p. xxxv.;
- Grünhut, ib. 5-13;
- Brüll, in Ben Chananja, 1866, p. 125;
- Epstein, Eldad ha-Dani, pp. 7, 17;
- Ratner, Introduction to the Seder 'Olam, pp. 49, 123, and notes on the same work, pp. 48a, 51a, 56a.
This midrash, which as yet is known only from a few excerpts in Yalḳuṭ and two citations in "Sefer Raziel" and "Ha-Roḳeaḥ," receives its name from Num. xi. 16: "Gather unto me ["Esfah-li"] seventy men of the elders of Israel." In Yalḳ. i, § 736 is found a citation relating to the same verse, which can not be traced to any other midrash, and is doubtless taken from Midrash Esfah. To this midrash may possibly be referred a passage in the "Halakot Gedolot" (ed. Warsaw, p. 282b) and a fragment on Num. xvii. 14, xx. 1-3, in Wertheimer, "Batte Midrashot," iii. 8-10, which agrees in its concluding words with the excerpt in Yalḳ., Num. 763 on Num. xx. 3 (found also ib. 262, on Ex. xvii. 2, which begins with the same words). The name of the midrash shows that it must have begun with Num. xi. 16. The other excerpts in the Yalḳuṭ from the Midrash Esfah, §§ 737, 739, 742, 764, 773, and 845, are based on Num. xi. 24, xii. 3-7, xii. 12, xxi. 9, xxvi. 2 (found also ib. 684, on Num. i. 2, which begins with the same words), and Deut. vi. 16; the extent of the midrash, however, can not be determined.
The interesting extract in Yalḳ., Num. on Num. xi. 16 names the seventy elders in two of its recensions (a third recension of this passage is furnished by a Vatican manuscript); and one of these versions concludes with a noteworthy statement which justifies the inference that the midrash was taught in the academy or Ḥanina Gaon by Rabbi Samuel, brother of Rabbi Phinehas. It would seem, therefore, that the midrash was composed in Babylon in the first half of the ninth century.
- Zunz, G. V. pp. 279 et seq.;
- Chones, Rab Pe'alim, pp. 36 et seq.;
- Rapoport, Kerem Ḥemed, vi.;
- Weiss, Dor, iv. 41, 216;
- Buber, in Keneset Yisrael, i.;
- Müller, Einleitung in die Responsa, 1891, p. 73;
- Wertheimer, Batte Midrashot, Introduction, pp. 5 et seq. The excerpts from the Midrash Esfah have been collected by Buber (l.c.) and by Chones (l.c. pp. 147-153;
- comp. Buber, Yeri'ot Shelomoh, pp. 13 et seq.).
This midrash, which is cited in the Maḥzor Vitry (§ 426, p. 334) and of which a few fragments are still preserved, seems to have been a homily ("pesiḳta") for the Feast of Ḥanukkah.
- Epstein, Ha-Ḥoḳer, i. 65 et seq.
This midrash contains compilations of doctrines, regulations of conduct, and empirical rules, arranged in groups of three to ten each and taken from various works. It is frequently found in manuscript, and has been edited at Constantinople (1519), Venice (1544), Amsterdam (1697), and elsewhere, while it has appeared more recently in Jellinek's "B. H." (ii. 92-101) and is contained also in the "Kol Bo" (§ 118), where it frequently deviates from the Amsterdam edition even in the arrangement of its sentences. The fact that this midrash is ascribed to the patriarch R. Judah ha-Nasi (Rabbenu ha-Ḳadosh) receives its explanation from the fact that the Ma'aseh Torah is merely another recension of the similar midrash found in the edition of Schönblum (in his collection "Sheloshah Sefarim Niftaḥim," Lemberg, 1877) and in Grünhut's "Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim" (iii. 33-90). This latter midrash begins in both editions with the teachings which Rabbenu ha-Ḳadosh taught his son, and the work is accordingly called "Pirḳe de-Rabbenu ha-Ḳadosh" or "Pirḳe Rabbenu ha-Ḳadosh" in the two editions and in the manuscripts on which they are based.
The editions in question comprise two different recensions. In the text of Schönblum the number of numerical groups is 24; and at the beginning stands the strange order 6, 5, 4, 3, followed by the numbers 7-24. On the other hand, in Grünhut's text, which is based on a defective manuscript, the order of the "peraḳim" proceeds naturally from 3 to 12 (or 13), but the rest are lacking; and, quite apart from this divergence in the method of grouping, even within the numerical groups the two editions differ strikingly in the number and occasionally also in the wording of individual passages. In an Oxford codex of the Maḥzor Vitry a passage occurring in böth editions (ed. Schönblum, p. 35a; ed. Grünhut, p. 35) is cited as being in the Pesiḳta; and it is also stated that it treats of a series of from 3 to 10 objects (comp. the introduction to the Maḥzor Vitry, p. 179; Tos. Ber. 8b; 'Er. 19a).
A similar collection, probably more ancient in origin, was edited by Horowitz in the "Kebod Ḥuppah," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1888, the work being based on a codex of De Rossi of the year 1290. This compilation is named the "Ḥuppat Eliyahu" or the "Sheba' Ḥuppot," on account of its opening words, "Seven canopies will God set up for the righteous in the world to come" (comp. B. B. 75a). This haggadah agrees for the most part with the Ma'aseh Torah and the Pirḳe Rabbenu ha-Ḳadosh, and presents the numerical groupings up to the number 24, arranged without much order; on the whole, it harmonizes more closely with the Pirḳe. According to Horowitz, the "Ḥuppat Eliyahu" was revised and expanded into the "Huppat Eliyahu Rabbah."
The "Ḥuppat Eliyahu" was edited as far as No. 16 by R. Israel Alnaqua at the end of his "Menorat ha-Ma'or"; and this portion of the compilation, together with other extracts from this work, was appended by Elijah de Vidas to his "Reshit Ḥokmah" (comp. Schechter, "Monatsschrift," 1885, pp. 124 et seq., 234). Alnaqua mentions also among the sources which he used "Ḥuppat Eliyahu Zuṭa we-Rabbah," which were evidently merely parts of the same work. From them were probably derived the two extracts in paragraphs 201 and 247 of the "Menorat ha-Ma'or" of Isaac Aboab, which are cited as occurring in the "Ḥuppat Eliyahu Rabbah" and the "Ḥuppat Eliyahu Zuṭa." Alnaqua was, furthermore, the compiler of many maxims beginning with the words , and , and forming the "Or 'Olam" at the end of his "Menorat ha-Ma'or." This collection was likewise incorporated by De Vidas in his work, and has been reprinted by Jellinek ("B. H." iii. 109-130) as the "Midrash le-'Olam" and "Midrash Gadol u-Gedolah."
The "Ma'aseh Torah" formed the model for the rich collection of Elijah Wilna which bears the same name, and which appeared at Warsaw in 1804 with the additions of his son Abraham.
- Zunz, G. V. pp. 284 et seq.;
- Chones, Rab Pe'alim, pp. 59 et seq., 87 et seq.;
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, pp. 337 et seq., 357 et seq.;
- Grünhut, Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim, iii., Introduction, pp. 17 et seq. Abundant material regarding this midrash has been collected by Horowitz; but the numerical relations of the midrashim require thorough investigation.
A midrash based on Num. xx. 1 et seq., and describing the lack of water experienced by the children of Israel after the death of Miriam and the events at the rock from which water was obtained. It likewise treats of Num. xx. 24 et seq., recounting the death of Aaron. Aaron, escorted by the people, ascended the mountain with Moses and Eleazar. There a cavern opened which Moses invited his brother to enter; in it were a table, a burning lamp, and a couch surrounded by angels. With gentle words Moses addressed Aaron, whose fate was to be happier than his own; for Aaron was to be buried by his brother, and his honor was to be inherited by his children. Aaron then lay down upon the couch, and God took him to Himself. When Moses left the cavern it vanished; but at his prayer, his assertion that Aaron was dead being disbelieved, the mountain opened again and the high priest was seen resting on the couch (see
- Zunz, G. V. p. 146;
- Jellinek, B. H. i., p. xix.
This midrash describes in great detail the last acts of Moses and his death, at which the angels and God Himself werepresent. There are several recensions of it. The first, published at Constantinople in 1516 (Venice, 1544, and elsewhere; also in Jellinek, "B. H." i. 115-129), begins with a brief exegesis by R. Samuel Naḥmani and R. Tanḥuma of the first verse of the pericope "We-zot ha-berakah" (Deut. xxxiii. 1, xxxiv. 12), closing with its last verses, and doubtless intended for Simḥat Torah. The real content of the midrash is a haggadic treatment of Deut. xxxi. 14 et seq., supplemented by an exegesis of Deut. iii. 23 et seq., and is filled with somewhat tedious dialogues between God and Moses, who is represented as unwilling to die. All his tears and entreaties were in vain, however; for God commanded all the princes of heaven to close the gates of prayer. In the last days of his life, until the 7th of Adar, Moses interpreted the Torah to Israel; and on the day of his death, according to R. Ḥelbo, he wrote thirteen Torahs, of which twelve were for the twelve tribes, and the best was for the Ark of the Covenant (ib. xxxi. 24 et seq.; comp. Pesiḳ. p. 197a; Deut. R., Wayelek, end.; Midr. Teh. on Ps. xc.); some say that Gabriel descended, and took the Torah from the hands of Moses, bearing it through each heaven to show the piety of its scribe, and that the souls of the holy read from this Torah on Mondays and Thursdays and on festivals. This is followed by a long section beginning with R. Josiah's account of the honors which Moses rendered Joshua, and the service which he did him in the last days of his life. Especially noteworthy here is the poetic prayer of Joshua beginning .
After this the close of Moses' life is depicted, a bat ḳol giving warning with increasing insistence of the hours, even of the seconds, that remained for him. This enumeration of the hours and the conventional formula are important for the determination of the dependence of the additions in Deut. R. xi. and the second recension on the original version. Early in the midrash the angels Gabriel and Zangaziel, "the scribe of all the sons of heaven," are mentioned; but in the last hours of the life of Moses it is Samael, the head of the Satans, whose activity is most conspicuous as he watches for the passing of the soul, while Michael weeps and laments. At last Samael receives the command to bring the soul of Moses, but flees in terror before his glance. Again he appears with a drawn sword before Moses, but he has to yield before the "shem ha-meforash," carved on the staff of the leader of Israel. The last moment approaches, however, and God Himself appears to receive Moses' soul. The three good angels accompany Him to prepare a resting-place for Moses, whose soul at length is taken in the kiss of death. See Moses in Rabbinical Literature.Other Recensions.
Large portions of this midrash are contained in Deut. R., ed. Wilna, xi. 4, 7, 8, 9 (?), and 10, where they must be regarded as later additions. The entire passage represented by paragraphs 9 and 10 of Deut. R. xi. is found also, combined in the same manner, in Yalḳ., Deut. 940 (on Deut. xxxi. 14), where the Midrash Peṭirat Mosheh is given as the source. Sifre 305 contains an exquisite little haggadah on Moses and the angel of death (comp. Pesiḳ. p. 199b; Deut. R. xi. 5). A long citation from the beginning of the midrash is also contained in a homily in Tan., Wa'etḥanan, 6 (on Deut. iii. 26), treating of the same theme, the death of Moses.
A second recension is based on Prov. xxxi. 39, and is considered by Jellinek, but probably incorrectly, to be the older. It was edited by him in "B. H." vi. 71-78, and has an entirely different beginning from that which is found in the other recension (comp. Deut. R. xi. 3). As it is based upon a defective manuscript, the manner in which this introduction was connected with the original midrash can not be determined; but what follows the missing portion does not differ essentially from that found in the first recension, although it is somewhat shorter and is changed in arrangement. Moses' lament that he may never taste the fruits of the land receives a long explanatory addition to the effect that he grieved not for the products of the earth, but because he would be unable to fulfil the divine commands pertaining to Palestine.
A third recension or revision of the midrash was published by Gaulmyn (Paris, 1692), together with a Latin translation and the first recension. In the "Assumptio Mosis" the manuscript ends abruptly before the account of the assumption from which that work receives its name. According to Schürer, this concluding portion must have related to the dispute of the archangel Michael with Satan, mentioned in Jude 9.
- Zunz, G. V. p. 146;
- Jellinek, B. H. i., p. xxi.; vi., pp. xxi. et seq.;
- Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., iii. 219 et seq.
This midrash, which has been edited most completely by Wertheimer (Jerusalem, 1899), gives haggadic explanations not only of the words which are written defective or plene, as the title of the work implies, but also of a great number of those which are not read as they are written (comp. on the ketib in Wertheimer's ed., Nos. 8, 11, 13, 19, 21-30, 37, 51, 89, 106, 111, 113, 124, 125, 127-129, 131, 134, 138-140, 181, and No. 12 on a word which is read without being written). There are likewise notes on names and words which are read differently in different places (e.g., in Nos. 17, 20, 123, 126, 141, 142, 164, 172), on the ἅπαξ λεγόμενον , Judges iv. 18 (No. 108), on the peculiar writing of certain words (e.g., No. 133 on , Isa. ix. 6, and No. 163 on , Josh. x. 24), and on the suspended letters in Judges xviii. 30, Ps. lxxx. 14, and Job xlviii. 50 (Nos. 112-114). The midrash may be termed, therefore, a Masoretic one, although it frequently deviates from the Masorah. The haggadic interpretations are derived for the most part from scattered passages in the Talmud and in the Midrashim, while the arrangement is capricious, the individual words being arranged neither according to the order of the alphabet nor according to the sequence of the books of the Bible. In the different manuscripts and editions of it this midrash varies considerably, not only in the number and arrangement of the passages which it discusses, but also in the wording of individual interpretations. It is cited under its present title in the Tosafot (Ber. 34a), in the "Sefer Miẓwot Gadol" of Moses of Coucy, and by Asher ben Jehiel, while it is called "Midrash Ḥaserot we-Yeterot" by Solomon Norzi. A brief extract from this work enumerating the words to be written "defective" or "plene," but omitting the reason therefor, is contained in the Maḥzor Vitry, § 518, pp. 656 et seq.
To the Masoretic midrashim belong also the explanations of passages read and not written or written and not read which have been edited from an old grammatical and Masoretic miscellany in the "Manuel du Lecteur" of Joseph Derenbourg (Paris, 1871), and in Jacob Saphir's "Eben Sappir" (ii. 218 et seq., Mayence, 1874), and reprinted by Jellinek in his "B. H." (v. 27-30).
- The midrash on the reasons for words written "defective" and "plene" was edited by Berliner on the basis of a Munich manuscript in his Peleṭat Soferim, Hebrew section, pp. 36 et seq., Breslau, 1872;
- by Wertheimer on the basis of a Genizah manuscript in the Batte Midrashot, i. 32 et seq., iii. 1 et seq.;
- and on the basis of a codex of De Rossi in the edition mentioned in the text;
- comp. Berliner, l.c. German section, pp. 34 et seq.;
- the introductions of Wertheimer in the various editions;
- Zunz, G. V. p. 284;
- Rab Pe'alim, pp. 65 et seq.;
- Buber in Ha-Shaḥar, iv.
This small midrash begins with an interpretation of Gen. i. 11: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth" ("Tadshe ha-areẓ"). "Why," asked R. Phinehas, "did God decree that grass and herbs and fruits should grow upon the third day, while light was not created until the fourth? To show His infinite power, which is almighty; for even without the light He caused the earth to bring forth [while now He creates all manner of trees and plants through the operation of the light]." The name of the author occurs twice (ed. Epstein, pp. xxi., xxxi.); and the midrash closes with the words "'ad kan me-dibre R. Pineḥas ben Ya'ir." No other authors are named. This midrash is peculiar in several respects, varying in many statements from other midrashim; and, although written in pure Hebrew, it contains numerous expressions which are not found elsewhere, such as , (= "planets," p. xix.). The structure of the midrash is very loose.Analogies with the Book of Jubilees.
The Midrash Tadshe is in the main symbolic in tendency, and it plays much on groups of numbers. Section 2 contains a symbolization of the Tabernacle; and, according to Epstein, the central idea of the midrash is the theory of three worlds—earth, man, and the Tabernacle. Section 10 contains a mystic explanation of the numbers mentioned in connection with the offerings of the princes (comp. Num. vii. 12 et seq.). Combinations and parallelisms based on the number ten are found in sections 5 and 15; on seven, in 6, 11, and 20; on six, in 20; on five, in 7; on four, in 20; on three, in 12, 18, etc. Desultory expositions of Gen. ii. 17; iii. 3, 14 et seq.; Ex. vii. 12 et seq., 83 et seq.; Lev. xiii. 2, xiv. 34; Lam. i. 1 et seq.; Num. iv. 3, xxvii. 7; and Deut. xxxii. 12, are contained in sections 7, 10, 17, 20, 21, and 22. Especially noteworthy is section 8, on "the ages of the pious," the Patriarchs, the Matriarchs, and the twelve sons of Jacob, giving also the dates of their births. In this list the months are not designated as Nisan, etc., but as "the first," "the second," etc. The dates for Zebulun and Benjamin are lacking in the present text, but are given in a citation by Baḥya and in the Yalḳuṭ, where, however, the months are named and not numbered. The length of life ascribed to the sons of Jacob agrees with that given in the Seder 'Olam Zuṭa; but only the Book of Jubilees gives the days and months of their births, and even it does not state the length of their lives (comp. Jubilees, xxviii. and xxxii., where, however, some dates differ from those given in the midrash). On the other hand, section 6 of the Midrash Tadshe is in entire agreement with the Book of Jubilees (ii., iii., iv., vii., x., xii., xiv., xv., and xxxiii.) in its statement that twenty-two varieties of things were created in the world—seven on the first day; one on the second; four on the third; three on the fourth; three on the fifth; and four on the sixth—and that these twenty-two varieties correspond to the twenty-two generations from Adam to Jacob (and to the twenty-two letters of the alphabet).
Epstein has drawn attention to other striking analogies between this midrash and the Book of Jubilees, especially to the strange theory of Rabbi Phinehas b. Jair (p. xxxi.) that Adam was created in the first week, and that Eve was formed in the second week, from his rib; this serving as the foundation for the rule of purification given in Lev. xii. 2 et seq., with which Jubilees, iii. 8 is to be compared. On these grounds, Epstein advances the hypothesis that in this and many other passages the author of the Midrash Tadshe used the Book of Jubilees, which existed at that time in Hebrew and was much larger in scope than at present, and was ascribed, "on account of its Essenic tendency," to Rabbi Phinehas b. Jair, who was famous for his great piety. It is hardly probable, however, that the present Book of Jubilees is incomplete; and a much more plausible view of Epstein's is that which regards the Midrash Tadshe as the work of Rabbi Moses ha-Darshan. Either on account of its beginning, or for some other reason, R. Phinehas b. Jair was regarded as the author of this midrash, and Num. R. xiii. 10 and xiv. 12, 18 contain several expositions and maxims from it cited under the name of that tanna. The midrash, from which Yalḳuṭ excerpted several passages and which has been cited by various authors, has been edited according to manuscript sources by Jellinek ("B. H." iii. 164-193) and by Epstein ("Beiträge zur Jüdischen Alterthumskunde," Vienna, 1887).
The Midrash Tadshe must not be confused with another baraita bearing the title "Baraita de-Rabbi b. Jair," which deals with gradations of virtues, the highest of which causes its possessor to share in the holy spirit (comp. Soṭah, end, and parallels).
- Zunz, G. V. p. 580;
- Rab Pe'alim, pp. 114 et seq.;
- Jellinek, B. H. iii., pp. xxxiii. et seq.; vi., p. xxix.;
- Epstein, l.c. pp. i.-xiv.;
- idem, Le Livre des Jubilés, Philon et le Midrasch Tadsche, in R. E. J. xxi. 80 et seq., xxii. 1 et seq.;
- Weiss, Dor, iv. 216;
- Kautzsch, Apokryphen, ii. 37;
- Bacher, Ag. Tan. ii. 497, 499;
- Grünhut, Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim, ii. 20b.
A small midrash consisting of three chapters. It develops the view that God in His wisdom and might has created all things on earth as contrasted pairs which mutually supplement each other. Life is known only as opposed to death, and death as opposed to life; and, in like manner, if all were foolish or wise, or rich or poor, it would not be known that they were foolish or wise, or rich orpoor. "Therefore God created man and woman, beauty and deformity, fire and water, iron and wood, light and darkness, heat and cold, food and famine, drink and thirst, walking and lameness, sight and blindness, hearing and deafness, sea and land, speech and dumbness, activity and repose, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, health and sickness," and the like. In ch. iii. the antitheses given in Eccl. iii. 1 et seq. are enumerated and are paralleled with Ps. cxxxvi. Ch. i., which contains an interesting anthropological passage, and ch. ii. begin with pseudepigraphical interpretations ascribed by the midrash to Rabbis Ishmael and Akiba; the latter appear, consequently, as joint authors of the midrash.
According to Jellinek, the Midrash Temurah was composed in the first half of the thirteenth century, since it drew upon Ibn Ezra and upon Galen's dialogue on the soul, even though it is cited by Me'iri and Abraham Abulafia. It was first edited by Azulai (Leghorn, 1786), being appended to the second part of his "Shem ha-Gedolim"; and it has been reprinted by Jellinek ("B. H." i. 106-114).
- Zunz, G. V. p. 118;
- Rab Pe'alim, pp. 123 et seq.;
- Jellinek, B. H. i., pp. xx. et seq.
A midrash named after Gen. ii. 1 ("Wa-Yekullu ha-Shamayim"). It contained both halakic and haggadic material, and doubtless covered several books of the Pentateuch; but it now exists only in citations by various authors after the middle of the twelfth century. In "Ha-Roḳeaḥ," §§ 192, 209, 320, and 324, passages from it are quoted as belonging to Gen. xix. 24, to the pericopes Beḥuḳḳotai and Beha'aloteka and to Deut. ii. 31. Judging from the first and fourth of these citations, the Midrash Wa-Yekullu was a homiletic one, since Tanḥuma on Gen. xix. and on Deut. ii. 31, as well as Deut. R. on the latter passage, likewise contains homilies. The midrash must have derived much material from the Tanḥuma-Yelammedenu, since some of the few fragments that have been preserved agree more or less accurately with passages from the Tanḥuma or with excerpts in Yalḳuṭ from Yelammedenu. The midrash seems also to have been called "Wayekullu Rabbah." The citations from it are collected in Grünhut's "Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim," ii. 16b et seq.
- Zunz, G. V. p. 281;
- idem, G. S. iii. 252;
- Rab Pe'alim, pp. 52 et seq.;
- Grünhut, Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim, Introduction, pp. 13 et seq.
This small midrash, "the heroic legend of the sons of Jacob," is based on Gen. xxxv. 5 and xxxvi. 6, and recounts the story of the wars of Jacob and his sons against the kings of the Amorites and against Esau and his army. The beginning of its version of the former story is as follows: "Our teachers said that although they did not pursue after them this time, yet seven years later all the kings of the Amorites gathered themselves together against the sons of Jacob." That the legends contained in the Wayissa'u are very old may be inferred from the Book of Jubilees, xxxiv., xxxvii. et seq., and from the Testament of Judah (Kautzsch, "Apokryphen," ii. 97 et seq., 102 et seq., 471 et seq.); the midrash betrays its relationship to these old pseudepigraphical writings in many details. The war against the Amorites is treated at greater length in the "Sefer ha-Yashar," pericope "Beshallaḥ." The midrash itself is contained in Yalḳ., Gen. 133, and is mentioned by Naḥmanides on Gen. xxxiv. 13, as "Sefer Milḥamot Bene Ya'aḳob."
The text has been edited according to the Yalḳuṭ by Jellinek ("B. H." iii. 1-5), and by Chones (in his edition of "Rab Pe'alim," pp. 153 et seq.), and by Charles in his edition of the Book of Jubilees, Appendix II., Oxford, 1895.
- Zunz, G. V. p. 145;
- Rab Pe'alim, pp. 54 et seq.;
- Jellinek, B. H. iii., pp. ix. et seq.
A midrash based on Ex. xiv. 30-xv. 18. It is an exposition in the style of the later haggadah and seems to have been intended for the "Shirah" Sabbath or for the seventh day of the Passover. Entire sections are taken verbatim from the Tanḥuma, such as the passage on Ex. xv. 3 from Tan., Bo, and on xv. 5 from Ḥuḳḳat, beginning. With the story in the exposition of Ex. xiv. 30, concerning Satan, who appeared before Abraham and Isaac as they went to the sacrifice, may be compared the addition in Tan., Wayera, ed. Stettin, No. 24; Yalḳ., Ex. §§ 98-99, end; and "Sefer ha-Yashar," end of pericope "Wayera." The midrash on Ex. xv. 2, 7 also contains extracts from the Chronicle of Moses, the passage on Usa, the genius of Egypt, agreeing word for word with the excerpt in Yalḳ., § 241. Here the first edition has merely "Midrash," while other editions give the Midrash Abkir as the source, although it is doubtful whether this haggadah ever occurred in that work.
The sections begin for the most part with the words "ameru ḥakamim," though Rabbi Joshua ben Levi and Rabbi Samuel b. Naḥmani are occasionally given as the authors. In the exposition of xv. 18 on the sorrows and the redemption in the Messianic time, the terrible figure of King Armilus is described, and it is said that he will slay the Messiah of the race of Joseph, but will himself be slain by the Messiah who is the son of David (comp. Suk. 52a); God will then gather together the scattered remnant of Israel and hold the final judgment; and the wonderful beauty of a new world full of joy and happiness is revealed.
The Midrash Wayosha' was first published at Constantinople in 1519 (Metz, 1849, and elsewhere), and has been reprinted by Jellinek ("B. H." i. 35-37).
- Zunz, G. V. p. 282;
- Rab Pe'alim, p. 55;
- Jellinek, B. H. i., p. xvii.;
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 299.
The more recent collections of small midrashim mentioned in this article and in Midrash Haggadah are the following: A. Jellinek, "B. H." parts i.-iv., Leipsic, 1853-57; parts v.-vi., Vienna, 1873-78; Ḥayyim M. Horowitz, "Agadat Agadot," etc., Berlin, 1881; idem, "Bet 'Eḳed ha-Agadot: Bibliotheca Haggadica," 2 parts, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1881; idem, "Kebod Ḥuppah," ib. 1888; idem, "Tosefta Attiḳta: Uralte Tosefta's," i.-v., ib. 1889-90; S. A. Wertheimer, "Batte Midrashot," i.-iv., Jerusalem, 1893-97; idem, "Leḳeṭ Midrashim," ib. 1903; L. Grünhut, "Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim, Sammlung Aelterer Midraschim." etc., i-vi., ib. 1898-1903; comp. also Abraham Wilna, "Rab Pe'alim," ed. Chones, pp. 133 et seq., H. L. Strack, in Herzog-Hauck, "Real-Encyc." s.v. "Midrasch."
In these collections, especially in Jellinek's "Bet ha-Midrash," there are many small midrashim, eitheredited there for the first time or reprinted, as well as a number of works under other names, a discussion of which belongs rather to an article on mystic literature. The following treatises, however, may be mentioned here, the titles being given for the most part according to Jellinek:
(1) Agadat Mashiaḥ (Haggadah of the Messiah; ib. iii. 141 et seq.). (2) Baraita Ma'ase Bereshit (in Chones' addenda to Abraham Wilna's "Rab Pe'alim," pp. 47 et seq.); also Seder Rabbah de-Bereshit (in Wertheimer, l.c. i. 1-31). (3) Gan 'Eden we-Gehinnom (Paradise and Hell; ib. v. 42 et seq.). (4) Ma'aseh R. Yehoshua' b. Levi (History of R. Joshua b. Levi; ib. ii. 48 et seq.). (5) Midrash Konen (in "B. H." ii. 23-39); Be-Ḥokmah Yasad (Divine Wisdom; ib. v. 63-69); Masseket Gehinnom (Tractate of Gehenna; ib. i. 147-149). (6) Milḥamot ha-Mashiaḥ (War of the Messiah; ib. vi. 117 et seq.). (7) Misterot R. Shim'on b. Yoḥai (Mysteries of R. Simeon b. Yoḥai; ib. iii. 78 et seq.). (8) Otiyot de-Rabbi Aḳiba (Alphabetical Midrash of R. Akiba; first and second recensions in "B. H." iii. 12-64; comp. ib. v. 31-33; vi., p. xl.; Wertheimer, l.c. ii. 23 et seq.; and see Akiba ben Joseph, Alphabet of); Hekalot Rabbati (Great Hekalot; in "B. H." iii. 83-108); Masseket Hekalot (Tractate Hekalot; ib. ii. 40-47; comp. also ib. i. 58 et seq., iii. 161 et seq., vi. 109 et seq.); and "Baraita Ma'ase Merkabah" (in Wertheimer, l.c. ii. 15-25). (9) Otiyot Mashiaḥ (Signs of the Messiah; ib. ii. 58-63). (10) Pirḳe Eliyahu (Sections Concerning the Messiah; ib. iii. 68 et seq.). (11) Seder Gan 'Eden (Description of Paradise; ib. ii. 52 et seq.; second recension, ib. iii. 131-140; additions, ib. 194-198). (12) Sefer Eliyahu (Apocalypse of Elijah; ib. iii. 65 et seq.). (13) Sefer Zerubbabel (Book of Zerubbabel; ib. ii. 54-57; comp. also Wertheimer, l.c. ii. 25 et seq., 29 et seq.).