The subject will be treated under the following headings:

General Statement.
Special Divisions:
A. Midrash Haggadah in the tannaitic midrashim, etc.
3.Sifre to Numbers.
4.Sifre to Deuteronomy.
B. The purely haggadic midrashim.
I. The earliest exegetical midrashim.
1.Bereshit Rabbah.
2.Ekah Rabbati.
II. The homiletic midrashim.
2.Wayiḳara Rabbah.
3.Tanḥuma Yelammedenu.
4.Pesiḳta Rabbati.
5.Debarim Rabbah.
6.Bemidbar Rabbah.
7.Shemot Rabbah.
8.Agadat Bereshit.
9.We-Hizhir (Hashkem).
III. The exegetical midrashim to Canticles, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, and Esther.
1.Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah.
2.Midrash Ruth.
3.Midrash Ḳohelet.
4.Midrash Megillat Esther.
IV. The other exegetical midrashim not dealing with the Pentateuch. (For Midrash Shemu'el, Midrash Mishle, Midrash Tehillim see the several articles.)
1.Midrash Yeshayah.
2.Midrash Yonah.
3.Midrash Iyyob.
V. Special haggadic works.
1.Pirḳe R. Eli'ezer.
2.Seder Eliyahu.
(Other haggadic works referred to the article Midrashim, Smaller.)
VI. Yalḳuṭ Shim 'oni, Yalḳuṭ ha-Makir, and Midrash ha-Gadol.
Connotation of Haggadah.

Midrash Haggadah embraces the interpretation, illustration, or expansion, in a moralizing or edifying manner, of the non-legal portions of the Bible (see Haggadah; Midrash; Midrash Halakah). The word "haggadah" (Aramaic, "agada") means primarily the recitation or teaching of Scripture; in a narrower sense it denotes the exegetic amplification of a Biblical passage and the development of a new thought based thereupon. Like the formula "maggid ha-Katub"(="the Scripture teaches"), frequently found in the ancient writings, the noun "haggadah" (plural, "haggadot") probably had at first a general application, but at an early date was restricted to denote a nonhalakic explanation (comp. Bacher, "Ag. Tan." 2d ed., pp. 461 et seq.). The word 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. The haggadic Midrash, which confined itself originally to the exposition of Scripture text, was developed in its period of florescence into finished discourses. "The Haggadah, which is intended to bring heaven down to the congregation, and also to lift man up to heaven, appears in this office both as the glorification of God and as the comfort of Israel. Hence religious truths, moral maxims, discussions concerning divine retribution, the inculcation of the laws which attest Israel's nationality, descriptions of its past and future greatness, scenes and legends from Jewish history, comparisons between the divine and Jewish institutions, praises of the Holy Land, encouraging stories, and comforting reflections of all kinds form the most important subjects of these discourses" (Zunz, "G. V." 1st ed., pp. 349 et seq.).

Object of Haggadah.

The opening words of this quotation are a paraphrase of a famous sentence in which the Haggadah was praised by the old haggadists themselves. "If thou wishest to know Him at whose word the world came into being, then learn the Haggadah, for through it thou shalt know the Holy One, praised be He, and follow His ways" (Sifre to Deut. xi. 22). 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." In conformity with the conditions of its time, it neither could nor would limit itself to the simple interpretation of Scripture, but included in its ever-widening circle of discussions and reflections on the Scripture text the highest thoughts of religious philosophy, mysticism, and ethics. 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. For this reason the importance for modern Jewish science of the study of the Haggadah can not be overestimated.

Development of Haggadah.

The entire wealth of the haggadic Midrash hasbeen preserved in a series of very different works, which, like all the works of traditional literature, are the resultant of various collections and revisions, and the contents of all of which originated a long time before they were reduced to writing. The first traces of the midrashic exegesis are found in the Bible itself (see Midrash); while in the time of the Soferim the development of the Midrash Haggadah received a mighty impetus, and the foundations were laid for public services which were soon to offer the chief medium for the cultivation of Bible exegesis. Much Midrash Haggadah, often mixed with foreign elements, is found in the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, the works of Josephus and Philo, and the remaining Judæo-Hellenistic literature; but haggadic exegesis reached its highest development in the great epoch of the Mishnaic-Talmudic period, between 100 and 500 C.E., when all its different branches were fully worked out. 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. The final edition of the Mishnah, which was of such signal importance for the Halakah, is of less significance for the Haggadah, which, in form as well as in content, shows the same characteristics in both periods. It may be said in particular, that in the field of the Haggadah the century after the completion of the Mishnah 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. Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." vol. i., pp. viii. et seq.).

Divisions of Haggadah.

A story told in Yer. Hor. iii. 48b indicates the great extent of the haggadic exegesis and its general popularity at this time. When the aged Ḥanina b. Ḥama saw the people of Sepphoris flocking to the school of R. Benaiah, and heard that it was to hear R. Johanan deliver a discourse there, he exclaimed, "Praised be God that He permits me to behold the fruit of my labors during my lifetime. I have taught him the entire Haggadah, with the exception of that on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes." In another passage, in a conversation between the patriarch Judah I. and Israel b. Jose, the story is told of R. Ḥiyya, that, lost in thought, he read through the whole Book of Psalms from the haggadic standpoint (Yer. Kil. ix. 32b; Gen. R. xxxiii.). During the third and at the beginning of the fourth century the masters of Halakah were also the representatives of the Haggadah; but side by side with them appeared the haggadists proper ("rabbanan di-Agadta," "ba'ale Agada"), who subsequently became more and more prominent, attracting with their discourses more hearers than the halakists. The highest product of the Haggadah, the public discourse drawing upon all the arts of midrashic rhetoric—sentence, proverb, parable, allegory, story, etc.—now received its final form. The ancient sentence "We-kullehon yesh lahem miḳra we-yesh lahem mashal we-yesh lahem meliẓah" (For each of them there is Bible text, a proverb, and a saying; comp. Cant. R. i. 1) may be applied to these products of haggadic rhetoric. The epigoni of the Haggadah flourished in the fourth and at the beginning of the fifth century, and were followed by the anonymous haggadists who preserved and revised the immense haggadic material. Creative haggadic activity ceases with the end of the Talmudic period. The post-amoraic and the geonic period is the epoch of the collectors and revisers, during which the haggadic midrashim were reduced to writing, receiving the form in which they have been handed down more or less unchanged. Sometimes the results of the Midrash Haggadah—specific deductions on the one hand, general precepts, sentences, and maxims on the 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. At other times single Scriptural interpretations, haggadic sentences, and stories of all kinds, which originated or were used in the course of some halakic discussion—and this was often the case—were included when that discussion was reduced to writing; and it is for this reason that the Mishnah, Tosefta, and both Talmuds contain so much haggadic material. 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.

Students of the Haggadah.

The following discussion of individual midrashic works will be restricted to the most important productions in the field of the Midrash Haggadah proper; for the ethical and historical Haggadah, and such as is included in halakic works, see Abot; Apocalypse; Apocalyptic Literature; Apocrypha; Cabala; Derek Ereẓ Rabbah; Ethics; etc. Similarly, as regards the Targumim containing or reflecting the Midrash Haggadah, reference must be made to the articles on the various targumim. It may be regarded as characteristic of the midrashim proper that they are anonymous—that is, the name of the editor who made the final revision is unknown; accordingly, haggadic works whose authors are known (e.g., R. Tobias b. Eliezer's "Lekaḥ Ṭob"; R. Menahem b. Solomon's "Sekel Ṭob"), and the haggadic commentaries of a later period, such as that published by Buber under the title "Midrash Agada" (Vienna, 1894), must likewise be excluded from this review. Haggadic exegesis was, as mentioned above, assiduously cultivated in the period of its florescence by the most eminent rabbis, some of whom are praised in particular as being "learned in the Haggadah" ("baḳi ba-Agada"); and it became a special branch of traditional science for the "scholars of the Haggadah" ("rabbanan di-Agadta"). It was the subject of study in the schools and furnished an inexhaustible supply of material for the sermons and discourses which were deliveredon Sabbaths and feast-days, and which followed the Scripture lesson and formed a part of public worship, or could be separated from it at need. Opportunity, moreover, often arose, both on joyous and on sad occasions, to resort to haggadic expositions for words of comfort or of blessing, for farewell discourses, etc.

References to the arrangement of the Haggadah, 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. Thus R. Simon b. Pazzi was an editor of the Haggadah ("mesadder Agadta") before the time of R. Joshua b. Levi (comp. Ber. 10a). The latter, a Palestinian amora of the first half of the third century, who was also a famous haggadist, was the author of the sentence explaining the phrase "works of God" in Ps. xxviii. 5 as referring to the haggadot (Midr. Teh. ad loc.); he, as well as his pupil R. Ḥiyya b. Abba, severely censures the reducing of haggadot to writing and the use of written haggadot, for it was in general considered that the prohibition against writing down the "words of the oral law" referred not only to halakot, but also to haggadot; for the latter in particular might be the expression of private opinions and interpretations which, not being under control of the schools, were likely to lead to abuses. The severity of this censure indicates that it was not a question of writing down single haggadot merely. R. Joshua b. Levi himself says that he once looked into a haggadic work ("sifra di-Agadta"), and he quotes numerical interpretations therefrom (Yer. Shab. xvi. 15c; Soferim xvi.); a "Haggadah-book of the school" is mentioned by R. Jacob bar Aḥa, the contemporary of Judah I. (Sanh. 57b); and it is said of R. Johanan and R. Simeon b. Laḳish, the contemporaries of R. Joshua b. Levi, that they read a Haggadah-book on the Sabbath. They regarded such collections as demanded by the times, and paraphrasing Psalm cxix. 126 they declared that it were better to repeal an interdiction (i.e., that against writing down the oral law, which they referred to the Haggadah) than to allow the Torah to be forgotten in Israel (Giṭ. 60a; Tem. 14b).

R. Johanan, who always carried a Haggadah with him, is the author of the saying, "A covenant has been made: whoever learns the Haggadah from a book does not easily forget it" (Yer. Ber. v. 9a). There are other scattered allusions to haggadic works in Talmudic-midrashic literature. 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. These scattered allusions merely show, however, that the beginnings of the written Haggadah date very far back; very little is known of the nature of the old Haggadah-books, and it is impossible to determine what traces they left in the old Midrash literature. 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. The purely haggadic-exegetic midrashim were edited at a much later time, after the completion of the Talmud. One may, as Bacher says, "speak in a certain sense of the completion of the haggadic Midrash as one speaks of the completion of the Talmud, although the works belonging to this class continued to be produced for five centuries or more after that time."

Exegetic and Homiletic Midrash.

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. In order to avoid repetitions later on, brief reference must here be made to the connection of the midrashic homilies with the Scripture lessons, which were delivered at the public worship on the Sabbath and on feast-days after the Sedarim and Pesiḳta cycle; to the structure of the homilies; to the nature of the proems which occupy such an important position in the entire midrash literature; to the halakic exordia, the formulas, etc.

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., and which were in any way connected with Scripture; and since the work of the editor was often merely that of compilation, the existing midrashim betray in many passages the character of the sources from which they were taken. 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.

Sedarim and Pesiḳta Homilies.

But even the earliest of these works, Bereshit Rabbah, is essentially different in its composition from the tannaitic midrashim in that the several "parashiyyot" (sections) are introduced by proems. 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. These lessons were either the pericopes of the Pentateuch divided according to the three-year cycle-reading of the Torah as customary in Palestine and on which the division of the Pentateuch into from 154 to 175 "sedarim" is based, or the Pentateuchal and prophetic sections as assigned in accordance with the Pesiḳta cycle to the various feast-days and special Sabbaths (e.g., the Sabbaths of mourning and of comforting from the 17th of Tammuz to the end ofthe Jewish calendar year). These may be designated respectively as sedarim homilies and as pesiḳta homilies. The Sedarim homilies are the homilies to the pericopes of the Sedarim cycle—of which, although no collection to the entire cycle has been preserved, one to the entire Pentateuch exists in the Tanḥuma midrashim—and to individual books of the Pentateuch in Shemot Rabbah (in part), Wayiḳra Rabbah, Bemidbar Rabbah (beginning with ch. xv.), Debarim Rabbah, etc. The Pesiḳta homilies are the homilies to the Scripture sections according to the Pesiḳta cycle, as found in the Pesiḳta edited by Solomon Buber and in the Pesiḳta Rabbati: the designation is applied also to the homilies on lessons of the Pesiḳta cycle in the Tanḥumas and other Pentateuch midrashim. 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. These midrashim therefore contain homilies to the Sabbath lessons of the three-year cycle together with a number of homilies intended for the feast-days and Sabbaths of the Pesiḳta cycle (Theodor, in "Monatsschrift," 1885, pp. 356 et seq.).

The Proems.

The sedarim and pesiḳta homilies are clear and comprehensive in structure, although this may not be recognized in the midrash editions, in which the homilies are often not properly arranged. In the Pesiḳta, Wayiḳra Rabbah, etc., the homilies begin with several proems; in the Tanḥumas (with considerable differences in various parts and in the different recensions), the Pesiḳta Rabbati, Debarim Rabbah, and Bemidbar Rabbah, a halakic exordium more or less systematically precedes the proems. The latter are followed by the exposition proper, which, however, covers only a few of the first verses of the Scripture lesson; the first verse (or the first part thereof) of the lesson is generally discussed more fully than the remaining verses. The homilies generally close with verses from the Bible prophesying Israel's auspicious future. This is the common form of the homilies in all the homiletic midrashim; it allows, however, of the utmost freedom of treatment and execution in its various parts. The proems, which are the clearest evidence of the existence of a deliberate technical arrangement in the haggadic midrashim, constitute both in name ("petiḥah") and in nature an introduction to the exposition of the lesson proper; to this, however, they lead up by means of the interpretation of an extraneous text, the proemial text, which must not be taken from the lesson itself; and the proems may be as different in structure and finish as in contents. The proems are either simple, consisting of a simple exposition of the proem-text, often amplified by quotations, parables, etc., and connected throughout, or at least at the end, with the lesson or with the initial verse thereof, or composite (see Jew. Encyc. iii. 62, s.v. Bereshit Rabbah), consisting 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. 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. 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 interesting combination, grouping, and connection of the several sentences and interpretations into a uniform structure so developed that the last member formed the fitting introduction to the exposition of the lesson proper. There are many formulas ("Ketib," "Hada hu da-ketib" , "Zeh she-amar ha-katub" ) with which the proem-text is introduced, which may, however, also appear without formula, as often in Bereshit Rabbah and in the Pesiḳta; and the final formulas, which frequently are very rigid in form, as in the Pesiḳta, are likewise very numerous.

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. 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. Many extensive interpretations which are found in connection with Scripture passages in those midrashim are merely proems from various homilies, as often appears clearly in the final proem-formulas retained. In such cases these formulas offer the surest criterion for proving the dependence of one midrash upon another. While proems are characteristic of all the homiletic midrashim—and it was due to the popularity of this form of the old homilies that proems were added also to the parashiyyot of the Bereshit Rabbah, although this old midrash is a running commentary on the Scripture text—yet the practise of prefacing the haggadic discourse with the discussion of a simpler halakic question is observed only in a part of those midrashim. The halakic exordium begins in the Tanḥumas with the words, "Yelammedenu rabbenu" (Let our teacher teach us). This formula gave rise to the name "Yelammedenu," by which this midrash and an earlier version of it were frequently designated; the same formula occurs in the Pesiḳta Rabbati. In Debarim Rabbah the word "halakah" is used, the question proper beginning in most of the exordia with "Adam mi-Yisrael." The word "halakah" instead of the formula "yelammedenu rabbenu" is used also in the part of Bemidbar Rabbah which is derived from the Tanḥuma. 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.

In some homilies the proems are equal in lengthto the interpretations proper, while in others they are much longer. 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 disproportion between the proems and the interpretations has not yet been satisfactorily explained, in spite of various attempts to do so.

Character of Exegesis.

The character of the exposition in the exegetic midrashim like Bereshit Rabbah has been discussed in Jew. Encyc. iii. 63, s.v. Bereshit Rabbah. 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. 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. 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.

Zunz has divided the Haggadah into three groups, following the old designations which were subsequently summed up in the word : (1) interpretation of the Scripture text according to its literal meaning; (2) development of the thought in any desired form, with a free use of the text; (3) discussion of the mysteries of religion and the supersensuous worlds (comp. "G. V." p. 59). The words of Zunz, the master of midrash study, in his chapter "Organismus der Hagada," may serve to close the first, general part of the present survey: "Definite rules were as impossible for this exegesis as rules of rhetoric for the Prophets; the thirty-two 'middot' postulated by Eliezer ha-Gelili were in part categories deduced from former works, which remained unobserved in the later Haggadah, and in part merely sentences given for the purpose of determining the literal meaning, and not intended to be applied in haggadic exegesis. For the power of this exegesis lay not in literal interpretation and in natural hermeneutics, . . . but in the unhampered application of the contents of the Bible to contemporary views and needs; everything that was venerated and beloved by the present generation was connected with the sacred though limited field of the past. This method of free exegesis was manifested in many ways: the obvious sense of the Biblical passage was followed; or the inner meaning of the text, to the exclusion of the literal sense, was considered; or recourse was had to the traditional haggadah (); or the results of the Masorah were taken into account. . . . 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. V." pp. 325 et seq.).

  • Zunz, G. V. Berlin, 1832 (the basic work for the study of the midrash literature);
  • Weiss, Dor, ii. 225 et seq., iii. 252 et seq.;
  • Bacher, Ag. Tan. i. 451-475;
  • idem, Ag. Pal. Amor. i., pp. vii. et seq.; iii. 500-514;
  • Theodor, Zur Composition der Agadischen Homilien, in Monatsschrift, 1879;
  • idem, Die Midraschim zum Pentateuch und der Dreijährige Palästinische Cyclus, in Monatsschrift, 1885-1887;
  • Bloch, Studien zur Aggadah, ib. 1885.
A. Midrash Haggadah in the Tannaitic (Halakic-Haggadic) Midrashim—Mekilta, Sifra, and Sifre.

For the name, composition, origin, and edition of these midrashim see special articles and Midrash Halakah.

  • 1. The Mekilta: The Midrash to Exodus generally known under this name, and which originated in R. Ishmael's school, begins with Ex. xii., the first legal section in the book—on the Passover and the institution of the Passover festival. The exegesis is continued, with the omission of a few verses, down to xxiii. 19, the end of the principal laws dealt with in the book, to which are added two shorter passages on the law referring to the Sabbath—xxxi. 12-17 and xxxv. 1-3. It appears from this that the editor of the Mekilta intended to compile a halakic midrash. But as the exegesis is in the nature of a running commentary to these passages without regard to whether the subject under discussion is legal or historical in nature, and as much haggadic matter is mingled with the halakic interpretations, it appears from a comparison of all the haggadic passages with the halakic passages that the larger part of the Mekilta is really haggadic in nature; e.g., nearly one-half of the exegesis in Bo to Ex. xii. 1 et seq. is haggadic. Beshallaḥ (ed. Friedmann, pp. 23b-56b) is, with a few exceptions, haggadic throughout; so is nearly the whole of Yitro (pp. 56b-74a), with the exception of a few verses, where even the exposition of the Decalogue contains only a small amount of halakic matter. But Mishpaṭim throughout and the exegesis of xxxi. 12 et seq. and xxxv. 1 et seq. are halakic, including only a few haggadic interpretations. (The Mekilta is divided not according to the Biblical pericopes, but into massektot and parashiyyot.) The following are simple exegetic explanations such as frequently precede the haggadic elaboration. To xiii. 17: has only the meaning "to lead" (not "to comfort"), like in Ps. lxxvii. 21 and in Ps. lxxviii. 14. To xiii. 18: means "armed" (comp. Josh. i. 14), or ("dabar aḥar") "equipped" (comp. ib. iv. 12), or "one out of five," or, according to others, "one out of fifty." To xiii. 20: is the name of a place, like ; R. Akiba says, " means the clouds of the glory of God [which surrounded them like a hut]," etc. To xiv. 7: means "heroes" (comp. Ezek. xxiii. 23 et seq.). To xiv. 8: "And the children of Israel went " denotes that they went with covered heads (i.e., as free men), or that the power of Israel was above that of Egypt. To xiv. 27: means "his strength" (comp. Num. xxiv. 21). To xiii. 19: is interpreted homiletically as referring to both past and future: "God remembered you in Egypt, He will remember you at the Red Sea; He remembered you by the sea, He will remember you also in the desert; He remembered you in the desert, He will remember you also by the brook of Arnon; He remembered you in this world, He will remember you also in the future world." The editor of the Mekilta had such a wealth of haggadic material at his disposal that he was enabled to compile entire parashiyyot to single verses,as to xiv. 15 and xv. 1 (two parashiyyot); xv. 2, 11; xx. 2. See Mekilta.Two passages may be translated here as specimens of the haggadah of the Mekilta:To Ex. xvii. 11: And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand Amalek prevailed. Did the hands of Moses help Israel to victory or did they destroy Amalek? Neither; but as long as he pointed his hand upward [heavenward] the Israelites looked up to and believed in Him who had commanded Moses to do thus, and the Holy One, praised be He, vouchsafed to them marvels and victory (comp. R. H. iii. 8). Similarly: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent" [Num. xxi. 8]. Can the serpent kill and make alive again? No; but so long as Moses did thus, the Israelites looked upon it and believed in Him who had thus commanded Moses, and the Holy One, praised be His name, gave them healing. Similarly: "And the blood shall be to you for a token . . ." [Ex. xii. 13]. R. Eliezer said: "What mean the words, 'And Israel prevailed,' or 'And Amalek prevailed'? So long as Moses kept up his hand he reminded Israel that they would be victorious through the word of the Torah, which was to be revealed by him."To Ex. xx. 17 et seq. (conclusion of the Decalogue): In what way were the Ten Commandments given? Five on one table and five on the other. There it is written: "I am the Eternal One, thy God," and opposite to it, "Thou shalt not kill." Scripture teaches that the person who sheds blood lessens the image of the king [the prototype of God for man]: simile of an earthly king who came into a province and erected statues and images, and minted coins; subsequently he overturned the statues, broke the images, destroyed the coins, and lessened the image of the king. Similarly, the person who sheds blood is adjudged to have lessened the image of the king, for it is written: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man" [Gen. ix. 6]. It is written, "Thou shalt have no other gods," and opposite to it, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Scripture teaches that whosoever practises idolatry is adjudged to have committed adultery behind God's back, as it is written, "A wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband . . ." [Ezek. xvi. 32]. It is written, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," and opposite to it, "Thou shalt not steal." Scripture teaches that whosoever steals will finally swear falsely also, as it is written, "Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely?" [Jer. vii. 9]. It is written, "Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy," and opposite to it, "Thou shalt not bear false witness." Scripture teaches that whosoever desecrates the Sabbath testifies that God did not create the world and rest on the seventh day; but whosoever keeps the Sabbath testifies that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, as it is written, "Therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord" [Isa. xliii. 12]. It is written, "Honor thy father and mother," and opposite to it, "Thou shalt not covet." Scripture teaches that whosoever lusteth will finally beget a son who will curse his father and mother and will honor him who does not honor his father. Therefore the Ten Commandments were given, five on one table and five on the other. This is the view of R. Ḥanina b. Gamaliel. The sages say: "Ten were on one table and ten on the other."
  • 2. The Sifra: The Sifra, or Torat Kohanim, originating in the school of R. Akiba, with additions belonging in part to the school of R. Ishmael, and finally edited by R. Ḥiyya, "provides, in so far as it has been preserved intact, the text of the Book of Leviticus with a running halakic commentary which explains or turns almost every word into a source for a halakic maxim" (Hoffmann, "Zur Einleitung in die Halachischen Midraschim," p. 21). It contains only a small proportion of haggadic matter, of which the most significant parts are to Lev. viii. 1-x. 7 (on the dedication of the Tabernacle; ed. Weiss, pp. 40c-46b), to Lev. xviii. 1-5 (ib. pp. 85c-86d), to some verses in the beginning of the pericope "Ḳedoshim" (Lev. xix. 1-3, 15-18), to Lev. xxii. 32 et seq., to the blessings and punishments announced in Lev. xxvi. 3-46 (ib. pp. 110c-112c). The following is a translation of the important passage, to Lev. xix. 17-18, containing Akiba's and Ben 'Azzai's sentences on the fundamental principle of Judaism:Thou shalt not hate thy brother. One might take this to mean, Thou shalt not curse him, nor strike him, nor box his ears; therefore it is written, "in thy heart," which indicates that here merely such hatred as is harbored in silence is meant. And wherefore does it follow that when you have reproved him four or five times you shall continue to reprove him? Because it is written . This might be taken to mean in case you reprove him and his countenance changes [shows shame]. Therefore it is written, "that thou sin not on his account." R. Ṭarfon said," By worship! [i.e., "by God"] there is no one in our time who is able to reprove." R. Eleazar b. Azariah said, "By worship! there is no person in our time who would accept a reproof." R. Akiba said, "By worship! there is no one in our time who understands how to reprove." R. Johanan b. Nuri said, "I call heaven and earth to witness that Akiba was lashed by R. Gamaliel more than four or five times because I complained of him. And yet I know that he loved me all the more on that account."Thou shalt not take vengeance. What is meant by taking vengeance? When one person says to another, "Lend me your sickle," and he will not lend it; then on the following day the latter says to the former, "Lend me your ax," whereupon he replies, "I will not lend it to you because you would not lend me your sickle."Thou shalt not be resentful. What is meant by being resentful? When one person says to another, "Lend me your ax," and he will not lend it; then on the following day the latter says to the former, "Lend me your sickle," whereupon he says, "Here it is; I am not like you, who refuses to lend me your ax." Therefore is it written, "Thou shalt not take vengeance," and "Love thy neighbor as thyself." R. Akiba says, "This is the great principle in the Torah." Ben 'Azzai says, " 'This is the book of the generations of man' [Gen. v. 1, Hebr.], which is a still greater principle."
  • 3. Sifre to Numbers: Sifre to Numbers and Deuteronomy is not, as it exists in current editions and as it was formerly considered, a uniform work, but is in both of its parts a combination of two midrashim of different character and different origin. Sifre to Numbers is in its main part a midrash of the school of R. Ishmael, like the Mekilta (comp. Hoffmann, l.c. p. 52). Beginning with ch. v. 1, it forms a running halakic commentary down to vi. 21; then it goes on to viii. 1-4, 23-26; ix. 1-14; x. 1-10; xv. 1-40; xviii. 1-32; xix. 1-22; xxvi. 52-56; xxvii. 8-11; xxviii. 1 et seq.; xxx. 2-17; xxxi. 17-20, 22-24; xxxv. 9-33. Haggadic are the comments to vi. 22-27 (priest's blessing); vii. 1-18, 84-89 (presents and sacrifices of princes); x. 9, 10, 29-34 (on Hobab), 35 et seq. (); xi. 1-xii. 16 (on the complaints of Miriam, Aaron, and the people against Moses); xv. 41 et seq.; xxv. 1 et seq. (Israel's sojourn in Shittim), 12 et seq.; xxvii. 1-7 (on the daughters of Zelophehad), 12-25 (command given to Moses to go up into Mount Abarim, etc.); xxxi. 1-16 (campaign against Midian), 21. It appears from this list that many passages are not commentated in Sifre to Numbers (e.g., the beginning down to iv. 49; vii. 14-83; viii. 5-22; ix. 15-23; x. 11-28; xxv. 14-19; xxvi. 1-51, 57-65; xxix. 1-11, 14-34; xxxi. 25-xxxii. 41; xxxiii. 1-xxxv. 8; xxxvi. 1-43); nor is there, strangely enough, any haggadic treatment in this midrash to the long historical passages relating to the sending out of the spies (xiii. and xiv.), to the revolt of Korah, with its consequences (xvi. and xvii.), to all the historical matter in pericope beginning with xx. 1, and to the story of Balak and Balaam (xxii. 2-xxiv. 25). It is possible that Sifreto Numbers has not been handed down in its complete form, or that the collector did not have access to haggadic material for all passages. Some passages of the comment on the priest's blessing (vi. 22 et seq.) may be quoted:[Isa. xxi. 11 et seq.] The Lord bless thee [with goods] and keep thee [in their possession]. R. Nathan says, "May He bless thee with goods and protect thee in thy body." R. Isaac says, "May He protect thee from the evil impulse, as it is written, 'For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken' " [Prov. iii. 26]. Another explanation ("dabar aḥar"): And may He so protect thee that others shall have no power over thee, as it is written, "The sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night" [Ps. cxxi. 6]; and it is written, "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" [ib. 4]; and it is written, "The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand" [ib. 5]; and it is written, "The Lord shall keep thee from all evil" [ib. 7]; and it is written, "The Lord shall keep thy going out and thy coming in" [ib. 8]. Another explanation: May He protect thee from all demons, as it is written, "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways" [Ps. xci. 11]. Another explanation: He shall protect thee, He shall keep the covenant of thy fathers, as it is written, "The Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers" [Deut. vii. 12]. Another explanation: He shall protect thee, He shall keep for thee the end [i.e., of sorrows, the time of redemption], as it is written, "The burden of Dumah [Edom]. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? . . . The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night".[Isa. xl. 31] Another explanation: He shall protect thee: He shall protect thy soul in the hour of death, as it is written, "But the soul of my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of life" [I Sam. xxv. 29]. One might think that this applied to sinners as well as to the pious, therefore it is written: "The souls of thy enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling" [ib.]. Another explanation: He shall keep thee: He shall keep thy foot from hell, as it is written, "He will keep the feet of his saints" [I Sam. ii. 9]. Another explanation: He will keep thee in this world, as it is written, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles".[Prov. vi. 23] The Lord make his face shine upon thee. May He open thy eyes. R. Nathan says, "That is, the light of the Shekinah, as it is written, 'Arise, shine; for thy light is come; . . . for, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee' [Isa. lx. 1-2]; and as it is written, 'God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us' [Ps. lxvii. 2 (A. V. 1)]; and as it is written, 'God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light' [Ps. cxviii. 27]. Another explanation: May He give light—that is, the light of the Torah, as it is written, 'For the commandment is a lamp; and the Law is light'".[Prov. iv. 9 and i. 9] The Lord be gracious unto thee () in thy wishes, as it is written, "[I] will be gracious to whom I will be gracious" [Ex. xxxiii. 19]. Another explanation: May He grant thee favor () in the eyes of the people, as it is written, "But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison" [Gen. xxxix. 21]. Another explanation: May He favor thee with knowledge, insight, understanding, good conduct, and wisdom. Another explanation: May He show favor to thee and give thee grace () by the study of the Torah, as it is written, "She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace []," and "For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck".
  • 4. Sifre to Deuteronomy: This Sifre is as fragmentary in regard to the haggadah as Sifre to Numbers, and leads to the same conclusions arrived at regarding the latter midrash. The haggadah constitutes about four-sevenths of the Sifre to Deuteronomy, and is divided into two groups, which include between them the halakic exposition. This midrash therefore consists of three parts: (1) the first haggadic part to i. 1-30, iii. 23-29, vi. 4-9, xi. 10-32; (2) the halakic exposition to Deut. xii. 1 (in pericope )-xxvi. 15 (in pericope ); (3) second haggadic part to xxxi. 14 (beginning of the seder according to the seder cycle), xxxii. and xxxiii. (the sedarim and pericopes and ). Halakic matter is found also in the first haggadic part, especially to vi. 6 et seq. and xi. 13; similarly there are haggadic expositions in the halakic portion, as to xiii. 18-xiv. 2, xv. 4, xvii. 19, xviii. 12 et seq., xx. 3 et seq., xxiii. 6 et seq., xxvi. 5 et seq. According to Hoffmann's investigations the middle halakic portion is a midrash of R. Akiba's school, while the two haggadic portions belong to R. Ishmael's school. Following are translations of two passages:Deut. xi. 13: To love the Lord your God. Perhaps thou sayest: I study the Torah that I may become rich and be called "rabbi," and receive reward. Therefore it is written, "to love the Lord your God; all that you do you shall do only for love [Hebr.]." And to serve him. That is, to study the Torah. Or is real work meant? It is written, "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it" [Gen. ii. 15]. What kind of work was there at that time, and what was there to keep? You conclude therefrom that "to dress" means "to learn," and "to keep" means "to observe the commandments"; and as the service at the altar is called "service," so learning is called a "service" [to God]. Another explanation: "To serve Him" refers to prayer. Thou sayest, Perhaps by "prayer" service is meant; and therefore it is written, "with all your heart." Is there then a service of the heart? When it is written, therefore, "and to serve him with all your heart," prayer is meant.[Ps. xvi. 5-7] Deut. xi. 26: Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. Because it is written, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing" [xxx. 19], the Israelites will perhaps say, Since God has shown us two ways, the way of life and the way of death, we will choose whichever way we please. Therefore it is written, "Therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" [ib.]. A man sat at a crossing, where two roads lay before him—one smooth in the beginning and full of thorns at the end, and one thorny at the beginning and smooth at the end; and he taught the travelers and said to them: "You see this path, which is smooth at the beginning? Two or three steps you will walk easily, and then you will come to thorns. You see that other path, full of thorns at the beginning? Two or three steps you will walk through thorns, and then you will reach the clear road." Thus Moses spake to Israel: "You see the sinners, that they are happy? Two or three days their happiness lasts in this world, but in the end they are cast out; as it is written, 'For there shall be no reward to the evil man' [Prov. xxiv. 20]; and as it is written, 'And behold the tears of such as were oppressed,' etc. [Eccl. iv. 1]; and as it is written, 'The fool foldeth his hands,' etc. [ib. iv. 5]; and as it is written, 'The way of the wicked is as darkness' [Prov. iv. 19]. You see the pious, how hard is their way in this world? For two or three days they toil, but finally they shall rejoice, as it is written, 'To do thee good at thy latter end' [Deut. viii. 16]; and as it is written, 'Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof' [Eccl. vii. 8]; and as it is written, 'For I know the thoughts that I think toward you' [Jer. xxix. 11]; and as it is written, 'Light is sown for the righteous' [Ps. xcvii. 11]; and as it is written, 'The path of the just is as the shining light' " [Prov. iv. 18]. R. Joshua b. Ḳarḥa said: "A king prepared a meal, and had invited all the guests; his friend sat among them, and thought to take a good portion, but he had no understanding. When the king saw that he had no understanding, he took his hand and laid it upon the good portion." Similarly it is written, "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup . . . The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places . . . I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel".From quotations found in old authors and from longer extracts in the Yalḳuṭ and the Midrash ha-Gadol, three other tannaitic midrashim are known, namely, the Mekilta of R. Simeon to Exodus and Sifra Zuṭa to Numbers (both of R. Akiba's school) and the Mekilta to Deuteronomy (of R. Ishmael's school); probably they also contained much haggadic matter.Bibliography: Zunz, G. V. pp. 46 et seq., 84 et seq.; Z. Frankel, Darke ha-Mishnah, 1859, pp. 307 et seq.; Weiss, Dor, ii. 225 et seq.; Brüll, in Grätz Jubelschrift, pp. 179 et seq.; Hoffmann,Zur Einleitung in die Halachischen Midraschim; idem, Liḳḳuṭe Mekilta, in Hildesheimer Jubelschrift; idem, Neue Collectaneen; Levy, Ein Wort über die Mechilta von R. Simon; Bacher, Ag. Tan. i. 235, ii. 78. See also the introductions to Weiss's edition of the Sifra, 1862, and to Friedmann's edition of the Mekilta, 1870. The review given above is based chiefly on Hoffmann's researches.
B. The Purely Haggadic Midrashim.— I. The Earliest Exegetical Midrashim—Bereshit Rabbah and Ekah Rabbati.
  • 1. Bereshit Rabbah: This midrash, which occupies the first position among the midrashim in virtue of its age and importance, has been discussed in Jew. Encyc. iii. 62 et seq. As was said there, the opinion handed down by nearly all the old authors that R. Hoshaiah, an amora of the first generation, living in Palestine in the third century, was the author of Bereshit Rabbah, may be interpreted to mean that R. Hoshaiah was responsible for the work in its original form; as such it was a running commentary (a form that originated in the tannaitic time), collecting and combining, verse by verse, according to a certain system, the various comments to Genesis, and forming a necessary supplement to the tannaitic midrashim to the oth books of the Pentateuch. That there had been no similar halakic-haggadic midrash to Genesis is likely because in the composition of the tannaitic midrashim, Mekilta, Sifra, etc., the collection of the halakic comments was probably the chief object in view, and Genesis contains only a small portion of legal matter. The tannaitic character of Bereshit Rabbah, as well as the antiquity of the sources it must have used, appears from the fact, among others, that it contains more than fifty controversies between R. Judah and R. Nehemiah. The author of the old Halakot Gedolot, furthermore, ranged Bereshit Rabbah with the tannaitic midrashim, Sifra, Sifre, and Mekilta. Bereshit Rabbah is entirely distinct in its composition from the other purely haggadic Pentateuch midrashim, like Wayiḳra Rabbah, the Tanḥumas, etc., which are homiletic midrashim, and do not comment upon the Scripture text consecutively; on the other hand, Bereshit Rabbah in certain respects differs also from most of the tannaitic midrashim—Mekilta, Sifre to Numbers, and Sifre to Deuteronomy—which are, as has been seen, fragmentary in executive, while Bereshit Rabbah is (with the exception of a few passages not adapted to haggadic treatment) a running commentary, verse by verse, on the Book of Genesis from beginning to end.

The chief difference in composition between the tannaitic midrashim and Bereshit Rabbah 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. Bereshit Rabbah, therefore, presents a combination of the form of the running commentary with that of the homily complete in itself (Tanḥuma and Pesiḳta homilies). Although the original commentary on Genesis may have been divided into parashiyyot with rudimentary proems (see Bereshit Rabbah)—traces of such proems appear also in the tannaitic midrashim—yet the addition of the many artistic proems found in the existing form of the commentary was doubtless the work of a later time, when the Bereshit Rabbah received its present form. 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. 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. Zunz holds that it was collected and edited in the sixth century. The more recent conjecture, that it was not edited until the end of the seventh, or possibly not until the beginning of the second half of the eighth, century, can not be maintained. Even after the redaction many interpretations may have been added, and the proems increased in number and amplified; the midrash, beginning with the pericope "Wayishlaḥ," contains lengthy passages possessing the characteristics of the later Haggadah.

The editing of Bereshit Rabbah does not seem to have been entirely completed, as appears from the pericopes "Wayiggash" and "Wayeḥi" (for a further discussion of this subject, as well as for the number of the parashiyyot, their arrangement according to the open and closed sections in the Scripture text, and in part according to the beginnings of the sedarim, the proems, the character and extent of the exposition, etc., see Bereshit Rabbah). Attention has also been drawn to the disproportion between the extent of the parashiyyot which now form the pericope "Bereshit" of the midrash and the length of the remaining part of the work; that pericope alone constitutes more than one-fourth of the midrash and contains twenty-nine parashiyyot, several of which deal only with a few, and in some cases only with single, verses. 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."


The designation "Rabbah" was then applied to the midrashim to the other books of the Pentateuch, as Wayiḳra Rabbah, Shemot Rabbah, etc., which were copied, with Bereshit Rabbah, even in (later) manuscripts, this collection then being called "Midrash Rabbot" (i.e., "Midrash of the Rabbot"), to which the midrashim most in use during divine service—to Canticles, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes—were subsequently added. Thus the Venice edition of 1545, in which the midrashim to the Pentateuch and to the Five Rolls were for the first time printed together, has on the title-page of the first part the words "Midrash Rabbot 'al Ḥamishshah Ḥumshe Torah" (Midrash Rabbah to the Five Books of the Torah), and on that of the second part "Midrash Ḥamesh Megillot Rabbeta" (Midrash Rabbah of the Five Megillot). The editio princeps of the midrashim to the Pentateuch (Constantinople, 1512) begins with the words "Be-shem El atḥil Bereshit Rabba" (In the name of God I shall begin Bereshit Rabbah), and the title of the editio princepsof the midrashim to the Five Rolls (Pesaro, 1519) reads "Midrash Ḥamesh Megillot" (Midrash of the Five Megillot).

Still more inexact and misleading is the term "Midrash Rabbah to the Five Books of the Pentateuch and the Five Rolls," as found on the title-page of the two parts in the much-used Wilna edition. After Zunz, it is not necessary to point out that the Midrash Rabbah consists of ten entirely different midrashim. On the manuscript of the Bereshit Rabbah and some of the other rabbot to the Pentateuch see Theodor in "Monatsschrift," xxxvii. 170 et seq. To these must be added the manuscript of Bereshit Rabbah in MSS. Orient. 40, No. 32, in the Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart. According to Solomon Schechter, there are not even six manuscripts of the rabbot to the Pentateuch and the Five Rolls in existence (comp. Midrash ha-Gadol, Preface, xi.). The following is an extract from the first proem of parashah 9 and the interpretations to Gen. i. 26, directed against the Christian view finding support for the doctrine of the Trinity in this passage, and other interesting interpretations showing the use of foreign words in Bereshit Rabbah; the text followed is that of Theodor's critical edition.

And God said, Let us make man, etc. R. Johanan quotes the verse [Ps. cxxxix. 5] and says: "If man is worthy of it, he enjoys two worlds, as it is written, 'Thou hast made me for afterward [the future world] and for formerly [this world],' but if not, then he will have to give an accounting, as it is written, 'And [thou hast] laid thine hand upon me'" [ib.]. R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said, "When the Holy One, praised be He, created the first man, He created him as a hermaphrodite [ἀνδρόγυνος], as it is written, 'Male and female created he them' " [Gen. v. 2]. R. Samuel b. Naḥman said, "When the Holy One, praised be He, created the first man, He created him with a double face [πρόσωπος], and then cut him into halves and gave him two backs, one here, the other there." [This coincides with Plato's doctrine that man was originally androgynous and had two faces; Philo also frequently expresses the view that the ideal man was born as a man-woman.] He was interrupted, "It is written there, 'And he took ' " [Gen. ii. 21]. He answered, "It means one of his 'sides' [not ribs], as it is written, " ['And for the second side of the tabernacle'; Ex. xxvi. 20]. R. Tanḥuma, in the name of R. Bene Benaiah and R. Berechiah and R. Eleazar, said, "He 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 eyes did see my substance' " [Ps. cxxxix. 16]. R. Joshua b. Nehemiah and R. Judah b. Simeon, in the name of R. Eleazar, said, "He created him so that he filled the whole world, from east to west [also reflecting a Philonic view], as it is written, 'Thou hast formed me [= 'behind, i.e., westward and eastward'], from north to south,' as it is written, 'From the one side of heaven unto the other' " [Deut. iv. 32]. R. Eleazar said, "; i.e., as the last one in the creation of the last [sixth] day; i.e., and the first in the creation of the last day." This corresponds with R. Eleazar's view, who said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature [Gen. i. 24; this is said in connection with the creation of the sixth day], that is, the spirit of the first man." R. Simeon b. Laḳish said, "; i.e., as the last in the creation of the last day; ; i.e., and as the first one in the creation of the first day." This corresponds with R. Simeon b. Laḳish's view, who said, "And the spirit of God moved [Gen. i. 2], that is, the spirit of the first man," as it is written, "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him," etc. [Isa. xi. 2]. R. Naḥman said, "As the last one after all the created works, and as the first one at the Last Judgment" [comp. Gen. vii. 23]. R. Samuel b. Tanḥuma said, "In praising the Lord also he comes last, as it is written, 'Praise ye the Lord from the heavens' [Ps. cxlviii. 1]; and then, 'Praise the Lord from the earth,' etc. [ib. verse 7]; and then, 'Kings of the earth,'" etc. [ib. verse 11]. R. Simlai said, "As he praises only after the animals and birds [comp. ib. verses 10, 11 et seq.], so he was created after the animals and birds; first [it is written] 'And God said: Let the waters bring forth abundantly,' etc. [Gen. i. 20], and last, 'Let us make man,'" etc.

[ib. verse 11]

And God said, Let us make man, etc. With whom did He take counsel? R. Joshua b. Levi said, "He consulted the works of the heaven and the earth, like a king who has two counselors [σύγκλητος], without whose consent he does nothing." R. Samuel b. Naḥman said, "He took counsel with the work of every day of creation, like a king who has a coregent [συγκάθεδρος], without whose consent he does nothing." R. Ammi said, "He took counsel with his heart. . . ." R. 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. He said, 'If I create him, then the wicked will descend from him; if I do not create him, how can the pious descend from him?' What did the Holy One, praised be He? He removed the path of the sinner from His face, and created the attribute of mercy ["middat haraḥamim"), as it is written, 'The Lord knoweth [makes known] the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish' " [Ps. i. 6]. R. Ḥanina did not say thus, but; "When He was about to create the first man He took counsel with the angels. He said to them, 'Let us make man.' They said to Him: 'What is his nature?' He said to them, 'Righteous men shall descend from him. . . .' But He did not reveal to them that the ungodly should descend from him. For if He had revealed to them that the ungodly should descend from him, then the attribute of justice ['middat ha-din'] would not have consented that he should be created." R. Simeon said: "When the Holy One, praised be He, was about to create the first man the angels divided into groups; some of them said, 'Let him be created'; the others said, 'Do not let him be created, as it is written: "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed" ' [Ps. lxxxv. 10]. Mercy said, 'Let him be created, for he will do works of mercy.' Truth said, 'Let him not be created, for he is full of deceit.' Benevolence said, 'Let him be created, for he will bestow benefits.' Peace said, 'Let him not be created, for he is full of quarrels.' What did the Holy One, praised be He? He took Truth and cast her upon the ground. Then the angels said, 'Lord of the World, why do you curse your Truth? Let Truth rise up from earth, as it is written, "Truth shall spring out of the earth" ' ".

R. Huna the Elder of Sepphoris said, "While the angels were disputing and discussing with one another, the Holy One, praised be He, created him." R. Huna, in the name 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]. Then the angels spoke before the Holy One, praised be He: 'Lord of the World, what is man that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man that Thou visitest him? Why should this sorrow be created?' Then He said to them, 'Why have all sheep and oxen been created, the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea—why have these been created? A castle with all good things, and there are no guests; what pleasure has the owner who takes his fill?' Then the angels said, 'O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! Do what seems best to Thee'" [Ps. viii. 5-10 (A. V. 4-9)]. R. Joshua of Shiknin, in the name of R. Levi, said, "He took counsel with the souls of the pious. . . ." R. Samuel b. Naḥman, in the name of R. Jonathan, said, "When Moses wrote down the Torah, he noted therein the creative work 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]?' But He said to him, 'Write; let him err who will.' The Holy One, praised be He, said to him, 'Moses, shall I not produce great and small ones from the man whom I create? Then when the great one comes to ask permission from the small one, and says, "Why do I need to ask permission from the small one?" then the small one shall say to him, "Learn from thy Creator, who created the upper and the lower beings, and when He was about to create man took counsel with the angels!" ' "

R. Ela said: "It is not the question here of taking counsel; it is as a king who, walking before the gate of the palace [παλάτιον], saw a block of stone [βυλάριον]. He said, 'What shall we do with this?' Some said, 'Use it for public baths [δημόσια]'; others said, 'Use it for private baths [πριουατος].' But the king said, 'I will make a statue [ἀνδριάς] of it; who shall hinder me?'" The minim asked R. Simlai: "How many gods have created the world? What means ?" He answered, "It does not say [the verb in the plural], but ." R. Simlai said, "Where you find a sentence for the minim, there you will find beside itits refutation." They asked him, further, "What means God by ?" Then he said to them, "Read what follows from it. It does not say , but " [the verb in the singular; Gen. i. 27]. R. Hoshaiah said, "When the Holy One, praised be He, created the first man the angels erred and would have said before him 'Holy!' It is as a king who sat with a governor [ἔπαρχος] in a coach of state [καρρουχα]. The people wished to cry 'Domine' before the king, but they did not know which was he. What did the king? He pushed the governor out of the coach, and then they recognized the king. So the angels erred when the Holy One, praised be He, created the first man. What did the Holy One, praised be He? He put him into a deep sleep [comp. Gen. ii. 21], and all then recognized that it was a man."

  • 2. Ekah Rabbati: The midrash to Lamentations, one of the oldest Palestinian midrashim, has been discussed in Jew. Encyc. v. 85 et seq. Here it may briefly be repeated that Ekah Rabbati begins with a collection of thirty-six proems, which are followed by the commentary to Lamentations, verse by verse, together with numerous stories. The midrash has many parallel passages to Yerushalmi which were probably not taken directly from the latter, for old collections were probably the common source for Ekah Rabbati, Bereshit Rabbah, and the Pesiḳta. It may be assumed with certainty that Ekah Rabbati was edited some time after the final edition of Yerushalmi, and that Bereshit Rabbah also must be considered to be older, but it has been by no means proved, as Zunz assumes for various reasons, that the entire work was not finished before the second half of the seventh century. For all details, as well as for another midrash to Lamentations published by Buber in the Midrash Zuṭa, see Ekah Rabbati. The following is from the beginning of the exposition to Lam. i. 1, after the text of the Wilna (1899) edition of Buber (pp. 21a et seq.):How [ = "Ekah"] doth the city sit solitary. Three prophets used the expression in their prophecies—Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Moses said, "How can I myself alone bear . . ." [Deut. i. 12]; Isaiah said, "How is the faithful city become an harlot!" [i. 21]; Jeremiah said, "How doth sit solitary." R. Levi said: "It is like a noble woman [matron] who had three friends: one of them saw her in her honor; another saw her in her abandon; and the third one saw her in her sorrow. Moses saw them [the Israelites] in their honor [their happiness], and said, 'How can I myself alone bear'; Isaiah saw them in their abandon, and said, 'How is become a harlot'; Jeremiah saw them in their sorrow, and said, 'How doth sit solitary' " [R. Eleazar and R. Johanan interpreted as two words— and ]. R. Eleazar said, "Where [] is the 'so' [] which He spoke to Moses—'So shall thy seed be' " [Gen. xv. 5]; and R. Johanan said, "Where [] is the 'so' [] which He spake to Moses, 'Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob' " [Ex. xix. 3]. R. Judah and R. Nehemiah: R. Nehemiah said, " is merely the expression for wailing, as it is written [Gen. iii. 9], 'And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, ' " [interpreted as = 'wo unto thee']. R. Judah said, " is the term for reproof, as it is written, 'How [] do ye say, We are wise!' " [Jer. viii. 8]. Ben Azzai was asked, and they said to him, "Say to us a word concerning the Roll of Lamentations." He said to them [playing on the letters of the word ], "Israel went into exile only after it had denied the Only One of the world [א], the ten words [י], the circumcision which had been commended after twenty generations [i.e., to Abraham, who lived twenty [ו] generations after Adam], and the five books [ח] of the Torah."Doth sit solitary []. R. Berechiah, in the name of R. Abdima of Ḥaifa: "Like a king who had a son whom he arrayed in magnificent garments when he fulfilled the will of his father; but when the king was angry with him he let him wear soiled [] garments. So with Israel; as long as he fulfilled the will of God he was clothed magnificently, as it is written, 'I clothed thee also with ' " [Ezek. xvi. 10]. R. Simlai said, "That is purple; Akiba translated it 'garments embroidered in colors [= ποικιλτά]'; but when they angered him he made them wear soiled garments." R. Joshua b. Levi said, "The Holy One, praised be He, said to Israel, 'So long as you did My will I allowed you to live secure, apart [], as it is written, "Israel then shall dwell in safety alone" [Deut. xxxiii. 28]; but when you transgressed My will, then I banished you to unclean places, as it is written, "He [the leper] shall dwell alone []; without the camp shall his habitation be" ' " [Lev. xiii. 46]. Why is the Roll of Lamentations composed according to the alphabet? In order that the lamenters may recite it fluently. Another explanation: I thought to bless you from "alef" to "taw," as it is written, "If [] you walk in my commandments . . . upright," [, Lev. xxvi. 3-13; i.e., this section, containing the divine blessings, begins with א, in the word , and ends with ת, in the word ]. When was the Roll of Lamentations recited? R. Judah says, "In the days of Jehoiakim." R. Berechiah b. Nehemiah said, "Do people weep for a person before be has died? It was rather written down in the days of Jehoiakim and recited after the destruction of the Temple."
II. The Homiletic Midrashim:

As it is customary nowadays to distinguish between festival and Sabbath sermons, so in antiquity there were collections of homilies, haggadic discourses on the Scripture sections intended as lessons for the feast-days and special Sabbaths, as well as on the Sabbatical pericopes of the three-year cycle—either on the pericopes of the entire Pentateuch (hence covering the entire cycle) or on the pericopes from single books of the Pentateuch. Such collections are the Pesiḳta (erroneously ascribed to Rab Kahana, and called also "Pesiḳta de-Rab Kahana"), the Pesiḳta Rabbati, Wayiḳra Rabbah, the Tanḥuma Midrashim, Debarim Rabbah, Bemidbar Rabbah (beginning with parashah 15), Shemot Rabbah, etc. The nature of the homilies has been sketched above; they begin with several proems, to which is added the exposition, which generally covers only a few of the first verses and verse-texts of the lesson in question, ending with a Messianic or other comforting verse. The halakic exordium preceding the proems is peculiar to Tanḥuma, Pesiḳta Rabbati, Debarim Rabbah, and Bemidbar Rabbah (part ii.). The homilies in Wayiḳra have the same form as those in the Pesiḳta.

  • 1. The Pesiḳta de-Rab Kahana: This Pesiḳta exists in only one edition, that of Solomon Buber (Lyck, 1868); it consists of 33 (or 34) homilies on the lessons forming the Pesiḳta cycle: the Pentateuchal lessons for special Sabbaths (Nos. 1-6) and for the feast-days (Nos. 7-12, 23, 27-32), the prophetic lessons for the Sabbaths of mourning and comforting (Nos. 13-22), and the penitential sections "Dirshu" and "Shubah" (Nos. 24, 25; No. 26 is a homily entitled "Seliḥot"). According to the arrangement in this edition the homilies fall into three groups: Pentateuchal, Prophetic, and Tishri, "pisḳot" (discourses on the lessons). An unnumbered "other pisḳah" to Isa. lxi. 10, after two manuscripts, is printed after No. 22; similarly No. 29, after a manuscript, is designated with No. 28 as "another pisḳah" for Sukkot, and the pisḳah on pp. 194b et seq., recognizable as spurious by the halakic exordium, and also printed after a manuscript, is designated with No. 30 as another version of the pisḳah for Shemini. Pisḳot Nos. 12 and 32 each consist really of two homilies. But the second homily in No. 27 (pp. 174b et seq.) does not belong to the Pesiḳta.The various manuscripts differ not only in regard to the above-mentioned second pisḳot and to other and longer passages, but also in regard to the arrangementof the entire collection, which began, in a manuscript which is defective at the beginning, with the homilies to prophetical lessons Nos. 13-22 and 24-25. These twelve homilies are designated by an old abbreviation as . Another manuscript, entitled "Hafṭarah Midrash," contains only these homilies, with the exception of next to the last one. Entire homilies of the Pesiḳta have been taken over, or sometimes worked over, into the Pesiḳta Rabbati; there are also a number of Pesiḳta homilies in the Tanḥuma Midrashim. Wayiḳra Rabbah also contains some of the homilies found in Pesiḳta. The parashiyyot 20, 27-30 in Wayiḳra Rabbah are, with the exception of a few differences, the same as pisḳot Nos. 27, 9, 8, 23, 28 of the Pesiḳta. Zunz takes the Pesiḳta to be dependent on Wayiḳra Rabbah, assigning this midrash to the middle of the seventh century, but the Pesiḳta to the year 700. Weiss, while emphasizing still more strongly the dependence of Pesiḳta on Wayiḳra Rabbah, takes it to be nearly as old as Bereshit Rabbah; he thinks that the Pesiḳta took for its sources Bereshit Rabbah, Wayiḳra Rabbah, Ekah Rabbah, and Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah. But other authorities regard the Pesiḳta as the earliest midrash collection.Undoubtedly the Pesiḳta is very old, and must be classed together with Bereshit Rabbah and Ekah Rabbah. But the proems in the Pesiḳta, developed from short introductions to the exposition of the Scripture text into more independent homiletic structures, as well as the mastery of form apparent in the final formulas of the proems, indicate that the Pesiḳta belongs to a higher stage of midrashic development. The nature of certain Pentateuch lessons, intended apparently for the second feast-days (not celebrated in Palestine), still calls for investigation, as well as the question as to the time at which the cycle of the twelve prophetic lessons designated by , etc., came into use; this cycle is not mentioned in Talmudic times, but is subsequently stated to have been ordained or prescribed in the Pesiḳta. For further details and quotations of passages see Pesiḳta.
  • 2. Wayiḳra Rabbah: Wayiḳra Rabbah is generally classed among the oldest midrashim; it consists of thirty-seven parashiyyot and as many homilies, twenty-two of which belong to the Sabbath lessons of the sedarim cycle in the Book of Leviticus (according to various statements regarding this cycle), and five to feast-day lessons of the Pesiḳta cycle, taken from Leviticus. To certain of the lessons belong two homilies each: parashahs i. and ii. each contains a homily to Lev. i. 1; parashahs iv. and v. each one to Lev. iv. 1; and parashahs xx. and xxi. each one to the Pesiḳta lesson Lev. xvi. 1. As mentioned above, the five homilies on the feast-day lessons in parashahs xx., xxvii.-xxx. are identical with five pisḳot in the Pesiḳta. Buber, contrary to all manuscripts, has erroneously printed also Wayiḳra Rabbah, parashah xxi., as a continuation of pisḳah No. 27 (pp. 174b et seq.). The inclusion of the seven other parashiyyot may be due to another partly different arrangement of the sedarim cycle, just as there are, on the other hand, no homilies in Wayiḳra Rabbah to certain passages in Leviticus now known as commencements of sedarim. Wayiḳra Rabbah (section 3) contains an interesting statement in regard to the variations in the sedarim cycle and the general custom of introducing the exposition by a proem; R. Ḥanina b. Abba, when he came to a place where a pericope began with Lev. ii. 3, was asked which verse he used for the proem. The proems are more independent in structure, as in the Pesiḳta, with which Wayiḳra Rabbah has much in common regarding also the use of the final formulas for the proems.The frequent use of proverbs ("be-matla amerin," "matla amer") is characteristic of this midrash: "If you have knowledge, what do you lack? If you lack knowledge, what do you possess?" (parashah i. 6). "Whoever lends on interest destroys his own and other property" (iii. 1). "She plays the coquette for apples, and divides among the sick" (ib.). "Whoever leases one garden eats birds; whoever leases two gardens is eaten by birds" (ib.). "Where the master hangs up his weapon there the common herdsman hangs up his water-jug" (iv. 1). "If one knot is unraveled, then two knots are unraveled" (xiv.3). "Whoever eats palm-cabbage is wounded by the palm-thorn" (xv. 8). "Do not care for the good pup of a bad dog, much less for the bad pup of a bad dog" (xix. 6; comp. "Monatsschrift," 1881, p. 509). See Wayiḳra Rabbah.
  • 3. Tanḥuma Yelammedenu: While Wayiḳra Rabbah is a homily collection to a single book of the Pentateuch—Leviticus—the midrash Tanḥuma is a collection covering the entire Pentateuch, arranged according to the sedarim cycle, as appears from most of the Tanḥuma homilies which have been preserved; it contains also homilies to the feast-day and Sabbath lessons of the Pesiḳta cycle. The order of the Tanḥuma homilies is as follows: halakic exordium; several proems; exposition of the first verses; Messianic conclusion. The work derives its name "Yelammedenu" from the formula "Yelammedenu rabbenu" (Let our teacher teach us), with which the halakic exordium begins; it is generally cited under this name, especially in the "'Aruk." It is called "Midrash Tanḥuma" by many old authors. A number of its proems bear the name of R. Tanḥuma, and the sentence "Thus R. Tanḥuma expounded [or preached]" is added to several larger sections. The author of Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni, however, cites two midrash works, one under the title "Yelammedenu" and the other under that of "Tanḥuma." Furthermore, the midrash Tanḥuma, which has been frequently reedited since the Constantinople edition of 1520-22, and the midrash which Solomon Buber published in 1885 from manuscripts, in so far as the parts to Genesis and Exodus are concerned are seen to be special collections. Variations in text, evidence for which is furnished by the two editions mentioned, as well as by quotations and extracts found in many writings, and by the fact that the work is known under various titles, can not be explained by assuming that the different collections now possessed—to which must be added Debarim Rabbah—or those formerly used were diferent revisions and extracts from the "original" Yelammedenu.If this mythical haggadic work was the commonsource for such different collections, containing entirely different homilies to many of the lessons, it must have been very voluminous and heterogeneous. One is justified in assuming that even if the Yelammedenu had covered the entire Pentateuch it would have contained only one homily to each seder. But if the homilies consisting of halakic introductions, proems, and expositions to some verses be designated as typical Tanḥuma homilies, modeled on the form of the Tanḥuma Yelammedenu (for the increasing popularity of sermons must have given rise to a great number of such homilies), then the existence of collections of entirely different homilies, but modeled on this type and called "Tanḥuma midrashim," is easily explainable. Or perhaps works were compiled by omitting a number of homilies from an earlier collection (Yelammedenu) and adding others having the same form together with various other selections; instances of this kind can be seen in the parts to Genesis and Exodus in the extant two Tanḥuma midrashim. Bacher assumes ("Ag. Pal. Amor." iii. 502 et seq.) that R. Tanḥuma b. Abba, one of the foremost haggadists of the fourth century—of whom more proems have been preserved than of any other author and with whom the haggadic activity of Palestine was, in a sense, brought to an end—undertook to collect and edit the haggadic Scripture interpretations according to the pericopes, of both the sedarim and the Pesiḳta cycle; although the haggadic works he collected are no longer extant, the two pesiḳtot and the Tanḥuma midrashim were based on them. According to Bacher, these midrashim contain not only passages from the original Tanḥuma, but passages from the other midrashim to the Pentateuch and to the Five Rolls, even Bereshit Rabbah and Wayiḳra Rabbah having drawn directly or indirectly from the same source. This is a far-reaching hypothesis. Zunz believed that he "did not detract from the Yelammedenu" by assigning its author to the first half of the ninth century. This view can not now be accepted. According to Brüll, the Yelammedenu was completed by the middle of the eighth century, and recognized as an authority, to which R. Aḥa of Shabḥa refers in the "She'eltot"; Brüll thinks it was "composed about 650-720" (Brüll's "Jahrb." viii. 127 et seq.). Yelammedenu is quoted as early as Saadia's time. The references to the rivers Tiber and Ticinus do not prove that the Tanḥuma was compiled in Italy.Tanḥuma comprises 158 homilies in Buber's edition, and 161 in the other editions (in which it still shows in part the original division); Nos. 129 and 132 are homilies to the sedarim and the Pesiḳta cycle. The part to Deuteronomy has been preserved very imperfectly. Tanḥuma was divided according to the pericopes of the one-year cycle when that cycle was in general use. See Tanḥuma.
  • 4. Pesiḳta Rabbati: The Pesiḳta Rabbati is a collection of homilies on the Pentateuchal and prophetic lessons, the special Sabbaths, etc.; it was probably called "rabbati" (the larger) to distinguish it from the earlier Pesiḳta. In common with the latter it has five entire pisḳot—No. 15 ("Ha-Ḥodesh"), No. 16 ("Korbani Laḥmi"), No. 17 ("Wayeḥi ba-Ḥazi"), No. 18 ("Omer"), No. 33 ("Aniyyah So'arah"), and the larger part of No. 14 ("Para"); but otherwise it is very different from the Pesiḳta, being in every respect like the Tanḥuma midrashim. In Friedmann's edition (Vienna, 1880) it contains, in forty-seven numbers, about fifty-one homilies, part of which are combinations of smaller ones; seven or eight of these homilies belong to Ḥanukkah, and about seven each to the Feast of Weeks and New-Year, while the older Pesiḳta contains one each for Ḥanukkah and the Feast of Weeks and two for New-Year. Pesiḳta Rabbati contains also homilies to lessons which are not paralleled in the Pesiḳta. There are also various differences between these two Pesiḳtot in regard to the feast-day lessons and the lessons for the Sabbaths of mourning and of comforting. The works are entirely different in content, with the exception of the above-mentioned Nos. 15-18, the part of No. 14, and some few minor parallels. The Pesiḳta contains no halakic exordiums or proems by R. Tanḥuma. But in the Pesiḳta Rabbati there are not less than twenty-eight homilies with such exordiums having the formula "Yelammedenu Rabbenu," followed by proems with the statement "kak pataḥ R. Tanḥuma"; two homilies, Nos. 38 and 45, the first of which is probably defective, have the Yelammedenu without proems with "kak pataḥ," etc.Some of the homilies have more than one proem by R. Tanḥuma. The pisḳot taken from the Pesiḳta have of course no Yelammedenu or Tanḥuma proems; the first part of pisḳah No. 14, which does not belong to the Pesiḳta, has at the beginning two halakic introductions and one proem of R. Tanḥuma. Homilies Nos. 20-24, which together form a midrash to the Decalogue, are without these introductions and proems. Only three of the homilies for the Sabbaths of mourning and comforting have such passages, namely, Nos. 29, 31, 33; but they are prefixed to those homilies, beginning with No. 38 (except No. 46, which is of foreign origin), which have the superscription "Midrash Harninu"—a name used to designate the homilies for New-Year and the Feast of Tabernacles which the old authors found in the Pesiḳta Rabbati. The present edition of the Pesiḳta Rabbati, which ends with the homily for the Day of Atonement, is doubtless defective; the older Pesiḳta has also various homilies for Sukkot, Shemini 'Aẓeret, and the Feast of the Torah. Some of the homilies also, as Nos. 19, 27, 38, 39, 45, are defective. Pesiḳta Rabbati therefore appears to be a combination of various parts, the homilies, perhaps, being added later. It is said above that No. 46 is a foreign addition; here Ps. xc. 1 is interpreted as an acrostic (ascribed to Moses), and there is also a passage from the Midrash Konen; other passages also may have been added, as the passage in No. 20, which is elsewhere quoted in the name of the "Pirḳe Hekalot" and of "Ma'aseh Bereshit" (comp. also Jellinek, "Bet ha-Midrash," i. 58). No. 36 was considered doubtful on account of its contents; No. 26 is peculiar, referring not to a Scripture passage but to a verse or a parable composed by the author. The diction and style are very fine in many passages. In the beginning of the first homily, which shows the characteristics of the "genuine" portions of the Pesiḳta. Rabbati, in the proems of R. Tanḥuma following the halakic exordium, the year 845 is indicated as the date of compositionof the work; there are no grounds for regarding the date as a gloss (see Pesiḳta Rabbati).In the appendix to the Friedmann edition four homilies are printed from a manuscript, Nos. 1 and 2 of which have yelammedenus and proems. The midrash referred to here is a later, shorter midrash for the feast-days, designated as "New Pesiḳta," and frequently drawing upon the Pesiḳta Rabbati; it has been published by Jellinek in "Bet ha-Midrash," vi. 36-70.
  • 5. Debarim Rabbah: Debarim Rabbah contains twenty-five homilies and two fragments of homilies on sections of Deuteronomy which are known for the larger part as lessons of the sedarim cycle. Homilies on the Pesiḳta lessons of Deut. xiv. 22 and xxv. 17 are not included in this midrash. Debarim Rabbah has been fully analyzed in Jew. Encyc. iv. 487, where it has been said that it contains a much more complete collection of Tanḥuma homilies in a much more original form than does the Midrash Tanḥuma in Buber's and the earlier editions; and it must be again especially noticed here that in Debarim Rabbah all homilies begin with halakic exordiums (preceded by the word "halakah" instead of the yelammedenu formula), while the portion of Midrash Tanḥuma to Deuteronomy does not have that introduction in either edition. The proems in Debarim Rabbah are quite independent structures; while the old sources, as Yerushalmi, Bereshit Rabbah, and Wayiḳra Rabbah, are used, a freer rendering is often noticeable, as well as the endeavor to translate Aramaic passages into Hebrew. Zunz ascribes the midrash to about the year 900. See Debarim Rabbah.
  • 6. Bemidbar Rabbah: This midrash is, in its earlier portions, beginning with the pericope "Beha'aloteka," not an independent midrash, but an extract from Tanḥuma, giving, with some variations and additions, the text of the earlier editions rather than that of Buber's edition. The word "halakah" instead of "yelammedenu Rabbenu" is added to the halakic exordiums in the editions, as in Debarim Rabbah; some of the homilies in Bemidbar Rabbah are without the halakic exordiums found in Tanḥuma. The thirty homilies which are found here in parashiyyot xv.-xxii. (see Bemidbar Rabbah), are on the whole identical with Tanḥuma (the earlier editions, from "Beha'aloteka" to the end); noteworthy among the interpolations is parashah xviii., No. 21 (remarkable on other grounds also), which is not found in the manuscripts of Tanḥuma, but which was added to the editio princeps of Tanḥuma (Constantinople, 1520-22) from Bemidbar Rabbah. To the Tanḥuma homilies to Numbers, beginning with ch. viii., was added a later haggadic elaboration of Num. i.-vii., which, according to Zunz, is not older than the twelfth century; it is laid out on such a large scale that, covering only the pericopes "Bemidbar" and "Naso," it takes up nearly three-fourths of the Midrash Bemidbar Rabbah. The exposition of "Naso" is, again, more than three times as long as that of "Bemidbar"; in it the method of revising and elaborating the old Tanḥuma homilies may still be seen; in the pericope "Naso" nearly all traces of the old arrangement have been swept away by the new Haggadah. It is doubtful whether the midrash in both pericopes is the work of the same author, and it is improbable that originally it formed a part of a haggadic work which dealt in a similar way with the entire Book of Numbers. The extent of the development of the Midrash Haggadah in the course of the centuries, from the epoch of the tannaitic midrashim down to the period that produced the Bemidbar Rabbah to Num. ch. i.-vii., appears on comparing the exegesis to Num. vii. 1 et seq., which is so brief that only one verse relating to the gifts of the princes on the second day is expounded, with that in Bemidbar Rabbah, in which the haggadist gave a twelvefold ingenious and suggestive exposition of the same gifts. See Bemidbar Rabbah.
  • 7. Shemot Rabbah: The Midrash to Exodus, containing in the editions fifty-two parashiyyot, is likewise not uniform in its composition. In parashiyyot i.-xiv. the proems are almost invariably followed by the running commentary on the entire seder or other Scriptural division (the beginnings of the sedarim are distinguished by an asterisk):(1) Parashah i., on *Ex. i. 1-ii. 25; (2) par. ii. and iii., on *Ex. iii. 1-iv. 17; (3) par. iv. and v., Nos.2-8, on *Ex. iv. 18-26; (4) par. v., Nos. 1, 9-23, on Ex. iv. 27-vi. 1; (5) par. vi., on *Ex. vi. 2-12; (6) par. vii., on Ex. vi. 13 et seq.; (7) par. viii., on Ex. vii. 1 et seq. (a Tanḥuma homily); (8) par. ix., on *Ex. vii. 8-25; (9) par x., on Ex. vii. 26-viii. 15; (10) par. xi., on *Ex. viii. 16-ix. 12; (11) par. xii., on Ex. ix. 13-35; (12) par. xiii., on *Ex. x. 1-20; (13) par. xiv., on Ex. x. 21-29 (there is no exposition nor, in the Tanḥuma midrashim, any homily to *Ex. xi. 1).Shemot Rabbah, beginning with parashah xv., contains homilies and homiletical fragments to the first verses of the Scripture sections. Many of the homilies are taken from the Tanḥumas, though parashiyyot xv., xvi.-xix., xx., xxx., and others show that the author had access also to homilies in many other sources. In the editions the text is sometimes abbreviated and the reader referred to such collections, as well as to the Pesiḳta; in parashah xxxix. the entire exposition of the Pesiḳta lesson Ki Tissa (Ex. xxx. 11) has been eliminated in this fashion. Such references and abbreviations were doubtless made by later copyists. There is an interesting statement in parashah xliv. regarding the manner of treating a proem-text from the Psalms for the homily to Ex. xxxii. 13. The assumption is justified that Shemot Rabbah down to Ex. xii. 1, with which section the Mekilta begins, is based on an earlier exegetical midrash, constituting, perhaps, the continuation of Bereshit Rabbah. This would explain the fact that in the first part there are several parashiyyot to the open and closed Scripture sections, and that several expressions recall the terminology of the tannaitic midrash. Zunz ascribes the composition of the entire work to the eleventh or twelfth century; although, immediately following Bereshit Rabbah in the collection of the rabbot, it "is separated from the latter by 500 years" ("G. V." p. 256). See Shemot Rabbah.
Sedarim and Homilies.
  • 8. Aggadat Bereshit: Aggadat Bereshit is a collection of homilies to a number of sedarim of Genesis, notable for its artistic composition. In Buber's edition (Cracow, 1903) it contains 83 homilies in 84 chapters (really 83, since 82 and 83 form one chapter); each homily, down to ch. lxxxi., is in three sections, so arranged that the first one connectswith a seder from Genesis, the second with a prophetic section (which may be regarded as the hafṭarah to this seder), and the third with a psalm (which, perhaps, was recited during worship on the Sabbath for which this seder was a lesson). The several homilies are combined from proemial passages generally connected with extraneous texts. Twenty-six of the twenty-eight sections of Genesis are known as sedarim from old lists; Gen. vi. 5 and xviii. 25, to which the homilies in ch. i. and xxii. belong, and to which there are homilies in the Tanḥuma midrashim (to Gen. xviii. 25 in ed. Buber), were probably beginnings of sedarim according to a different division of the sedarim cycle. Hence the Aggadat Bereshit contains the haggadic material for twenty-eight Sabbaths, on which, according to the three-year sedarim cycle, the following passages were read (the Roman numerals between parentheses indicate the corresponding peraḳim in the Tanḥuma): (1) Gen. vi. 5 with Ezek. xxxviii. 10 and Ps. li. (ch. i.-iii.); (2) Gen. viii. 1 with Jer. xxxi. 19 and Ps. xvii. (iv.-vi.); (3) Gen. viii. 15 with Micah vii. 9 and Ps. xvii. (vii.-ix.); (4) Gen. xix. 8 with Micah vii. 9 and Ps. xxvii. (x.-xii.); (5) Gen. xv. 1 with Isa. i. 1 and Ps. xxvii. (xiii-xv.); (6) Gen. xvii. 1 with Jer. xxxiii. 25 and Ps. cx. (xvi.-xviii.); (7) Gen. xviii. 1 with Mal. iii. 19 and Ps. cx. (xix.-xxi.); (8) Gen. xviii. 25 with Mal. iii. 18 and Ps. cx. (xxii.-xxiv.); (9) Gen. xx. 1 with Judges ix. 22 and Ps. cx. (xxv.-xxvii.); (10) Gen. xxi. 1 with I Sam. ii. 21 and Ps. cx. (xxviii.-xxx.); (11) Gen. xxii. 1 with Judges iii. 1 and Ps. cxii. (xxxi.-xxxiii.); (12) Gen. xxiv. 1 with I Kings i. 1 and Ps. cxxi. (xxxiv.-xxxvi.); (13) Gen. xxv. 19 with I Kings i. 1 and Ps. cxxi. (xxxvii.-xxxix.); (14) Gen. xxvii. 1 with I Sam. ii. 22 and Ps. lxv. 10 (xl.-xlii.); (15) Gen. xxvii. 28 with Micah v. 6 and Ps. cxxi. (xliii.-xlv.); (16) Gen. xxviii. 10 with Hosea xii. 13 and Ps. cxxi. (xlvi.-xlviii.); (17) Gen. xxix. 31 with I Sam. i. 1 and Ps. cxxi. (xlix.-li. 1); (18) Gen. xxx. 22 with I Sam. i. 11 and Ps. cxxi. (lii.-liv.); (19) Gen. xxxii. 4 with Ob. i. 1 and Ps. cxxi. (lv.-lvii.); (20) Gen. xxxvii. 1 with Ob. i. 1 and Ps. cxxix. (lviii.-lx.); (21) Gen. xxxviii. 1 (correctly so after a MS.) with Isa. xl. 27 and Ps. cxxix. (lxi.-lxiii.); (22) Gen. xxxix. 1 (so the MS.) with Isa. xl. 27 and Ps. cxxix. (lxiv.-lxvi.); (23) Gen. xli. 1 with Hag. i. 1 and Ps. cxxix. (lxvii.-lxix.); (24) Gen. xlii. 1 with Isa. xlix. and Ps. cxxix. (lxx.-lxxii.); (25) Gen. xliii. 13 with Jer. ii. 4 and Ps. lxxvi. (lxxiii.-lxxv.); (26) Gen. xliv. 18 with I Kings xviii. 36 and Ps. lxxvi. (lxxvi.-lxxviii.); (27) Gen. xlvi. 28 with I Kings xviii. 36 and Ps. lxxvi. (lxxix.-lxxxi.); (28) Gen. xlix. 1 with Isa. xlviii. 12 (lxxxii.-lxxxiii., belonging together, and lxxxiv.; there is no Psalm exposition for this passage.)The collection is not complete, beginning only with Gen. vi. 5; there are no homilies to a large number of sedarim of Genesis, and the ending is defective. The assumption that the prophetic sections in Aggadat Bereshit are hafṭarot to the respective sedarim according to the three-year cycle is in part supported by the list of the sedarim hafṭarot which has been published by Büchler, from a manuscript source, in the "Jewish Quarterly Review" (1894, vi. 39 et seq.); here, as in Aggadat Bereshit, the sedarim Gen. xv. 1, xxi. 1, xxvii. 28, xxviii. 10, xxx. 22, xxxii. 4 have assigned to them the hafṭarot Isa. i. 1, I Sam. ii. 21, Micah v. 6, Hosea xii. 13, I Sam. i. 11, Ob. i. 1. After Büchler's statements, the difference in the hafṭarot to the other sedarim does not seem strange. But it is curious that several prophetic sections, as I Kings i. 1, xviii. 36, Isa. xl. 27, Ob. i. 1, Micah vii. 9, Malachi iii. 18, are repeated. The Psalms which are expounded in Aggadat Bereshit present a problem that has not yet been explained. Ps. xvii. occurs twice, xxvii. twice, lxxvi. three times, cx. five times, cxxi. seven times. As is the case with the above-mentioned prophetical sections, the sedarim in which the same Psalm is used are, with one exception, consecutive, the treatment being always a different one and displaying not a little of the art of midrashic exegesis.The contents of Aggadat Bereshit were taken, for the greater part, from Tanḥuma, and there are many signs to indicate a late date of composition of the midrash; nor is it quoted, according to Buber, by the old authors. The author of this work must have been living in a country where Greek was freely spoken; he uses Greek words not found in other midrashim—as in ch. xi., (ἀλπίς)—words for which he could easily have substituted equivalent Hebrew expressions. The word instanced, a ἅπαξ λεγόμενου, was recognized to be Greek even by Menahem di Lonsano, who first edited this midrash at the end of the collection "Shete Yadot" (Venice, 1618).
  • 9. We-Hizhir (Hashkem): Although the discussion of the purely haggadic Pentateuch midrashim does not belong to this article, yet a brief mention of a work known to the old authors indifferently as Midrash we-Hizhir or Midrash Hashkem is required here. It took its halakic portion from the Talmudic sources, the baraita on the building of the Tabernacle, the "She'eltot," and the "Halakot Gedolot," the "She'eltot" also being arranged according to the one-year cycle and being in its minor portions especially dependent on Tanḥuma. The first part of the Munich codex, after which the work was published (by I. M. Freimann, under the title "We-Hizhir." part i., Leipsic, 1873; part ii., Warsaw, 1880), is doubtless somewhat defective. It begins with a haggadic passage, which, belonging to Ex. viii. 16 ("Wa-yomer hashkem ba-boker"), is found also in the earlier editions of Tanḥuma (ed. Stettin, s.v. "Wa'era," p. 14).The work was called "Hashkem" after the second word in this introductory sentence. In the editions as well as in the codex this first passage, as well as the beginning of the following haggadic passage to Ex. ix. 22, included in both Tanḥumas in the pericope "Wa'era," is erroneously combined with a passage to Ex. x. 21—which also, perhaps, was taken from Tanḥuma—as belonging to the pericope "Bo." The midrash was called by other authors "We-Hizhir," after the standing formula "We-hizhir ha-Ḳadosh, baruk Hu," with which nearly all the pericopes in the midrash as now extant begin, and which is occasionally found at the beginning of a new section in the middle of the pericope. No one, however, quotes Hashkem and We-Hizhir togetheras two different works. "The halakic expositions refer in 'Bo' to the tefillin; in 'Beshallaḥ' to the rest on the Sabbath and the 'dine 'erub'; in 'Yitro' to the commandments connected with the Decalogue; in 'Mishpaṭim' to the requirements of the judge; in 'Terumah' to the priestly gift; in 'Wayaḳhel' to the Sabbath; in 'Wayiḳra' to slaughtering; in 'Ẓaw' to the oath and the testimony of witnesses; in 'Shemini' to the 'dine ṭerefah'; in 'Tazria' 'to the 'dine yoledot'; in 'Meẓora' 'to the 'dine ṭum'ah'; in 'Aḥare' and 'Ḳedoshim' to forbidden marriages; in 'Beḥuḳḳotai' to vows; in 'Bemidbar' to the 'dine bekor'" (Zunz, "G. S." iii. 258). The haggadic portions are those mentioned above; also part i., pp. 4a et seq. (from the Mekilta); pp. 19a et seq. (from Tanḥuma, ed. Buber, and Mekilta); p. 23a (from Mekilta); p. 76b (after Tanḥuma); pp. 115a et seq., 121b (after Tanḥuma); p. 128b (after Tanḥuma, ed. Buber); part ii., pp. 34b et seq. (from Wayiḳra Rabbah, ix.); p. 128b (from Sifra), etc.The midrash, which ends in the edition with the halakic passage (to Num. v. 11 et seq.) , is probably defective at the end as well as in some other passages (following the manuscript), and it can not be determined whether it covered Numbers only or Numbers and Deuteronomy. Several passages quoted by the old authors, but not found in the edition, may have been included in the missing portion of the work. Zunz, who closely examined the manuscript after which the edition was subsequently printed (l.c. pp. 251 et seq.), comes to the conclusion that We-Hizhir and Hashkem are one and the same work. This view must be unhesitatingly accepted (comp. also Geiger's "Jüd. Zeit." 1875, pp. 95 et seq.). The fact that some passages quoted by the old authors from the Midrash Hashkem do not correspond entirely with the edition, and that some are not found in it at all, does not prove that these are two different works (as Freimann, Buber, and Grünhut assume). The differences are not important, and both differences and omissions may be due to variations in the copies or to different revisions. The work, which is quoted as early as the middle of the eleventh century as a recognized authority, is assigned by Zunz to the tenth century. The assumption of the editor expressed even in the title, that Ḥefeẓ Alluf is the author of the work, lacks support. The quotations from Hashkem by the old authors have been collected by Grünhut ("Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim," part i.).See Midrashim, Smaller, for the Midrash Abkir (which probably covered Genesis and Exodus, and of which extracts are preserved in the Yalḳuṭ.), for Tadshe (based on Gen. i. 11), for Wayissa'u (on Gen. xxxv. 5), for Wayosha' (on Ex. xiv. 30-xv. 18), for the Midrash of the Ten Commandments, and for Esfa (on Num. xi. 16).
III. The Exegetical Midrashim to Canticles, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, and Esther:

The midrashim to the Five Rolls, which, like the Rabbot to the Pentateuch, are entirely separate midrashic works, are, as mentioned above, printed together in the editio princeps, Pesaro, 1519, under the title "Midrash Ḥamesh Megillot"; in the Venice edition, 1545, the word "Rabbeta" was added to the title. The sequence of the midrashim with the names given to them in the paginal superscriptions of the Venice edition (as in the editio princeps) is as follows: (1) "Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah" (called "Rabbati" in the editio princeps, and, at the end, "Midrash Shir ha-Shirim"); (2) "Midrash Ruth" (at the end, "Midrash Megillat Ruth"); (3) "Midrash Megillat Esther" (at the end, "Midrash Aḥashwerosh"); (4) "Ekah Rabbati" (at the end, Midrash Ekah Rabbati"); (5) "Midrash Ḳohelet" (at the end, "Nishlam Midrash Ḥamesh Megillot"). Hence the words "Rabbah" and "Rabbati" are added to two only of the midrashim, each of the three others being called merely "Midrash." The five works collected here were, perhaps, the most popular midrashim to the rolls used during divine service; other midrashim to the rolls have, in part, been published recently. The very old midrash Ekah Rabbati has been discussed above; the remaining four are treated below.

  • 1. Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah, or Midrash Shir ha-Shirim (called also Midrash or Aggadat Ḥazit, after the proem-verse Prov. xxii. 24, quoted in the beginning): Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah is an exegetical midrash to Canticles, in which the author collected and edited, verse by verse, following the Biblical text, the wealth of material at his disposal. Canticles was made the subject of midrashic interpretation at a very early date; Akiba declared it to be "most holy," taking it as an allegorical glorification of the relation between God and Israel. Rules for its exposition occur in the midrashim to i. 1, 2, and ii. 4. "Canticles must not be interpreted to the shame [that is, erotically] but to the glory of Israel"; "Where the word 'king' stands, there God [or, according to another view, Israel as a whole] is meant." Some passages were explained as glorifications of the exodus from Egypt, the revelation of the Temple, etc. The numerous interpretations of single verses in the Seder 'Olam, Sifre, Mekilta, and the Talmud follow this old allegorical method of interpretation. Much of this interpretation is found in Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah, taken directly or indirectly from those old sources. But not all the comments are so old. The compiler of the Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah, who intended to compile a running midrash to Canticles, took—as has often been remarked in connection with the exegetic midrashim—the expositions for the single verses wherever, and in whatever connection, he found these verses explained.There is a remarkable variation in the extent and character of the several expositions; there are clearly recognizable proems from older homilies; whole sermons, with many variations of texts, on several verses; and short, disconnected explanations of single words and sentences, the expositions to the same or similar verse-parts being repeated here two or three times, as in other old midrashim. Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah is dependent on the Pesiḳta and Wayiḳra Rabbah as well as on Yerushalmi and Bereshit Rabbah. The proems borrowed from these works may be recognized by the final formulas, which also were borrowed. More than one-fourth of Shir ha-Shirim is directly borrowed from Yerushalmiand the three old midrashim mentioned. Mishnah passages and baraitot are quoted very frequently. The five proems in the beginning of the midrash each close with the same sentence, taken from Seder 'Olam. The author has, of course, used also other sources that are no longer extant. The longer passages, as those to Cant. iii. 9-10, iv. 1-4, and others, are, perhaps, taken from these sources, or they may be the work of the author himself; they contain interpretations of several verses, and most of them consist of several variations of the same theme (presented, however, in a way different from that found in the variations of the earlier midrashim), in which entire sentences are frequently repeated verbatim, and in some of which many passages from the Mishnah, etc., are quoted.In the editions these passages are, almost invariably, wrongly divided, making a survey of them difficult. They belong, doubtless, to a later period of the midrash—i.e., the time after the edition of Bereshit Rabbah, Wayiḳra Rabbah, and the Pesiḳta. The words "Sidra Tinyana" are inserted between the comments to Cant. ii. 7 and ii. 8; in the sedarim cycle there are no sedarim for Canticles. Two other midrashim to Canticles, lost for centuries, are now known—the Aggadat Shir ha-Shirim, published by Solomon Schechter (Cambridge, 1896; also by Buber in "Midrash Zuṭa," pp. 1-41), and the Midrash Shir ha-Shirim, published by Grünhut (1897). For these midrashim and their relation to the Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah discussed here see Song of Songs, Mid-rashim to.
  • 2. Midrash Ruth: Midrash Ruth (so called in the editio princeps and the Venice edition) contains comments, haggadic sentences, etc., following the sequence of the text, and is divided into eight parashiyyot, beginning at Ruth i. 1, i. 2, i. 18, i. 22, ii. 10, iii. 8, iii. 14, iv. 18. The midrash begins with a passage called a "petiḥta," consisting of six proems, and a lengthy exposition of an old haggadic rule (probably taken from Bereshit Rabbah or Wayiḳra Rabbah and found in other midrashim), "which has been brought back from the Exile" and which declares that a time of sorrow is referred to wherever a Biblical story begins with the words "It happened in the days of." There are also proems to parashiyyot iii., iv., vi., and viii. Parashah ii. begins with a composite exposition to I Chron. iv. 21-23; parashah v. with an exposition to I Chron. xi. 13-15 taken from Yerushalmi. Midrash Ruth has borrowed from Yerushalmi, Bereshit Rabbah, Pesiḳta, Wayiḳra Rabbah, etc., and, perhaps, from Babli also; it has several passages in common with the Midrash Ḳohelet, as, e.g., to Ruth iii. 13, the story of R. Meïr and his teacher Elisha ben Abuyah, which, probably, was not taken directly from its source, Yer. Ḥag. ii. 77b, c.Among the other longer passages may be mentioned the sixfold interpretation ("shet shiṭṭin") of R. Johanan, referring to David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Manasseh, the Messiah, and to Boaz himself Boaz's words to Ruth in ii. 14. The passage "Famine came ten times into the world," found in Bereshit Rabbah xxv. (40), 64 to Gen. v. 29 (xii. 10), xxvi. 1, is quoted in connection with Ruth i. 1 ("there was a famine"), and is here further worked out with reference to Elimelech. An inexact reference to Bereshit Rabbah occurs in the editions, in a defective passage toward the end of the work. In this passage, to Ruth iv. 18, there must have been the interpretation of the writing of the word which is quoted by Abravanel in "Yeshu'ot Meshiḥo" (ed. Königsberg, p. 55b) from the Midrash Ruth, and which is found also in Leḳaḥ Ṭob to Ruth ib. In regard to this interpretation a copyist has referred the reader to Bereshit Rabbah xii. (6); and in connection with the words there must have been added to the interpretation of and (found also in Bereshit Rabbah, ch. xii. [3]) that concerning the doubling of names; the latter is similarly added in Bereshit Rabbah, ch. xl. (3) and is found alone ib. ch. xxxviii. (12), ending in both passages with the words "bisseru she-Yishma'el 'oseh teshubah," which the copyist quotes as the conclusion of his abbreviated reference.The midrash to Ruth published by Buber in the "Midrash Zuṭa" (pp. 45-56) is entirely different in arrangement and execution; it begins with a short proem by R. Tanḥuma and contains a brief exposition according to the sequence of the text. See Ruth Rabbah.
  • 3. Midrash Ḳohelet (so called in the editio princeps and the Venice edition): The Midrash Ḳohelet, or Ecclesiastes, was divided, probably, according to the sedarim of the Biblical book; it contained, aside from extensive borrowings from Yerushalmi, proems from Bereshit Rabbah, Ekah Rabbati, Wayiḳra Rabbah, Pesiḳta, and Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah, which make up a large portion of the work. But the author of the Midrash Ḳohelet takes many passages from Babli as well, quotes from the "Sayings of the Fathers" with the reference "Abot," and refers to smaller treatises by name, betraying thereby conclusively the relatively late date of composition of this midrash. Zunz designates this midrash as "a work of the later epoch." But it is difficult to agree with him, especially as regards Yelammedenu, when he adds: "Many passages from the abovementioned haggadot to Canticles, Ruth, and Ecclesiastes have been incorporated in Yelammedenu, Debarim Rabbah, Pesiḳta Rabbati, and Shemot Rabbah; they occupy a middle position between the last-named and the earlier haggadah." See Ḳohelet Rabbah (in which comp. statement in regard to the other midrash to Ecclesiastes printed in Buber's "Midrash Zuṭa," pp. 83-144).
  • 4. Midrash Megillat Esther (so called in the editio princeps and in the Venice edition): This midrash consists of six parashiyyot introduced by one or more proems, beginning with Esth. i. 1, i. 4, i. 9, i. 13, ii. 1, and ii. 5. After this there is hardly any trace of a further division. As the division is not carried out systematically, so the exposition appears to be incomplete. The midrash borrows from Yerushalmi, Bereshit Rabbah, Wayiḳra Rabbah, and from other sources, and has some points of similarity with the expositions to Esther in Babli. Especially noteworthy is the story of Mordecai's dream and prayer, and of Esther's prayer and her appearance before the king, recognized at an early date as an interpolation from "Yosippon." Bacher's assumption that the passage is not a later addition,but was taken by the author of the Midrash Esther from a Hebrew apocryphon to the Book of Esther, can not be accepted in view of the literal agreement of that passage with "Yosippon." In Jew. Encyc. v. 241, s.v. Esther Rabbah, aside from the Midrash Abba Gorion, another haggadic exposition to Esther is referred to, which was printed in Buber's "Sammlung Agadischer Commentare," etc., pp. 55-82. Entirely independent of this work is a South-Arabic midrash compilation to Esther, also printed by Buber ("Agadische Abhandlungen," etc., Cracow, 1897); this work borrows especially from Babli, the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer, and from Alfasi and Maimonides. The midrash to the roll of Esther printed at Constantinople in 1519 and edited by C. M. Horowitz in his "Sammlung Kleiner Midraschim" (1881) is also a later composition. Gaster published still another midrash, which he considers the oldest midrash to Esther, in the Kohut Memorial Volume (1897, pp. 167-177). See Esther Rabbah. The following are some passages from this midrash, which has been included in the Rabbot collection; they are taken from the exposition to Esth. ii. 5 and 7:[Prov. xxiii. 23] In Shushan there was a certain Jew [Yehudi]. The expression teaches that Mordecai was as important in his time as Moses had been in his time, of whom it is said, "Now the man [] Moses was very meek" [Num. xii. 3]. As Moses stood in the breach, of whom it is written, "Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach" [Ps. cvi. 23], so also Mordecai, of whom it is written, "[He] accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people" [Esth. x. 3]. As Moses taught Israel the Torah, as it is written, "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments" [Deut. iv. 5], so Mordecai also, as it is written, "words of peace and truth" [Esth. ix. 30], and "truth" means the "Torah," as it is written, "Buy the truth, and sell it not".[Ex. vi. 3] Whose name was Mordecai. In speaking of the wicked the name is placed first: "Nabal is his name" [I Sam. xxv. 25]; "Sheba, the son of Bichri by name" [II Sam. xx. 21]; but in the case of the pious the word "name" stands first: "and his name was Manoah" [Judges xiii. 2]; "and his name was Kish" [I Sam. ix. 1]; "and his name was Saul" [ib. ix. 2]; "and his name was Elkanah" [ib. i. 1]; "and his name was Boaz" [Ruth ii. 1]; "and his name was Mordecai"; because they resemble their Maker, as it is written, "But by my name Jehovah was I not known to them".Yehudi. Why, since he was a Benjamite, was he called a "Yehudi" [comp. Esth. ii. 5]? Because he confessed the name of the One God before the whole world, as it is written, "But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence" [Esth. iii. 2]. Was he quarrelsome and one who transgresses the commands of the king? No; but when Ahasuerus had commanded that every one should bow down to Haman, the latter graved an image of an idol in his heart, in order that the people might thus bow down to the idol; and when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow before him, he was very wroth. But Mordecai said, "There is a Lord who is above all; how shall I leave Him and bow down to an idol?" And because he confessed the name of the One God, he was called "Yehudi" [i.e., means = "confessor of the unity of God"]. Others say he was as great as Abraham in his time. As our father Abraham allowed himself to be cast into the fiery furnace [comp. the story in Bereshit Rabbah, xxxviii., end], thus leading men to recognize the Holy One, praised be He, as it is written, "and the souls that they had gotten in Haran" [Gen. xii. 5; according to the midrash the proselytes who were led by Abraham to recognize God are meant; comp. Sifre, Deut. 32; Gen. R. xxxix.], so men recognized the greatness of the Holy One, praised be He, in the days of Mordecai, as it is written, "And many of the people of the land became Jews" [Esth. viii. 17]. He confessed the name of the One God and sanctified Him, therefore he was called "Jehudi."And he brought up Hadassah. As the myrtle [] is sweet of smell and bitter of taste, so Esther was sweet for Mordecai and bitter for Haman. For she had neither father nor mother. R. Phinehas and R. Ḥama b. Gorion, in the name of Rab: "Was she a 'shetuḳit' [child whose origin must be concealed]? No; but when her mother became pregnant with her, her father died, and when she was born her mother died." R. Berechiah, in the name of R. Levi: "The Holy One, praised be He, said to Israel, 'You weep and say, Orphans are we, without father [comp. Lam. v. 3]. By your life, the redeemer, whom I will send to you out of Media, shall be without father and mother, as it is written, "For she had neither father nor mother."'"
IV. The Remaining Exegetical Midrashim not Dealing with the Pentateuch:

For the midrashim to Samuel, the Psalms, and Proverbs see Samuel, Psalms, and Proverbs, Midrash to.

  • 1. Midrash Yeshayah: This midrash is mentioned by Abravanel, Abraham Portaleone, and the author of the midrash commentary "Mattenot Ke-hunnah" (to Wayiḳra Rabbah, section 29, and Bemidbar Rabbah, section 16). But no extract from this midrash is found either in Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni or in Yalḳuṭ Makiri.
  • 2. Midrash Yonah: The midrash to the Book of Jonah, read on the Day of Atonement as hafṭarah during the Minḥah prayer, contains a haggadic version of this prophetical book. In the editions the work consists of two parts; the second part, in which the story of Jonah is allegorically referred to the soul, beginning with the words "Wa-yomer Adonai la-dag," is reprinted in Jellinek, "Bet ha-Midrash" (i. 102 et seq.). This part is merely a literal translation from the Zohar (comp. ib. p. xx.); it is not found in the version printed by C. M. Horowitz (after a Codex De Rossi) in the "Sammlung Kleiner Midraschim" (Berlin, 1881). The first part, the midrash proper, is found also in the Yalḳuṭ to Jonah (part ii., §§ 550-551), with the exception of a few missing passages and with several variations; but here the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer is given as the source (for some passages, Yerushalmi and Babli).Jellinek assumes that the first part of the Midrash Jonah was compiled subsequently to Yalḳuṭ. But as many passages which the Yalḳuṭ has in common with the Midrash Jonah—e.g., the penitential prayer given in Jellinek, "Bet ha-Midrash" (i. 99) and the description of Nineveh's grandeur there—are not found in Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer; and as, furthermore, the author of the Yalḳuṭ probably did not find all this material in the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer, he must have taken his quotations from a midrash which was substantially identical with the Midrash Jonah (i.e., with the first part). The author of this midrash borrowed nearly the whole of ch. x. from the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer, and borrowed also from Yerushalmi and Babli. The version of the Codex De Rossi begins with the passage which in the Midrash Jonah is found in connection with iii. 3 et seq.; the extracts borrowed by the latter from Babli and Yerushalmi and inserted in the course of its commentary to this passage and later are missing in the Codex De Rossi. Then follows the end of part i. of the midrash, into which ch. x. of the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer has been interpolated. It concludes with the exposition of some verses—Deut. iv. 31, Micah vii. 8, and others. It may be noted, finally, that in a compilation included in the earlier editions of Tanḥuma to the pericope "Wayiḳra" (ed. Stettin, ib. § 8), which dates from a later time, ch. x. of the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer was also included.
  • 3. Midrash Iyyob: It can be doubted no longer that the old authors possessed a midrash to the Book of Job. Extracts with express reference to the source Midrash Iyyob are found to Job i. 14 (in the Yalḳuṭ Makiri to Isa. lxi. 11), to Job i. 6 (in a MS. commentary of Rashi to Job), to Job i. 1 and iv. 12 (in a MS. Maḥzor commentary; both these commentaries are in the possession of Abraham Epstein, in Vienna; comp. "Ha-Ḥoḳer," i. 325), to Job vii. 9 (in the "Recanati" to Gen. iii. 23), to Job ii. 1 ([?]; in the "Recanati"—according to the statement in "Rab Pe'alim," p. 34), to Job iv. 10 (in Yalḳ. Shim'oni, ii. 897). The extracts found in the Yalḳuṭ Makiri to Ps. li. 7 and Ps. cxlvi. 4 with the source-reference "Midrash" and referring to Job iii. 2 and xxxviii. 1, are, perhaps, likewise taken from the Midrash Iyyob, as are many passages in the Job commentaries of Samuel b. Nissim Masnuth ("Ma'yan Gannim," Berlin, 1889) and Isaac b. Solomon (Constantinople, 1545). The extracts and quotations from Midrash Iyyob have been collected by Wertheimer ("Leḳeṭ Midrashim," Jerusalem, 1903; comp. also Zunz, "G. V." p. 270; Brüll's "Jahrb." v.-vi. 99).According to Zunz, there are also evidences of the existence of midrashim to Ezra and Chronicles (ib. p. 271). For the Midrash al Yithallel, to Jer. ix. 22 and to the Hallel Midrash, see Midrashim, Smaller.
V. Special Haggadic Works:
  • 1. Pirḳe (de) Rabbi Eli'ezer: This work, consisting of fifty-four chapters, is quoted by the ancient authors either under this name or—especially by the author of the "'Aruk"—as Baraita de Rabbi Eli'ezer. It is not an exegetical or homiletical midrash like the midrashim discussed so far, although it contains occasional expositions, as to Jonah i. and ii. (in ch. x.) and to passages in Esther (in ch. xlix. and l.); but it describes in lucid Hebrew, often having recourse to Biblical phraseology and poetic diction different from that of most of the other midrashim, the most important events of the Pentateuch—the works of God as revealed in the Creation and in the ancient history of Israel. The plan of the work, as Weiss has happily stated ("Dor," iii. 290), is outlined in the words which the author puts into the mouth of R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus—whose fortunes and the recognition he received from R. Johanan b. Zakkai are related in the introductory chapters, i. and ii.—at the beginning of the discourse: "'Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise?' [Ps. cvi. 2]. Is there one in the world able to utter God's mighty acts and to proclaim His praise? Even the angels are not able to do so. We may speak only of one part of His deeds, namely, what He has done and will do, in order that the name of the Lord may be glorified by His creatures," etc.In ch. iii-xi. the creative acts of the several days are treated haggadically. Ch. iii. begins with the things created before the world—the Torah, hell, paradise, etc.; ch. iv. deals with the "ḥayyot" and the angels; in ch. vi.-viii. the author connects with the creative acts of the fourth day details in regard to the planets, the signs of the zodiac, calendric science, and intercalation; ch. ix., on the creative acts of the fifth day, connects with the above-mentioned chapter on Jonah, who fled before God on the fifth day.The haggadah on the creation of man in ch. xi. connects with ch. xii.-xxi., dealing with Adam and his descendants (note particularly ch. xiii., on the envy of the angels at the creation of man; ib. and part of ch. xiv., on Samael; ch. xiv., on the angels who warn man from the path of evil; ch. xvi., on the deeds of love which God showed to Adam; ch. xvii., on comforting the mourning; ch. xviii., on Sabbath rest; ch. xx., on Adam at the end of the first Sabbath and on Habdalah). Ch. xxiii. and xxiv. deal with Noah, his sons and descendants; ch. xxv.-xxxi., with Abraham; ch. xxxii.-xxxv., with Isaac; ch. xxxvi.-xxxvii., with Jacob; ch. xxxviii.-xxxix., with Joseph (ch. xxix., on circumcision, and ch. xxxiii., on benevolence and resurrection); ch. xl.-xlvii., with Moses, the revelation of the Law, the Exodus, Amalek, and the golden calf (comp. ch. xliii., on penitence, and ch. xlvi., on the Day of Atonement). Connected with these chapters, probably, are ch. xlviii., on the release from Egypt and on Moses; ch. xlix. and l., on Amalek's descendants, Haman, and Titus (together with comments to the Book of Esther); and ch. li., on future redemption. Ch. lii. deals with seven divine miracles; ch. liii. and liv. deal with the sin of the evil tongue—slander and calumny. Aaron's and Miriam's calumny against Moses (Num. xii. 1 et seq.) is also mentioned here; the last chapter of the work closes with the account of Miriam's punishment.It is hardly probable that this is the original ending of this haggadic work, which evidently was planned on a very large scale, "since a writer who goes so extensively into all the details of the Pentateuch will hardly have laid down his pen with the story of the leprosy of Moses' sister" (comp. Zunz, "G. V." pp. 271 et seq.). The incompleteness of the work, or the failure to carry out the original plan, is evident from other facts also. Ch. xxvii., xxxiv., xxxv., xl., and xliii. end with the final sentences of the first five of the Eighteen Benedictions respectively; the endings of ch. xlvi., li., liv. correspond with the three following benedictions of that prayer. This seems to point to the existence of a connective thread, which is broken at the end of the work. In ch. xiv. the haggadah of God's ten appearances on earth is recounted (comp. Mekilta to Ex. xix. 11; Sifre, Num. 83; Gen. R. xxxviii. and xlix.; Ab. R. N., ed. Schechter, pp. 96, 102), and the same subject is treated in detail in ch. xxiv., xxv., xxxix., xl., xli., xlvi., liv.; while the eighth appearance is discussed only in the last chapter. But it can not be demonstrated from the quotations which are found in the works of old writers, especially R. Nathan, that the midrash ever extended any further; it probably remained incomplete (comp. Zunz, l.c. p. 273).No further proofs are required now to show that R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus was not the author of the work. Aside from many indications recalling the productions of the geonic period, the interesting passage in ch. xxx., omitted in some editions, explicitly referring to the building of the mosque on the site of the Temple, and the allusions to the deeds of the califs, clearly indicate that the authorlived under Arabic rule. According to Zunz, the work can not have been composed before the eighth century. It was used by Ḳalir, is mentioned by R. Nissim (c. 1030), and is often quoted since Rashi and the "'Aruk." The author was doubtless a Palestinian. There are various other versions of the story of R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus narrated in ch. i. and ii., namely, in Gen. R. xlii.; Ab. R. N., recension A, ch. vi.; recension B, ch. xiii.; Tan., Lek Leka, 30 (ed. Buber); and elsewhere (comp. the list in Horowitz, "Bibl. Haggadica," i., No. 1, pp. 1 et seq.; Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer, ch. xxix.-xli., is printed after a Codex De Rossi, ib. No. ii., pp. 21-25). An extract or a revision of the Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer, ch. iii.-vi., has been published by Horowitz, after a codex in the British Museum, in the collection "Sammlung Kleiner Midraschim" (pp. iv.-x., Berlin, 1881). On the important chapters vi.-viii. (on calendric science) compare Zunz, "G. S." iii. 242, and Epstein, "Beiträge zur Jüdischen Alterthumskunde," pp. 21 et seq.
  • 2. Seder Eliyahu, or Tanna debe Eliyahu: This work derived its name, its division into Seder Eliyahu Rabbah and Seder Eliyahu Zuṭa, and perhaps more or less of its contents, from an old work mentioned in the Talmud (Ket. 106a), where it is said that it was revealed to Rab Anan, a pupil of Rab in the third century, by the prophet Elijah, and that it included Seder Eliyahu Rabbah and Seder Eliyahu Zuṭa. Seven of the nine halakic and haggadic passages mentioned in different treatises of the Talmud with the formula "Tanna debe Eliyahu" are found in the Seder Eliyahu. The work as now known was composed in the second half of the tenth century; this is evident from the dates (which must not be regarded as interpolations or as having been changed) in ch. ii., vi., and xxxi. of the Seder Eliyahu Rabbah (ed. Friedmann, pp. 7, 37, and 163 respectively). The purpose of the book is clearly expressed in the haggadic interpretation to Gen. iii. 24 at the beginning of the work ("Let man guard the way [of life] and the tree of life [the Torah]"—that is, let him glorify the Torah and study the Law) as well as in the exhortation to practise all virtues and pious works, which the author understands the term "derek ereẓ" to denote. To this are added some expositions and interpretations—in part very extended—of the statutes, which, in a measure, transform the Seder Eliyahu into an exegetical midrash.
Liberal Character of the Work.

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. The unprejudiced ethics of the work and the attitude of the Israelites toward the non-Israelites appear in the sentence, "I call heaven and earth to witness that, whether Israelite or non-Israelite, whether man or woman, whether male or female slave, the Holy Spirit rests upon man according to his deeds" (p. 48), and in many other fine passages, as pp. 36, 65, 81, 88, 140 (comp. Theodor in "Monatsschrift," 1900, pp. 554, 558). 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. The division into chapters is frequently merely an external one, and the several chapters vary greatly in length. R. Nathan says in the "'Aruk" (s.v. [3]) that the Seder Eliyahu Rabbah has three "gates" and thirty chapters, and the Seder Eliyahu Zuṭa twelve chapters; but there is no quotation from the work in the "'Aruk." In the Venice edition of 1598, which was printed from a codex of the year 1186, the first part contains thirty-one chapters and the second part twenty-five chapters; Zunz, however, has shown ("G. V." p. 117) that ch. xv.-xxv. of the Seder Eliyahu Zuṭa are a later compilation. In the Friedmann edition (Vienna, 1902), after a Vatican manuscript of the year 1073, part i. has been carefully divided into twenty-nine chapters, while part ii. closes with ch. xv. of the Venice edition. The last chapter may be recognized as spurious. In a Codex De Rossi published by Horowitz (l.c. i., No. ii., pp. 3-19), Eliyahu Zuṭa has only twelve chapters.

The two editions of the entire work, the numerous extracts from it in Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni, and the Seder Eliyahu Zuṭa according to the Codex De Rossi vary in many points, appearing in parts to be different versions. The work fared badly in the edition published by R. Samuel b. Moses Heida, with a prolix cabalistic commentary (Prague, 1677). This edition goes beyond all attempted reconstructions of modern midrash criticism; the text has been worked over, interpolated, and interspersed with entirely extraneous elements, and is designated as a "new revision" ("nusḥa ḥadasha"), destined to supplant the text of the Venice edition, the chapters of which, printed in smaller type, head the chapters of this edition. See Tanna debe Eliyahu.

For a number of special haggadic works, which vary greatly in content and which constitute, in part, a distinct class of literature, such as Seder Rabbah di-Bereshit, Midrash Konen (Chronicles of Moses, the midrash relating to the death of Moses, and that to the death of Aaron), Midrash Eleh Ezkerah, etc., Midrash Ma'ase Torah, Pirḳe Rabbenu ha-Ḳadosh, Midrash Ḥaserot we-Yeterot (on the reasons for defective and full writing), Midrash Temurah, etc., as well as for the collections of similar works, see Midrashim, Smaller.

VI. Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni, Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri, and Midrash ha-Gadol:

A brief reference to these three works, more fully discussed under their respective titles, may here be given. As in the case of the entire midrash literature, the author of the Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni—a broadly planned midrashic the-saurus to the twenty-four books of the Bible, combining all the products of the Midrash, Halakah, and Haggadah, and which could easily furnish material for midrashic compendiums to the several books of the Bible—is unknown, or, rather, the identity of the Simeon after whom the midrash is called has not yet been definitely determined. The words "Sefer Yalḳuṭ ha-Niḳra Shim'oni" occur on the title-page of the first part of the work in the editioprinceps (Salonica, 1526-27; part ii., ib. 1521). At the end of the first part, in the editio princeps only, is a valuable appendix, introduced by the remark that R. Simeon ha-Darshan edited it after having composed the work.

According to the statement on the title-page of the Venice edition, 1566, "Rabbenu Shimeon, the head of the 'Darshanim' of Frankfort," composed the Yalḳuṭ. In this edition the corrector has taken the liberty of changing the readings of the Yalḳuṭ according to the text of printed midrash editions (comp. Theodor in "Monatsschrift," 1895, pp. 390, 484 et seq.; comp. also the paragraph numbers in part ii. of the editio princeps and the sequence of the prophetic and hagiographic books according to the Yalḳuṭ). The writer of the preface in the edition of Frankfort-on-the-Oder, 1709, designates the author more explicitly as "R. Shimeon of Frankfort-on-the-Main." But it is not certain either that his name was "R. Shimeon" or that the author was a native of Frankfort-on-the-Main. Zunz's view that the date of composition of the Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni remains to be determined is to be accepted ("G. V." p. 299; Epstein, in "Ha-Ḥoḳer," i. 85 et seq., 133 et seq.; Brüll's "Jahrb." v.-vi. 221 et seq.). The extracts in the Yalḳuṭ are often contracted and changed to afford a more suitable connection with the respective verses of the Biblical text; the names of the authors also are abbreviated, especially in the first part. It is furthermore evident that different manuscripts of the same midrash, etc., were used in the different parts of the work. But it must be emphasized, in answer to many accusations of both earlier and more recent times, that the Yalḳuṭ does not arbitrarily alter readings, but reproduces the text according to the manuscripts which the author or his collaborators had at hand. The readings of the Yalḳuṭ are of great critical value, especially when compared with the readings of other manuscripts, or when the latter are supported by the authority of the Yalḳuṭ (comp. Theodor in "Monatsschrift," 1900, p. 383).

In the editio princeps of the Yalḳuṭ the sources are always given in the text, not in the margin. 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, Baraita on the Tabernacle, etc.), the two Talmuds, the exegetic and homiletic midrashim, and, with few exceptions, the remaining haggadic works; an exact list of the sources is given in Zunz, "G. V." p. 289. It must be noted here that the following Rabbot are not used: Shemot Rabbah, Bemidbar Rabbah, the midrashim to Ecclesiastes and Esther. The midrash to Ecclesiastes published by Buber in Midrash Zuṭa, Abba Gorion, and other haggadot to Esther, have been used.

Machir b. Abba Mari's Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri is doubtless a later work than the Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni; the following portions of it have recently been published: to Isaiah (ed. Spira, Berlin, 1894, not complete); to the Psalms (ed. Buber, Berdychev, 1899); to Proverbs (ed. Grünhut, 1902, defective at the beginning and supplemented in "Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim," part vi.); a codex in the British Museum, defective at the beginning and the end, contains the Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri to the Twelve Minor Prophets. In the prefaces of the Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri to Isaiah and the Psalms, similar in wording, the author adds to his name the names of his ancestors for several generations back; but otherwise nothing is known-either about the time in which he lived or about his home and the circumstances of his life. The Codex Leyden, however (after which the Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri to Isaiah was printed), contains a note referring to its sale, and dated 1415. From the above-mentioned prefaces it is known that Machir b. Abba Mari's work included the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Job also; hence it did not cover the entire Bible, as did the Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni; nor were so many sources used as for that work, the compiler having taken hardly anything from the smaller midrashim.

The sources are invariably noted in the text at the beginning of the extracts, which are given entire, and without abbreviation of names, being therefore more exact than the extracts given in the other Yalḳuṭ. The versions of the midrash works used in Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri are, in part, different from those used in the Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni; the titles of the works likewise are differently given in the two collections; e.g., "Torat Kohanim" and "Midrash Tehillim" in the Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni, and "Sifra" and "Shoḥer Ṭob" in Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri. The author of the latter cites also from Shemot Rabbah, Bemidbar Rabbah, Ḳohelet Rabbah, and Esther Rabbah, designating the last-named as "Midrash Ahasuerus"; he does not seem to have known the Pesiḳta Rabbati. As different manuscripts were used for the two collections, they vary, as regards many of the readings, both from each other and from other midrash texts, these variations constituting the greatest value these collections possess.

While both of the two Yalḳuṭ works entirely ignore the Targumim, the works on mysticism, and the works of rabbinical literature, the Midrash ha-Gadol extracts from the "'Aruk," from Rashi, Ibn Esra, and Maimonides, and from the works of other rabbis, as appears from the part to Genesis published by Schechter (Cambridge, 1902; comp. Preface, p. xiii.). The anonymous author, who freely quotes Talmudic sentences and discussions, as well as expositions, from the halakic and haggadic midrashim, changing, transposing, and commingling them as required, nowhere gives his source, unlike the authors of the two Yalḳuṭs. 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.

  • See the special articles on the various works here treated.
S. J. T.