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

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The single prefaces, of which there is a large number, contain explanations of their text which refer entirely or in its last part to the verse or passage of Genesis to be expounded in that section. The very old midrash Ekah Rabbati has been discussed above; the remaining four are treated below.

The people wished to cry ‘Domine’ before the king, but they did not know which was he.

Exegetic material for use in the proems, especially the composite ones, which are often very extensive, was always at hand in abundance; kidrash 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 vereshit developed that the last member formed the fitting introduction to the exposition of the lesson proper.

Midrash Rabba Book of Genesis. 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 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.

Definitely characterized as they are in their beginning by these introductions, the sections of Genesis Rabba have no formal ending, although several show a transition to the Biblical passage that is expounded in the following section.


The passages were probably added at an early date, since they are not entirely missing in the older manuscripts, which are free from many other additions and glosses that are found in the present editions.

For the power of this exegesis lay not in literal interpretation and in natural hermeneutics. This midrash is rich in sublime thoughts and finely worded sentences, in parables, and in foreign words, especially Greek. The total number of the sections, both in the manuscripts and in the editions, varies from 97 to The editor adds to the running commentary longer aggadic disquisitions or narratives, connected in some way with the verse in question, or with one of the explanations of it — a method not unusual beresbit the Talmud and in other midrashim.


Pazzi was an editor of the Haggadah “mesadder Agadta” before the time of R. 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 bereshjt 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.

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.

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. 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.

It is difficult to ascertain the exact date of the editing of Genesis Rabba. Huna the Elder of Sepphoris said, “While the angels were disputing and discussing with one another, the Holy One, praised be He, created him. 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 first chapters of Genesis, on the creation of the world and of manfurnished especially rich material for this mode of exegesis.

Genesis Rabba contains many simple explanations of words and sentences, often in the Aramaic languagesuitable for the instruction of youth. 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.

In the concluding chapters, Genesis Rabba seems to have remained defective. Far more difficult than any question concerning the outward form of Genesis Rabba is that of deciding how much of its present contents is original material included in it, and how much of later addition. 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.


The division into chapters is frequently merely an external one, and the several chapters vary greatly in length. The character of the exposition in the exegetic midrashim like Bereshit Rabbah has been discussed in Jew. It is characteristic of the midrash to view the personages and conditions of the Bible in the light of the contemporary history of the time.

Views Read Edit View history. See Tanna debe Eliyahu. Mercy said, ‘Let him be created, for he will do works of mercy. The editor of the midrash has strung together various longer or shorter explanations and aggadic interpretations of the successive passages, sometimes anonymously, sometimes citing the author.

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

The 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 beresshit is brought to a logical and artistic conclusion.

Nathan says in the “‘Aruk” s. 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. Benaiah, and heard that it was to hear R.

Books & Judaica : Parperaot LaTora El Midrash Bereshit (H) Menajem Becker [W] – $

It was used for the critical edition issued by J. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Levi, that they read a Haggadah-book on the Sabbath. The work fared badly in the edition published by R.

Genesis Rabbah

The other exegetical midrashim not dealing with the Pentateuch. 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. Thus, beginning with the Torah portion Vayishlachextensive passages are found that bear the mirrash of the later haggadah, and have points of connection with the Tanhuma homilies.