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Midrash and Aggadah

Wise Woman of Abel-beth-maacah: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis praise the wisdom of the woman from Abel-Beth-Maacah, to whom they attribute rhetorical skill, persuasiveness and knowledge of the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] and its laws. Their esteem is evident in the fact that the Rabbis expound almost every word that she uttered and ascribe significance to her statements far beyond what the Bible relates. The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] applies to her the verse (Prov. 31:26): “Her mouth is full of wisdom,” since she saved the entire city with her wisdom (Midrash Eshet Hayil, Batei Midrashot, vol. 2).

Wife of On Ben Pelet: Midrash and Aggadah

The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] makes no mention of the wife of On Son of Peleth, but the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] speaks highly of her, as having saved her husband from death.

Wife of Manoach; Samson's Mother: Midrash and Aggadah

Manoah’s wife, the mother of Samson, is included among the twenty-three truly upright and righteous women who came forth from Israel ([jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]Midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Tadshe, Ozar ha-Midrashim [Eisenstein], 474) and among the twenty-two worthy women in the world (Gen. Rabbati, Hayyei Sarah, 100–101).

Wife of Korah: Midrash and Aggadah

Korah’s wife, who is not mentioned anywhere in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], is censured by the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] both for causing her husband to rebel against Moses and Aaron and for her responsibility for the death of all the members of her household.

Wife of Job: Midrash and Aggadah

Job 2:9 relates that after all the disasters that befell Job and his family, his wife tells him that he should curse God for all that had happened to them. His wife’s counsel, which perhaps manifested her feelings of pity and compassion, only increases Job’s anguish at this nadir in his life, and makes it difficult for him to withstand this test. The wife is the subject of a moral critique by the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] for the counsel that she gave her husband.

Widow of Zarephath: Midrash and Aggadah

The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] explains why Elijah stopped the rains and how it happened that he was commanded to go to the home of the woman in Zarephath.

Two Prostitutes as Mothers: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis learned from the judgment of Solomon how a trial is to be conducted.

Timna, concubine of Eliphaz: Midrash and Aggadah

Timna was the sister of Lotan, one of Esau’s chiefs, and therefore the daughter of royalty. The Rabbis relate that she sought to convert and join Abraham’s household.

Tannaitic Literature, Inclusion of Women

Generally speaking, the more regular the mechanism of inclusive interpretation, the clearer it is that woman remains outside as the “other” because she requires a special reason to be included. In other words, rather than rendering women an integral part of the population, inclusion renders them as adjuncts, unique unto themselves.

Shunammite: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis praise the hospitality of the Shunammite woman and learn from her conduct that everyone should bring a Torah scholar into their house, give him food and drink and let him enjoy all that they possess (Perek Zedakot 1, in Ozar ha-Midrashim [Eisenstein], p. 499).

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Midrash and Aggadah." (Viewed on August 28, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/midrash-and-aggadah>.

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