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Midrash and Aggadah

Rahab: Midrash and Aggadah

In many midrashim Rahab comes to symbolize the positive influence that Israel exerts on the surrounding Gentile nations, as well as successful conversion. Her ability to mend her ways was exemplary for ensuing generations, who used Rahab’s story to request divine mercy and pardon for their actions.

Post-Biblical and Rabbinic Women

In post-biblical Jewish antiquity women were not viewed as equal to men or as full Jews. In this, Jews were no different from their various Greco-Roman, Semitic or Egyptian neighbors. The difference lies in the explanation Jews gave to their views.

Poetry in the United States

The contributions of Jewish women poets to American literary history and political activism, as well as to the enrichment of Jewish culture and practice, are astounding.

Orpah: Midrash and Aggadah

Orpah is one of the secondary characters of the Book of Ruth, which tells the reader only that she was Naomi’s second daughter-in-law. Like her sister-in-law Ruth, she initially wanted to accompany Naomi and return with her to her land; but, unlike Ruth, she finally accepted her mother-in-law’s arguments and went back to Moab. The Rabbinic expansion of this narrative, which relates both to Orpah’s actions and to her descendants, paints her in a generally unfavorable light.

Necromancer of Endor: Midrash and Aggadah

The Biblical narrative of the necromancer sheds light on Saul’s sorry state after the death of Samuel. This depiction of the king’s plight is amplified by the Rabbis, who determine that Saul’s consulting the necromancer was one of the reasons leading to his loss of the throne.

Naamah: Midrash and Aggadah

According to the Rabbis, Naamah was Noah’s wife; as her name indicates, her actions were pleasing (ne’imim—Gen. Rabbah 23:3). According to another view, however, she acted improperly, for she beat on a drum and drew people to engage in idolatry, and her musical activity increased corruption among people.

Mother of Micah: Midrash and Aggadah

An anonymous midrashic tradition mentioned by the medieval commentators posits that Micah’s mother was Delilah.

Modesty and Sexuality in Halakhic Literature

Modesty (zeni’ut), in its broad sense, represents a mode of moral conduct that is related to humility. A person who behaves modestly refrains from extroverted behavior that is supposed to speak of him- or herself. This expansive view also includes sexual modesty.

Midwife: Midrash and Aggadah

Midwifery is regarded as a profession that entails a great deal of responsibility, along with numerous risks, both to the life of the mother and to that of the newborn.

Midrash and Aggadah: Terminology

In current terminology the two terms, “midrash” and “aggadah,” refer to the two types of non-halakhic literary activity of the Rabbis.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Midrash and Aggadah." (Viewed on September 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/midrash-and-aggadah>.

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