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Midrash and Aggadah

Shua's daughter: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis viewed Judah’s marriage to the daughter of Shua as a decline, which Gen. 38:1 records: “Judah left [va-yered, literally, went down from] his brothers.” He married the daughter of an idolater, and thereby betrayed the way of Israel (= Jacob), who had been careful not to marry the daughters of the land (Tanhuma [ed. Buber], Vayeshev 9).

Shelomith 1: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis maintain that the phenomenon during the Egyptian servitude of Israelite women being married to Egyptians was rare, and the specific mention of the forging of such a bond with Shelomith teaches how exceptional this instance was.

Serah, daughter of Asher: Midrash and Aggadah

There are a plethora of midrashic traditions about Serah daughter of Asher, and thus the faceless Biblical character becomes a fascinating personality. Her history is intertwined with the story of the migration to Egypt and enslavement, and also with redemption and the return to Erez Israel.

Norma Rosen

Compelled, as a Jewish writer, by the injunction to remember, “Zakhor,” Norma Rosen’s fiction and essays examine ethics, motherhood, and faith after the Holocaust, as well as Jewish identity, feminism, texts, and practices.

Rizpah: Midrash and Aggadah

Rizpah’s behavior during the episode of the Gibeonites was highly praised by the Rabbis. Although two of her sons died, she accepted this, and took care that their corpses not be despoiled. Her actions were considered worthy of emulation and even King David learned from her. In consequence of her deeds, Rizpah saved all Israel from the famine.

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.

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How to cite this page

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

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