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Midrash and Aggadah

Grace Aguilar

When she died in 1847 at the age of thirty-one, Grace Aguilar enjoyed a reputation as a poet, historical romance writer, domestic novelist, Jewish emancipator, religious reformer, educator, social historian, theologian, and liturgist.

Adah 1: Midrash and Aggadah

According to the aggadic tradition, Lamech took two wives, one for sexual pleasure and the other for procreation. One wife would be in his company adorned like a harlot, and he plied her with a drug that induced barrenness, so that she would not give birth; the other sat alone, like a widow. Lamech’s behavior graphically attests to the process of spiritual decline from one generation to the next and the corruption of the Flood generation.

Achsah: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis describe Achsah as being a beauty, finding an allusion to this in her name: “Whoever sees her is angry [koes] with his wife,” who is not as ravishing as she is (BT Temurah 16a).

Abortion

The chief biblical source referring to abortion is Exodus 21:22–25 concerning the man who inadvertently strikes a pregnant woman, causing her to lose the pregnancy.

Abishag: Midrash and Aggadah

Abishag is described in Rabbinic literature as a woman possessing self-respect and a mind of her own, who is not deterred from confronting King David himself.

Abigail: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis depict Abigail as a wise and practical woman, capable of acting at the right moment and in the right way. She saves David from committing unnecessary bloodshed, while at the same time assuring her future.

Midrash for a new year

As we prepare to herald the new year and celebrate the creation of the world, I thought I’d call your attention to JWA’s new edition of our educational resource, Go & Learn. This edition focuses on the midrashic figure of Lilith -- the first woman, imagined by the rabbis as a demon -- and Judith Plaskow’s early feminist reclaiming of her as a woman who demanded equality.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Midrash and Aggadah." (Viewed on June 25, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/midrash-and-aggadah>.

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