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Midrash and Aggadah

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.

Midrash and Aggadah: Introduction and Sources

This Encyclopedia presents the portraits of seventy-five women in the Bible as they appear in the aggadic and midrashic expansions of the Biblical narrative that were composed by the Rabbis in the first centuries c.e., in Erez Israel and in Babylonia.

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.

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.

Merab, daughter of Saul: Midrash and Aggadah

Merab was Saul’s eldest daughter. According to the Bible, she was meant to marry David, but she was given in matrimony to Adriel the Meholathite, while David married Merab’s younger sister Michal.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Midrash and Aggadah." (Viewed on January 21, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/midrash-and-aggadah>.

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