Bereshith Rabbah (The Great Genesis) is a midrash comprising a collection of rabbinical homiletical interpretations of the Book of Genesis. It contains many. Books & Judaica: Parperaot LaTora El Midrash Bereshit (H) Menajem Becker [W] – The core of Jewish thought and it cosmovision finds its. I. The Earliest Exegetical Midrashim—Bereshit Rabbah and Ekah Rabbati. (For Midrash Shemu’el, Midrash Mishle, Midrash Tehillim see the several articles.).

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For these introductions, which are often quite lengthy, the material for the several expositions was ready at hand. In a continuous sequence, broken only toward the end, the Biblical text is expounded, bereshig for verse, often word for word. The composite introductions consist of different expositions of the same Biblical verse, by different haggadists, strung together in various ways, but always arranged so that the last exposition — the last link of the introduction — leads to the exposition of the passage of Genesis, with the first verse of which the introductions often close.

These scattered allusions merely show, however, that the beginnings of the written Haggadah date very far back; very little is known of the nature of the old Haggadah-books, and it is impossible to determine what traces they left in the old Midrash literature. Then when the great one comes to ask permission from the small one, and says, “Why do I need to ask permission from the small one? Attention has also been drawn to the disproportion between the extent of the parashiyyot which now form the pericope “Bereshit” of the midrash and the length of the remaining part of the work; that pericope alone constitutes more than one-fourth of the midrash and contains twenty-nine parashiyyot, several of which deal only with a few, and in some cases only with single, verses.

With whom did He take counsel? It also contains varied aggadic expositions popular in midrssh public lectures of the synagogues and schools. Every chapter of the Genesis Rabba is headed by the first verse of the passage to be explained, and is introduced, with few exceptions, by one or more prefatory remarks starting from a verse taken from another Biblical passage as text — generally from the Writings or Ketuvim.

Prefaces berrshit these sections.


From the above-mentioned prefaces it is known that Machir b. The unprejudiced ethics of the work and the attitude of the Israelites toward the non-Israelites appear in the sentence, “I call heaven and earth to witness that, whether Israelite or non-Israelite, whether man or woman, whether male or female slave, the Holy Spirit rests upon man according to his deeds” p. There are separate sections in the midrash for almost all these sections as they are still found in Genesis, with the exception of the genealogical passages.


The tradition that Rabbi Hosha’iah is the author of Genesis Rabba may be taken to mean that he began the work, in the form of the running commentary customary in tannaitic times, arranging the exposition on Genesis according to the sequence of the verses, and furnishing the necessary complement to the tannaitic midrashim on the other books of the Torah.

This midrash is rich in sublime thoughts and finely worded sentences, in parables, and in foreign words, especially Greek. What did the Holy One, praised be He? This method of free exegesis was manifested in many ways: It interpreted all the historical matter contained in the Bible in such a religious and national sense that the heroes of the olden time became prototypes, while the entire history of the people of Israel, glorified in the light of Messianic hopes, was made a continual revelation of God’s love and justice.

The structure of the prefatory passages varies. This page was last edited on 10 Februaryat Johanan, who always carried a Haggadah with him, is the author of the saying, “A covenant has been made: Between the beginning and the completion of these works — if ever they were completed — a long period elapsed during which there was much addition and collection.

Shimeon” or that the author was a native of Frankfort-on-the-Main. Eleazar said, ” ; i.

Although the original commentary on Genesis may have been divided into parashiyyot with rudimentary proems see Bereshit Rabbah —traces of such proems appear also in the tannaitic midrashim—yet mifrash addition of the many artistic proems found in the existing form of the commentary was doubtless the work of a later time, when the Bereshit Rabbah received its present form.

The very old midrash Ekah Bereshiy has been discussed above; the remaining four are treated below.

Genesis Rabbah

The single prefaces, of which there is a large number, contain explanations of their text which refer entirely or in its last part to the verse or passage of Genesis to be expounded in that section. Let the waters bring forth abundantly,’ etc.

The work fared badly in the edition published by R. He said, ‘What shall we do with this? The highest product of the Haggadah, the public discourse drawing upon all the arts of midrashic rhetoric—sentence, proverb, parable, allegory, story, etc.

Aibu, said, “He created him with circumspection, for He created first the things necessary for his life [the same thought and a parable similar to the following are found also in Philo]. The ell of Zunz, the master of midrash sl, in his chapter “Organismus der Hagada,” may serve to close the first, general part of the present survey: Let Truth rise midrawh from earth, as it is written, “Truth shall spring out of the earth” ‘ “. The work is written in pure Hebrew, the diction of many passages is notably beautiful, and the style is fluent though frequently verbose; it is not always easy to follow the train of thought and to find the real connection between the several passages.


It was the subject of study in the schools and furnished an inexhaustible supply of material for the sermons and discourses which were deliveredon Sabbaths and feast-days, and which followed the Scripture lesson and formed a part of public worship, or could be separated from it at need. The present Genesis Rabba shows a singular disproportion between the length of the first Torah portion and that of the eleven others.

About 70 are cited with the name of the Rabbi with whom they originated or whose explanation of the verse in question was used as an introduction to the section of Genesis Rabba. The more recent conjecture, that it was not edited until the end of the seventh, or possibly not until the beginning of the second half of the eighth, century, can not be maintained.

The entire wealth of the haggadic Midrash hasbeen preserved in a series of very different works, which, like all the works of traditional literature, are the resultant of various collections and revisions, and the contents of all of which originated a long time before they were reduced to writing.

This is the common form of the homilies in all the homiletic midrashim; it allows, however, of the utmost freedom of treatment and execution in its various parts. This extensive and important midrash, which forms a complete commentary on Genesis, and exemplifies all points of bbereshit exegesis, is divided into sections.

Jonathan, said, “When Moses wrote down the Torah, he noted therein the creative work of each day; when he reached the verse, ‘And God said, Let us make man,’ he said, ‘Lord of the World, why dost Thou give cause for attack to the “minim” [heretics]?

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