Isidore Singer.

The Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) online

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created, as it is written : " Mercy and truth are met together ;
righteousness and peace have kissed " ' [Ps. Ixxxv. 10]. Mercy
said, 'Let him he created, for he will do works of mercy.'
Truth said, ' Let him not be created, for he is full of deceit.'
Benevolence said, ' Let him be created, for he will bestow
benefits.' Peace said, 'Let him not be created, for he is full
of quarrels.' What did the Holy One, praised be He ? He t<iok
Truth and cast her upon the ground. Then the angels said,
' Lord of the World, why do you curse your Truth ? Let Truth
rise up from earth, as it is written, " Truth shall spring out of
the earth " ' " [ih. verse 11].

R. Huna the Elder of Sepphoris said, " While the angels were
disputing and discussing with one another, the Holy One,
praised be He, created him." R. Huna, in the name of R. Aibu,
said, " He created him with circumspection, for He createil
first the things necessary for his life [the same thought and a
parable similar to the following are found also m Philo]. Then
the angels spoke before the Holy One, praised be He : ' Lord of
the World, what is man that Thou art mindful of him V and
the son of man that Thou visitest him ? Why should this sor-
row be created ?' Then He said to them, ' Why have all sheep
and oxen been created, the fowl of the air and the fish of the
sea— why have these been created? A castle with all good
things, and there are no guests ; what pleasure has the owner
who takes his fill?' Then the angels sjiid, 'O Lord our Lord,
how excellent is Thy name in all the earth ! Do what seems
best to Thee ' " [Ps. viii. 5-10 ( \. V. 4-9) ]. R. Joshua of Sliik-
nin, in the name of R. Levi, said. "He took counsel with the
souls of the pious. . . ." R. Samuel b. Nahman, in the name of
R. Jcmathan, said, "When Moses wrote down the Torah, he
noted therein the creative work of eacli day ; when he reacheil
the verse, ' And God said. Let us make nuin,' he said, ' Lord of
the World, why dost Thou give cause for attack to tiic '■iniiiim"'
[heretics] ? ' But He said to him, ' Write ; let him err who will.'
The Holy One, praised be He, said to him, 'Moses, shall I not
produce great and small ones from the man whom 1 create?
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 .'' " then the small one shall say to him, '" Lcarii
from thy Creator, who created the upper and the lower beimrs.
and when He was about to create man took counsel with the
angels I "' "

R. Elasaid : " It is not the question here of taking counsel ;
it is as a king who. walking before the gate of the palace
[iraAoTiov], saw a blo<'k of stont! [/SvAapioi']. He said, 'What
shall we do with this?' Some said, 'Use it for public baths
[irjMoo-ia] ' ; otliei-s said. Tse it for private baths [n-ptovaTo?].'
But the king said, 'I will make a statue [<ii'6pia?] of it; who
shall hinder me ? ' " The minim asked R. Simlai : " How luany
g(Kls have created the world? What means N"i3 r^::'.vi3
cnSx?" He answered, "It does not say E'h^n 1NT3 [the
verb in the plural], but C'n'',s n-\3." R. Simlai .said, " Where
you find a sentence for the minim, there you will finil besidi- it



Midrash Ha^gradah

its refutation." They asked him, further, " What means God
by DIN rT,r>j?" Then he said to them, '*Uead what follows
from it. It does not say a^Nn rx c^Sn in"i3m, but nijm"
[the verb in the sinjjular; (ien. i. 27]. It. Hoshaiah said,
"When the Holy Otie, praised be He, created the Ilrst man the
angels erred and would have said before him ' Holy ! ' It is as
a kinij who sat with a governor {_enap\o^] in a coach of state
[Kappov\a]. The people wished to cry ' Domine ' before the
king, but they did not know which was he. What did the
king ? He jiushed the governor out of the coach, and then they
recognized the king. So the angels erred when the Holy One,
praised be He, created the first man. What did the Holy One,
prai.sed be He? He put him into a deep sleep [comp. Gen. ii.
21], and all then recognized that it was a man."

2. Ekah Rabbati : The midrash to Lamenta-
tions, one of tiie oldest Palestinian midrashim, lias
been discn.ssed in Jew. Encyc. v. 8.5 ct seq. Here it
may briefly be repeated that Ekah Rabbati begins
Avith a collection of thirty si.x jiroems, whi(;li are
followed by the commentary to Lamentations, verse
by verse, together with ntmierous stories. The mid-
rash has many parallel passages to Yerushalmi
which were probably not taken directly from the lat-
ter, for old collections were probably the common
source for Ekah Rabbati, Bcreshit Rabbah, and the
Pesil>fa. It may be assumed with certainty that
Ekah Rabbati was edited some time after the flnal
edition of Yerushalmi, and that Bereshit Rabbah
also must be considered to be older, but it has been
by no means proved, as Zunz assumes for various
reasons, that the entire work was not tinished before
the second half of the seventh century. For all
details, as well as for another midrash to Lamenta-
tions published by Buber in the Midrash Zuta,
see Ek.\h Rabbati. The following is from the be-
ginning of the exposition to Lam. i. 1, after the text
of the Wilna (1899) edition of Buber (pp. 2\^etseq.):

How [hd^m = "'Ekah"] doth the cit]/ nit solitam. Three
prophets used the expression hd'^n in their prophecies— Moses,
Isaiali, and Jeremiah. Moses said, " How can I myself alone
bear . . ." [Deut. i. 12] ; Isaiah said, " How is the faithful city
become an harlot ! " [i. 21] : Jeremiah said, " How doth sit soli-
tary." K. Levi said : " It is like a noble woman [matron] who
had three friends : one of them saw her in her honor; another
saw her in her abandon ; and the third one saw her in her sor-
row. Moses saw them [the Israelites] in their honor [their hap-
piness], and said, ' How can I myself alone bear'; Isaiah saw
them in their abandon, and said, ' How is become a harlot ' ; Jere-
miah saw them in their sorrow, and sai<i,' How doth sit solitary ' "
[R. Eleazar and R. Johanan interpreted n;^N as two words— •'N
and nr]. R. Eleazar said, " Where [r\>t<] is the ' so ' [r\z] which
He spoke to Moses- ' So shall thy seed be ' "' [(ien. xv. 5] ; and It.
Johanan said, " Where [i^x] is the ' so ' [-13] which He spake to
Moses, ' Thus slialt thou say to the house of Jacob ' " [Ex. xix.
3]. R. Judah and R. Xehemiah : R. Nehemiah said, "nj^N js
merely the exprcssidu for wailing, as it is written [Gen. iii. 9],
' And the Lord (iod called unto Adiiiuand said unto him, nj^K '"
[interpreted as n^^ ^in = ' wo unto thee']. R. Judah said,
"no'N is the term for reproof, as it is written, ' How [t^^n] do
ye say. We ate wise I ' " [Jer. viii. 8]. lien Azzai was asked, and
they said to him, " Say to us a word concerning the Roll of Lam-
entiitions." He said to them [playing on the letters of the word
HDNs]. "'Israel went into exile only after it hnd denied the
Only One of the world [n], the ten words ['], the circumcision
which had been commended after twenty generations [i.e., to
Abraham, who lived twenty [r] generations after Adam], and
the five books [1] ,,f the Torah."

Doth sit )<oUt(iry [-nj]. R. Berechiah, in the name of R.
Abdima of Haifa : " Like a king who had a son whom he ar-
rayed in magnificent garments when he fulfilled the will of his
father; hut when the king was angry with him he let him wear
soiled [o^tnj] garments. So with Israel ; as long as he ful-
filled the will of God he was clothed magnillcently. as it is writ-
ten, ' I clothed thee also with ncp"' ' " [Ezek. xvi. 10]. R. Sim-
lai said, "That is purple: Akiba translated it 'garments em-
broidered in colors [= n-oiKiATa]" ; but when they angered him

he made them wear soiled garments. " R. Joshua b. Levi said,
"The Holy One, praised be He, said to Israel, 'So long as you
did My will I allowed you to live secure, apart [-1-13], as it is
written, "Israel then shall dwell in safety alone" [Deut. xxxiii.
2X] ; but When you transgressed My will, then I banished you
to unclean places, as it is written, " He [the leper] shall dwell
alone [mj]; without the camp shall his habitation be'" " [I^v.
xiii. 40]. Why is the Roll of Lamentations composed according
to the alphabet? In order that the lamenters may recite it flu-
ently. Another explanation : I thought to bless you from
"alef" to "taw," as it is written, "If [ax] you walk in my
commandments . . . upright" [nrocip. Lev. xxvi. 3-13; i.e.,
this section, containing the divine blessings, begins with n, in
the word CN, and ends with p, in the word .""vrrcipj. When
was the Roll of Lamentations recited ? R. Judah says, " In the
days of Jehoiakim." R. Berechiah b. Nehemiah said, " Do peo-
ple weep for a person before he has died ? It was rather written
down in the days of Jehoiakim and recited after the destruction
of the Temple."

II. The Homiletic Midrashim : As it is cus-
tomary nowadays to distinguish between festival
and Sabbath sermons, so in antiquity there were
collections of iiomilies, haggadic discourses on the
Scripture sections intended as lessons for the feast-
days and special Sabbaths, as well as on the Stibbat-
ical pericopes of the three-year cycle — either on the
pericopes of the entire Pentateuch (hence covering
the entire cycle) or on the pericopes from single
books of the Pentateuch. Such collections are
the Pesikta (erroneously ascribed to Rab Kahana,
and called also "Pesikta de-Rab Kahana"), the
Pesikta Rabbati, Wayikra Rabbah, the Tanhuma
Midrashim, Debarim Rabbah, Bemidbar Rabbah (be-
ginning with parashah 15), Shemot Rabbah, etc.
The nature of the homilies has been sketched above;
they begin with several proems, to which is added
the expo.sition, which generally covers only a few
of the first verses and verse-texts of the lesson in
question, ending with a Messianic or other comfort-
ing verse. The halakic exordium preceding the
proems is peculiar to Tanhuma, Pesikta Rabbati,
Debarim Rabbah, and Bemidbar Rabbah (part ii.).
The homilies in Wayikra have the same form as
those in the Pesikta.

1. The Pesikta de-Rab Kahana: This Pe-
sikta exists in only one edition, that of Solomon
Buber (Lyck, 1868) ; it consists of 33 (or 34) hom-
ilies on the lessons forming the Pesikta cycle: the
Pentoteuchal lessons for special Sabbaths (Nos. 1-6)
and for the feast-days (Nos. 7-12, 23, 27-32), the
prophetic lessons for the Sabbaths of mourning and
comforting (Nos. 13-22), and the penitential sections
" Dirshu " and " Shubah " (Nos. 24, 25; No. 26 is a
homily entitled "Selihot"). According to the ar-
rangement in this edition the homilies fall into three
groups: Pentateuchal, Prophetic, and Tishri, "pis-
kot " (discourses on the lessons). An unnumbered
"other piskah " tolsa. Ixi. 10, after two manuscripts,
is printed after No. 22; similarly No. 29, after a
manuscript, is designated with No. 28 as "another
piskah " for Sukkot, and the piskah on pp. 194b et
seq., recognizable as spurious by the halakic exordi-
um, and also i)rinted after a manuscript, is desig-
nated with No. 30 as another version of the piskah
for Shemini. Piskot Nos. 12 and 32 each consist really
of two homilies. But the second homily in No. 27
(pp. 174b ef ■'<eq.) does not belong to the Pesikta.

The various manuscripts differ not only in regard
to the above-mentioned second piskot and to other
and longer passages, but also in regard to the ar-

Hidrash Ha^^adah



rangement of the entire collection, which l)egan, in
a manuscript which is defective at the beginning,
with the homilies to prophetical lessons Nos. 13-2^
and 24-25. These twelve homilies are designated
by an old abbreviation as t^'lC' p"lN J?'1J H'K'l-
Another manuscript, entitled "Haftarah Midrash,"
contains only these homilies, with the exception of
next to the last one. Entire homilies of the Pesikta
have been taken over, or sometimes worked over,
into the Pesikta Rabbati ; there are also a number
of Pesikta homilies in the Tauhuma Midrashim.
Wayikra Kabbah also contains some of the hom-
ilies found in Pesikta. The parashiyyot 20, 27-
30 in Wayikra Kabbah are, with the exception of a
few differences, the same as piskot Nos. 27, 9, 8, 23, 28
of the Pesikta. Zunz takes the Pesikta to be depend-
ent on Wayikra Kabbah, assigning this midrash to
the middle of the seventh century, but the Pesikta
to the year 700. Weiss, while emphasizing still
more strongly the dependence of Pesikta on Wa-
yikra Kabbah, takes it to be nearly as oldasBereshit
Kabbah; he thinks that the Pesikta took for its
sources Bereshit Kabbah, Wayikra Kabliah, Ekah
Kabbah, and Shir ha-Shirim Kabbah. But other
authorities regard the Pesikta as the earliest midrash

Undoubtedly the Pesikta is very old, and must
be classed together with Bereshit Kabbah and Ekah
Kabbah. But the proems in the Pesikta, devel-
oped from short introductions to the exposition of
the Scriptiire text into more independent homi-
letic structures, as well as the mastery of form
apparent in the final formulas of the proems, indi-
cate that the Pesikta belongs to a higher stage of
midrashic development. The nature of certain
Pentateuch le.ssons, intended apparently for the sec-
ond feast-days (not celebrated in Palestine), still
calls for investigation, as well as the question as to
the time at which the cj'cle of the twelve prophetic
lessons designated by n'BH, etc., came into use; this
cycle is not mentioned in Talmudic times, but is
subsequently stated to have been ordained or pre-
scribed in the Pesikta. For further details and quo-
tations of passages see Pksikta.

2. Wayikra Rabbah ; Wayikra Kabbah is gen-
erally classed among the oldest midrashim; it con-
sists of thirty-seven parashiyyot and as many hom-
ilies, twenty-two of which belong to the Sabbath
lessons of the sedarim cycle in the Book of Leviticus
(according to various statements regarding this
cycle), and five to feast-day lessons of the Pesikta
cycle, taken from Leviticus. To certain of the
lessons belong two homilies each: parashahs i. and
ii. each contains a homily to Lev. i. 1 ; parashahs
iv. and v. each one to Lev. iv. 1 ; and parashahs
XX. and xxi. each one to the Pesikta lesson Lev.
xvi. 1. As mentioned above, the five homilies on
the feast-day lessons in parashahs xx., xxvii.-xxx.
are identical with five piskot in the Pesikta. Buber,
contrary to all manuscripts, has erroneously printed
also Wayikra Kabbah, parashah xxi., as a contin-
uation of piskah No. 27 (pp. 174b ^^ sci).). The in-
clusion of tTic .seven other parashiyyot may be due
to another partly different arrangement of the se-
darim cycle, just a-^ there are, on the other hand, no
homilies in Wayikra Kabbah to certain passages in

Leviticus now known as commencements of sedarim.
Wayikra Kabbah (section 3) contains an interesting
statement in regard to the variations in the sedarim
cycle and the general custom of introducing the
exposition by a proem ; R. Hanina b. Abba, when he
came to a place Avhere a pericope began with Lev.
ii. 3, was asked which verse he used for the proem.
The proems are more independent in structure, as in
the Pesikta, with which Wayikra Kabbah has much
in common regarding also the use of the final for-
mulas for the proems.

The frequent use of proverbs ("be-matla amerin,"
"matla amer") is characteristic of this midrash: "If
you have knowledge, what do you lackV If you
lack knowledge, what do you possess?" (parashah
i. 6). " Whoever lends on interest destroys his own
and other property" (iii. 1). "She plays the co-
quette for apples, and divides among the sick " (rt.).
"Whoever leases one garden eats birds; whoever
leases two gardens is eaten by birds " (ib.). " Where
the master hangs up his weapon there the common
herdsman hangs up his water-jug " (iv. 1). " If one
knot is unraveled, then two knots are unraveled"
(xiv. 3). "Whoever eats palm-cabbage is wounded
by tiie palm-thorn" (xv. 8). "Do not care for the
good pup of a bad dog, much less for the bad pup of
a bad dog" (xix.6; com p. "Monatsschrift," 1881, p.
509). See Wayikha Kabbah.

3. Tanhuma Yelammedenu : While Wayikra
Kabbah is a homily collection to a single book of
the Pentateuch — Leviticus — the midrash Tanhuma
is a collection covering the entire Pentateuch, ar-
ranged according to the sedarim cycle, as appears
from most of the Tanhumahomilies which have been
preserved ; it contains also homilies to the feast-daj'
and Sabbath lessons of tlie Pesikta cycle. The order
of the Tanhuma homilies is as follows: halakic ex-
ordium; several proems; exposition of the first
verses; Messianic conclusion. The work derives its
name "Yelammedenu " from the formula " Yelam-
medenu rabbenii" (Let our teacher teach us), with
wiiich the halakic exordium begins; it is generally
cited under this name, especially in the "'Aruk."
It is called "Midrash Tanhuma" by many old au-
thors. A number of its proems bear the name of
K. Tanhuma, and the sentence "Thus K. Tanhuma
expounded [or preached] " is added to several larger
sections. Tlie author of Yalkut Shim'oni, however,
cites two midrash works, one under the title "Ye-
lammedenu" and the other under that of "Tan-
huma." Furthermore, the midrash Tanhuma, which
has been frequently reedited since the Constanti-
noi)le edition of 1520-22, and the midrash Avhich
Solomon Buber published in 1885 from manuscripts,
in so far as the parts to Genesis and Exodus are con-
cerned are seen to be special collections. Variations
in text, evidence for which is furnished by the two
editions mentioned, as well as by quotations and
extracts found in many writings, and by the fact
that the work is known under various titles, can
not be explained by assuming that the different col-
lections now ]>ossessed — to which must be added
Dcbarim Kabbah— or those formerly used wei'c (lif-
erent revisions and extracts fioin the "original"

If this mvthical ha^fixadic work was the conunon



lyiidrash Ha^gradah

source for such different collections, containing en-
tirely different homilies to many of the lessons, it
n)ust have been very voluminous and heterogeneous.
One is justitied in assuming that even if the Yelam-
medenu had covered the entire Pentateuch it would
have contained only one homily to each seder. But
if the homilies consisting of halakic introductions,
proems, and expositions to some verses be desig-
nated as typical Tanhuma homilies, modeled on the
form of the Tauhuiua Yelammedenu (for the in-
creasing popularity of sermons must have given rise
to a great number of such homilies), then the exist-
ence of collections of entirely different homilies, but
modeled on this type and called " Tanhuma midrash-
im," is easily explainable. Or perhaps works were
compiled by omitting a number of homilies from an
earlier collection (Yelammedenu) and adding others
having the same form together with various other
selections; instances of this kind can be seen in the
parts to Genesis and Exodus in the extant two
Tanhuma midrashim. Bacher assumes ("Ag. Pal.
Amor." iii. 502 et seq.) that B. Tanhuma b. Abba,
one of the foremost haggadistsof the fourth century
— of whom more proems have been preserved than
of any other author and with whom the haggadic
activity of Palestine was, in a sense, brought to an
end— undertook to collect and edit the haggadic
Scripture interpretations according to the pericopes,
of both the sedarim and the Pesikta cycle ; although
the haggadic works he collected are no longer ex-
tant, tiie two pesiktot and the Tanhuma midrashim
were based on them. According to Bacher, these
midrashim contain not only passages from the orig-
inal Tanhuma, but passages from the other mid-
rashim to the Pentateuch and to the Five Bolls, even
Bereshit Babbah and Wayikra Babbah having drawn
directly or indirectly from the same source. This
is a far-reaching hypothesis. Zunz believed that he
" did not detract from the Yelammedenu " by assign-
ing its author to the first half of the ninth century.
This view can not now be accepted. According to
Briill, the Yelammedenu was completed by the mid-
dle of the eighth century, and recognized as an au-
thority, to which B. Aha of Shabha refers in the
"She'eltot"; Briill thinks it was " composed about
650-720" (Briill's" Jahrb." viii. 127 et seq.). Yelam-
medenu is quoted as early as Saadia's time. The
references to the rivers Tiber and Ticinus do not
prove that the Tanhuma was compiled in Italy.

Tanhuma comprises 158 homilies in Buber's edi-
tion, and 161 in the other editions (in which it still
shows in part the original division); Nos. 129 and
132 are homilies to the sedarim and the Pesikta
cycle. The part to Deuteronomy has been preserved
very imperfectly. Tanhuma was divided according
to the pericopes of the one-year cycle when that
cycle was in general use. See Tanhuma.

4. Pesikta Rabbati : The Pesikta Babbati is
a collection of homilies on tiie Pentateuchal and
prophetic lessons, the special Sabbaths, etc. ; it was
probably called "rabbati" (the larger) to distinguish
it from the earlier Pesikta. In common with the
latter it has five entire piskot — No. 15 (" Ha-Ho-
desh"). No. 16 ("Korbani Lahmi"), No. 17 ("Wa-
yehi ba-Hazi "), No. 18 (" Omer "), No. 33 (" Aniyyah
So'arah"), and tlie larger part of No. 14 ("Para");
VIII.— 30

but otherwise it is very different from the Pesikta,
being in every respect like the Tanhuma midrashim.
In Friedmann's edition (Vienna, 1880) it contains, in
forty -seven numbers, about fifty-one homilies, part
of which are combinations of smaller ones; seven or
eight of these homilies belong to Hanukkah, and
about seven each to the Feast of Weeks and New-
Year, while the older Pesikta contains one each for
Hanukkah and the Feast of Weeks and two for New-
Year. Pesikta Babbati contains also homilies to
lessons which are not paralleled in the Pesikta. There
are also various differences between these two Pesik-
tot in regard to the feast-day lessons and the lessons
for the Sabbaths of mourning and of comforting. The
works are entirely diflterent in content, with the
exception of the above-mentioned Nos. 15-18, the
part of No. 14, and some few minor parallels. The
Pesikta contains no halakic exordiums or proems by
H. Tanhuma. But in the Pesikta Babbati there are
not less than twenty -eight homilies with such ex-
ordiums having the formula " Yelammedenu Bab-
benu," followed by proems Avith the statement "kak
patah B. Tanhuma " ; two homilies, Nos. 38 and 45,
the first of which is probably defective, have the Ye-
lammedenu without proems with "kak patah," etc.
Some of the homilies have more than one proem
by B. Tanhuma. The piskot taken from the Pesikta
have of course no Yelammedenu or Tanhuma
proems; the first part of piskah No. 14, which does
not belong to the Pesikt^, has at the beginning two
halakic introductions and one proem of B. Tanhuma.
Homilies Nos. 20-24, which together form a mid-
rash to the Decalogue, are without these introduc-
tions and proems. Only three of the homilies for
the Sabbaths of mourning and comforting have
such passages, namely, Nos. 29, 31, 33; but they are
prefixed to those homilies, beginning with No. 38
(except No. 46, which is of foreign origin), which
have the superscription "Midrash Harninu"— a
name used to designate the homilies for New -Year
and the Feast of Tabernacles which the old authors
found in the Pesikta Babbati. The present edition
of the Pesikta Babbati, which ends with the homily
for the Day of Atonement, is doubtless defective;
the older Pesikta has also various homilies for
Sukkot, Shemini 'Azeret, and the Feast of the
Torah. Some of the homilies also, as Nos. 19, 27, 38,
39, 45, are defective. Pesikta Babbati therefore ap-
pears to be a combination of various parts, the hom-
ilies, perhaps, being added later. It is said above
that No. 46 is a foreign addition ; here Ps. xc. 1 is
interpreted as an acrostic HK^D^ (ascribed to Moses),
and there is also a passage from the Midrash Konen;
other passages also may have been added, as the
passage in No. 20, which is elsewhere quoted in the
name of the " Pirke Hekalot " and of " Ma'aseh Bere-
shit" (comp. also Jellinek, "Bet ha-Midrash," i. 58).
No. 36 was considered doubtful on account of its
contents ; No. 26 is peculiar, referring not to a Scrip-
ture passage but to a verse or a parable com-
posed by the author. The diction and style are very
fine in many passages. In the beginning of the first
homily, which shows the characteristics of the

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