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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tlie Yalkut. In tiiis edition tiie corrector lias taken
tlie liberty of clianging tiie readings of tlie Yalkut
according to the te.xt of prinled midrash editions
(comp. Tlieodor iu "Monatssclirift," 1895, jip. 390,
484 et se(j. ; comp. also the paragraph numbers in
part ii. of the editio princeps and the sequence of
the prophetic and hagiographic books according lo
the Yalkut). The writer of the preface in the edi-
tion of Frankfort-on-tlie-Oder, 1709, designates the
author more explicitly as " R. Shimeon of Frank-
fort-on-the-Main." But it is not certain either that
his name was " R. Shimeon " or that the author was
a native of Fraukfort-on-the-^Iain. Zunz's view
that the date of composition of the Yalknt Shim'oni
remains to be determined is to be accepted ("G. V."
p. 299; Epstein, in "Ha-Hoker," i. 85 etseq., 133 et
Sf<?. ;Bruirs"J;*irb." v.-vi. 22\et seq.). Theextracts
in the Yalkut are often contracted and changed to af-
ford a more suitable connection with the respective
verses of the Biblical text; the names of the authors
also are abbreviated, especially in the first part. It
is furthermore evident tiiat different manuscripts of
the same midrash, etc., were used in the different
parts of the work. But it must be emphasized, in
answer to many accusationsof both earlier and more
recent times, that the Yalkut docs not arbitrarily
alter rea<liugs, but re]iroduces the text according to
the manuscripts which the author or his collabora-
tors had at hand. The readings of the Yalkut are
of great critical value, especially when compared
with tiie readings of other manuscripts, or wlien the
latter are supported by the authority of the Yalkut
(comp. Theodor in "Monatsschrift," 1900, p. 883).

In the editio princeps of the Yalkut the sources
are always given in the text, not in the margin.
The reference to the sources was doubtless made by
the compiler himself, wlio freely drew upon nearly
the entire Talmudic-midrashic literature, the above-
mentioned tanuaitic midrashim (including Seder
'01am, Baraita on the Tabernacle, etc.), the two
Talmuds, the exegetic and homiletic midrashim, and,
with few exceptions, the remaining haggadic works;
an exact list of the sources is given in Zunz, " G.
Y." p. 289. It must be noted Iiere that tlie follow-
ing Rabbot are not used : Sheinot Rabbali, Bemidbar
Rabbali, the midrashim to Ecclcsiastes anil Estlier.
The midrash to Ecclcsiastes published by Buber in
Midrash Zuta, Abba Gorion, and other liaggadot to
Esther, have been used.

Machir b. Abba Mari's Yalkut ha-Makiri is doubt-
less a later work than the Yalkut Shim'oni ; tlie
following portions of it have recently been pub-
lished: to Isaiah (ed. Spira, Berlin, 1894, not com-
plete); to the Psalms (ed. Buber, IJerdychev, 1899);
to Proverbs (ed. Griinhut, 1902, defective at the be-
ginning and supplemented in " Sefer ha-Likkufim,"
part vi.); a codex in the British ^luseum, defective
at the beginning and the end, contains the Yalkut

ha-Makiri to the Twelve Minor Prophets. In the
prefaces of the Yalkut ha-Makiri to Isaiah and the
P.salms, similar in wording, the author adds to his
name the names of his ancestors for several gen-
erations back : but otherwise nothing is known-eitlier
about the time in which he lived or about his home
and the circunistaiices of his life. The Codex Ley-
den, however (after which the Yalkut lia-Makiri to
Isaiah was printed), contains a note referring to its
sale, and dated 1415. From the above-mentioned
prefaces it is known that Machir b. Abba ^Mail's work
included the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Job
also; hence it did not cover the entire Bible, as did
the Yalkut Siiim'oni; nor were so many sources
used as for that work, the compiler having taken
liardly anything from the smaller midrashim.

The sources are invariably noted in the text at the
beginning of the extracts, which are given entire,
and without abbreviation of names, being therefore
more exact than the extracts given in the other
Yalkut. The versions of the midrash works used
in Yalkut ha-Makiri are, in part, different from those
used in the Yalkut Shirn'oni ; the titles of the works
likewise are differently given in the two collections;
e.q., "Torat Kohanim""and "Midrash Tehillim " in
the Yalkut Shirn'oni, and "Sifra" and "Slioher
Tob " in Yalkut ha Makiri. The author of the latter
cites also from Shemot Rabbali, Bemidbar Rabbah,
Kohelet Rabbah, and Esther Rabbah, designating
the as "'Midrash Ahasuerus"; he does
not seem to have known the Pesikta Rabbati. As
different manuscripts were used for the two collec-
tions, they vary, as regards many of the readings,
both from each other and fiom other midrash texts,
these variations constituting the greatest value these
collections possess.

While both of tiie two Yalkut works entirely ig-
nore the Targuniim, the works on mysticism, and
the works of rabbinical literature, tlie ha-
Gadol extracts from the "'Aruk," from Rashi, Ibn
Esra, and Maimonides, and from the works of other
rabbis, as appears from the part to Genesis published
by Schechter (Cambndge, 1902; comp. Preface, p.
xiii.). The anonymous author, who freel}' quotes
Talmudic sentences and discussions, as well as ex-
positions, from the halakicand haggadic midrashim,
changing, transposhig, and commingling them as
required, nowhere gives his source, unlike the au-
thors of the two Yalkuts. The above-mentioned
publications by Levy and ITofTmannon the tannaitic
midrasliini that had entirely disappeared, as well as
the notes of the editor to many passages of the edited
part, give an idea of the treasures contained in the
^lidrash ha-Gadol.

P)ir!LiOGR.\pnY : See tlie special articles on the various works
liere treated.
s. J. T.

MIDRASH HALAKAH (''investigation of the
Ilaiakah"): Strictly speaking, the verification of
the traditionally received llalakah by identifying
its .sources in the Bible and by interpreting these
Scriptural passages ;is proofs of its authenticity.
The term is ap]ilicil also to the derivation of new
lialakot and legal enactments from the Bible, either
by means of a correct interpretation of the obvious
meaning of the Scriptural words themselves or by

Midrash Halakah



tlic application of certain hcrnicncutic rules (see
Talmi:d). The jilirase " Midrash Haiai\ah " was
first employed by Naclmian Kroclinud (in his
"Moreh Nebukc lia-Zenian," p. ]6;5j, tiie Talnuidic
expression being "Midrash Torah " =
The Term. "investiLMtion of the Torah" (Kid.
4yb). Since all halakic interpreta-
tions were re.2,arde(l as corresponding to the real
meaning (if the Scrijjtural texts concerned in each
case, it was held that a correct elucidation of
the Torah carried with it tlie jiroof of the Ilalakah
and the reason for its existence. In the Midrash
Halakah three divisions may be distinguished:
(1) the midrash of the older Halakah, that is, the
nudrash of the Soferim and the Tannaim of the first
two generations; (2) the midrash of the younger
Halakah, or the midrash of the Tannaim of the three
following generations; (3) the midrash of several
younger tannaim and of a large number of amoraim
who did not interpreta Biblical passage as au actual
proof of tlie Halakah, but merely as a suggestion
or a support for it (" zeker le-dabar " : "asmakta").
The Midrash of the Older Halakah : The
early Halakah sought only to define the compass
and scope of individual laws, asking under what
eiicumstances of practical life a given rule was to
be applied and what wotdd be its consequences.
The earlier .Midrash, therefore, aims at an exact defi-
nition of the laws contained in the Scriptures by an
accurate interpretation of the text and a correct de-
tcrnn'nation of the meaning of tlie various words.
The form of exegesis adopted is frequentl}^ one of
simple lexicography, and is remarkabl}- brief. A
few examples will serve to illustrate the style of the
older Midrash Halakah. It translates the word
'•raah"(Ex. xxi. 8) "displease" (Mek., l^Iishpatim,
8 [ed. Weiss, p. Soa]), which is contrary to the in-
terpi-etation of R. Eliczer (Kid. 19b). From the
expression " !)e miksat " (Ex. xii. 4), which, accord-
ing to it, can mean only "number." the oldei' Hala-
kah deduces the lule that when killing the Pas.sover
lamb the slaughterei- must be aware of the numl)er
of perso!is who are about to partake of it (Mek.,
Bo, 3 [ed. Weiss, p. 5a]). Similarly the prohibi-
tion against eating the Passover lamb uncooked is
derived from the word " na " (Ex. xii. 9), which,
it is declared, can signify oidy "raw "
Examples (Mek., Bo, (5 |ed. Weiss,"p- 8b"]). The
of Style of .statement that the determination of
the Older the calendar of feasts depends wholly
Halakah. on the decision of the nasi and his
council is derived from Lev. xxiii. 37,
the defectively written "otam" (tliem) being read
as "attem" (ye) and the interpretation, "which ye
shall ])roclaim," being regardecl as conforming to the
original meaning of the phrase (B. H. 25a). When
two dilTerent forms of the same word in a given
passage have been transmitted, one written in the
text ("ketib"), and the other being the traditional
reading ("kere "), the Ilalakah, not wishing to desig-
nate either as wrong, interi)rets the word in such a
way that both forms may be regarded as correct.
Thus it explains Lev. xxv. 80 — wiiere according to
the kere the meaidng is "in the walled city," but
according to the ketib, "in the city which is not
walled" — as referring to a city that once iiad walls.

but no longer has them ('Ar. 32b). In a similar
way it explains Lev. xi. 29 (Hul. 65a). Accord-
ing to Krochmal (l.r. pp. 151 et .vf/.). ihe ketil) was
due to the Soferim themselves, who desired that the
interpretation given by the Halakah nught l)e con-
taine(l in the text; for examide, in the case of
"otam" and "altem" noted above, they intention-
ally omitted the V

Another examiile of the methods of the older
Ilalakah is found in Num. ix. \0 ei xc/., wlieic; it is
ordained that if a man at the time of the Passover
be unclean from contact with a c()ii)se, or if he be
"in a journey afar olT " (" be-dei'ck rehokah "), he
shall keep the feast on tlie same day of the follow-
ing inoutli. In this passage no mention is made of
any (jther defilement. The Halakah, however, as-
sumes that one who is luiclean, even though he has
not touched a corpse, ma}' not partake of the feast
•lustification for this interpietation is found in a dot
which occurs over the final n of the word "reho
kali," and which shows according to the older
Midrash that the n must be omitted in interpret-
ing the word, and accordingly Sifre, Num. C9 (ed.
Fried mann, p. 18a) makes the word refer to the man
("ish"), and not to the journey ("derek") ("ish
rahok welo derek rehokah," Yer. Pes. ix. 2), and in-
terprets that in some way he is "afar off from the
temple," i.e., that on account of his luicleanness lie is
forbidden to enter it. This interpietation is found
in the .Jerusalem Targum also. According to Geiger
(" Ursclirift," p. 186), the dot was placed over the
n at a later time, as in the case of the 1 men-
tioned above. Asa matter of fact, all these inter-
pretations and explanations are elucidations of the
I3iblical text and do not depart from the obvious
meaning of the words as they were understood by
the exegesis of the time. Hence the old versions
are freipiently found to agree with the older mid-
rashic Halakah. Thus, for example, the midrashic
explanation of Ex. xxii. 6 (Mek., Misiipatim, 15
[ed. Weiss, p. 97bj) agrees with that of the Septua-
gint, as does the explanation of "mi-moharat ha-
shabbat" (Lev. xiii. 15) as meaning "from the mor-
row after the feast " (Men. 65b).

The Midrash of the Younger Halakah :
The younger ilalakah did not confine itself to the
mere literal meaning of single passages, but sought
to draw conclusions from the wording of the
texts in question by logical deductions, by combina-
tions with other passages, etc. Hence its midrash
differs from the simple exegesis of the older Hala-
kah. It treats the Bible according to certain gen-
eral principles, whicli in the course of time became
more and more amplified and developed (see Tal-
mud); and its interpretations depart further and
furtlier from the simple meaning of the words. A
few examples will illustrate this difference in the
method of inteipretation between the older and
the yoimger Halakah. It was a generally accepted
opinion that the first Passover celebrated in Egypt,
that of the Exodus, differed from those which
followed it, in that at the first one the prohibition
of leavened bread was for a single day only,
whereas at|uent Passovers this restriction
extende(l to seven days. The older Halakah (in
I Mek., Bo, 16 [ed. Weiss, 24a]\ represented by R.



Midrash Halakah

.]i).se tlie Giilileaii, bases its iutciprctutiou on a dif-
I'creut division of the senteuces in Ex. xiii. tlian the
one generally leeeived; eonneeting' the word "ha-
yoin"(="this day'"), which is the lirsl word of
verse 4, with verse 8 and so making the passage
read: "Tliere shall no leavened bread be eaten this
<la3'."' The younger HahUiah reads "lia-yijni " with
verse 4, and tinds its support for the traditional ha-
lakah by means of tlie jirineiple of "senndiot" (col-
location): that is to say, tiie two sentences, "There
shall no ieavened bread be eaten," and " This day
came ye oul," though they ai'e separated granunat-
ically, are immediately contiguous in the text, and
exert an intiuence over each other (Pes. 28b, 96b).
What the older Halakah regard(«<l as the obvious
meaning of tiie words of tlie text, the younger infers
from the collocation of tlie sentences.

The wide divergence between the simple exegesis
of the older Halakah and the artiticiality of the
younger is illustrated also by the difference in tlie
mciiiod of explaining the Law, cited above, in re-
gard to uncleanuess. Both halakot
Contrast regard it as self-evident that if a man
with be unclean, whether it be from contact

Earlier witli a or from any other cause,
Halakah. he may not share in the Passover (Pes.
93a). The younger Halakah, despite
the (U)t over the n. reads •'rehokali" and makes it
refer to "derck," even determining how far away
one must be to be excluded from participation in
the feast. In order, liowever, to find a ground for
the lialakah that those who are unclean through
<()ntact with other objects than a corpse may have
no shaie in the Passover, it explains the repetition
of the word "isli" in this passage (Lev. ix. 10) as
intending to include all other cases of defilement.

Despite this difference in metliod, the niidrashim
of the older and of the younger Halakah alike be-
lieved that they had sought only tlie true meaning
of the Scriptures. Their interpretations and deduc-
tions appeared to them to be really contained in tlie
text; and they wished them to be considered correct
Biblical expositions. Hence they both have the
form of Scriptural exegesis, in that each mentions
the Biblical passage and the halakah which is given
in explanation of it, or, more correctly speaking,
whicli is derived from it.

It is to a law stated in this form — i.e., together
witli the Biblical passage from which it is derived
— that the name midrash is applied, whereas one
wliicli, tiiougli ultimately based on the Bible, is
cited independently as an established statute is
called a lialakah. Collections of halakot of the sec-
ond sort are the Mishnah and the Tosefta ; compila-
tions of the first sort are the halakic midrashim.
Tiiis name they receive to distinguish them from
the liaggadic midrashim, since they contain halakot
for the most'part, although there are haggadic por-
tions in them. In these collectious the

Abstract line between independent Halakah and
and Midrash Halakah is not sharply drawn.

Midrash Manj' mishnayot in the Mishnali and
Halakah. in the Tosefta are midrashic hala-
kot, e.q., Ber. i. 3, 5; Bek. i. 4, 7;
Hul. ii. 3, viii. 4; Tosef., Zeb. i. 8, xii. 20. On
tlie other hand, the halakic midrashim contain inde-

pendent halakot without stattnienls of iheir Scrip-
tural bases. <..//., Sifra. Wayikra. Ilobah, i. 9-13 (ed.
Weiss, p. 16a. b). This confusion is explained by
the fact that the redactors of tiie two forms of hala-
kot borrowed passages from one another (Hoffmann,
"Zur Kiideitung in die Halacii. Midraschini," p. 3>.

Since the halakic Midrashim had for theii" sec-
ondary purpose the exegesis of the Bii)l(', tiicy were
arranged according \.o the text of tiic Pentateuch.
As Genesis contains very little matter of a legal
ciiaractci;, there was proliabiy no halakic michash to
this book. On the oilier hand, to each of the other
four books of tlie Pentateuch there was a midrash
from the school of R. Akibaand one from the school
of R. Ishmael, and tliese midrashim arc slill in
great pait extant. Tlie halakic midrash to Exodus
from tlie school of R. Ishmael is tlie Mkkii,t.\, while
that of the school of R. Akil)a is the ]\Iekilta of
R. Simeon b. Yohai, most of which is contained in
the Midrash ha-Gadol (com]). I. Lewy,

The Two "Ein Wort i\ber die Mechilta des

Schools. R. Simon." Breslau. 1889). A halakic
midrash to Leviticus from the school
of R. Akiba exists under the name " Sifra " or " Torat
Kohanim." There was one to Leviticus from the
scliool of R. Ishmael also, of which only fragments
have been prescived (conip. Hoffmann, I.e. pp. 72-
77). Tlie halakic midrash to Numl)ers from the
school of R. Ishmael is the "Sifrc " ; w idle of tliat of
the school of R. Akiba. the Sifre Ziita, onl}- extracts
have survived in the Yalkut Shirn'oni and in the
Midrash iia-Gadol (comp. ih. pp. 56-66). The mid-
dle portion of the Sifre to Deuteronomy forms a
halakic midrash on that book froAi the scliool of R.
Akiba, while anotlier from the school of R. Ishmael
lias been shown by Hoffmann to have existed (D.
Hoffmann, " Likkute .Mckilta. Collectaneen aus einer
Mechilta zu Deuteronomium," in ".lubclschrift zum
70. Geburtstag des Dr. I. Hildesheimer," Hebrew
part, pp. 1-32, Berlin, 1890: ide\ii, "Ueber cine
Mechilta zu Deuteronomium," ih. German part, pp.
83-98; idem, " Neue Collectaneen," etc., 1899).

This assignment of the several midrashim to the
school of R. Ishmael and to that of R. Akiba respect-
ively, liowever, is not to be too rigidly insisted upon :
for tlie Sifre repeats in an abbreviated form some of
the teacliings of tlie Mekilta, just as the Mekilta in
eluded in the Midrash ha-Gadol lias incorporated
manj^ doctrines from Akiba 's midrash (comp. Hoff-
mann, I.e. p. 93). Midrashic lialakot are found also
scattered through the two Talmuds ; for many lialakic
baraitot which occur in the Talmuds are really mid-
rashic, recognizable by the fact that they mention
the Scriptural bases for the respective halakot, often
citing the text at the very beginning. In tlie Jeru-
salem Talmud the midraaliic baraitot frequently
begin with "Ketib"(="It is written "), followed
by the Scriptural passage. From the instances of
midrashic baraitot occurring in the Talmud wliicii
are not found in the e.Ktant niidrashim, the loss of
many of tlie latter class of works must be inferred
(Hoffmann, " Zur Einleitung," p. 3).

The Midrash of Several Younger Tannaiir
and of a Large Number of Amoraim : The Mid-
rash which the Amoraim use when deducing tan-
naitic halakot from the Scriptures is frequently

Hidrash Mishle



very artiticial; and its interpretations are in great
part so divergent from tlie obvious meaning ol the
words that thej' can not be considered as Scriptural
exegesis in any sense. In like manner there are
many explanations by the younger tannaim which
can by no means be regarded as actual interpreta-
tions. These occiu- chiefly as expo.sitions of such
halakot as were not based on Scripture but which it
was desired to connect witli or support by a word
in the Bible. The Gemara often says of the inter-
pretations of a baraita : " The Biblical passage should
be merely a support." Of this class are many of
the explanations in the Sifra (comp. Tos. B. B. 66a,
s r. "miklal") and in the Sifre (comp. Tos. Bek.
o4a, s.v. "ushne"). The tanna also often says
frankly that he does not cite the Biblical word as
proof ("'re'aya"), but as a mere suggestion ("zeker";
lit. "reminder") of the halakah, or as an allusion
C'remez") to it (Mek.. Bo, 5 [ed. Weiss, p. 7b];
Sifre, Num. 112, 116 [cd. Friedmann, pp. 33a, 36a]).

Hini.ioGRAPiiY: Z. Frankel, Hodeoetica in Mif<chiiam. pp. 11-
18, ;S()T-314, Leipsic, 1K.')9; .\. (ieiger, I'tscJirift, pp. 17(1-1'.);,
Braslau. 18,57: D. Hoffmann, Z}tr EiiiUitiuia in die Hala-
chisclicn MidrascJiim, Berlin, 18«8 ; Naclinian Krochmal, Mo-
rcli Nehuke }ia-Zemnii. section i:s, pp. 143-183, Lenibcrg,
\>m; H. M. Pinele.s, Darkah shcl Tovalu pp. 168-:i(11, Vienna,
1861 ; 1. H. Weiss, Dor, 1. ti8-70 ct passim, ii. 4:.'-.53.
.r. J. Z. L.

MIDRASH MISHLE. See Proverbs, Mid-
hash TO.

rash TO.


hash TO.

luidrushim exist which are smaller in size, and gen-
erally later in date, than those dealt with in the arti-
cles MiDRASir Haggadaii and Midrasii Halakah.
The chief of these are :

1. Midrash Abkir : This midrash, the extant
remains of which consist of more than fifty excerpts
contained in the Yalkut and a number of citations
in other works, dealt, according to all accessible
evidence, only with the first two books of the Pen-
tateuch. It deiived its name from the formula
P^l TT' p ^yD^l pX \vith whicli all these homilies
closed, according to the testimony of It. Eleazar of
Worms in a manuscrijit conunenfarv on the praj'er-
book, and according to a codex of J)e Kossi. It is
possible that these religious discourses were ar-
ranged in the order of the sedarim of Genesis and
Exodus, the l)eginnings of the sedarim being Gen.
i. 1, ii. 4, iii. 22, vi. 9, xii. 1, xvii. 1, xviii, 1, xxii.
1, xxvii. 1, xiiv. 18; Ex. iii. 1, xvi. 4, and xxv. 1,
to which belong the excerpts in Talk., Gen. 4, 17,
34, 50, 63, 81, 82, 96, 120, 150, and in Yalk., Ex. 169,
2r)8, and .'561. Tf it may be assumed that in these
homilies of t!ie Midrash Abkir the exjiositions are
not confined to the first verses, the fact that certain
passages are not connected with the beginning of
any seder need cause no surjirise.

Tlie language of this midrasii is pure Hebrew,
while its contents and discussions recall the works
of the later haggadic period. As in the Pirke Itabbi
Eli'ezcr, angels are frequently mentioned (comp.

the excerpts in Yalk. 132, 234, 241, and 243). She-
mahsai and Azael, according to the account in
the Midrash Abkir, descended to earth to hallow
the name of God in a degenerate world, but could
not withstand the daughters of man. Shemahsai
was entrapped by the beauty of Istahar, who, through
the marvelous might of the Divine Name, which she
had elicited from him, ascended to heaven. As a
reward for her virtue she was placed among the
Pleiades, while the angel did penan(,'e before the
Flood, and in i)unishment of his seduction of the
daughters of men was suspended head downwartl
])etween heaven and earth. Azael, however, still
wanders unreformed among mortals, and through
dress and adornment seeks to mislead women (Jel-
linek, "'B. H." iv., pp. ix., et seq.). The version of
tills story in Yalk. 44 (on Gen. vi. 2) concludes:
" Therefore do the Israelites offer as a sacrifice on
the Day of Atonement a ram [sic] to the Eternal One
that He ma}' forgive the sins of Israel, and a ram
[sic] to Azazel that he may bear the sins of Israel,
and this is the Azazel that is referred to in the
Torali." This passage of the midrash explains the
words of Yoma 67b: "According to the school of R.
Ishmael, Azazel is he who atones for the deed of
Usa and Azael." It is to be noted that in the cdi-
tio princeps of tlie Yalkut (Salonica, 1526-27) the
source of the legend of the fallen angels (in § 44) as
well as of the legend concerning the temptation
of R. Mattithiah b. Heresh by Satan (in ii 161),
who was successfully resisted by tiie pious hero, is
simply the ordinary midrash, not the Midrash Ab-
kir. The latter legend is found also in the Mid-
rash of the Ten Commandments (.lellinek, J.c. i.
79) and in Tanhuma (ed. Ruber, "Hukkat," Ad-
denda, § 1).

In several other excerpts from the Yalkut, which,

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