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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according to later (iditions, are derived Irom the
jNIidrasli Abkir, the source is indicated in the first
edition merely by the word "Midrash," as in ^ 241,
which discusses the legend of Usa, the patron of
Egypt; liere "Midrash " apparently means " Midrash
Wayosha' " (.lellinek, I.e. i. 39 H seq. ). Yalk. 235 (on
Ex. xiv. 24) relates that the Egyptian magicians
Jannesand jAMBRESobtained wings by their art and
soared to heaven, but were dashed down into the sea
by the angel Michael. It can not be determined,
however, whether this passage belongs to the frag-
ment excerpted from the IVIidrash Abkir in Yalk.
234. This midrash was at all events known to the
author of tlie"Shemot Rabbah," and was used or
cited in the following works among others: the
"Lekah Tob" of R. Tobias b. Eliezer, the " Ha-Ro-
keah " of Eleazar ben Judah of Worms, the "Pa'a-
neah Raza." the "Ketal) Tamim " of Moses Tallni,
the " Kad ha-Keinah " of Bal.iya ben Aslier, a mnnu
script commentary by a grandson of R. Samuel of
Speier, and the Yalkut Re'ubeni. The entire mid-
rash was likewise known to Azarialidei Rossi (cor. p.
■'Me'or 'Enayim." ed. Wiliia, j). 455) and to Abrii-
liam ibn Akra. The extracts in the Yalkut, which
had been listed almost completely by Zunz. were
collected by Buber in " Ila-Shal.iar." xi. (reprinted
.sejiarately, Vienna. 1SH3) and by Simon Chones in
"RabPe'alim." pp. VX],'f xcq. The legend of the two
angels was aNo ri'printcd l)v .bllinek. /.'■. iv. XII et




Midrash Mishle

stq. Jannes and Jambres are mentioucd also in Ml-u.
85a and "Shemot Kabbah," 9.

Bibliography: Zunz, G. V. p. 282; Abraham Wilna, lia}) Pc-
'alim, ed. Chones, pp. 22 et t>cq., 13o et «•(/., Wiliia, 1S94 : Bii-
ber, Yeri'ot Slitloiiioli, pp. 9 tt .sty.; Neubauer, in li. E. J.
xiv. 109; Briiirs Jahrb. v., vi. 9.H et .v»'</. On the iiaine of
the midrash see especially Briill, (.c. i. 14(>: Chones, /.c. p. 27 ;
on the legend of the angels Sheiiiahsai and Azael see Kninli,
vi. ct seq. in Kautzsch, Aixihiiiplioi, h.^ it scii.. 2^5;
'I'arg. Ycr. on (,'cii. vi. 4; Pirisc R.FA. .xxii.; Muir. Pctirat
MdkIicIi, in Jellinek, B. H. i. 129; Recanati on Gt)i. vi. 4:
Jellinek, (.c. ii. sti, v.. pp. xlii., 172; Epstein, iitccWiif Hah-
bdti, p. 21 : BiiiU's Jahrtt. i. 145 et seq.

2. Midrash Al Yithallel : A midrasli contain-
ing stories from the lives of the wise Solomon, the
mighty David, and the rich Korah, illustrating Jcr.
i.\. 23. The te.xt has been published according to a
manuscript at Munich by Jellinek (" B. H." vi. 106-
108), and according to a manuscript from Yemen by
Grunhut("Seferha-Likkutim,"i.21 f< «('<?.), with val-
uable references to sources and parallels. With the
story of Solomon may be compared the passage cited
in Jellinek {I.e. ii. 86 et seq., from the "'Emek ha-
Melek ") ; the history of David is similar to the mid-
rash of Goliath (ib. iv. 140 et seq.); and that of Korah
to the passage in the Midrash Tehillim (ed. Buber
on Ps. i. 15).

Biiii.KXJKAPiiv : Jellinek, B.iT.iv., p. xiii.; vi., pp. xxvl. et )<eq.

3. Midrash 'Aseret ha-Dibrot : A midrash
which dates, according to Jellinek, from about the
tenth century, and which is devoted entirely to the
Feast of Weeks, being actually called in a Vatican
manuscript "a haggadah for Shabu'ot." Its author
seeks to inculcate the doctrines of the Decalogue by
citing pertinent tales of a moral and religious na-
ture ; and he employs, in addition to much material
from unknown sources, many passages from treatises
on the Creation, revelation, and similar topics, wliich
he introduces with the phrase "ameru hakamim "
(the sages saj'); he seldom cites liis authorities.
He writes in a lucid Hebrew style. The separate
conmiandments are prefaced by a general intro-
duction based on Ps. cvi. 2: "Who can utter the
mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his
praise?" This verse is explained, with reference to
Pirke K. El. iii., as follows: "Even the angels are
unable to recount His mighty acts ; only faintly may
be shown what He hath created and what shall
come to pass, that the name of the King of all
kings, the Holy One, blessed be He ! may be praised
and honored."

After a few sentences follows the haggadah of the
strife of the letters, which contended with each other
for the honor of forming the beginning of Creation.
The victor in this contest was the letter "bet," the
initial of the word n^E^*N"l3. while "alef " was com-
forted by the promise that with it, as the first letter
of ^3JS, the revelation of the Ten Commandments
sliould begin (comp. the recension of the Midrash of
llie Alphabet in Jellinek, " B. II "iii. 50 c/ seq. ; Gen.
P. i., ed. Theodor, p. 9). The word ^DiK is explained
as a notarikon and as Egyptian (comp. Sliab. 105a;
Pesik. 109a). This section is followed by a mystic
and cosmological discussion of the magnitude of the
world, of the waters above and below the firmament,
and of the seven heavens (comp. " Seder Kabbah de-
Bereshit " in Wertheimer, " Batte Midrashot," i. 9,
22 et seq.). Tiie introduction then makes excursus

on the modest}' of Moses, which gained for him the
honor of God's revelation of the Torah ; on the pre-
existence of the Torah, and on God's invitation to
the Gentiles to accept it, wliidi they all rcfu.sed; and
on the pledges which God required of Lsrael to keep
the Torah, these jjledges being Iheiichikiien (comp.
Cant. K. to Cant. i. 3). In the discussion of the. several
coimnaudments (JICNI lUH. etc., to 'j;'K'n "lUn.
which are included in the editions of this midrash)
only the first and sixth commandments, which have
no story attached to them, are treated at any length
in haggadic fashion. In the case of the other com-
mandments, legends form the principal part of the
discussion, and are arranged as follows: conunand-
meut ii., the mother and her seven children, the
limping Jew; commandment iii., one who never
swore; commandment iv., the pious man and the
cow; Joseph, who kejjt holy the Sabbath-day, the
emperor and K. Joshua b. Hananiah, Tinnius Kufus
and Rabbi Akiba; commandment v., three examples
of the love of children, the child and the Book of
Genesis; commandment vii., the temptation of Mat-
tithiah b. Heresh, Kabbi Me'i'r and tlie wife of his
host, Mattaniah's wife and death; the history of
Saul, who by the help of Elijah was reunited with
his wife after a long separation ; commandment viii.,
Solomon and the thief, the merchant and the thievish
innkeeper; commandment ix., the son of the pub-
lican Baya.

Bibliography: Zunz, G. V. pp. 142, 144; Jellinek. J?. /f. 1., p.
xviii.; text of the MidroKlt, ib. pp. (52-90; Ben Jacob, Ozarha-
Sefariin, p. 301; Horovv-itz, Uralte 2'o,'<e/Yrt'.s, v. 66 et seq.;
Wertheimer, Batte Midrachot, ii. 8, 26. tin another recension
of this midrash in the Hililnir lut-Ma'asiyijot, Verona, 1647,
which contains a story on the honor due the Torah, as well as
on a nn^TH r^Z's; trm, and which is contained in a manu-
script of historical miscellanies, comp. Epstein in Ha-Stiahar,
1. 67; Meihzoi- Vitiii. Introduction, p. 18:1 Winter and Wiin-
sche's Die Jlldische Littcratxir. i. 669 cf jseg., contains a trans-
lation of some fragments of another midrash to the Ten Com-
mandments, attributed to Saadia Gaon (comp. Eisen.stadter,
Arahischcr Midrasch zu den Zehn Gehnteti, Vienna, 1868;
see also Weiss, Dar. iv. 152).

4. Dibre ha-Yamim shel Mosheh : This mid-
rash, which is written in pure Hebrew, and which
is in many portions a mere cento of verses from the
Bible in close imitation of Biblical st3ie, presents
a history of the life of Moses embellished with many
legends which must be very old, since the same or
similar stories are found asearlj' as Joseplius ("Ant."
ii. 9, ^i^ 2 et seq.). ; viz., the stories of the wise men's
prophecy to the king of the birth of a child who
some day will destroy the power of tlie Egyptians
(in the midrash the interpretation of a dream replaces
the prophecy ; comp. also Targ. Yer. 1 to Ex. i. 15),
upon which prophecy followed the command of the
king to cast the male children of the Israelites into
the river; the crown which the king places upon
Moses' head, and which the latter casts to the earth
(in the midrash Moses is described as taking the
crown from the king's head): Moses as leader of the
Israelites in a war against the Ethiopians, his use of
the ibis in combating the snakes that have made
his way dangerous, and the love of the king's daugh-
ter for him (according to the midrash Moses enters
the camp of the Ethiopian king D1Jp''p. upon whose
death he marries the latter's widoAv, and, overcoming
the dangers due to the .snakes, captures the long-
besieged city). For other older sources which
agree in part with this midrash and differ from




it in some respects, see Moses in Habdinicai,


According to Jellinek C B. H."ii., p. viii.), the life
of Moses was originally treated in detail in a cliron
icle which employed sources still older. This work
was incorporated in tlie well-known collection of
legends entitled "Sefer ha- Yashar " ; and from this
tlie Yalkut took extracts which agree with the
"Sefer ha- Yashar" and not with the present Chi'on-
icle of Moses. At a later time, however, a shoiter
recension of the older chronicle was made, which is
the one now existing. It was published at C n-
stantinople in 1516, at Venice in 1564, and elsewhere,
and was reprinted by Jellinek {I.e. ii. 1-13). Extracts
were made from the chronicle by the author of the
"Midrash Wayosha' " ; and it was one of the sotirces
of the "Shemot Kabbah "; it was likewise cited in.
the " 'Aruk," by Il)n Ezra (who rejects it as apocry-
phal) on Ex. ii. 22, and by Samuel ben Meir on

Bibliography: Zunz, G. V. p. 145; Rah Pe'aZim, p. 45; Jel-
linek, B. H. ii., pp. vii. rt sa/.

5. Midrash Eleh Ezkerah : This midrash re-
ceives its name from the fact that a selihah for the
Day of Atonement, which treats the same subject
and begins with the words "Eleh ezkerah," recounts
the execution of ten famous teachers of the Mish-
nah in the time of the persecution by Hadrian. The
same event is related in a very ancient source,
Ekah Rabbati on Lam. ii. 2, ed. Buber, p. 50b
(comp. Midr. Teh. on Ps. ix. 13, ed. Buber, p.
44b). According to the Midrash Eleh Ezkerah, a
Roman emperor commanded the execution of the ten
sages of Israel to expiate the guilt of the sons of
Jac(jb, who had sold their brother Joseph — a crime
wiiich, according to Ex. xxi. 16, had to be punished
with death. The names of the martyrs are given
here, as in the sclihali aheady mentioned (varying in
part from the Ekah Kabbati and the Midrash Tehil-
liin), as follows: R. Simeon 1). Gamaliel, R. Ishniael
the high priest, R. Akiba, R. Hanina b. Teradion,
R. Judah b. Baba, R. Judaii b. Dama, R. Huzpit,
R. Hananiah b. Hakinai, Ii. Jeshebeab, and Ii. Elea-
zar 1). Shammua'.

Although tliis midrash emjiloys other sources, bor-
rowing its introduction from the Midrash Konen,
and the account of the conversation of Rabbi Ish-
niael with the angels in heaven probably from the
'■ Hekalot," it forms, nevertheless, a coherent work.
It was edited, on the basis of a Hnmburg cod(!X, by
Jellinek (Leipsic, 1853, and in his " B. H." ii. 64-72),
and, according to another manuscript, by Chones,
in ids " Rab Pe'alim " (pp. 157-160). A second and
a third recension of the midrash were edited, on the
basis of manuscript sources, in "B. H." (vi. 19-35),
and a fourth is contained in the Spanish liturgical
work " Bet Ab " (Leghorn, 1877). According to Jel-
linek, "the fourth recension is the oldest, since it
has borrowed large portions from the ' Hekalot ' ;
next to this stand the second and the third ; while
the youngest is the first, which, nevertheless, has
the advantage of real conformity with the spirit of
the race and represents this tlie best of all." The
martvrdom of the ten sages is also treated in the
additions to the "Hekalot" ("B. H." v. 167 et m/.)
and in the Ijinah for tlie Ninth of Ab.

Itmi.KXJKAPnY : Zunz, (i. V. p. 14^: Jellinek, B. U. ii.. pp.
x.xiii. '/ .■.((/.; v.. p. xli.; vi., pp. x\\\.ct seq.; Benjuci)!), Ozar
li(i-Srf<iriiii, p. ;i!)9. On the pioblein of tbe synctii(»nisiii <if
the leii martyrs see Griitz, (iiscli. 1v. 1T'> ft .scry., and .l/oof/Zs-
.^chrift. i. :i]4 ft sfij. A (ieiiii:in translation by P. Midiiiis a))-
peared in lS4r).

6. Midrash 'Eser Galiyyot: This midrash
treatsof the ten e.\iles whicli have befallen the Jews,
counting four exiles under Sennacherib, four under
Nebuchadnezzar, one under Vespasian, and one
under Hadrian. It eontainsalso many jiarallels to the
Seder '01am, ch. xxii. et seq. A citation of tiie coiii-
meutator R. Hillel on Sifre ii. 43 (ed. Fiiedmaun.
p. 82a) justifies the inference that the Midrash "Eser
Galiyyot originally stood at the end of the Seder
'01am; and it is also possible that Abiaham ben
David likewise drew mateiial from it, for an older
edition of his "Sefer ha-Kabbalah " includes this
midrash. The haggadah at the beginning of the
miilrash, to the effect that the Jews had sufi'eicd ten
exiles, was cited, with the formula "Our teachers
have taught," by R. Zemah Gaon in his letter ad-
dressed to the commimity of Kairwan in the latter
part of the ninth century. The midrash has been
edited by Jellinek ("B. 'h." iv. 133-136) and. wiili
valuable notes, by Grunhut ("Sefer ha-lJkkutim,"
iii. 2-22). A later recension which "cares little
about haggadic chronology, but much about hag-
gadic embellishment," was printed in "B. H." v.

BiBLiooRAPHY: Jellinek, B. H. iv.. p. xii.; v., p. xxxv.: (Jriin-
hut. ih. 5-13; Briill, in Ben Chaiia)i.ja, 18()t5, p. ls!5; Kpstein,
Eldnd lia^Daxi, pp. 7, 17 ; Katner, IntioUuctioii to the Nc-
der 'Olaw, pp. 49, 123, and notes on the same work, pp. 4Sa,
5hi, -"ilia.

7. Midrash Esfah : This midrash, which as yet
is known onh' from a few excerpts in Yalkut and
tAvo citations in "Sefer Raziel " and " lla-lvokeal.i,"
receives its name from Num. xi. 16: "Gather unio
me ["Esfah-li"] seventy men of the elders of
Israel." In Yalk. i ,^ 73(5 is found a citation rela-
ting to the same verse, which can not be traced to
any other midrash, and is doubtless taken from Mid-
rash Esfah. To this midrash may jio.ssibly be re'-
ferred a passage in the " Ilalakot Gedolot " (ed. AVar-
saw, p. 282b) and a fragiuent on Num. xvii. 14, xx.
1-3, in Wertheimer, "Batte Midrashot," iii. 8-10,
which agrees in its concluding words with the ex-
cerpt in Yalk., Num. 763 on Num. xx. 3 (found also
lb. 262, on Ex. xvii. 2, which begins with the same
words). The name of the midrash shows that it
must have begun with Num. xi. 16. Tht; other ex-
cerpts in the Yalkut from the ]\Iidrash Esfah, i^s;
737, 739, 742, 764, 773, and 845, are iKi-sed on Num.
xi. 24, xii. 3-7, xii. 12, xxi. 9, xxvi. 2 (found also
il). 684, on Num. i. 2, which begins with the .same
words), and Deut. vi. 16; the extent of the mid-
rash, however, can not be determined.

The interesting extract in Yalk., Num. on Num.
xi. 16 names the seventy elders in two of its recen-
sions (a third recension of this jiassage is furnislieil
by a Vatican manuscriiit) ; and one of versions
concludes with a noteworthy statement which justi-
fies the inference that the midrash was taught in
the academy of Hanina Gaon by Rabbi Samuel,
brother of Rabbi Phinehas. It would seem, llieic-
fore, that the midrash was composed in Babylon in
the first half of the ninth century.




JJiBLUXiRAPiiv: Ziinz, G. V. pp. ~'T!t ct sai.: Oiohhs, Unit Pc-
\iliiii. pp. 36 cl .-■(</.; Uaptipiui, Kiiriii Hcnml, vi.; Wfiss.
]J<»: iv. 41, -Itj; Hutter, in Ki msit YisKnl. i.: Miillt-r. Eiii-
It'itutiii in (Hi RcsiiiiHxa. If^iM. |>. T:i: WertlieiimT, ISottr Mid-
ntsliDt. Inlniiliictioii, pp. •") (t .<<•(/. 'riic excerpts from the
.Midrash Esfali liave been ccilleitea l).v Hulier (/.<•.) ami by
Chones (I.e. pp. 147-153; coinp. Bulier, Ycri'i)t S/ie/"Hio/i, pp.
13 rf sf<i.).

8. Midrash Hallel. Set- Ps.\i,>js, Midkasii to.

9. Midrash Leku Nerannena. Tliis iiiidiasli.
uliich is ciLcil in the Mah/.or Vitiy (S -1:20, p. 334)
and of wliicli a few fragments are still jiieserved.
scents to liave been a homily ("pesikta") for the
Feast of Hanukkah.

BtHLiOGRAPnv : Kpstein, Hu-H<il(c>\ i. flo ct seq.

10. Midrash Ma'aseh Torah : This midrash
cotilaiiis eonipilaliotis of iloetriiies, regulations of
eonduet, and empirical rules, arranged in groups of
three to ten eacii and taken from various works. It
is frequently found in manuscript, and has been
edited at Constantinople (1519), Yetiice (lo44), Atn-
sterdam (1697), and elsewhere, Avhiie it has appeared
more recently in Jellinek's "B. II." (ii. 92-101) and
is contained also in the " Kol Bo" (=; 118), where it
frequently deviates from the Amsterdam edition even
in the arrangeitieiit of its sentences. The fact that
this midrash is ascribed to the patriarch I{. Judah
ha -Nasi (Rabbenu ha-Kadosh) receives its explana-
tion from the fact that the Ma'aseh Torah is merely
another recension of the similar jnidrash foutid in
the edition of Schonblum (in his collection " Shelo-
shah Sefarim Niftahim," Lemberg, 1877) and in
Griiidiut's "Sefer ha-Likkutim" (iii. 33-90). This
latter midrash begins in both editions with the teach-
ings which Rabbenu ha-Kadosh taught his son, and
the work is accordingly called "Pirke de-Rabbenu
ha-Kadosh" or "Pirke Rabbenu ha-Kadosh" in the
two editions and in the manuscripts on Avhich they
are based.

The editions in question cotnprise two different
recensions. In the text of Schoublum the number
of numerical groups is 24; and at the beginning
stands the strange order fi. 5, 4, 3, followed by the
nutnbcrs 7-24. On the other hand, in Giiinhut's
text, which is based on a defective manuscript, the
ord(!r of the " perakim" proceeds naturally from 3 to
12 (or 13), but the rest are lackitig; and, quite apart
from this divergence in the method of grouping,
even within the tiumerical groups the two editions
dilTer strikingly in the number and occasionally also
in the wording of individual passages. In an Ox-
ford codex of till' Mahzor Vitry a passage occurring
in both editiotis (ed. Schonbhim, p. 35a; ed. Grlin-
hut, p. 85) is cited as being in the Pe.sikta; and it is
also stated that it treats of a series of from 3 to 10
objects (coinp. the introduction to the Mahzor
Vitry, p. 179; Tos. Ber. 8b; 'Er. 19a).

A similar collection, probably more ancient in
origin, was edited by Horowitz in the " Kebod Hup-
pah," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1888, the work being
based on a codex of De Rossi of the year 1290.
This compilation is named tlie " Huppat Eliyahu "
or the "Sheba' Huppot," on account of its opening
words, "Seven canopies will God set up for the
righteous in the world to come " (comp. B. B. 75a).
This haggadah agrees for the most part with tlie
Ma'aseh Torah and the Pirke Rabbenu ha-Kadosh,
and presents the numerical groupings up to tli"

number 24, arranged without mueli order; on the
wliole. it harmonizes more elo.sely with the Pirke.
AcciiKliiiL; to Ilinowitz, the '■ Huppat Eliyahu " was
revised and exjjainkd into the " llupiiat Eliyahu

The "Hujipat Eliyahtt " was edited as far as No.
16 l)y R. Israel Alnaqiia at the end of his " .Menorat
lia Ma'or"; and this portion of the cotnpilation,
together witli other extracts from this work, was
appended byEHjaii de Vidas to his " Reshit Hok-
itiah " (c'omp. Schechter, " .Monatssclirift," 1885, pp.
124 ct sff/., 234). Alnaciua mentions also among the
sotirces which he used " Hujjpat Eliyahu Zuta we-
Rabbah," which were evidently merely i)arts of the
same Avork. From them were probably derived the
two extracts in paragraphs 201 and 247 of the "Me-
uorat ha-Ma'or" of Isaac Aboab, which are cited as
oceurring in the "Hupi)at Eliyahu Rabbah " and the
"Huppat Eliyahu Zuta." Aluatiua was, further-
more, the compiler of many maxims beginning with
the words D^1J,6, ^HJ, and n^nj, and forming the
"Or "Olam " at the end of his •'Menorat ha-.Ma'or."
This collection was likewise incorporated by De
Villas in his work, and lias been reprinted by Jelli-
uek C'B. H."iii. 109-130) as the "Midrash le-'Olam"
and "'Midrash Gadol u-Gedolah."

The " Ma'aseh Torah " formed the model for the

rich collection of Elijah Wilna which bears the same

name, anil which appeared at "Warsaw in 1804 with

the additions of his son Abraham.

BtBLiOGRAPHV : Ziinz, G. V. pp. 284 et scq.: Chones, liah Pc-
'aU//i, pp. 59 ef seq., 87 ct fCi].: Benjai-ob. (Uar iKt-Scfarhn,
pp. 337 et xcq., 357 et seq.; driinliut, Stfcr lia-Lihkntiiii. iii..
Introduction, pp.17 ct .srq. Abundant inaterial' regardinp
this midrash has been eoUefted by Horowitz ; but the numer-
ical relations of the midrashim reijuire thorough investigation.

11. Midrash Petirat Aharon: A midrash
based on Niun. xx. 1 et seq., and describing the lack
of water experienced by the childten of Israel after
the death of Miriam and the events at the rock from
which water was obtained. It likewise treats of
Num. XX. 24 et seq., recounting the death of Aaron.
Aaron, escorted by the people, ascended the moun-
tain with Closes and Eleazar. There a ca vent opened
which Moses itivited itis brother to enter; in it were
a table, a bm-itiug lamp, and a couch surrounded by
angels. With gentle words Moses addressed Aaron,
whose fate was to be happier than his own; for
Aaron was to be buried by his i)rother, and his honor
was to be inherited by his children. Aaron then lay
down upon the couch, and God took him to Him-
self. When Moses left the cavern it vanished; but
at his prayer, his assertion that Aaron was dead be-
ing disbelieved, the mountain opened again and the
high priest was seen resting on the couch (see Jew.
Encvc. i. 4a, .s.r. Aahon; and on the beginnitig
of the midrash. whicit is based on Zeeh. xi. 8, contj).
Ta'an. 9a and Sifre, Detit. 305). Authorities are no-
where cited, but several statements are introduced
by the formt:la ^ TS1 (i.e., b'f nOXI). The midrash
was edited at Constantinople (1516), Venice (1544),
and elsewhere, tind has been reprinted by Jellinek
("B. H." i. 91-95).

Btnt.ionRAPnv: Zunz. G. V. p. 146; Jellinek, B. H. i., p. xix.

12. Midrash Petirat Mosheh : This midrash
describes in great detail tlte last acts of Moses and his
death, at which the augeis and God Himself were




preseut. There arc several recensions of it. The
tirst, published at Constantinople in 1516 (Venice,
1544, and elsewhere; also in Jeliinek, " B. II. "i. 115-
129), begins with a brief e.\egesis by K. Samuel Nah-
niani and R. Tanhuma of the first of the peric-
ope "We-zot ha-berakah " (Deut. xxxiii. 1, xxxiv.
12), closing with its last verses, and doubtless in-
tended for Sinihat Torah. The real content of the
midrash is a haggadic treatment of Deut. xxxi. 14
et seq., supplemented by an exegesis of Deut. iii.
2Setseq., and is filled with somewhat tedious dia-
logues between God and Moses, who is represented
as unwilling to die. All his tears and entreaties were
in vain, liowever ; for God connuanded all the princes
of heaven to close the gates of prayer. In the last
da.ys of his life, until the 7th of Adar, Moses inter-
preted the Torah to Israel ; and on the day of his
death, according to R. Helbo, he wrote thirteen
Torahs, of which twelve were for the twelve tribes,
and the best was for the Ark of the Covenant {ib.
xxxi. 24 et seq.; comp. Pesik. p. 197a; Deut. R.,
Wayelek, end.; Midr. Teh. on Ps. xc); some say
that Gabriel descended, and took the Torah from the
hands of Moses, bearing it through each heaven to
show the piety of its scribe, and that the souls of the
holy read from this Torah on Mondays and Thurs-
days and on festivals. This is followed by a long
section beginning with R. Josiah's account of the
honors which Moses rendered Joshua, and the serv-
ice which he did him in the last days of his life.
Especially noteworthy here is tlie poetic prayer of
Joshua beginning D'jr^yn D''tDC^'^ "'DK' "IJ1 "Iliy.

After this the close of Moses' life is depicted, a
bat kol giving warning with increasing insistence of
the hours, even of the seconds, that remained for
liim. This enumeration of the hours and the con-
ventional formula pip r\2 nnV^ are important for the
determination of the dependence of the additions

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