This is the first of 13 classes on midrash.
At first the facilitator should explain (or elicit from the group) the need for midrash. Use the first three sources (Isaiah, Amos and Nehemiah) to show that the need for someone to explain the meaning of the text has always been there. The "reprover at the gate" is someone who understands what we would call "the spirit of the text" and stays at the gate chastising those who would use the text to subvert justice.
Second, as an exercise, the participants join in havruta, each trying to decide the meaning of the root D.R.SH. in each of the proposed verses. The facilitator may decide to select a only few verses per havruta, to save time. After, decide as a group how D.R.SH. is to be understood in relation to the text.
Third part of this first class is to read over the guide to discussion below, and use the guide for the first classes. Later, all are able to discuss without using the sheet.
The order of this course is as follows:
Basic Introduction (this one)
Intro class 1, 2 and 3 (https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/119965; https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/119966 and https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/120108)
Aggadic Midrashim I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IV and V (https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/120653; https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/124749; https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/134733; https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/137295; https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/138399 and https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/142279)
Midreshei Halachah I, II and III (https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/145116; https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/122618 and https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/151091)
People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority, by Moshe Halbertal
The sealing of Scripture arrested the prophetic activity that had been instrumental in its formulation...The moment the text was sealed, authority was removed from the writers of the text and transferred to its interpreters...The sealing of Scriptures does indeed indicate recognition of the exclusive authority of these texts, but at the same time the authority is redistributed. Thus the sealing of the Scriptures instigates a comprehensive upheaval within the Jewish community. The new leadership model of the Torah scholar arises, the religious ideal of Torah study becomes central, and new institutions such as the beit midrash acquire a prestigious position in the community. A new genre of writing also develops, that of interpretive texts linked to Biblical verses.
A Guide for discussing midrash ~ to be used in the introductory classes (after the first exercises)
1. Aesthetic-Artistic concerns:
Can you find a structure in this midrash?
How many voices appear in the midrash?
Are verbal connections being made?
2. Ideological concerns:
What are the ramifications of this midrash?
Are there moral, communal, spiritual messages or values?
Is a spiritual discipline being taught or discussed?
3. Textual concerns:
a. Omnisignificance: Are there words, expressions or letters that are discussed in this midrash? Does the midrash discuss redundancies, or non-essential terms?
b. Gap filling – Are there gaps in the biblical text that need to be filled?
c. Dialogue between distant verses:
Are verses being brought from elsewhere to connect with the main text in this midrash?
i) Contradictory verses or accounts: Is there a contradiction? How is it resolved?
A) Is a harmonization of the accounts or rulings presented?
B) Is one verse reinterpreted in light of the other?
C) Are both verses re-interpreted? Is there a synthesis?
ii) Thematic or linguistic connections:
A) Why are the verses juxtaposed?
Is there a common word of phrase?
Are there puns being used?
Is there a deeper connection between the two verses?
Are there aspects of both verses that were not apparent when each verse was examined individually?
A first exercise: with your chavruta, using the context, guess the meaning of the root D.R.SH. in each of those verses above.
A second exercise: with your chavruta, using the context, guess the meaning of the root D.R.SH. in each of those verses above.
~ Does the fact that more time has passed between the two groups of sources has an impact on the meaning of D.R.SH.?
~ How is the very last source (Ezra) differ than the others?
~ What do you think of this source?
~ Is there a message you can find here?
Masekhet Soferim "The Tractate of the Scribes" (Hebrew: מסכת סופרים) is a non-canonical Talmudic treatise dealing especially with the rules relating to the preparation of the holy books, as well as with the regulations for the reading of the Law.
It belongs to the so-called "smaller tractates," a term applied to about 15 works in rabbinical literature, each containing all the important material bearing on a single subject. While they are mishnaic in form and are called "treatises," the topics discussed in them are arranged more systematically; for they are eminently practical in purpose, being, in a certain sense, the first manuals in which the data scattered through prolix sources have been collected in a brief and comprehensive form. The work is generally thought to have originated in eighth-century Palestine, and being of late and uncertain date is now generally printed as Talmudic addenda.
Darosh at the end of a line, and Darash at the beginning of a line
This means – when you have expounded (darosh) the Torah to the point that you think you have exhausted all its meaning, and you think that you are at the very end of the “line” – not the line of layout, but the line of enquiry and scholarship – you should realize that you are really only “expounding the beginning of the line”.
הברייתא (בקידושין) אומרת שהאות האמצעית בתורה היא האות ו' שבמילה "גחון" בפסוק שבפרשתנו "כל הולך על גחון", והמילים האמצעיות בתורה הם "דרשֹ דרַש" שבפרשתנו.
לפני כ 40- שנה, ר' יצחק יוסף זילבר בדק עובדות אלו (ידנית, ללא מחשב) וגילה שהן אינן נכונות לכאורה. בתורה יש 304805 אותיות, האות ו' של
גחון היא ה 157237- בתורה, ואילו האות האמצעית הופיעה בפרשה שעברה: ו' של "אשה הוא לה'". גם המילים "דרש דרש" אינן המילים האמצעיות. מה פשר הברייתא?
תשובתו היא, שאלו הערות מסורה המתייחסות לשתי תופעות שונות בתורה. ישנן 17 אותיות משונות בתורה (גדולות, קטנות, וקטיעה), ו' של "גחון" שהיא אות גדולה, היא התשיעית, האמצעית
שבהן. ישנן 77 מילים כפולות בתורה (כגון: "אברהם אברהם", "בבקר בבקר"), הזוג "דרש דרש" הוא הזוג
ה 39- , האמצעי שבהם.
גם כאשר ברייתא איננה מובנת לנו, חשוב לזכור ש"חכמים יצפנו דעת ופי אויל מחתה קרבה".(ע"פ הרב אברהם קורמן, שמעתין תשל"ה)
NOTE for INSTRUCTOR: