Orayta Parsha Study Group: Breishit - בראשית
1. What motivates the midrash about God diminishing the moon? What is an alternative solution to the textual issue?

(טז) וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹקִ֔ים אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים אֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיּ֔וֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה וְאֵ֖ת הַכּוֹכָבִֽים׃

(16) God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars.

(א) המארת הגדולים. שָׁוִים נִבְרְאוּ וְנִתְמַעֲטָה הַלְּבָנָה עַל שֶׁקִּטְרְגָה וְאָמְרָה אִ"אֶ לִשְׁנֵי מְלָכִים שֶׁיִשְׁתַּמְּשׁוּ בְכֶתֶר אֶחָד:
(1) המאורות הגדולים THE GREAT LUMINARIES — They were created of equal size, but that of the moon was diminished because she complained and said, “It is impossible for two kings to make use of one crown” (Chullin 60b).
(א) ויעש. נקראו השנים הגדולים כנגד הכוכבים וכן נקראו שלשה בני ישי הגדולים כנגד האחרים. ואליאב היה הבכור גדול מכולם ולא זה גדול מזה יש לו סוד
(1) AND GOD MADE. The sun and the moon are called the great lights in contradistinction to the stars. Similarly the first three sons of Jesse are called the elders, in contrast to their younger brothers. In reality, Eliab, the first born, was the oldest of them all. As to the Midrash, which states One was not greater than the other, there is a secret meaning to it.