Bereishit Rabbah 30:8 Noah was perfect in his generation. What’s the most interesting word in this sentence? Well, this midrash opts for “was”, leading us to surprising wisdom.
15. Genesis in Every Generation (Bereishit Rabbah 2:3)
Bereishit Rabbah 2:3 “The earth was formless and void…” (Genesis 1:2-5). Rabbi Yehudah bar Simone interpreted this reading as applying to [future] generations. This midrash explores references to later generations within the first few lines of Genesis.
14. The Merit of Meager Offerings
Vayikra Rabbah 3:5. The sacrifice of those with little means takes precedence over the sacrifice of the wealthy. Three stories teach the theme, include dream messages, and leave us wondering how to offer our souls in the world today.
13. Introduction to Vayikra Rabbah
Hi. I’m Jay. Welcome to More Midrash. I started this podcast as a new way to explore midrash, to read these ancient Jewish texts closely with anyone no matter how far away we may be from each other. I believe that close reading is an act of love, attention to detail is an act of devotion, and opening to imagination is a spiritual practice. In this first episode of Season 2, I want to introduce you to me, to midrash, and to our specific focus for the season – folktales in the midrashic collection Vayikra Rabbah.
If you’d like to read a transcript of the episode, go to https://moremidrash.com/introduction-season-2-vayikra-rabbah/.
12. Jacob: The End Draws Close
Bereishit Rabbah 96:1. In the Torah scroll, every parashah begins on a new line or after a significant space from the last word of the previous parashah. Vayechi, however, the final parashah of Genesis, begins immediately after the last word of Vayigash. Our midrash offers three suggestions for what meaning we can make of such a “closed off” text.
11. Judah and Joseph: The Meaning of Approach
Bereishit Rabbah 93:4. Judah approaches Joseph, in defense of Benjamin. How does Judah’s approach transcend the danger and become a spiritual model for human connection?
10. Joseph and His Brothers: Sparking the Holy Spirit
Bereishit Rabbah 91:7. Joseph and his brothers meet after many years. He recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him. Yet maybe they know more than they realize…
09. Joseph and the Cupbearer: Memory and Hope
Bereishit Rabbah 88:7. Joseph interprets the cupbearer’s dream in prison. But when the cupbearer is restored to his position he forgets about Joseph. But God does not forget.
08. Jacob and Job: Seeking Wholeness
Bereishit Rabbah 79:3. Job suffered, and gained wholeness. Jacob arrived home in wholeness.
07. Jacob and Naomi: People Over Place
Bereishit Rabbah 68:6. Jacob and Noami both leave their homes. The midrash sees their departure as a great loss. What can we learn from their departure about how we want to live?