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Translations and renditions of stories from the Midrash and the Talmud

From the Midrash

From the Midrash

Translations and renditions of stories from the Midrash and the Talmud

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The Boat
"What concern is it of yours?" the man retorted. "Am I not drilling under my own place?"
The Tree
A man was travelling through the desert, hungry, thirsty, and tired, when he came upon a tree bearing luscious fruit and affording plenty of shade, underneath which ran a spring of water...
The Walls of the Study Hall
Said Rabbi Eliezer: "If the law is as I say, then may the walls of the house of study prove it!" The walls began to fall in. Rabbi Joshua rebuked them. "If Torah scholars are debating a point of Jewish law, what are your qualifications to intervene...?"
The Fox and the Fishes
Said the fox to the fiishes: “Why don’t you come out onto the dry land? We’ll live together, as my ancestors lived with your ancestors . . .”
A Carob Tree and a Spring
Seeing a man ploughing and sowing, they exclaimed: "They forsake eternal life and engage in temporal life!" Whatever they cast their eyes upon was immediately incinerated
The Child and the Slave
Turnusrufus asked Rabbi Akiva: "If your G-d loves the poor, why doesn't He feed them?"
Six Hundred Dinars Minus Six
"Give with an open hand," Rabbi Shimon adjured. "Don't worry about tomorrow, G-d will provide. And most important: write it all down. Every penny you give, write it down and carry the list with you at all times..."
The Fox in the Vineyard
The fox could see what luscious grapes grew in the vineyard, but the hole in the fence was too small for him. So he fasted for three days until he became thin enough to slip through . . .
The Snake in the Wall
“On the day your daughter enters the bridal chamber,” the astrologers said to Rabbi Akiva, “a snake will bite her and she will die.”
A Joyous Divorce
Just as they had celebrated their marriage with joy, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai told the couple, so should their divorce be celebrated in joy.
The Two Watchmen
Once there was a king who had a beautiful orchard with splendid figs. He appointed two watchmen for his orchard: one watchman was lame, and the other one was blind . . .
The Laughter of Rabbi Akiva
When they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a fox emerging from the place of the Holy of Holies. The others started weeping; Rabbi Akiva laughed...
Choni the Circle-Maker
“Master of the Universe!” prayed Choni. “Your children turned to me because I am like a member of Your household. I swear by Your great name that I’m not budging from here until You have compassion on Your children!”
On One Foot
"What is hateful to you," said Hillel, "do not do to your neighbor. That is the entire Torah..."
The Cow That Kept Shabbat
There was once a Jew who owned a cow with which he plowed his field. Then it came to pass that he sold his cow to a non-Jew...
The Vessel
"Go to the craftsman who made me," said the man, "and say to him: How ugly is the vessel which you have made!"
The Ultimate Matchmaker
She took a thousand slaves and a thousand slave-girls, lined them up in two rows, and announced: "You marry him, and you marry her."
Caesar's Lesson
Caesar said to Rabban Gamliel: “Your G‑d is a thief, as it is written, ‘And G‑d caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man . . . and He took one of his sides . . .’” Said Caesar’s daughter, “Allow me to reply.”
Kamtza and Bar Kamtza
The Story of Tisha B’Av
It happened this way: A certain man had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy called Bar Kamtza. He once made a party and said to his servant, “Go and bring Kamtza” . . .
Planting is just as important as harvesting...
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