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From the Midrash

Translations and renditions of stories from the Midrash and the Talmud

Translations and renditions of stories from the Midrash and the Talmud

The Woman Who Didn't Want to Get Divorced
“Just as your union began with feasting, let your parting of ways be similarly celebrated.”
Two Sages and a Single Basket of Fish
Rav Anan had unwittingly caused an unjust verdict.
The Inspiring Story of Rabbi Avner, the Sinner
One Yom Kippur, Avner sent guards to the synagogue, ordering the Ramban to appear before him. In his palace, before the eyes of his former teacher and master, Avner slaughtered a pig, roasted it and ate it on this holiest of fast days.
Where Rabbi Akiva Saw Joy
The students broke into tears. Looking up, they noticed that Rabbi Akiva was laughing.
Who's the Thief?
“One of us is a thief! My lord, I’d like for you to have each of us swear that he didn’t steal the money. That way we’ll find out which of us is the thief!”
Challahs from Heaven
Every Friday, before Shabbat, she would throw a burning coal into the oven, so that smoke would drift out of her chimney . . .
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
Turnus Rufus 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..."
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