Machshavah Lab

Midrashic Embellishment: Why Did Chazal Villainize “the Bad Guys” and Vindicate “the Good Guys” and What are the Educational Implications for Us?

February 21, 2022 Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss Season 7 Episode 7
Machshavah Lab
Midrashic Embellishment: Why Did Chazal Villainize “the Bad Guys” and Vindicate “the Good Guys” and What are the Educational Implications for Us?
Show Notes

The full title of this YBT Sunday Shiur (given on 2/20/22) is "Midrashic Embellishment: Why Did Chazal Villainize 'the Bad Guys' and Vindicate 'the Good Guys' and What are the Educational Implications for Us?" It is a sequel to the shiur I gave on 4/18/21 entitled: "Midrashic Betrayal: the Detrimental Effects of the Failure to Distinguish Between Pshat and Drash." You are advised to watch (or, bedieved, listen to) that shiur before this one. 

Chazal criticize those who say that David, Reuven, Shlomo, and other tzadikim sinned, but the pesukim paint a very different picture. Likewise, Chazal ascribe all sorts of villainy to Eisav, Bilaam, Dasan and Aviram, and other reshaim, but if we were to assess these people based on their portrayal in the pesukim, we would come away with a very different picture. In this shiur we discuss two theories as to why Chazal "embellished" the narratives in Torah she'bi'Chsav, and we consider the implications of using these methods in modern day Jewish education.
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מקורות:
אבן עזרא – שפה ברורה
בראשית כה:כט - עם פירוש רש"י, מדרש אגדה (בובר), בראשית רבה, ר' אברהם בן הרמב"ם
ר' אברהם בן הרמב"ם - מאמר על הדרשות ועל האגדות
ראב"ם - המספיק לעובדי ה', פרק ז': הפרישות, ופרק י': הענוה
בראשית מט:ג-ד - עם פירוש הראב"ם, רלב"ג (תועלות) 
בראשית לה:כב עם פירוש רש"י, רד"ק, רמב"ן, 
בראשית מב:לז עם פירוש הרלב"ג (ביאור המילות + תועלות)
שבת דף נה עמוד ב
רמב"ם - משנה תורה: ספר נשים, הלכות סוטה ג:ב
שמות יד:יא עם פירוש הראב"ם
מדרש הגדול במדבר טז:א
מהר"ץ חיות – מבוא התלמוד פרק כ
ב' שמואל יא:יד-יז עם פירוש האברבנאל
רמח"ל – מאמר על ההגדות
אבן עזרא – הקדמה לפירוש התורה
Alisa Rosenbaum, "What is Romanticism?"

The Torah content for the remainder of February has been sponsored by Jeremy Gelbart of Boca Raton, FL, in gratitude for Rabbi Schneeweiss's teaching.

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