The Weekly Midrash
Teacher Title Abstract
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Bereishit: The Tree of Knowledge The Torah ascribes three attributes to the Tree of Knowledge. What does the Midrashic exposition of these qualities teach us about the sin in the Garden of Eden?
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Lekh Lekha: Chazal’s Portrait of Avraham Avinu in Bereishit Rabba While the Midrashic parable of Avraham and the burning castle is famous, the context for it is not. In this shiur, we examine the structure of the exposition of Tehillim 45.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayera: From Bringing People Under the Wings of the Shekhina to Hospitality The Midrash explores Avraham's character along two axes, as he preaches ethical monotheism in a sophisticated way while demonstrating the hospitality expected among God's creatures.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Chayei Sara: Generational Shift: “The Sun Rises and the Sun Sets” The metaphor of sunrise and sunset is integral to understanding the Midrashic conception of generational shift, whether reflecting on the biblical past, the present of Chazal or the future which we encounter.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Toledot: “And There Was a Famine in the Land Yitzchak is widely known as the ola temima, the burnt-offering without blemish, but why does he merit this appellation? The Midrashic exposition of Tehillim 37 suggests another dimension of Yitzchak's character, particularly relevant in the Amoraic age in Eretz Israel--and our time.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayetze: “Happy Am I! For Daughters Call Me Happy” Leah's joyous declaration at the birth of Asher reflects a deeper truth, according to the Midrash, about herself and her place in the founding of the Nation of Israel.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayishlach: “And He Encamped Before the City” The Midrash analyzes a cryptic verse about Ya'akov after the confrontation with Eisav and before the tragedy of Dina. Its divergent explanations present different
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayeshev: "He Creates the Light of the Messiah" The Midrashic exposition of the relationship between Yehuda and Tamar provides insights into how the Amoraim of Eretz Israel understand the march of history and God's role within it.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Miketz: "And God Almighty Give You Mercy Before the Man" The Midrashic exposition of Ya'akov's parting message as he sends his remaining sons down to Egypt displays a deep understanding of human suffering.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayigash: On Leadership The fateful encounter between these two brothers, each destined to be the ancestor of kings, teaches us, through Midrashic exposition, three fundamental lessons in leadership.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayechi: Yissakhar and Zevulun Yissakhar and Zevulun are regularly linked in both biblical and rabbinical sources. What does the exploration of their partnership say about the region that so many Amoraim of Eretz Israel called home?
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Shemot: The Vision of the Burning Thornbush In the Midrash, the Sages take different approaches to the fundamental question of God's initial revelation at Sinai: why does He appear in a burning thornbush (seneh)?
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vaera: The Ten Plagues in Rabbinic Literature Throughout its various eras, Midrashic literature sees great significance in the Ten Plagues, from the Tannaim to the Rishonim, but each era's sages have their own perspective.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Bo: “This Month Shall Be to You the Beginning of Months - Chodesh and Hitchadshut in Shemot Rabba The first commandment given to the Jewish people, to mark the beginning of the months, is explained by the Tanchuma-based Shemot Rabba as symbolizing the eternal power of renewal in Judaism, both for the individual and the collective.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Beshalach: Faith and Song The Midrashic exposition of the faith realized by Israel at the Sea of Reeds undergoes an evolution, from the earlier works such as the Mekhilta to the later works such as Shemot Rabba.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Yitro: “You Are Wholly Fair, My Love; And There Is No Blemish in You” The Physical Perfection of the Israelites at the Time of the Revelation at Mount Sinai Throughout the eras of Midrashic exposition, we can trace the development of the idea that the Israelites at Mount Sinai were made physically whole in order to receive the Torah.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Mishpatim: “Ve-eileh” Adds to the Former Subject The development of Midrashic thought about the opening phrase of Parashat Mishpatim allows us to understand the deepest secrets of the Creation of the Universe.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Teruma: Miraculous Work in the Temple Through the ages, the Midrash develops the idea of God's House as a reality where miracles are part of everyday life.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Tetzaveh: The Mikdash and the Midrash While halakhic Midrash may not have much to say about the passages of the Mishkan, later works fill in this lacuna, reflecting the deep desire for a restoration of the service in God's House.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Ki Tisa: “The Skin of Moshe’s Face Sent Forth Beams” The beaming of Moshe's face is one of the most famous images in the Torah, but its Midrashic interpretation reveals a far more complex picture.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayakhel: “And Betzalel Made the Ark” The Midrash Tanchuma on Parashat Vayakhel provides an intriguing view of the parallels between the Israelites' construction of God's House and God's creation of the universe, as reflected in its two editions, the printed and Buber versions.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Vayikra: Moshe and Pharaoh’s Daughter Vayikra Rabba opens with Midrashic exposition of the ten names of Moshe, explaining why God chooses to address the Teacher of Israel by the one given to him by the daughter of Pharaoh.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Tzav: The Lesser Contains the Greater The culmination of the eight days of consecration is assembling all of Israel at the Mishkan--a feat that seems literally impossible. This leads Vayikra Rabba to list eight examples of "the lesser containing the greater."
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Shemini: The Selection of Israel and the Dietary Laws Vayikra Rabba ties the laws of forbidden and permitted foods to the very national destiny of the people of Israel, shedding light on how the Sages saw humanity as a whole.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Tazria: The Four Kingdoms: Symbolism and Meaning in Vayikra Rabba Vayikra Rabba invokes the four kingdoms which subjugate Israel to explain two subsequent Torah portions: the forbidden foods in Parashat Shemini and the types of tzara'at in Parashat Tazria.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Emor: The Mitzva of the Omer What is the meaning of the twin commandments, to bring the omer on the sixteenth of Nissan and to count from it? Do these have any relevance in our time, millennia after the Destruction of the Temple?
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Behar: “If Your Brother Become Poor” The meeting between the wealthy and the indigent is a rich topic in Vayikra Rabba. The expounding of two similar verses in Mishlei leads to a deep exploration of the views of wealth and wisdom among the Sages.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Naso: “Great is Peace” The Midrash lists no fewer than twenty virtues of peace in one passage, allowing us to consider the Sages' view of the importance of this concept, on a personal and a national level.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Beha’alotekha: The Wonders of the Manna An assortment of Midrashic sources discuss the manna's taste and significance in provocative and compelling ways, stressing the significance of the daily miracle of Israel's life in the wilderness.
שיעורי טקסט Dr. Tziporah Lifshitz Parashat Shelach: “And You Shall See it and Remember" The Sifrei's famous tale of the student saved from sin by the mitzva of tzitzit offers a fascinating insight into the Midrashic conceptualization of the senses of sight and hearing.

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