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The Halakhic Midrashim

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Chapter Summary

The Halakhic Midrashim contain both halakhic and aggadic (i.e., non-legal) material from the Tannaic period arranged according to the order of verses in the Tora. Halakhic Midrashim were composed on four of the five books of the Tora: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. There is an extant Halakhic Midrash on each of these four books: Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael on Exodus, Sifra on Leviticus, Sifrei on Numbers, and Sifrei on Deuteronomy. Three other Midrashim have been partially reconstructed from Geniza fragments and from citations by Rishonim: Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai on Exodus (MekRSbY), Sifrei Zuta on Numbers, and Mekhilta on Deuteronomy. Passages from a Tannaic Midrash on the book of Deuteronomy, were recently discovered. In D. Hoffmann's fundamental study of the Halakhic Midrashim, he drew a clear and persuasive distinction between the midrashic schools of R. Akiva and R. Yishmael.

Keywords: Aramaic Targums translations; Early Halakha content; Halakhic Midrash; midrashic school of R. Akiva; midrashic school of R. Yishmael; Tora books



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