Learning to Read Midrash presents a systematic approach to the study of midrash. Each of the readings presented in this book attempts to reconstruct the reasoning behind midrashic commentary on biblical narrative. The goal of the book is to convey a sensitivity to the language and meanings of the Tanakh, and to develop a reverent appreciation for the language and teachings of Hazal (the Jewish sages).
The introduction to this work defines what midrash is, discusses why it can be so difficult to understand and explains how the Jewish sages (Hazal) used midrash to interpret the biblical text. The main sections of the book explore two genres of midrash, the parable (mashal) and the midrashic story, and utilize detailed readings to demonstrate how to translate the language of Hazal into contemporary terminology.
The texts analyzed in this work are drawn from a wide range of sources and deal with some of the most fascinating and complex biblical stories, including the Akeda (binding of Isaac), the sin of David and Batsheva, the book of Yona, and Moshe at the burning bush.