Midrash is the Jewish term for hashing out Scripture. In other words, it is a way of finding an answer to a practical or theological question by studying the meaning of words in Torah. Midrash is used to discover halacha or how to walk out the direction of Torah commands. This method of studying the Scriptures has been used by rabbis and students of the Word of God for millennia even though it is most notably used by the Orthodox communities of the past few centuries.
Midrash can also occur between Adonai and man. Adonai and Abraham had a midrash about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Adonai asked the prophet Isaiah to ‘come and reason’ with him. Jeremiah asks Adonai why the wicked prosper expecting an answer.
“Avraham answered, “Here now, I, who am but dust and ashes, have taken it upon myself to speak to Adonai” (Genesis 18:27).
““Come now,” says Adonai, “let’s talk this over together” (Isaiah 1:18).
“Adonai, although you would be in the right if I were to dispute with you, nevertheless I want to discuss some points of justice with you: Why do the wicked prosper? Why do the treacherous all thrive?” (Jeremiah 12:1).
There are several different occasions when the rabbis discussed Yeshua and what they were going to do about him an his followers. These midrashim were called discussions, arguments or reasonings.
“The immersion of Yochanan — where did it come from? From Heaven or from a human source?” They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From Heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’” (Matthew 21:25).
“One of the Torah-teachers came up and heard them engaged in this discussion. Seeing that Yeshua answered them well, he asked him, “Which is the most important mitzvah of them all?” (Mark 12:28).
“A discussion arose between some of Yochanan’s talmidim and a Judean about ceremonial washing …” (John 3:25).
The apostles and Sha’ul used the idea of midrash, also referred to as discussions, when trying to decide or even explain theological ideas.
“According to his usual practice, Sha’ul went in; and on three Shabbats he gave them drashes from the Tanakh …” (Acts 17:2).
“As Sha’ul’s drash went on and on, Eutychus grew sleepier and sleepier; until finally he went sound asleep and fell from the third story to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead” (Acts 20:9).
“Now, to make a midrash on these things: the two women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children for slavery — this is Hagar” (Galatians 4:24).
Not all midrashim are helpful to the growth of the Messianic community. Timothy and Titus warn about “stupid controversies” and “fruitless discussions.”
“But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile” (Titus 3:9).
“Some, by aiming amiss, have wandered off into fruitless discussion“ (1 Timothy 1:6).
Hebrew Word Picture
מ Mem is Water and means ‘chaos.’
ד Dalet is A Door and means ‘pathway.’
ר Resh is A Head and means ‘highest authority.’
ש Shin is A Tooth and means ‘to consume.’
The Hebrew Word Picture for midrash: consume chaos through pathway to the highest authority.
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