Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lacunae

We're approaching the end of the Torah, and Sefer Ha-Aggadah has been very thorough on some stories in the Torah (including some relatively obscure ones), and completely silent on others (including most of Parshat Chayei Sarah, this week's portion).

Top Ten Notable Stories in the Torah Absent from Sefer Ha-Aggadah: (listed chronologically)
1. The purchase of the cave of Machpelah (Genesis 23)
2. Abraham's servant and Rebekah (Genesis 24)
3. Dinah (Genesis 34)
4. Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38)
5. Moses seeing God's "back" and receiving the second set of tablets (Exodus 33-34)
6. The deaths of Nadav and Avihu (Leviticus 10)
7. The quail (Numbers 11)
8. Aaron and Miriam talking smack about Moses (Numbers 12)
9. Pinechas (Numbers 25)
10. The tribes of Reuben and Gad (Numbers 32)

There are certainly piles of midrashim about all these stories (as on everything else in the Torah). Thoughts on why these didn't make the cut?

1 comment:

Richard Friedman said...

Fascinating question. The natural inclination is to attribute the omissions to some editorial preferences on the part of Bialik and Ravnitzki, to suggest that there were certain kinds of subject matter or certain themes that they were not interested in emphasizing. To make such a suggestion, though, one might first want to see how much Rabbinic aggada was available for them to select.