Midrash Ḥachamim Commentary On The Torah

Dr. Yoav Barzily

The commentaries of Midrash Chachamim were written by an anonymous Italian author in the early sixteenth century as part of an extensive commentary to the weekly portions of the Torah reading. Throughout the work, the author copied the early complete midrashim such as Genesis Rabba and the halakhic midrashim almost verbatim. His autonomous creation is contained mostly in the commentaries to those portions that are missing in the halakhic midrash, and as such they are contained in the books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (though not for all portions of these books). The author tried to explain the verses according to their plain meaning, although he often incorporated in-depth discussions as well as interpretive and pedagogic excursus.

In this edition, for the first time, the commentaries of Midrash Chachamim were collated from manuscript for the 27 weekly portions for which they were written, and brought together in order to present the author’s hermeneutical approach. The edition is complemented with an introduction that shows the background for writing these commentaries and discusses the style and interpretive techniques employed by the author.