If you have watched ARBA4 you know that we have titled our program “Midrashim” (מדרש’ם). This Hebrew word means interpretation, exposition, study and homily. We have chosen this title because the interpretation of the Torah (תוֹרה) is of essential obligatory for our society. While there are a great number of teachers far more eloquent, this age needs Torah more than ever.
Midrash (מדרש) is more than simple interpretation, study and the presentation of a homily. Midrash is noticing that the text demands midrash. Apparent discrepancies in the text demand investigation. The midrashic scholar is trained to notice the things that demand inquiry.
The Nature of the Text:
The nature of the Biblical text demands interpretation. We all have questions about the Bible. The method of deriving the answers to these questions is midrash. Midrash interprets text by using other passages with similar language and nuances. The Biblical scholar following the midrashic method will leave no stone unturned to find the truth. Rabbis used these interpretive techniques to determine halachah (הלכה). Halachah is defined as religious law and practice.
Furthermore, the text demands a teacher student relationship. The midrashic method is usually passed from Teacher to talmid (תלמיד). The contemporary understanding of “discipleship” is far from the Biblical and First Century ideology of the Teacher (Rabbi) student (Talmid) relationship. Not only was the talmid receiving the teachings of the Rabbi, the student was thought to receive an impartation from the Rabbi.
When Ezra returned from Babylon he determined to teach the Torah. However, Ezra had been taught the appropriate midrashic techniques. Furthermore, the midrashic techniques learned and taught by Ezra helped restore the people to HaShem and appropriate Temple halachah.
The midrashic process allowed Ezra and later Rabbis to accurately interpret Bublical text. When this process had been completed an appropriate lifestyle could be determined from the Biblical text. Every sort of lifestyle is being pronounced acceptable. However, not all of the pronounced lifestyles are Biblical. We need, more than ever, an accurate exegesis of the Biblical text and once again begin to conform to a Biblical lifestyle. This lifestyle will be the basis for the Theocratic society we look forward to. This Theocratic society is called the Olam haba (the world to come). While most Christians have a “pie in the sky –heaven”mentality, the true Biblical view is that there will be a “new heavens” and a “new earth.” 1 It is in the olam haba where the theocratic society will be lived out in the eternal bliss.
In the age of independence we have a solid need for return to an accurate Biblical midrash. When accurate midrash is applied to the Biblical text we will come to terms with the idea that it is here in the olam ha zeh (this present world or age) that we will learn the standards to be lived out in the olam haba.
- Isa 65:17, 66:22, Rev 21:1 [↩]
- New Englanders and the 613