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Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer

"Are Trees of the Field Human?"

Deuteronomy 20:19 forbids the chopping down of fruit trees during war-time, and offers the cryptic explanation כי האדם עץ השדה (ki ha-adam etz hasadeh), but what does this mean?[1]

Dr.

Shai Secunda

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Primeval Coats

Clothing, beginning with Joseph’s coat, functions both as a marker of distinction and as the source of undoing in the Joseph story. Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer adds layers of history to this coat: it is the original garments made from the sloughed skin of the serpent that God gave to Adam and Eve, which was then worn by Nimrod, Esau, and Jacob. Midrash Tanchuma claims it to be the (future) High Priest’s tunic.

Dr.

Rachel Adelman

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Noah's Four Sons

Does the Supplementary Hypothesis explain the existence of a fourth son that found his way back into Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Quran?

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

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Reintroducing the Myth of the Fallen Angels into Judaism

Literature and art are replete with images of angels descending to earth and joining humanity. One source for this image is a terse account in Genesis describing fallen angels, which is expanded upon in Second Temple literature. This interpretive tradition is suppressed in the classic rabbinic literature only to resurface again in the late narrative midrash, Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer.

Dr.

Rachel Adelman

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Jonah's Magical Mystery Tour of the Netherworld

After being swallowed by a fish, Jonah prays to God in its belly. Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer reads this prayer midrashically, as a description of an alternative mission for Jonah in the underworld, in which he saves the fish from the Leviathan and promises to bring it (the Leviathan) as a sacrifice for the righteous in the end of days.

Dr.

Rachel Adelman

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