A Yelammedenu Unit in Pesiqta Rabbati and Midrash Tanḥuma: A Linguistic Inquiry

Rivka Ulmer, Bucknell University


A text linguistic analysis of a yelammedenu unit in the Tanuma (printed edition, Naso 29-30) and in Pesiqta Rabbati 3 (On the eighth day). The rabbinic homiletic unit referred to as “yelammedenu” (“Let our rabbi teach us”) is a major characteristic of the so-called “Tanḥuma-Yelammedenu” literature. Several features of this literature are present in the midrashic work Pesiqta Rabbati, which is a unique rabbinic work based on an annual liturgical calendar in its presentation of homilies for festivals and special Sabbaths, whereas Midrash Tanuma follows a triennial[1] cycle of the weekly Torah readings. Both midrashic works lend themselves to “form-analytical,” text-linguistic and post-modern literary theories, because the texts contain recurrent elements of midrash, as well as comprehensive religious messages.

[1] J. Mann and I. Sonne, The Bible As Read and Preached in the Old Synagogue: A Study in the Cycles of the Readings from Torah and Prophets, As Well As from Psalms, and in the Structure of the Midrashic Homilies, 2 vols. (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College, 1966), vol. 1. Perrot, Charles, The Reading of the Bible in the Ancient Synagogue. In M. J. Mulder (ed.), Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading, and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (Assen: Van Gorcum-Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1988), 137-59.