Midrash: Ancient Bible Study for a Postmodern World – Part 3

Part 3: Drash and Sod – Investigation and Mystery

In Part 2 of our continuing discussion of Midrash, we began to work our way through the four steps of the process, applying them to the “jot and tittle” passage from the Gospel according to Matthew:

Think not that I am come

to destroy the law,
or the prophets:
I am not come to destroy,
but to fulfill.
For verily I say unto you,
Till heaven and earth pass,
one jot or one tittle
shall in no wise
pass from the law,
till all be fulfilled
– Mt. 5:17-18 – KJV

In Step 1, Peshat (or Simple), we established the literal definitions of key words and phrases, so that we could understand what words the Hebrew words for “destroy,” “The Law,” “The Prophets,” “fulfill,” “jot,” and “title” literally meant.

In Step 2, Remez (or Hint), we looked for surprises: seeming contradictions/textual errors that might be God’s hints to us that we must dig deeper in order to seek broader, more transcendent. paradoxical, and/or mystical understandings of the text. We found a number of the remezim (or hints) in the text, both within the passage, in the direct context of the passage, and in comparison to other related passages. Continue reading