Mekhilta DeRashbi

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Mekhilta DeRashbi
Mekhilta DeRashbi
מכילתא דרשב"י
Dates3rd century
PlaceEretz Yisrael
Impacted on



  • Common name – מכילתא דרבי שמעון בר יוחאי2
  • Other names – מכילתא דסניא,3 מכילתא, ספרי, ספרי דבי רב4


3rd century5


MekRSbY was redacted in Eretz Yisrael.6


Mishnaic Hebrew


  • Although MekRSbY was available in medieval times – and as late as the 16th century in some areas, it was lost for centuries and rediscovered (partially) in a gradual process beginning in the late 19th century. The MekRSbY material currently available has its source in medieval citations (with large portions cited in Midrash Hagadol), and partial manuscripts found in the Cairo Genizah.
  • Manuscripts – Over one-hundred leaves or fragmentary leaves of MekRSbY from the Cairo Genizah have been discovered.7
  • Printings –
    Hoffman Edition (Frankfurt, 1905) – A reconstruction based on citations in Midrash Hagadol and a few Genizah fragments published by S. Schecter (see above, Manuscripts).
    Epstein-Melamed Edition (1955) – Based on 95 leaves or fragments from the Cairo Genizah, supplemented by material from Midrash Hagadol and other midrashim.8 This edition distinguishes between verified MekRSbY passages and speculative reconstructions based on parallel midrashim, with the latter printed in smaller letters.9 Some full size text is printed in brackets, which indicate that the editors completed sections of manuscript based on Midrash Hagadol.

  • Textual layers – The halakhic and aggadic material in MekRSbY seem to originate from different sources and were brought together by redactors, whose mark was most clearly left on the aggadic sections.10



  • – midrash halakhah


  • – MekRSbY is a midrash on Shemot. However, since no complete text of MekRSbY is extant, how much of Shemot it originally covered cannot be known for certain. The beginning of MekRSbY is an extended exposition of the narrative of Moshe’s election to redeem Israel (beginning in Shemot 3:1). Starting with 12:1, MekRSbY expounds the verses in order until at least 23:19.11


  • – See Introduction to the Midreshei Halakhah.


Significant Influences

Occasional Usage

Possible Relationship


Other Midrashim

  • – Significant portions of MekRSbY are cited in Midrash Hagadol on Shemot.

Medieval Exegetes

  • – – MekRSbY was known to many Geonim and Rishonim, and even some early Acharonim,12 before being lost for centuries. It is cited (not always with attribution) by Rashbam, Ramban, R. Yonah ibn Janach, R. Yosef Bekhor Shor, R. Eliyahu Mizrachi, and R. Avraham Menachem Hakohen Rapaport (Minchah Belulah).13


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