With Tolerance, Respect, and Love for Jews of Other Torah Traditions
Principle 4 – Halakhah (Law) and Aggadah (Legend)
Just as the Written Torah contains miṣwoth (laws) and stories, Talmudic literature contains halakhah (law) as well as aggadah (legend), also known as midrash. There are schools that insist on an absolute, literal understanding of all biblical accounts and rabbinical aggadah, and a figurative interpretation of practical halakhah. We strive to understand these in the spirit in which they were originally written: halakhah according to the plain and simple meaning of the text, and the aggadah figuratively, so that it does not seem to contradict the halakhah.
In fact, according to original, authentic Sephardic rabbinical tradition, one is only to believe literally the midrashim that make rational sense. (1)HaRav Shemuel HaNaggid, Kelalei HaTalmud While the Mishneh Torah relates a few midrashic traditions as historical fact, the RaMBaM urges us to stay clear of midrashim regarding the End of Days and Messianic era. (2)Hil. Melakhim u-Milḥamoth 12:5
Similarly, in regards to biblical stories whose simple understanding seems to contradict modern science: while remaining true to the text, we either attempt to explain the Torah according to science, or admit that the truth is a mystery, still beyond our understanding.
Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||HaRav Shemuel HaNaggid, Kelalei HaTalmud|
|2.||↑||Hil. Melakhim u-Milḥamoth 12:5|