Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Mormon Midrash for the New Year

This is an attempt at the form presented at the blog Mormon Midrashim. Here is one I particularly found interesting there. And if you don't know what a midrash, is, well, get thee to Wikipedia

1st Nephi 1:1 "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father..."

This midrash has nothing to do with the verse itself, but rather with the act of reading it. If you're Mormon, you have this verse memorized, but not because of the doctrinal significance of it. Reading it means that you're starting the Book of Mormon again. That act is important because we've all done it so many times, it is a shared experience with millions, it shows our commitment to study this great book of scripture at one definite point in time. Would to God that we all had the last verse memorized just as clearly as the first, that we always finished what we started.


  1. The first time I heard about midrashim (or at least the first I remember hearing about them) was an extrapolation of the parting of the Red Sea. I found a version of it online here; the relevant excerpt is:

    "A rabbinic midrash of Nachshon ben Aminadav, prince of Juda... Moses, before the seas will part, needs some brave soul to enter the raging (?) waters. Nachshon enters the water. He goes in up to his belly, no parting...up to his neck... no parting. He had faith, he believed, so he goes up to his nose, takes his last breath before submering totally and at that point the waters part."

    I love that one. After some googling, it turns out there's a whole wikipedia entry on him. Midrashim are just awesome.

  2. I really like this, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It kind of reminds me of all the stories during Pres. Hinckley's challenge to re-read the book of Mormon - it was a shared experience among members of the Church, and I felt like all over the world people were sharing this spirital "touchstone."

  3. I love it.

    I've never really thought about the communal significance of that verse and how much it evokes beginning for us. Great insight.

  4. James, I'm flattered that you enjoyed it. Thanks for the inspiration for the whole thing, and keep doing what you do!