DERASH (or Derush) (Heb. דְּרָשׁ or דְּרוּשׁ from דָּרַשׁ, "to interpret"), a method of exposition of scriptural verses. In the Midrash the distinction between derash and the alternative method called *peshat is not clearly defined and in parallel passages the terms are sometimes interchangeable (cf. Gen. R. 10:7 with Tanh., Ḥukkat 1). Only in the Middle Ages, probably under the influence of Rashi's Bible commentary, did derash come to be used for homiletical exposition in contrast to peshat, the literal interpretation. Derashah (Heb. דְּרָשָׁה) is the equivalent of the word "sermon" today. Originally it was confined to a sermon on a theme which was based on a homiletical interpretation of Scripture.
[Louis Isaac Rabinowitz]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.