The Sefaria's translation of the Mishnah in Kiddushin 4, 13 says:

לֹא יִלְמַד אָדָם רַוָּק סוֹפְרִים, וְלֹא תִלְמַד אִשָּׁה סוֹפְרִים.

An unmarried man must not learn to be a scribe, nor may a woman learn to be a scribe.

Every other translation and explanation I saw everywhere incl Schottenstein is "school teacher, primary teacher" because it fits the idea of the prohibition.

What is the source of translating it as "scribe", as women are not Kosher for writing scrolls and there's no problem of Yihud?


It seems to come from this translation on the website of the Conservative Yeshivah in Jerusalem, authored by Dr Joshua Kulp.

Note that in his comments to the mishnah he writes:

Part of a scribes work was to teach children how to read and perhaps how to write. In those days, it was often the child's mother who would bring the child to school. Hence the teacher would have a lot of contact with the children's mothers. Therefore, a man who has never been married should not learn to be a scribe/teacher, lest he come into too much contact with the mothers. Furthermore, sometimes men would bring their children to school. Hence, women and even married women should not be teachers.

Thus, he essentially agrees with the other commentaries you note that the mishnah is discussing a teacher of children.

  • THank you, but seriously, can Sefaria's translation come from a conservative site? I don't see a need to bend it that far as Rashi in place says "a teacher".
    – Al Berko
    May 27 '19 at 13:55
  • I don't think Sefaria are looking at all to push an exclusively Orthodox point of view. From their FAQ: "We want to offer access to as many points of view as possible, but we don’t want to impose points of view on anyone."
    – Joel K
    May 27 '19 at 14:04
  • But the Mishna? Are there other translations on this site?
    – Al Berko
    May 27 '19 at 14:05
  • Looks like they have three other translations (on at least some mishnayot): Wikisource, their own Sefaria Community translation, and R. Shraga Silverstein
    – Joel K
    May 27 '19 at 14:08
  • How do I get them, please? and what do they say?
    – Al Berko
    May 27 '19 at 14:09

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