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In hilchot Tefillah (12:12) in the Mishneh Torah, the Rambam outlines certain passages in the Torah that a metargem is not allowed to translate in public. Seemingly, in the time of the Rambam, a translator would be allowed to verbally translate the Torah verse by verse as it was read out in public readings (e.g., on Shabbat, shacharit).

However, the Mishneh Torah enumerates the following passages that must not be translated in a public reading.

Not all verses are translated in public. The story of Reuben (Genesis 35:22), The Priestly Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26), the story of the Golden Calf from "And Moses said to Aaron" till "And Moses saw the people etc." (Exodus 32:21-25) and the verse, "And God plagued the people" (Exodus 32:35) are read and not translated. In the story of Amnon (II Samuel c. 13) where the phrase, "Amnon, son of David" occurs, it is read and not translated.

The Mishneh Torah doesn't give a reason for this censorship although, at face value, it probably has to do with the issues that (poor) translation itself may evoke.

Do any commentaries explain why these passages specifically are included in Rambam's list that should not be translated in public?

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    He's just quoting a Mishna in Megillah at the end of one of the latter two chapters
    – Double AA
    Nov 22 at 13:05
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This is based on the Mishna in Megila 4:10 and the Gemara (Megila 25b) explains some of the rationale for these verses specifically (the below is based on artscroll and R Steinsaltz commentaries)

  • The story of Reuben (Genesis 35:22) so as not to shame Reuben (see Shabbat 55b)

  • The Priestly Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26) because it is written: “May the Lord lift up His countenance to you” (Numbers 6:26) and listeners may understand this to mean that God shows unfair favoritism to the Jewish people

  • The story of the Golden Calf from "And Moses said to Aaron" till "And Moses saw the people etc." (Exodus 32:21-25) and the verse, "And God plagued the people" (Exodus 32:35) because (explains the Gemara in Megila) a person should always be careful in the way he formulates his responses, as sometimes the explanation that a person provides for his actions is worse than the original action itself, as, for example, based on Aaron’s response to Moses, the skeptics renounced their religious beliefs. It is stated in Aaron’s response: “And I cast it into the fire and this calf came forth” (Exodus 32:24). This formulation implies that the calf came from the fire by itself, suggesting that it had divine power and substance.

  • the story of Amnon (II Samuel c. 13) where the phrase, "Amnon, son of David" occurs because of respect for David

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