Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud.

Why aren't these censored pieces of Torah added back in to all editions, now that we know of them? Are there any published editions of the Talmud that still contain the authentic, unadulterated texts, (as far as we know them)?

  • In the sefer Halachically Speaking, he writes that one can make a siyum on a tractate even if he doesn't learn the censored parts, since HaShem let it happen. – Ypnypn Feb 7 '14 at 19:54
  • Interesting, I had wondered if Divine Providence was a factor, thanks! Would that in turn be a reason we didn't add these pieces back in to the Talmud? Seems like Gd tooketh away, and Gd giveth back, if you will. – Baby Seal Feb 7 '14 at 19:58
  • 1
    @ShmuelBrin What good is a layout if you aren't learning the right book? – Double AA Feb 7 '14 at 21:04
  • 1
    We've had the same page numbers since the 1500s. It would be very confusing to have their layout changed. – Shmuel Feb 11 '14 at 22:39
  • 1
    @ShmuelBrin 1500s is before the censors. We indeed could use the same layout as then. – Double AA May 13 '14 at 3:54

The moznayim, i.e. vagshal prints have all the censored peices put back, also of interest is Dikdukei Sofrim which has at least 4 ancient manuscripts predating the printingpress standardised shaas. The reason not to put them back is because the Jews in Spain Poland Germany and countless other countries tought us a valuable lesson with their lives that no matter how good galus seems, its still galus. I've actually read an antisemitic blog quoting translations of gemaras, mostly from lubavitch websites, citing various censored pieces about yashka, calling on his antisemite brothers to wake up about the truth of our feelngs to their deity. He went on to mock us for foolishly thinking we are safe enough to print these things publicly. Very surreal.


These changes have been known for some time, and many were published in books such as "Chesronos HaShas". However, everyone is already so used to the folio-daf system in the Vilna (Bomberg/Romm) edition that everyone uses those pages for a reference, and we wouldn't want to confuse everyone by having to re-paginate the Gemaras. Basically, the reason is merely that the Jewish people is an ancient people who don't like changing things. Is that a great reason? No, but that's how things are.

The Koren-Steinsaltz Gemaras that are being published in Hebrew contain these missing parts, and their Hebrew counterparts (the Hebrew Steinsaltz Gemaras) have added these censored passages.

  • The folio-daf system in the Romm edition is based on the folio-daf system in the Bomberg edition which predates the censors. Hence, references would remain unchanged. Almost no one is that sensitive to adding 5 words back onto a page and shifting the first word on the line. How many people can really do the "pin test" anyway? – Double AA May 13 '14 at 3:53
  • @DoubleAA agree in theory, but you know what want to keep things consistent; now that the printing of those Gemaras have become so widespread, I doubt a new version would be so well received – הנער הזה May 13 '14 at 3:57
  • Ok but don't pretend references or confusion have anything to do with it. We're just an עם קשה עורף for better or worse. – Double AA May 13 '14 at 3:57
  • @DoubleAA I didn't think it would sound as nice... – הנער הזה May 13 '14 at 4:00
  • I see no reason to pretend it is nice. – Double AA May 13 '14 at 4:01

See Chazon Ish (igros vol 3 michtav 2) who claims that no mistake can ever befall the unchangeable torah. if a change occurred it was heavenly divined and must be respected. I wonder if the Chazon Ish would claim a similar logic regarding the censors?!

  • how can the "unchageable torah" be changed in a manner which is to be respected??? – Double AA Feb 11 '14 at 21:51
  • 1
    see chazon ish inside. some of the fancy guys here will manage to link it somehow – rabbi Feb 11 '14 at 21:53
  • 3
    LOL I think moderators should be called 'fancy guys' from now on. I really appreciate this source. Thank you! I think that, as far as this question goes, It needs bit of follow through to arrive at a point. You end your answer with uncertainty. Could you perhaps formulate it with a little more confidence, and with a more clear addressing of what the Chazon Ish would say about passages that were removed and re-added? – Baby Seal Feb 11 '14 at 22:10
  • i'm a bit short of time, and i'm hoping that if the chazon ish gets inked, it will be apparent – rabbi Feb 11 '14 at 22:17
  • 2
    hebrewbooks only has vol. 2 ): – Baby Seal Feb 12 '14 at 0:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .