I have oft heard it stated that "the Torah does not mince words" (example 1, example 2, example 3).

While it seems natural/logical that the Creator of the World would use words precisely, from whence do we learn this concept? Is it derived from the Written Torah or is it part of the Oral Torah?

  • Doesn't the Jamaro say that the torah uses extra words and words which are extra in masachath babo something or somewhere else where it brings down the laws of the simonim for animals or something. I forget been a long time since I learned that – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Sep 18 '14 at 13:17
  • possible dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/18799/759 – Double AA Sep 18 '14 at 16:28
  • @DoubleAA The extant answer here addresses not mincing words, which is different from the other question; otoh, the asker here, I suspect, meant the same as the asker there. I recommend either closing this as a duplicate (and not merging the answer over) or editing this question so that it clearly is different from the other and is answered by the answer here. – msh210 Sep 18 '14 at 19:03
  • Thanks to the insightful comments (and DoubleAA's link to MonicaCellio's question), I think this question can safely be closed as a dupe of hers. Thank you all and tizku le'mitzwot! – Lee Sep 18 '14 at 19:45
  • Closing per my and OP's respective comments (and OP's comment on the extant answer). – msh210 Sep 21 '14 at 5:02

I do not agree with the blanket statement "the Torah does not mince words".

The dictionary defines this as to say what you mean clearly and directly, even if you upset people by doing this.

The Torah often does not talk clearly and directly - examples that come to mind are:

  1. The Torah is often careful to protect people's identity. Take the cases of:

    • Bnoth Zelofchod who never divulge what sin their father did. The Tanah who tried to identify him was reprimanded for doing so.
    • The Mekoshesh Eitzim - no mention of his identity or even the tribe he came from.
  2. The Torah sometimes fudges the details of sins.

    • The entire first paragraph of Sefer Devorim is a coded rebuke for numerous sins.
  3. Hashem himself (the author of the Torah) is known to fudge details.

    • Misreporting to Abraham what Sarah said about his vintage.

You can claim that the Torah is concise and every word has its purpose - but that's not called "not mincing words".

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  • 2
    I think the OP just picked the wrong term. – Scimonster Sep 18 '14 at 12:45
  • @Scimonster, "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." Actually, the 3 links the OP used as examples, used the same phrase. I did not read their articles to see if was was being misused. – Danny Schoemann Sep 18 '14 at 12:58
  • I think only the first link was misusing the term, but i didn't read through either. – Scimonster Sep 18 '14 at 13:28
  • Perhaps I should reword the question. What I really meant to uncover is how we know that each word/pasuq in the Torah must be meaningful. Sure, it seems logical. But, do we have a source/tradition stating such? – Lee Sep 18 '14 at 13:49
  • 1
    Oh well. I'm getting used to people changing the question after I answered it. – Danny Schoemann Sep 18 '14 at 14:11

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