In this censored version online at chabad.org, Hilchot Avoda Zara 9:4 says:

"The Canaanites are idol worshipers [sic], and Sunday is their festival..."

(And it says Canaanites in both the hebrew and english, so, censored in both)

Whereas in the uncensored version, nicely provided by mechon mamre - index here, it says Notzrim.

And I see in Hilchot Melachim 10:9, the uncensored hebrew version has Goy, and the censored hebrew version has Akum i.e. idolators - (עובדי כוכבים ומזלות, (עכו״ם (though funnily enough the english in the censored edition has gentile).

Who was it that put together the censored version and changed notzrim to canaanites and goy to akum?

  • 1
    Very few of these issues can be identified back to a certain edition.
    – Double AA
    Sep 19, 2016 at 3:26
  • @DoubleAA well, one can at least sometimes identify the earliest one we're aware of, or a well known or widely published early one. For example, in the case of the Talmud, Soncino famously censored.
    – barlop
    Sep 19, 2016 at 4:25
  • barlop, we can be sure that this was in a European edition and it was also likely fairly early, as post-Emancipation editions are usually uncensored, whereas pre-emancipation editions (such as the Vilna Sha"s) are invariably censored by state authorities. Sep 19, 2016 at 17:32
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt Moznaim one which is the one with the translation by eliyahu touger, is at the chabad link, and looking at amazon, seems to be published in 1998 and as evidenced in my question, is censored. And this link here hebrewbooks.org/… by Friedberg seems perhaps to be artscroll, (possibly independent of artscroll too), and is censored. So both seem to be post emancipation and censored.
    – barlop
    Sep 19, 2016 at 23:37
  • Somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/81528/…
    – ezra
    Jun 19, 2017 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


The Vilna edition, is 19th century.

The first censored edition may be the Vilna.

The Vilna edition has a reason to be censored, that being, it was written pre emancipation. Many modern publications unfortunately use the Vilna edition hebrew, which is censored.

And further info on censored editions or manuscripts, is mentioned in Rav Shabse Frankel's edition.

Some further info below- which at least elaborates a bit and may to an extent, point in the right direction of an answer

Of The Moznaim edition (this is the one translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and available on chabad.org)

http://dev.ronware.org/p/targum/home mentions regarding translations..(and he comments on the censored hebrew too).

That link says of it "the Hebrew text is based on the censored (and otherwise inaccurate) Vilna printed editions. In addition, the translation is often inaccurate (straying even from the poor source text used!) and incorrect.").

I notice it translates bnai noach as gentile.

Ron mentions there's a Yale edition translation, though not sure what source text it uses so can't comment on whether that source is censored.

And he mentions a Birnbaum edition which only has what the author thought were highlights. Noach(of this thread/mi yodea/judaism.stackexchange), points out in comment that the Birnbaum edition, is 20th century.

Mechon Mamre says similarly to Ron of ronware.. http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/index.htm "popular printed version of Mishneh Torah generally photocopied from the old Vilna version, which is generally used in almost all houses of study and Jewish homes despite that it is not at all an accurate text." and " We have noted with horror the corrupt Hebrew text underlying some of the popular English translations widely available today. We have also been disappointed by the quality of the translation, even of those based on a good Hebrew text; while they are generally written in good English, their content is often hardly parallel to the Hebrew supposedly translated, and sometimes it is the very opposite of the Hebrew. "

I have found there is a publication by Friedberg which may have been done post 2000, but uses a censored text. As we see in hilchot avoda zara 9:4 http://hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?sefer=1&hilchos=4&perek=9&halocha=4&hilite=
and in hilchot melachim 10:9 http://hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?sefer=14&hilchos=83&perek=10&halocha=9&hilite=

I would guess that Friedberg (which - as seen - is censored), is using the same censored source as Moznaim, And Ron of the Ronware link, says that Moznaim's source text is a censored Vilna edition.

Perhaps it's the Vilna edition that is the "original"/first censored text, or perhaps just the first text with censoring that was a complete published text?

This link


mentions an edition by Rav Shabse Frankel that contains "thousands of fine notes on changes in the text between the manuscripts and the printed versions at the end of each volume of the excellent set edited by the Rav Shabse Frankel (and especially his introductory notes on this matter at the start of volume 2)..........Frankel does not bring the correct text "inside" but in his end notes only."

  • Have you checked out the Kafiḥ edition? Or the Mifa'al Mishneh Torah? Sep 20, 2016 at 1:46
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt I haven't checked out Mifaal.. I understand the Kafih (understandably), isn't censored, and mechon mamre mentions it.. Mechon Mamre also has an uncensored edition and online. But checking the Kafih or any uncensored, doesn't really address/answer the question , which is asking about which censored version is first. I don't know if the vilna preceded the birnbaum and how censored the birnbaum i(though the birnbaum is just author "highlights". We know how censored the vilna is 'cos it's the one most commonly used nowadays eg in the moznaim one online at chabad's site.
    – barlop
    Sep 20, 2016 at 1:55
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt birnbaum might precede vilna 'cos since it's incomplete, just highlits, but would be interesting to see the year, and ideally see the censoring, if it's the same as in the vilna.
    – barlop
    Sep 20, 2016 at 1:58
  • Birnbaum is 20th century, Vilna is 19th. Sep 20, 2016 at 3:05
  • Did you try checking the dozens of old editions on Hebrewbooks?
    – Double AA
    Sep 21, 2016 at 23:42

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