Sefaria is a popular Web site with various translations of holy texts. Are any rabbinic authorities on record as endorsing or forbidding it?

Translations can be subjective. It is inevitable that one's view of Judaism will shine forth.

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    Adding in where the translations come from will provide more context for the reader. (I know some are crowdsourced but dunno what other sources are, which is why I didn't add the info.)
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 3:42
  • You can find the names of some of the men and women who contributed to Sefaria, here: sefaria.org/activity You can see each person's profile, by clicking on their name. Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 5:59

3 Answers 3


"Sefaria is one of my favorite things in the entire contemporary Jewish world. It is taking cutting-edge technology and doing something very spiritual by it. What it is doing is opening up the rich treasury of our texts — we, the people of the book, the people that never stopped writing and commenting on books — and it's opening that up to all Jews and indeed everyone, everywhere. And, secondly, it is allowing that extended conversation to be trackable, the way one text begets another text, and all the voices of our history are in conversation, trying to decode what G-d is trying to tell us about how we ought to live. Sefaria in general is just brilliant. ... The Talmud belongs to all of us, it is our shared heritage, and because of Sefaria it is now really accessible anywhere by anyone. So you've done something really, really important here, you fulfill the mitzvah of Talmud Torah and make the Sefer Torah, the ספרייה of our people and our soul, available through this great technology, across the world. Well done! I hope a lot of people use it."

(Source: Emeritus Chief Rabbi Jonathan H. Sacks. "In Praise of Sefaria". YouTube, LLC.)

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    Yair Rand, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing this very on-point citation here! I hope you'll stick around and continue answering and asking questions.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 21:31

From Sefaria's website:

Will modern commentaries be included in Sefaria?

Yes, although they may be presented differently than traditional, canonical commentaries. 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. Our first focus is in making the core texts of our tradition available. When we get to including modern and contemporary texts we may only display them once a reader has expressly asked to see them.

Jonathan D. Sarna, professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University:

“There are no heresies on Sefaria,” he said. The more democratic nature of Sefaria allows the inclusion of viewpoints that might not make it into more religiously observant settings, he added.

IsraelReader: Given the above, I wouldn't expect any mainstream Hareidi rabbinic authorities to go on record as endorsing Sefaria.

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    the OP asked about whether any rabbinic authorities endorsed or forbade it. You conjecture that some rabbis would not endorse it. I'm not sure whether that is a weak partial answer, or not an answer at all. I could just as easily write that "I'm sure that many Haredi Rabbis still forbid internet usage, and therefore they forbid its usage". (Also, the question was about the translations per se.) Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 4:35
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    In an era where rabbinic authorities go on record as endorsing all types of things, I think that the collective Haredi Rabbinic silence regarding Sefaria is deafening. The folks behind Sefaria surely know that rabbinical endorsements are a key to fundraising efforts, yet they have not been able to get a single Haredi endorsement. The Haredi rabbis don't need to "forbid" or ban it, they're simply voting with their feet. Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 1:08
  • @MichoelR You can't prove a negative. But if they would have any endorsements from mainstream Hareidi rabbinic authorities, this would be the place to find them: sefaria.org/testimonials Don't bother looking for them. There are NONE there. Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 16:56

In an article in the Jewish Press, Rabbi Gil Student quotes some (unnamed) roshei yeshiva who "strongly discourage" using Sefaria:

I know of roshei yeshiva who recognize that their students and alumni use smartphones and offer guidance on how to do so in the spirit of Torah and mussar. They have strongly discouraged use of Sefaria.

Although, it should be mentioned that in the same article he writes:

Sefaria is a wonderful organization that serves the entire Jewish community.

So I guess we have an example in the same piece of writing of both rabbinic approval and disapproval of Sefaria, depending on the context and the background of the user.

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    It should be noted this came after a controversy where Sefaria introduced a new "egalitarian translation" of the Torah, without giving easy access to changing which translation you used - and without telling you they changed the default translation. Following the significant negative response, they introduced an easier way to pick a translation, made that choice persistent and now show (close to the title) which translation is selected.
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 18 at 14:47

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