While reading Reb Yaakov (page 191), the following line caught my eye:

The Sunday morning shiur...Reb Yaakov finished...the uncensored version of Sefer HaChinuch

What could this be referring to? I was unaware there was anything noteworthy that was censored in the Sefer HaChinuch.

  • You could try contacting Rabbi Shalom Kamenetsky at the Philadelphia Talmudical Yeshiva who may know exactly what the reference is about. Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 5:30
  • This auction description suggests it has to do with the halacha of burying the dead on the day they died on Parashas Ki Seitzei.
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 6:30
  • 3
    Follow up on my above comment ^ Quotation from here. "...an erasure by the censor on Parshat Ki Teitze on the law of burying the dead on the day of their death, during a period when doctors fought to force people to wait a few days to bury the dead because the person may still be alive. Sages fought against this ruling strongly."
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 6:31
  • 1
    @ezra I think that the censor's erasure was a quirk of that copy, and not of the entire edition. This seems to be the relevant page in the same edition as shown on the auction site, and I see no sign of any censoring
    – b a
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 8:53
  • @ba That would seem likely, but it might be that the copy of Sefer HaChinuch on HebrewBooks is not a censored version.
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


The Frankfurt edition of Sefer Hachinuch, published in תקמ"ג/1783, introduced many errors into the text, involving changing the wording, the ordering, and adding whole new sections. You can see Rabbi Chayim Chavel's summary of changes they made here (and examples of specific changes a few pages later). These changes were copied in all of the editions that followed it.

I believe the "uncensored" edition is probably a reference to the editions without the changes of the Frankfurt edition.

I think that Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky was most likely reading the Mosad Harav Kook edition of Sefer Hachinuch, edited by Rabbi Chavel, and first published in 1960. This edition was based on the first edition and included notes about the changes of later editions. Alternatively, he might have somehow found a facsimile of the first edition.

  • What was the motive behind the changes in the Frankfurt edition? Censorship of anti-Christian ideas? Sloppiness? A different manuscript source?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 14:11
  • @DoubleAA It was not censorship (the changes have nothing to do with Christianity) and probably not a different manuscript source (none of the manuscripts examined in the preparation of the MHRK edition agree with the changes). I think they were mostly trying to improve the text (fixing errors to agree with a different understanding of the laws in question, or make the language sound better), but due to sloppiness they ended up ruining more than they fixed (one example: changing אלא שלא to שלא). You can look at the examples yourself if you want to know the motive, but that wasn't the question.
    – b a
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 14:29
  • I'm not sure I'm understanding what you're saying here. The word "censorship" generally denotes taking away material from a book, not adding to it. So why would a copy of Sefer HaChinuch with added material from the Frankfurt edition be called "censored" and the original copy without the additions be called "uncensored"?
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 18:49
  • @ezra You're right that it's not really censorship, but I was thinking that this is what the biography was probably referring to when it said it was "censored," maybe from a faulty memory of what happened. (If the context of the biography gives what was censored, it would be easier to determine whether this is correct.) If you could find an actual example of censorship (or expand on what you already found), it might turn out my theory is incorrect
    – b a
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 20:17

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