The Torah Wasn’t Censored So Why Are Jewish Books Being Censored Today?

In Breisheet Raba 87:6, a Roman noblewoman asked Rabbi Yose: “Is it possible that Yoseph at seventeen with all the hot blood of youth could act with such self restraint (when Potiphar’s wife was seducing him)?” Rabbi Yose brought out the book of Breisheet and began reading to her the story of Reuven and Bilha and the story of Yehuda and Tamar and said: “If Scripture does not cover up for adults still under their father’s authority, how much less likely is it that Scripture would cover up for one who was a minor living on his own!”

It is clear from here that the Torah is not censored.

Why do modern publishing companies feel that they have to censor the Torah and other Jewish books?

Let’s take Shir HaShirim, Song of Songs, one of the Megillot written by King Solomon in the form of a love story. Artscroll Mesorah Publications can’t bring themselves to translate the love story literally so they use an “allegorical reading following Rashi’s translation.”

In Artscroll’s Stone Chumash, they provide the complete commentary of Rashi in Hebrew. In English they provide an anthology of commentaries from the Rabbinic writings. In other words, they pick and choose which commentaries they will provide in English and which will be left out.

Recently, Artscroll put out a Hebrew Mikraot Gedolot Chumash (Czuker Edition Hebrew Chumas Mikra’os Gedolos Sefer Bereishis). This series is supposed to include all of the famous commentaries found in the regular Mekraot Gedolot as well as Rabeinu Bechaya and Chizkuni. It sounds like Artscroll is trying to compete with Mosad HaRav Kook’s Torat Chayim series. There is just one difference. In the Torat Chayim series you are receiving the full commentaries while in Artscroll’s version they censor out some of Rashbam’s commentaries that they are not comfortable with, without bothering to tell anybody!

According to Marc B. Shapiro in The Seforim Blog, Artscroll left out parts of Rashbam’s commentary on Breisheet 1:4-1:5 as well as in 1:8 and 1:31.

If the Torah didn’t leave out the stories about Yoseph, Reuven and Yehuda which would be considered R-Rated in the movies, then why does Artscroll feel that they are better than the Torah where they can cut out commentaries that they don’t agree with without letting anybody know? Are they so afraid of a difference of opinion?

Censorship is not acceptable and neither is Gneivat Daat, theft of the mind (tricking someone into buying something different from what they thought that they were buying).

Unfortunately, Artscroll’s agenda that was used in the English translations is being used in their Hebrew books as well.

Take for example the Siddur Ner Naftali, the Artscroll all Hebrew Siddur adapted for use in Israel. They conveniently left out the Mishaberach for the Soldiers and the Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel.

 Need I say more?