Finding Texts

How do I find texts in the Sefaria library?

There are several ways to find what you are looking for in the Sefaria library.

  • Use the home page, the search bar, or the topics feature.
  • Each method fills a different need - from finding a specific text to finding a relevant source when you don't even know what you're looking for!
  • Each of the options is described below.

I know what I'm looking for. How do I find it?

If you know what you are looking for, you can find it on the home page.

It is similar to picking a book off a library shelf. Choose your category, find your book and click on it to open.

  • Choose the category
  • Find your book and click on it.

I know what text I want to open. Can I open it directly from the search bar?

Yes! If you know what text you are looking for, you can simply type it into the search bar.

  • Type the name of the text in any search bar on the site.
  • The search bar is bilingual. Clicking on the on the right-hand side of the search bar opens the virtual Hebrew keyboard. Use the virtual keyboard or your computer's Hebrew keyboard.
  • Sefaria’s drop-down search menu recognizes variant spellings. Search can handle misspellings and various approaches to transliteration. Begin typing and look for your text in the drop-down menu.
  • As you type the name of the work into the search box, a dropdown menu will appear. Entries preceded by a book icon will take you to the book itself.
  • If you continue typing the complete citation, the text will open to your exact location.

What if I don't know exactly what I'm looking for? How do I find a text related to a certain idea or concept?

You may not have a particular text in mind, but rather a theme or idea. Sefaria's topics pages can open up a world of Jewish texts for you.

Enter a keyword and Sefaria’s topics sorting shows you the most relevant sources, user-created sheets, and related topics – all in one place.

Topics can be found on the topics page or by using the search bar.

Topics on the Topics Page

Popular topics categories can be found in the Topics page. Click on any topics category to find subtopics and to narrow down your search.

For example, click on “Prayer” and select “Havdalah”.

Click on "All Topics A-Z" for a complete listing of Sefaria topics. See what others are studying by clicking on a topic in "Trending Topics".

Topics from the search bar

Type a keyword or topic into the search bar and find the result with # before it to navigate to the topic’s page.

Can I filter the results on a Topics page?

Yes! The lists of sources and sheets can each be sorted and filtered by an additional keyword to help you to arrive at the most useful results.

Sorting Sources

Relevance - The search defaults to relevance. Relevance ranks the results by the number of times that the text is mentioned in other texts. Highly mentioned texts, such as Tanakh sources, will be listed higher when you sort by relevance than texts that aren’t quoted often, such as Tanakh commentaries.

Chronological - A chronological sort returns results in an order based on when the book was published.

Sorting Sheets

Relevance - The sheets are listed based on the relevance of the sources and tags, as well as the language of the sheet. Sheets that are more relevant will be at the top. If you are on the English site, English sheets will be deemed more relevant and if you are on the Hebrew site, Hebrew sheets are given preference.

Views - The sheets are listed from the most viewed to the least viewed.

Newest - The sheets are listed from the newest to the oldest.

Filter Results

Results can be further filtered by entering a second keyword. For example, within the results for Shavuot, you can further search for sheets about Shavuot that also mention Ruth. Type “Ruth” into the search bar.

Topics Tutorial provides additional instructions for using the Topics feature.

How do I search for a complete list of sources that contain my keyword?

  • Type a keyword into the search bar at the top of the screen. You may type in Hebrew or English.
  • Click on the keyword, in quotation marks, at the bottom of the dropdown menu.
  • Choose from the texts on the side to narrow down your search.
  • For an exact search, select "Exact Matches Only".
  • Toggle between texts and sheets.
  • Choose topics and collections that interest you by clicking from the list on the side of the page.

How do I search the library for a specific author?

Search for a text author

  • Type an author's name into the search bar.
  • Select the entry from the dropdown menu that begins with a quill (feather).
  • The author's topic page will open which provides biographical information, links to the author's books on Sefaria, and top citations from throughout the author's works.

Search for a sheet author

  • Type a person's name to see a list of the public sheets they have created on Sefaria.
  • Click on the person’s picture or name to go to the profile page, complete with a button to message them and the option to follow them (so that you get an alert every time they create a public sheet).