A New Midrash Rabbah Translation

As Sefaria’s head of text acquisition, it’s my great pleasure to announce that, for the first time in its history, Sefaria has embarked on a multi-year, multi-volume translation project. A couple of years ago, we commissioned a team of seasoned translators to commence a new English translation of Midrash Rabbah after attempts to negotiate rights for existing translations stalled.

Midrash Rabbah, which includes rabbinic stories, parables, and insights, is made up of volumes covering the five books of Torah, as well as the five megillot. The English translation is an important addition to the library, one that will enhance our overall understanding of Torah and our ability to create new meaning and new connections in our learning.

At Sefaria, we believe that Torah should be shared and that Jewish resources — especially those created with philanthropic funds — should be free to the public. So we are releasing these new translations with a CC-BY Creative Commons license, making them free for use and re-use for all purposes. This means that anyone can use the translation for free, for any purpose (or even adapt the translation!) as long as they give attribution.

We’re proud to be exploring new publishing models as part of our mission to maximize access to Torah in the digital age.

The first three volumes of Sefaria’s new translation — Esther Rabbah, Shir Hashirim Rabbah, and Ruth Rabbah — are now available on Sefaria. Additional volumes will be released during 2022 with completion planned for 2023.

With Shavuot just around the corner, as we prepare to rejoice in the Torah and our love of learning, I couldn’t imagine a better time to share this exciting news with you. This new translation project will bring depth and breadth to all of us engaging with the Torah.


Sincerely,

Shmuel Weissman

Manager of Text Acquisition and Text Quality