Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Censorship of Hebrew books in the 19th century was rather commonplace although the reasons for it varied greatly.

In an 1864 issue of the Hebrew newspaper Hamagid that I just acquired, I found part of an advertisement for a new Talmud censored; tar was placed over the words, completely obliterating the text.

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The offending text states that this edition of the Talmud was approved by the censors of Russia and Poland. Apparently, it was offensive to the censors to approve a text that stated that they had approved another text, so they censored it.

Pictured here is the censored text and a scan from a copy that was not censored, showing the original text.

Hamagid was the first Hebrew-language weekly newspaper and appeared from 1856 to 1903.

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