Symposium on Masorah

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Beginning this week, Torah Musings will be hosting a symposium on the subject of Masorah. What is it? Why is it necessary? How does it relate to halakhic innovation? 

Contributions will address the issues from the perspectives of:

  • Philosophy
  • Halakhah
  • History
  • Theology

As with last year’s symposium on Open Orthodoxy, this symposium will published as a free, printable PDF after it is finished.

The first installment is scheduled for this Thursday night/ Friday morning.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


  1. DavidBFreedman

    I do believe we are confusing Hebrew Masorah with Hebrew Masoret.

    In Hebrew, Masorah relates to the details of the written Tanach, like Kri and Ketiv, Petucha and Stumah, etc. The people who followed those details were the Sofrim and the Ba’alei HaMasorah — the Scribes and the Masoretes. The Oral Law or our customs and Traditions are Masoret. Similarly in English, there is a distinction between Masorah and Tradition. Please refer to Even Shoshan or another authoritative Hebrew dictionary and Merriam Webster or another authoritative English dictionary.

    In Yiddish, there is a word Mesorah, which means our Jewish traditions, and we may have heard our rebbeim in yeshiva use that word while speaking English. However, they were not saying the Hebrew word Masorah, they were saying the Yiddish word Mesorah.

    The Masorah refers to the Tanach grammar, word counts, etc., like in Hebrew.
    This Symposium it seems will be discussing our Mesorah (Yiddish) or Masoret (Hebrew).

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