Sifre Bemidbar

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Sifre Bemidbar
Sifre Bemidbar
ספרי במדבר
Dates3rd century
PlaceEretz Yisrael
Impacted on



  • Common name – ספרי במדבר2
  • Other names – ספרי דבי רב, ספרי רבתי, ספר וידבר, מכילתא וידבר3


3rd century4


SifNum was redacted in Eretz Yisrael.


Mishnaic Hebrew


  • Manuscripts – The best manuscript of SifNum is ms Vatican 32.5 Other important manuscripts include London 341, Oxford 151, Berlin Tubingen 1594.33, eight leaves of Firkovich II A 269.6
  • Printings – 
    The first critical edition was published by H. Horovitz (Leipzig, 1917).7
    A new critical edition based on all known manuscript and citation evidence was published by M. Kahana (Jerusalem, 2011) in three volumes. The first volume contains the text of SifNum to Naso and Behaalotecha, with critical notes, parallels, and textual variants, along with an interim edition of the rest of SifNum containing only the text and critical notes. The second volume contains an extensive critical commentary to SifNum on Naso, and the third volume contains Kahana’s commentary to SifNum on Behaalotecha.
  • Textual layers – SifNum is marked by a significant number of expositions or opinions whose placement either interrupts the flow of the discourse, or is out of order in relation to the verses. This may imply that an additional stratum was inserted following an initial redaction.8



  • – midrash halakhah


  • – SifNum covers eleven distinct units in Bemidbar:
    5:1-7:19,7:84-8:4, 8:23-9:14, 10:1-10, 10:29-12:16, 15:1-41, 18:1-19:22, 25:1-14, 26:52-56, 27:1-31:24, 35:9-34.
    SifNum was originally partitioned into two “sefarim”: Sefer Vayedaber and Sefer Zot (named after the opening words in the verses they first expound, respectively, 5:1 and 19:2). Each of these sefarim is divided into subtopics, which are further subdivided into “baraitot”.9


  • – See Introduction to the Midreshei Halakhah.


Significant Influences

Occasional Usage

Possible Relationship


Other Midrashim

  • – 

Medieval Exegetes

  • – SifNum was widely known and used by medieval exegetes.


  • – Important commentaries to SifNum by Rishonim include those of Rabbenu Hillel10 and Raavad,11 among others.12 Significant commentaries by Acharonim include those of R. David Pardo (ספרי דבי רב), R. Meir Friedmann-Ish Shalom (מאיר עין)  and R. Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv) (עמק הנציב).