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Sifre Zuta Deuteronomy


SIFRE ZUTA DEUTERONOMY (szd) is a midrash halakhah of the school of R. *Akiva. No direct manuscripts of szd have been found, and the main source for the reconstruction of the Midrash is citations in the commentary of the Karaite sage Jeshua ben Judah on Deuteronomy, who quotes passages from it with relative accuracy. Other citations, of a more paraphrastic nature, are included in Sefer Pitron Torah, which was published by Urbach, and possibly also in Midrash Ḥadash, published by Mann. The name "Sifre Zuta Deuteronomy" is not documented in the literature of the Rishonim and was proposed in light of its high degree of similarity to Sifre Zuta Numbers. The close relation between these two works is clearly demonstrated by their common terminology and shared quotations and is also reflected in their vocabulary, names of rabbis, their Mishnah, which consistently differs from the extant Mishnah, and their unique halakhot.

About 130 short citations from szd that expound verses from the portions of Devarim, Va-Etḥanan, Ekev, Re'eh, Ki Teẓe, and Ki Tavo have been found to date. The aggadic quotations from the portion of Devarim, chap. 1, fundamentally resemble their parallels in Sifrei Deuteronomy and Mekhilta Deuteronomy, albeit with a distinct and independent style and with several terms and expressions that are characteristic specifically of the school of Sifrei Zuta. The other expositions, which are concerned with halakhic issues, employ terms and hermeneutical methods of the school of R. Akiva, following the midrashic subschool of Sifrei Zuta.


I.M. Kahana, Sifre Zuta on Deuteronomy (Heb., 2002).

[Menahem I. Kahana (2nd ed.)]

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