The first issue of Ha-Tsefirah appeared in Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire in 1862, edited by Chaim Selig Slonimski (known by his Hebrew acronym Hazas).  Ha-Tsefirah was the first Hebrew paper with an emphasis on the sciences. The paper closed down after six months when Slonimski became principal of the rabbinical seminary in Zhytomyr and the government began censorship of Hebrew books. It reopened in 1874 in Berlin. In September 1875, it began to be published in Warsaw. Coverage of news and politics was introduced after the First Zionist Congress. From 1886, the paper began to appear as a daily. The driving spirit behind this change was Slonimski's assistant, Nachum Sokolov, who was later appointed editor-in-chief.
Ha-Tsefirah became part of a network of important Hebrew periodicals, among them Ha-Shahar, He-Asif, Ha-Shiloah. Some of the greatest names in early modern Hebrew literature published their work in Ha-Tsefirah, including Mendele Mocher Sforim, Y.L. Peretz and Sholem Aleichem.
- ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers
- Spotlighting the 'great events' - Haaretz - Israel News
- JewishEncyclopedia.com - SLONIMSKI, ḤAYYIM SELIG:
- The Institute Anniversary Volume (1941-1961), Institute of Jewish Affairs, p.322
- Oren Soffer (2004) Antisemitism, Statistics, and the Scientization of Hebrew Political Discourse: The Case Study of Ha-Tsefirah
- Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, and Society Winter 2004, Vol. 10, No. 2: pp. 55-79
- Oren Soffer There is No Place for Pilpul! Hazefirah Journal and the Modernization of Socio-political Discourse (in Hebrew), Mossad Bialik & the Center for the Study of Polish Jewry at Hebrew University of Jerusalem