Sefaria and Koren – A Concerned Look

I write the following without any agenda other than to share information that has already been made public voluntarily by the parties under discussion. It pains me to write anything that can hinder people’s Torah learning, but due to the fact that this public information is largely unknown to many people, it is important to make them aware.

I so fondly recall my early days of yeshiva in Yerushalayim. I, like all of my friends, proudly displayed my newly-purchased Jerusalem Bible, the beautiful Koren Tanach, at my makom in the beis medrash. The print, translation, paper and binding of my Jerusalem Bible were so appealing – really stunning. It was the new “must-have” sefer for every American in yeshiva who learned or at least consulted pesukim in Tanach.

Likewise, much later in my learning and writing endeavors, how I loved looking up all types of references in Sefaria. The comprehensiveness, clarity and ease of use were unmatched., Mercava and other such sites did yet not exist, but even had they been around then, I would have had no need for them, as Sefaria had it all, both in terms of content and usability.

Not long ago, while doing a search in Sefaria for some lesser-known material, I came across other materials that bothered me; some of these materials were non-Orthodox, while others were Open Orthodox or fringe-Orthodox. At that point, I decided to stop using Sefaria and I instead moved over to

My impression was that this problematic Sefaria material perhaps crept in due to poor filtering or editors not adequately scrutinizing submissions before posting. But recently, as reported several days ago, Sefaria announced its release of The Contemporary Torah: A Gender-Sensitive Adaptation of the JPS Translation, in which male pronouns referring to Hashem are removed (e.g. “His voice” is replaced by “God’s voice”, “His covenant” is replaced by “the covenant”, etc.) and generic male nouns are neutered (e.g. “we are honest men” is replaced by “we are honest”, “the men enrolled” is replaced by “the persons enrolled”, etc.). Aside from this constituting Ziyuf Ha-Torah, the transgression of falsifying the words of the Torah (in service of secular values that are not in consonance with the Torah, in this case), it also displays Torah ignorance, for every word or gender reference in the Torah is purposeful, and to disregard them and apparently assume that they do not matter stems from a troubling lack of knowledge. For example, the Torah typically refers to Hashem in the male form, not because Hashem is male, but because Hashem’s attributes and interactions with the world are manifested by characteristics that are predominantly male in nature and in the human experience. On the other hand, the Shechinah is intentionally presented in the Torah as a female noun, as the Shechinah primarily represents Hashem’s attributes and interactions with the world as manifested by characteristics that are predominantly female in nature and in the human experience. Kabbalah likewise has specific male and female references for Hashem, depending on the unique Divine manifestation or illumination. To overlook this and conveniently make matters “gender-sensitive” distorts the Word of Hashem and exhibits ignorance.

If one does a more thorough search, it is clear that Sefaria is packed with very problematic material, from gay pride source sheets, to Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative movement) content, to Maharat (female Open Orthodox clergy) publications, and just about everything else from all “streams of Judaism”, including the individual works of the founders of Conservative Judaism and contemporary Reform and Conservative clergy.

Sefaria’s newly-announced Jewish Women’s Writing Circle, led by Dr. Erica Brown and Sara Wolkenfeld, the latter of whom is a rabbinic fellow of the David Hartman Center and is chief learning officer at Sefaria, consists of many Open Orthodox “rabbas” (female rabbis), and faculty members at Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS – Conservative), Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) and Maharat, and other fringe and non-Orthodox institutions.

Again, this is all public information that has been voluntarily posted by Sefaria.

Some have addressed the concerns by stating that Sefaria does not claim to be Orthodox; while this may be true, Orthodox people use Sefaria with the assumption that it is indeed Orthodox, and my goal here is simply to inform people of what Sefaria contains and represents.

Koren Publishers is known for its many great sefarim, which almost all of us have and perhaps do use on a regular basis. Recently, I wrote a Times of Israel blogpost which addressed in part some problematic material found in the new Koren Lev Ladaat Humash. While one might have assumed that this was an odd exception to Koren’s normative adherence to tradition, attention must be drawn to some of Koren’s other publications, a few of which are cited in my Times of Israel post and others which do not appear there.

For example, Koren produces the Halakhic Realities series. Edited by Rabbi Zev Farber, who has publicly rejected the Torah’s Singular Divine authorship (see here and here), and issued under the auspices of International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), an organization of male and female Open Orthodox clergy, this series includes articles by Rabbis Dina Najman and Shmuly Yanklowitz and other Open Orthodox figures.

Similarly, Koren publishes the Hilkhot Nashim series, edited by Rabbi Rahel Berkovits, under the auspices of Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA). Koren is likewise the publisher of a relatively new book by Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, whose views on Halacha and whose post-Holocaust theology and more have placed him well outside the mainstream Modern Orthodox rabbinate and community.

Koren also publishes Robert Friend’s Found in Translation: Modern Hebrew Poets. The Koren website states about Robert Friend:

Robert Friend was gay, and his sexuality found expression in his poetry well before the Stonewall era. According to Edward Field in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry, Shadow on the Sun is “remarkable in that, for its time, it contains so many poems about the author’s homosexuality.” Friend’s openness continued throughout his writing career.

This is all very disturbing, as while Koren publishes the works of some of the generation’s Torah luminaries, and it produces prominent sefarim for great and mainstream Orthodox organizations and institutions, it also disseminates the works of those whose views are decidedly not Orthodox, which can seriously mislead readers.

Again, it truly pains me to write this, but people need to be aware of the facts.

As we approach Shavuos, let us pray that Hashem grant us clarity and purity in our understanding of His holy Torah.

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233 Responses

  1. DK says:

    Very well written article.
    What is not written or addressed is the reason why these seemingly fine organizations seemingly “went off”. Were they simply taken over by other individuals? Were they always left-wing and just went with the masses? Were they “off” since they started?

    • Moshe Cohen says:

      Koren has definitely “come on” rather than “went off”. The examples he gives are not current at all for Koren.

  2. Moshe Cohen says:

    With the exception of Hilkhot Nahshim, which it is worth noting may edited by Berkovitz but she not referred to as “Rabbi” in the book, none of the examples you give of Korean’s publications are current. The “recent” book by Greenberg was published nearly 10 years ago. There has since been several changes of the guard at Koren and I’d be surprised if those views are still “mainstream” at that company.

    • Reb Yid says:

      Lev Ladaat 2020. What are some examples of the “new” Koren?

      • Moshe Cohen says:

        Rabbi Adlerstein for one… Rav Rosner, Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank, Rabbi Fohrman, several seforim by the Rav, a new book by Rabbi Y Twersky, Rav Sobolovsky, Rabbi Willig…

  3. Mark says:

    Thank you Rabbi Gordimer for your sensitively written article. I was unaware of the existence of those materials at Sefaria and have used the site regularly. I’m saddened by what I’ve just learned, but grateful for having been made aware.
    I did not know of Alhatorah and will check it out.

  4. william l gewirtz says:

    You write: led by Dr. Erica Brown and Sara Wolkenfeld, the latter of whom is a rabbinic fellow of the David Hartman Center… and the former is…

    JTS publishes many sefarim you or I might find objectionable. I assume that does not prevent you from holding (and learning from) perhaps the greatest work of rabbinic scholarship of the last century.

    Despite its endorsement by the Rav ztl and RMF ztl, I strongly questioned its choices of manuscripts on which their Tanach was based. I strongly prefer the MHK Tanach edited by Rav Breuer ztl.

    • Nachum says:

      A friend once recounted that R’ Breuer (before his own edition was done) preferred to use a battered old Tanach to a new Koren, as he said that at least the former wasn’t pretending to be accurate.

      In fairness, Koren has a good point in saying that it’s not based on just the medieval codices. The fact is, *none* of our Tanachs are (count the lines in Haazinu in Breuer, for example); Koren is just a bit more open about it and a bit more loose in what it accepts.

    • Bob Miller says:

      We can compare a typical supermarket to a kosher market.

      The supermarket can sell whatever food, etc., it wants to, but product labeling in any kosher section has to be accurate.

      The kosher market raises our expectation that every food there is kosher. We don’t expect to be challenged.
      Koren seems to be like that, but Rabbi Gordimer challenges that assumption.

      The intermediate case is a Jewish store that doesn’t call itself kosher but looks all right to someone who doesn’t do his homework. That person might walk out unwittingly with treif food. Sefaria seems to be like that.

      • Reb Yid says:

        Who is anyone to determine what is “kosher” when it comes to works of scholarship? Even within the Orthodox world it’s not like there’s a one size fits all approach. Just because the author of this post does not care for a text because of some silly 2 or 4 or 6 degrees of separation to whatever he may find troubling should not ipso facto render it pasul for everyone else, even within Orthodoxy.

      • rkz says:

        Reb Yid,
        That’s exactly the public service that Rabbi Grordimer provided,
        He gave facts, so that everyone can be able to determine what is kosher

      • Reb Yid says:

        The “facts” are highly questionable guilt by associations which ultimately implicate him as well.

      • rkz says:

        I read the article, and saw facts, not smears, and no “guily by association”.

    • DF says:

      “Perhaps the greatest work of rabbinic scholarship of the last century”? Published by JTS?? What on Earth are you talking about?

  5. joel rich says:

    Fair enough – in the immortal words of Sy Syms, “An educated consumer is our best customer”. Now the marketplace can decide.

  6. Eli says:

    Jastrow was non orthodox. His dictionary is simply unmatched both in comprehensiveness and cross-referencing. It can be found in many yeshivish households. I will continue to use sefaria due to its’ ease of use. Nobody is forcing anyone to use non orthodox material if they don’t want to

    • Akiva says:

      Shortly after I discovered Sefaria, I looked around to see its abundant material. With almost no effort at all, I became quite aware of the wide range of sources. I am surprised that others were unaware of this.

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      And articles like this one help people decide if they really want to use Sefaria. Or do you object to people making decisions on the basis of accurate information?

  7. Nachum says:

    Sefaria has never been run by Orthodox Jews nor as an Orthodox site. That many Orthodox Jews did not know this is, frankly, their problem. And in general, we are thinking adults who can decide for ourselves what to use and what not to use, even within one site. That is, after all, Jewish tradition. R’ Meir learned from Acher, you know, even *at the moment that he was being mechalel Shabbat.*

    I should point out that Erica Brown is a faculty member at the same institution which ordained R’ Gordimer, a fact he interestingly chooses not to tell us. Nor does he mention that Koren is the official publisher of that institution. The poetry book he mentions is published by Toby Press, which sort of took over Koren and is now a sort of secular subsidiary of it which even publishes completely non-Jewish works. (Little secret: Koren is the publisher for a *lot* of organizations. A lot of times, said organization does all the work and Koren just adds its logo to the spine and runs off copies.) So what? Ktav publishing also publishes- under its own name!- completely non-Orthodox writers. Again, so what? The first Talmud- the one on which all subsequent editions was based- was printed by a non-Jew as well. The first Mikraot Gedolot was printed by someone who subsequently converted to Christianity. The Ben Asher text of Tanach, which we all use today, was possibly made by a Karaite. The Ginsburg text of Tanach, used by all Jews a hundred years ago, was made by a meshumad. I could go on, and on.

    Oh, incidentally, that Jerusalem Bible you were so proud of? Based (like almost every Jewish translation of Tanach) on the King James Bible. It says it right there in Koren’s introduction.

    Really, this ideological purity has got to stop somewhere or you’ll just find yourself talking to yourself.

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      What degree of ideological purity is allowed? At what point if it ok for me to say “no, I’m not going to learn from that person, who is a proud apikorus?”

      • Nachum says:

        You can say it whenever you like. But every person is different, and kol koreh by nature implies they aren’t.

    • william l gewirtz says:

      You write: “:The Ben Asher text of Tanach, which we all use today, was possibly made by a Karaite.”

      While the Karaites played a critical role in preserving the Masoretic text and its cantellation, the trop (cantellation) IMHO reflects rabbinic interpretation. I know of a dozen or so instances where the trop reflects not the peshat but rabbinic halakhic or even midrashic interpretation; I know of no instance where the trop stands in opposition to rabbinic interpretation, as happens wrt Onkelos.

      • Nachum says:

        Trop reflects breaks in a pasuk. Midrashic interpretation seems a reach.

      • dr. bill says:

        Nachum, not so. I have many examples of midrashic Interpretation impacting trop. Consider the passuk: ve’anshai Sedom Ra’im…

        Syntax does not imply semantics, but it certainly can rule out semantic interpretations and conform with others.

        I hope to write long article outlining about a dozen pesukim where rabbinic interpretation, both halakhic and midrashic, as opposed to the peshat is consistent with the trop.

        interestingly, both the trop, syntax, and Onkelus, semantics, that differ on many pesukim are both referred to as halakha le’Moshe mi’Sinai, with significant implication for what that phrase implies.

      • afrumrabbi says:

        Nachum: perhaps you should have looked up what ט’נ’ת’א’ is referring to (doesn’t Sefaria have something on that?) before writing: ‘Midrashic interpretation seems a reach’. For those of us who are aware of the vast literature on this subject, your comment is absurd.

    • Bob Miller says:

      Months ago, after talking it over with myself, I disengaged from the OU (but not OU-certified food and drink) because of its political entanglement with one party, and also uninstalled my Sefaria app. There’s no shortage of pertinent contacts and information elsewhere. Koren is a mixed bag; I like their recent Tanach translation which is not a King James retread.

      • Bob Miller says:

        Incidentally, the new Koren Tanach says in its introduction (Page xx) that its translation uses gender-neutral terminology specifically where people of both sexes are meant to be included. This, unlike the Sefaria approach, can be defended.

  8. Shlomo says:

    You are 100% correct!
    What’s worse is that Sefaria’s user base (and likely donor base) is undoubtedly majorly Orthodox the vast majority of which have no idea of basics such as that the default translation on the Torah is JPS (Conservative anti-Rashi). More needs to be done to raise awareness about their anti-tradition values.

  9. Shlomo says:

    Examples of anti-religious and heretical books recently added to Sefaria:

    Dirshuni, a 2022 made-up medrash which is effectively a mockery of the Tanaim. Written by reform and non-Jewish women.

    A translation of the Torah written to exclude Torah Sheba’al Peh by a totally anti-religious professor Everett Fox.

    JPS Tanach – a reform translation of Tanach (again written to exclude Rashi and Oral Torah) This is especially of note as this the DEFAULT translation of the Torah that 99% of users will see on Sefaria! I have seen this used at frum schools!!!

    A commentary on the Mishna by a totally irreligious professor and his daughter.

    This is besides the issue that even in some ‘regular’ texts like the Siddur there are simple Halachic mistakes..

    Plus there are entire sections of the website dedicated to what they call ‘social issues’ which are almost entirely against the Torah.

    And of course there are a plethora of user and Sefaria made sheets which are full of despicable distortions of the Torah.

    • William Gewirtz says:

      Shlomo, you write: “JPS Tanach – a reform translation of Tanach (again written to exclude Rashi and Oral Torah) This is especially of note as this the DEFAULT translation of the Torah that 99% of users will see on Sefaria! I have seen this used at frum schools!!! ” i do not know a reform translation; interdenominational, yes, reform no. BTW, the JPS Yonah, is the most thorough explanation I am aware of. Every volume’s editor is clearly identified; read those whose views you want to and not those you object to.

      You write: “A commentary on the Mishna by a totally irreligious professor and his daughter.” Do you prefer Danby? 🙂

  10. Nachum says:

    One more point: A few years back R’ Gordimer’s employer, the OU, published a book- with Koren!- by Joseph Lieberman in which Lieberman, being a good Democrat, had to throw in a completely gratuitous statement about his support for gay rights. In a book about Sefirat HaOmer!

    Did it annoy me? Oh yes. Did I write a piece demanding a boycott of the OU? No I did not.

    • Mark says:

      Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t notice a call for a boycott of Sefaria in Rabbi Gordimer’s article, did you?

      He simply made those of us to whom this information may be relevant aware of some uncomfortable facts. He did not once suggest a course of action so I’m not sure why you have an issue with his article. All you’ve done is bring additional examples of this sort of confusing behavior.

      As it is downright confusing that the OU would publish a book that in any way supports gay rights. That’s certainly not a strike in their favor; it’s downright mortifying and makes me question their integrity.

      • Nachum says:

        Oh, come on. The call for a boycott is at the very least implied. He just knows better than to say it explicitly.

        And boy have people on other threads been explicit about it.

    • Mycroft says:

      Sen Lieberman took a number of positions on belief which would be inconsistent with traditional Orthodoxy when he was running for VP. It obviously did not cause the OU to cut ties with Sen Lieberman.

      • Nachum says:

        When he was running for VP he literally denied being Orthodox. I mean, we all knew it was a cover for un-PC things Orthodox Jews believe (in that specific case it was Howard Stern asking him if he was opposed to intermarriage), but one would hope Orthodox Jews had better backbone.

        The OU is buddy-buddy with politicians whose views are at variance with Orthodoxy all the time, to be fair, and I suppose they have to be. But one doesn’t expect, say, Ted Kennedy to be a frum Jew.

      • mark says:

        Nachum writes: “Oh, come on. The call for a boycott is at the very least implied. He just knows better than to say it explicitly.”

        I didn’t see it anywhere in his words and I’m not as good at reading peoples minds, I guess. I reserve judgement for what people actually wrote, not what I imagined them to have wanted to write but didn’t.

        “And boy have people on other threads been explicit about it.”
        So go comment on those threads. Why attack Rabbi Gordimer when he didn’t write what you would have liked him to write?

    • Bob Miller says:

      I was more put off by this OU book:

  11. Meir says:

    Sefaria was founded by two secular Jews. I am not sure why anyone who is aware of this would be surprised that they don’t align with Orthodoxy.

    It’s a little disconcerting to see that someone who probably wouldn’t learn a sefer without haskamos doesn’t realize that the same or similar standards need to apply to online resources as well.

    • Meir says:

      Yoshor Koach to Rabbi Gordimer.

      Seeing the pushback to what you wrote, it is clear that I was wrong and that this needed to be said.

  12. Moshe says:

    What a beautiful endeavor, just before Shavuot where Klall Yisroel stood k’ish echad b’lev echad we are subjected to another derisive attempt to define-down orthodoxy, packed with unsubstantiated claims such as – “characteristics that are predominantly male in nature and in the human experience” – are rachum, chanun or any of the other attributes used by the Torah to describe Hashem more male than female?!

    Where does the witch hunt stop? contains a truly staggering amount of shiurim used by many b’nei and b’not torah, yet the site contains content from authors herein identified as objectionable (example 1) as well as many others who Rabbi Gordimer would certainly label as open orthodox, conservadox, fringe or whatever. But, lo and behold, YUTorah also contains shiurim from R’ Gordimer himself!

    Sefaria is simply an online library where everyone is welcome to seek out Torah and use it to come closer to Hashem with the rest of Klall Yisroel – ‘Like one person, with one heart’

    • Mark says:

      YU Torah, for all it’s flaws, it’s clear about what it is and isn’t. Everyone can see in a minute who the speaker is and decide for themselves whether to listen or skip. Additionally, the audience to whom Rabbi Gordimer is writing presumably already knows that YU Torah is replete with views and approaches that many bnei Torah would be uncomfortable with. They’re listening to Torahanytime and sites like that which don’t contain speakers of those orientations.

      Rabbi Gordimer’s point about Sefaria is that one can use the site without being aware of the fact that the translation or sources are from untrustworthy sources and he kindly made us aware of that.
      Not sure why anyone would have a problem with that.

      • William Gewirtz says:

        Mark, can you tell us what are YU Torah’s flaws? I know it contains views that do not comport with emunah peshutah but listeners like me have never been accused of emunah peshutah..

        It also has weaker and stronger speakers; that can be easily determined by checking to how often a shiur was listened.

    • A Frum Rabbi says:

      “another derisive attempt to define-down orthodoxy, packed with unsubstantiated claims such as – “characteristics that are predominantly male in nature and in the human experience” – are rachum, chanun or any of the other attributes used by the Torah to describe Hashem more male than female?!”

      R Gordimer’s take on this is substantiated in nearly every authoritative source oif tradtional Torha study. You are apparently unaware if that.
      As for your questoin regarding attributes like ‘rachum’ or ‘chanun’, there are major differences between Sheimos HaNimchakin and other Divine characteristics.

    • I’m much more concerned about YUTorah being funded by an arms dealer than I am with some Sefaria source sheets, personally

      • rkz says:

        That’s perfectly legitimate.
        Can you understand that some people reasonably disagree with you about this?

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Do you think that Soros would give a nickel for funding YUTorah?

  13. YL says:

    According to this logic, should one be warned about the dangers of attending YU because it is also a big tent and all sorts of people go there and have come from there (including Rabbi’s) – ? Not sure how R’ Dr. Berman would feel about that! 🙂

  14. Rebecca Klempner says:

    This post makes zero sense.
    1) Sefaria has never claimed to be an Orthodox-only zone. It’s goal is bringing access of Jewish texts to everyone.
    2) You can adjust to whatever translation you want. If you want to look at Koren, look at Koren. If you want to look at the new-fangled JPS, do that. And there are other translations available. It’s all user choice.
    3) The source sheets are created by users of all kinds.
    4) It’s the eve of Shavuos. Why are we trying to stir up discord?

    We can all use Sefaria in the way we choose. It’s meant for maximumal impact with the maximal number of users. If we want to fight assimilation among Jews and increase people knowing that G-d created the world, sustains it, and wants us to take care of each other on this planet in order to honor Him (since humans are created in His image), Sefaria is wildly successful. Sefaria (and projects like 929) have increased the awareness of Jewish texts and traditions in the general Jewish population. KOL HAKAVOD.

    • Mark says:

      “It’s the eve of Shavuos. Why are we trying to stir up discord?”

      That is a total non-sequitur. If it’s wrong, it should be said anytime and always. If there’s nothing wrong with the site, saying it on some other day of the month wouldn’t make it any more acceptable.

      Rabbi Gordimer simply pointed out to the unawares among us that this is a site that an Orthodox person should use very judiciously. Not sure why you or anyone else would have a problem with that.

      • Bob Miller says:

        The actual wreckers and schismatics have the nerve to accuse others.

      • shaul shapira says:

        Also, it’s after shevuos now. Can we read the post with a clean conscience? (Asking for a right wing extremist friend.)

  15. Karolyn says:

    Your refusal to even use the same Torah-learning website as Orthodox people, and others, who don’t think like you is very disturbing. This is further proof of the narrowing of Right Wing Orthodox thinking and [false] claims of having the mantle of authority.

    This view of Judaism, and Orthodoxy more specifically, assumes there is only one approach — ignoring thousands of years of disagreements, divergent developments of customs and halacha, etc. Our Rabbis have disputed each other vehemently (Vilna Goan and his antagonism to Chasidut, as just one example).

    • Bob Miller says:

      From a Chabad website:
      “As for conservative and Reform Judaism, the following interesting story is told: Rabbi Simcha Wasserman, the son of Rav Elchonan Wasserman, was once at a convention of rabbis in California which included Chabad emissaries, as well as reform and conservative rabbis. Rabbi Wasserman, who was seen talking and acting friendly with the Chabad Rabbis, was asked by a colleague who was a conservative Rabbi as to why he is so friendly with Chabad, as after all he is part of the Lithuanian camp who oppose the Hasidim. So, Rabbi Wasserman answered him that the Jewish people are like an army, and just like in an army there are many different positions that need to be filled, each one being equally vital for the war effort, so too the Jewish people collectively are part of the Army of God and each sect of Judaism fulfills a different position in that Army. Hence, while he and Chabad may have different views on many subjects nonetheless, they are both part of God’s army. When the conservative Rabbi heard his answer, he asked Rabbi Wasserman as to which part of the Jewish army of God does the conservative movement correspond to? Rabbi Wasserman smiled and answered his friend that every Army contains deserters during battle, your group corresponds to the deserters of the war effort.

  16. Rafi says:

    I’m failing to understand all the hype about Sefaria. Anyone who has been using their site for the past few years should have been made aware they have zero intent on hosting exclusively Orthodox content. This new gender free translation, while disturbing, didn’t surprise me the least.

    • mark says:

      Some of us haven’t been using the site for a few years and were therefore unaware. Rabbi Gordimer’s article spared us the need to do so. Anything wrong with that?

  17. Avi Grossman says:

    “On the other hand, the Shechinah is intentionally presented in the Torah as a female noun, as the Shechinah primarily represents Hashem’s attributes and interactions with the world as manifested by characteristics that are predominantly female in nature and in the human experience.”
    The term Shechina is never in the Pentateuch or Targum Onqelos. There, the hebrew term כבוד ה׳ is יקרא דה׳. It first appears in TJ to the prophets, e.g., ברוך כבוד ה׳ ממקומו is בריך יקרא דה׳ מאתר בית שכינתיה.

  18. DAVID ILAN says:

    So, let me get this straight Gordimer…it’s bad for someone to translate and say “God” instead of “He” but it’s totally ok for artscroll to take Shir HaShirim and call breasts Moses and Aharon, cause you know the English speaking populace just couldn’t handle the word “Breast”….

    • william l gewirtz says:

      I am not a defender of R. Gordimer, but your analogy is entirely off base. I think that translations ought to follow the peshat not the midrashic explanation. Artscroll for its “religious” reasons chose not to follow that path but chose the midrashic interpretation. Very different from following current attempts to “wokify” ancient texts.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Are not some passages in Chumash ony capable of being understood via the midrashic as opposed to pshat-? The end of Parshas Yechi, Parshas Bilaam and Parshas Haazinu and VZos Habracha at three examples together with all of Shir HaShirin which Chazal emphasized should not be understood on a Pshat only basis.

      • dr. bill says:

        Steve, Understanding the peshat is always required, even where the rabbinic interpretation differs, as many rishonim demonstrate.

    • DK says:

      I am standing up for Kavod HaTorah. You don’t address someone who is a respected Rabbi by his last name. Rabbi Gordimer, whether you like it or not, has learned in some of the most respected Yeshivos in the US and has made it his mission to promote pure and authentic Judaism. To address him by only his last name is an affront to the Torah and Hashem.
      You don’t have to agree with him and i’m sure he is more than happy to discuss your issues with Artscroll, but have a little respect.

      • William Gewirtz says:

        Define “pure and authentic Judaism.” We believe in multiple correct positions in Judaism.

      • rkz says:

        Who is “we”?

      • william l gewirtz says:

        rkz, our tradition as a rudimentary examination of our texts and history clearly demonstrates.

      • rkz says:

        Our tradition is one of discussion and arguments (very spirited and even heated), but always within the framework and borders of Torah.
        There are 70 panim la’Torah, but there is also Giluy Panim ba’Torah Shelo Ka”Halakha.
        Ovdei Avoda zara, Hellenizers, Tzedukkim, Karaites, Reformers etc. are not part of the Beit Medrash

      • william l gewirtz says:

        rkz, It is those very boundaries that are in dispute

      • rkz says:

        Some boundaries are in dispute, not all boundaries, and what Rabbi Gordimer showed was that some books are clearly beyond the boundaries.

    • Bob Miller says:

      ArtScroll’s intended audience, an educated group, can see the original Hebrew text right there, not to mention the book’s explanatory introduction to its methodology.

      Pay more attention to the ginned-up “midrashim” that non-Orthodox authors have been putting out for political effect, often directed at our Avot and Imahot, since at least the 1970s.

  19. David Zinberg says:

    If you object to the tone and content of this McCarthyist screed and support Sefaria’s outstanding work, donate here!/donation/checkout

    • rkz says:

      Why would anyone object to pointing out facts and letting people make informed decisions?

      • Reb Yid says:

        Because the guilt by association subtext is just plain ridiculous, as others have shown here. And anyone , including the author of the entire post, can very easily be shown to be hefker by this perverted “logic”.

      • Bob Miller says:

        (with typos corrected)
        These days, anybody who deploys “McCarthyist” in this fashion is really his disciple. Ironically, all of McCarthy’s characteristic methods had been pioneered by communists and often used on each other.

      • rkz says:

        Reb Yid,
        Rabbi Gordimer merely pointed out facts,
        I didn’t see any sort of guilt by association

    • Karolyn says:

      Will do, thanks for the reminder!

  20. LES AYM says:

    Anyone looking for more than a minute would know that Sefaria is run by non-orthodox.
    On the other hand, Koren I believe was always accepted as an Orthodox publisher.
    So I think Rabbi Gordimer should have stuck to discussing Koren only. By including Sefaria in the article weakened and took away from the articles impact.
    As an aside, I was very very surprised at the Agudah. By the Siyum Hashas on Jan 2020. On the jumbo screens they had tehillim and Maariv displayed. And in the corner of the screen was credited that the text was from Sefaria! Which to me was Agudah essentially like giving a haskoma to Sefaria! I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t have used Artscrolls or a million other sources.

    • william l gewirtz says:

      Artcroll does not follow the Masoretic text; segol versus tzaireh under the zayin in ashrei; there is no such ancient text. Perhaps the MHK or JPS text :).

      • too tired says:

        Vilna Gaon is a good enough source for Artscroll.

      • william l gewirtz says:

        too tired, what the practice of the Vilna Gaon was is strongly disputed. In any case, no ancient text agrees with what some claim was the Gaon’s practice.

      • rkz says:

        In my siddur (Ezor Eliyahu) they quote Radak who said it is a Makhloket Sefarim.

      • william l gewirtz says:

        rkz, Does Radak provide a source? No text that we have has a segol.

      • rkz says:

        I don’t have the Radak in front of me, I was relying on Ezor Eliyahu (who is very reliable from what I experienced in all past use)
        They wrote that it was a makhloket between Sidurey Ashkenaz and Sidurey Polin

      • William Lawrence Gewirtz says:

        Siddurim are a poor way to establish the correct textual variant; an ancient codex is more authoritative.

    • rkz says:

      What they wrote in Ezor Eliyahu is that the Radak says it is a makhloket in the Masora in Tanakh
      They added that it is also a Makhloket in the Siddurim

  21. Steven BriZel says:

    Aside from the above problematic content Koren and Maggid also publish reprints of some of RYBS’s works and the wonderful Haggadah and works on Parshas HaShavuah by R Shalom Rosner and published many of the excellent Seforim by R Yosef Tzvi Rimon as well .I should note that the Haggadah of R Rosner a great Talmid Chacham and Magid Shiur sold out completely.I would suggest that one use Secel hayahar and be aware that Koren like every other publisher of Judaica and Seforim published a wide range of works some of which are clearly superior and far less edgy than others

  22. Steve BriZel says:

    Sefaria makes no pretense of being a frum source so you have to decide whether the content is appropriate or not and be aware that there are websites and search engines available that have a far greater and less objectionable range of sources

  23. Steven BriZel says:

    Koren publishes a wide range of works some of which are excellent such as the reprints of sons of the hashkafic works of RYBS snd RAL ZL as well as the superb works of R Shalom Rosner whose excellent Haggadah sold out , many of the equally superb and important sefarim of R Yosef Tzvi Rimon and many other works which many would find objectionable especially the recent translation of Sefer Vayikra which unfortunately has apologetics on LGBT issues as opposed to a firm stance in favor of Chupah VKiddushin .

    The OU Press publishes excellent works but I think that like it or not The ArtScroll Introduction to the Talmud which contains Hakdamos of Ramban to MIshnah and MIshnah Torah and the Igrere R Shereira Gaon together with bios of Tanaim and Amoraim is a superb English language work . We can argue about the hashkafic slant of ArtScroll and the hagiographies of Gdolim some of which are inspiring but the ArtScroll Shas which I think many legitimately view as a crutch that is addictive and will prevent you from engaging in what is called Amelus BaTorah has opened up learning Gemara to those either never had the opportunity to learn or who haven’t learned in many years Like it or not there is at least a wonderful Kiyum HaMitzvah of Talmud Torah when one is Msayem Shas based on the ArtScroll Shas as opposed to Bitul Torah from not learning at all

  24. Steve BriZel says:

    It is important to note that one should use the best edition of any Sefer to learn from because there is sn issur of reading from a Sefer Torah Seino Mugah Since the transmission of Torah from rebbe to Talmid depends in large part of an accurate transmission of the right text this is why the Mossad HaRav Kook editions of Rishonim The Frankel Rambam and the new editions of Tur and SA as well on such sefarim as the Min has Chinuch and the Dirshu MB are so important .The Encyclopedia Talmudis is another very important sefer in understanding any sugya covered in its volumes.

    • william l gewirtz says:

      In addition to the texts you mention, some/many of the best texts of Rishonim and Talmudic works come from academic scholars whose adherence to halakha is hardly uniform.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Such texts would raise the issue of whether the same can be considered as Torah Lishmah as defined by Chazal and Rishonim or RL a purely academic exercise in the exploration of an ancient Jewish code

      • william l gewirtz says:

        I never heard of a text being torah lishemah; where did you see such a krum notion?

  25. David Ohsie says:

    Compare and contrast: “Aside from this constituting Ziyuf Ha-Torah, the transgression of falsifying the words of the Torah (in service of secular values that are not in consonance with the Torah, in this case), it also displays Torah ignorance, for every word or gender reference in the Torah is purposeful, and to disregard them and apparently assume that they do not matter stems from a troubling lack of knowledge.”

    “ONKELOS the Proselyte, who was thoroughly acquainted with the Hebrew and Chaldaic languages, made it his task to oppose the belief in God’s corporeality. Accordingly, any expression employed in the Pentateuch in reference to God, and in any way implying corporeality, he paraphrases in consonance with the context.” –Guide 1:27

    • william l gewirtz says:

      Rambam imputes his belief that God’s incorporeality is a fundamental belief to Onkelos. Whether or not Onkelos thought it fundamental, he fastidiously translated based on that belief. Very different from translating based on a belief with no claimed Jewish origin.

      • David Ohsie says:

        R Gordimer make the claim that it is inherently Ziyuf Ha-Torah and that ALSO this is in service a secular value. I’m addressing the Ziyuf Ha-Torah issue here.

        To address your they issue of “no claimed Jewish origin”: 1) Rambam made lots of claims of Jewish origin for ideas that we all understand had no Jewish origin (and he was criticized for this). He thought the ideas were compelling and therefore claimed that it must always have been part of Judaism. 2) I’m not sure why emphasizing that God doesn’t have a gender is not a current Jewish value given our complete rejection of the Idea that God can take human form. Also properly sorting out when the Torah says “man” or “he” it really means all people is pretty important.

  26. nt says:

    Unfortunately, there is even worse stuff on Sefaria. One Tisha B’av, I decided to read Josephus’s classic The War of the Jews. One of the footnotes of the English version directly blames the Jews suffering on the death of Jesus. I emailed Sefaria and they promised to make changes, but the quote is still right there as of today. (Link:,_translated_by_William_Whiston&lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

    • Nachum says:

      Whitson’s translation is the one in the public domain; he inserted lots of Christian stuff.

  27. Reb Yid says:

    Why this picture for this post?

    • Steven Brizel says:

      That’s obvious-it is obviously not a Halachically correct Krias HaTorah. See what Rambam says about a Sefer Torah that is written by someone who does not believe in Torah MiSinai

      • Reb Yid says:

        As others have noted–what an awesome message around Shavuot time.

        Don’t you want Jews to study Torah?

        Apparently not.

      • rkz says:

        Reb Yid,
        Learning with no intention to follow halakha is assur

    • Reb Yid says:


      You can’t have it both ways. Normally the complaint from these quarters is that most of amcha wants no part of anything having to do with Judaism or being Jewish. And those that do–now you’re still kvetching.

      What would you rather have them do on Shavuot or Shabbat, engage in Torah or not? You cannot reasonably expect many Jews to engage the way you would prefer them to–most will never do so.

      The biggest issue today among Jews is apathy towards being Jewish. You should welcome more Jews embracing Torah in whatever way they see fit–a few of them might even end up exploring Orthodoxy in some fashion (but not many).

      • Steven Brizel says:

        The person reading from a Sefer Torah in the picture would be better off doing something more constructive in her spare time as opposed to what appears to be an act of spiritual self gratification

      • Reb Yid says:

        To Mr. Brizel:

        How would you like it if outsiders took it upon themselves to be the sole arbiters of the motivations of Orthodox Jews in a photo they were using to disparage them in some fashion?

        Best if you stick to describing your own motivations and not characterizing others that you do not know at all.

      • rkz says:

        Apathy is better then Ziuf HaTorah.

    • shaul shapira says:

      “Why this picture for this post?”

      You mean, you don’t find it heartwarming and deeply authentic? Such a hurtful sentiment on the eve of pride month.

      • Reb Yid says:

        One has to consider the past history of the author of this post and his many, many diatribes and previous posts against such individuals and groups. But again, since Sefaria has a very wide range of sources and is used by Jews across the denominational spectrum, why the focus on this one particular Torah reading in the photo? The topic of the post isn’t even about reading the Torah or worship services, anyways–it’s about the sources contained within Sefaria.

        So the photo itself is not really on point with the post itself, other than the author of the post (or whoever made the editorial decision to include this particular photo) to make yet another snarky dig at Jews that don’t conform to its way of being Jewish.

      • Bob Miller says:

        Reb Yid, there’s even a Jewish way to be Jewish.

      • Reb Yid says:

        To Mr. Miller:

        One may disagree with individuals who do it differently. But for the same predictable folks on this board to constantly pummel such individuals and groups is not exactly kosher, either.

      • rkz says:

        Reb Yid,
        Those who decided to invent a new religion (Reform, Conservative, OO, etc.) can’t complain that those of us who follow the Torah don’t regard their inventions as Judaism.

      • Bob Miller says:

        This picture’s posting must be one of those micro- or nano-aggressions. Fans of homeopathic medicine would understand that vanishingly small acts of insensitivity have enormous effects. As a traditionalist, Reb Yid must be upset at the non-regulation color scheme shown.

      • Reb Yid says:

        To rkz:

        Soloveichik’s classic Rupture and Reconstruction article clearly demonstrates how Orthodoxy itself has also undergone a fairly thorough process of transformation.

      • rkz says:

        I don’t recall that Soloveichik’s atricle contains any examples of inventing a new religion
        The tranformation he deals with was (and is) within Judaism

      • Reb Yid says:

        To rkz:

        These are all transformations within the same religion. The only question is to what degree.

      • william l gewirtz says:

        rkz, It was not me. but dr. Grach showed how we migrated from a mimetic to a text-based practice. Of course, text w/o a mimetic tradition is at best challenging and at worse subject to a continuous slide to the right.

      • rkz says:

        A. Reb Yid and William, I made a mistake, and I apologize.
        B. Le’Guf HaD’varim, there is a world of difference between following the Torah in different ways (mimemtic or text based, chumrot or traditional kulut), and turning away from the Torah to follow foreign ideologies.

  28. Bob Miller says:

    (With typos corrected)
    If we object to Sefaria’s general direction, we can stop using its website or app. The verifiably Orthodox world already produces all sorts of high quality electronic and printed matter in keeping with our Mesorah. The greater danger today is subtle apikorsus actually labeled as Orthodox. Our world has some prominent double agents, some of whom were called out by name in Rabbi Gordimer’s article above. Beware the ORTHOWOKE-23 virus.

  29. Meir says:

    The other day I had to pick up a book on halacha that they had in stock at the local public library. But, as soon as I stepped through the door, I realized my serious dilemma. In addition to the perfectly appropriate book that I wanted, the public library also contained many other books that were problematic in many different ways, from promoting other religions to supporting things that are keneged halacha to rejecting Torah mi’sinai.

    After a while, I finally came up with a solution.

    I didn’t take out any of the other books.

    I wonder if this would work for R. Gordimer, too.

    • Bob Miller says:

      Public but not Jewish. If Jewish, we expect more.

    • mark says:

      You really don’t see a distinction between your situation and his?
      Hard to believe, but if true, all the more reason for Rabbi G to write his article.

  30. Weaver says:

    Simple solution: use your own judgement and buy books/seforim that are appropriate, regardless of the publisher. Other Orthodox publishers err in the opposite direction, publishing titles that are inevitably inane, banal, childish, and self-congratulatory.

  31. Reb Yid says:

    I also do not understand what this author finds objectionable about Erica Brown. I have heard her speak and have read some of her works. To be perfectly frank, I don’t always connect with what she has to say since at times I find it too reactionary or conservative regarding the material at hand.

    But wait, she is part of a network to support female Torah scholars, some of whom are more progressive than she is and some of whom are more conservative than she is, and somehow this discredits her scholarship?

  32. Steve Brizel says:

    A text that is written by an academic Talmudist who does not believe in Torah Min HaShsamyim and Torah Mi Sinai cannot be considered a Cheftza Shel Torah Lshem Mitzvas Talmud Torah Jastrow served a purpose in its time but today there are many excellent resource works that are far better that are available in any good Judaica store in terms of Aramaic and basic terms that present in any Daf in Shas

    • Nachum says:

      By what right do you claim that Jastrow (who was not an “academic Talmudist,” not that there’s anything wrong with that, much as you may use the phrase with horror) did not believe in those things? Of course he did.

      Also, what’s the difference between “min hashamayim” and “mi sinai”, or is that just a combined stock phrase?

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Nachum-If you believe that Moshe received the enire Torah Min HaShamayiim, that the Jewish People were witnesses to Divine Revelation and that MosheRabbeinu transmittted different sections of what he received atHarSinai in the Ohel Moed and at Arvos Moav-would not your question be academic?

      • Steven Brizel says:

        I cast no aspersions on Jastrow–I merely pointed out that there are far better workd available today.

  33. mb says:

    A timely reminder for R.Gordimer and his rah, rah crowd, accept the truth from whatever the source it comes.

    • shaul shapira says:

      I try to, including from rabbi Gordimer.
      He isn’t stopping anyone from reading Sefaria. You seem very upset that he had the nerve to point out the existence of something. But you haven’t claimed that anything he wrote isn’t actually accurate. Or that he misrepresented his aims. You just don’t agree with him about whether anything at all should be off off limits. Which is your cheshbon. But I’m very close minded, generally try to avoid reading rank kefira, and appreciate when I’m informed in advance of what to expect at various sites.

      Derisively referring to “R.Gordimer and his rah, rah crowd” tends to raise questions about your own willingness “accept the truth from whatever the source it comes.”

      • Bob Miller says:

        Exactly so, Shaul. In high school, we’d rank each other out. This is some commenters’ stage of development. You may have noticed that today’s liberal argumentation centers around insulting, shouting over, and shutting down opponents. In contrast, Rabbi Gordimer has put together a cogent thesis that others can freely ignore or challenge with facts, if they have them.

      • Chana Siegel says:

        Of course, the problem is with the translations, not the Hebrew texts. Those may suffer from computer reading errors, but that’s a different problem and not kfira.

  34. Steven Brizel says:

    WADR to R Gordimer and those who assail his view one can easily contend that in age where we are BH inundated with works both in Lashon HaKodesh and English on a wide range of subjects, all publishers of sefarim and English language Judaica all publish some excellent sefarim and some which are not worth the expense of their produced, md others which should never have been published in the first place and are either a cheftza shel Bitul Torah or RL Apikorsus. As in buying a suit an educated consumer is the best consumer

  35. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill -could it not be seriously maintained as I
    suggested that the Parshiyos that I mentioned D well ad others can best understood via the Midrashic understanding and that Pshat is at best of very limited value if not at all at helpful in those examples?

    • william l gewirtz says:

      All elements of PARDEIS are critical in understanding the Torah as it is. In different contexts, one or the other seem to each of us as more helpful/critical.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        We dissagree-Pshat is of dubious value to another portion n the Torah that demands that it be understood beyong the level of Pshat. There are so many instances whereChazal derive numerous halachos from their understanding of a Passsuk which differ with , reject and go well beyond Pshat

      • william l gewirtz says:

        Steve, If you know of more than 10 places where Hazal derive halakhot that are “beyond” the peshat, please list them. They may add circumstance, quantify a passuk, etc. but going beyond the peshat in halakha is relatively rare. In the Midrash, there are many such examples that do not derive new halakhot.

  36. PPG says:

    Hilarious that he writes that he doesn’t have an agenda. That might be slightly more believable if he didn’t take every opportunity to assail open orthodox and anything related to LGBTQ issues every chance he gets.

    • Bob Miller says:

      His approach follows from being an honestly Orthodox Jew.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      Ask yourself whether OO is consistent with Mesorah and Halacha and whether one should be proud of being Mkadesh Yisrael AlYidei Chupah VKiddushin .That is the sole “agenda” of R Gordimer who I am proud to consider a Chaver BDeos on many but not all issues

    • lacosta says:

      this idea of calling OO [sic ] ‘orthodox ‘ causes nothing but trouble. YCT graduates are labeled as orthodox by conescenti at outlets like The Forward, where their perverse deyos are then portrayed as normoOrthodox…..

  37. I cannot believe that cross-currents would publish something that directly contradicts one of the yud gimmel ikkarim! To oppose translating pronouns for God as gender neutral, you are in direct contradiction with the Rambam’s third ikkar, which I quote here in full:

    The removal of materiality from God. This signifies that this unity is not a body nor the power of a body, nor can the accidents of bodies overtake him, as e.g. motion and rest, whether in the essential or accidental sense. It was for this reason that the Sages (peace to them!) denied to him both cohesion and separation of parts, when they remarked לא ישיבה ולא עמידה ולא עורף ולא עפוי, i.e. “no sitting and no standing, no division (עורף), and no cohesion” (עפוי) [according to the verse ועפו בכתף פלשתים, i.e. they will push them with the shoulder in order to join themselves to them].

    The prophet again said, “And unto whom will ye liken God,” etc. (Isaiah 40:18), “and unto whom will ye liken me that I may be like, saith the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25). If God were a body he would be like a body. Wherever in the scriptures God is spoken of with the attributes of material bodies, like motion, standing, sitting, speaking, and such like, all these are figures of speech, as the Sages said, דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם “The Torah speaks in the language of men” (Berakhot 31b). People have said a great deal on this point. This third fundamental article of faith is indicated by the scriptural expression, כי לא ראיתם כל תמונה “for ye have seen no likeness” (Deuteronomy 4:15), i.e. you have not comprehended him as one who possesses a likeness, for, as we have remarked, he is not a body nor a bodily power.”

    To imply that God has the “attributes” of a specific gender is to violate the Rambam’s prohibition on ascribing any positive attribute to God. Unless you’re going to agree with Marc Shapiro that the Yud Gimmel Ikkarim were occasionally not accepted l’halakha, I do not see how you can justify claiming that God has attributes that we can identify as gendered. According to the Rambam, it may actually preferable to use gender neutral pronouns when referring to God, as doing so refrains from ascribing God with definitive characteristics. If God can only be described with “not” statements, and God is “not male” and “not female”, what pronouns do you propose using?

    I can only conclude that this column crept in due to poor filtering or editors not adequately scrutinizing submissions before posting, bu

    • Bob Miller says:

      Have you noticed that our original texts are not gender-neutral, nor is Hebrew overall? Why do you suppose that is? As Rambam pointed out, the words we use are our best available tools but HaShem is incomparable, so the words do not apply to Him as they might to us. From that comes his idea that we can use the words to exclude their opposites. But…HaShem specifically authorized us to speak of and, in our own fashion to emulate, the 13 (Yud Gimmel) Middot that He divulged to Moshe Rabbeinu.

      • So therefore any attempt to convey the incomparableness in English translation is assur?
        You’re assuming a language with grammatical gender uses male pronouns to imply maleness when it really doesn’t necessarily. When an object is referred to with a gendered pronoun, is it “ziyyuf haTorah” to translate that pronoun as “it” instead of “him” or “her”? How is referring to God in gender neutral terms in line with the theological assumptions of our entire religion then “ziyyuf haTorah?”

      • Bob Miller says:


    • too tired says:

      Oh, come now, let’s not be pedantic.

    • Gordibeast says:

      “ So therefore any attempt to convey the incomparableness in English translation is assur?”

      There is a world of a difference between a translation that attempts to convey the incomparable nature of English to Lashon Kodesh (not sure if even that is ok or recommended)and a translation that attempts to square woke ideas with the Torah. It’s explicit premise is to make the Torah more in line to todays woke “ideals”. Aside from being intellectually dishonest, it is also disturbing and disrespectful. Like all other attempts to dilute and distort the timeless principles and words of the Torah it deserves to be fiercely condemned by all those who claim to believe in the Torah. Kudos to Rav Gordimer for taking this public stand.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      There are innumerable gender based differences in the Torah as understood by Chazal by whose understanding of the Torah we live by ad opposed by some notion that we can import woke understanding and sensibility into the Torah I don’t see Rambam as offering support for your suggestion

    • FYI I refuse to argue seriously with people who use the word “woke” in this particular debate. Make your argument without bogeymen or go away.

      • Robert Miller says:

        Instead, I’ll use the word “snippy”.

      • Gordibeast says:

        Safaria’s own statement quoting the president of Hadar specifically referenced “greater gender sensitivity” nothing about a more intellectually accurate translation. You can choose to stick your head in the sand or you can read what they literally are saying.
        Secondly, the argument is not woke = bad, it’s that a biased and dishonest translation because of discomfort with the Torah is wrong no matter the reason.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        When you contend that the Torah without reference to how the Torah as understood by Chazal is gender neutral that is a at the least of dubious value snd at the worse woke nonsense which is best defined as unwarranted apologetics for events and destruction of very important areas of knowledge and scholarship so as to seem diverse inclusive and equitable at the expense of truth . If the shoe fits you should at least wear it rather than engage in denial

    • William Gewirtz says:

      The principle you quote from Rambam is disputed by Ravad and Ramban among others. IMHO, Ikarim are not unchanging; they often employ the language and concepts of their era.

    • shaul shapira says:

      Al derech tzachus, we could say that nowadays polite society agrees that gender isn’t a definable attribute anyhow. No one seems to know what a woman is. For all we know, it means some ineffable stripping away of all corporeality.

      More seriously… never mind. You’re joking, right?

    • People should read this Maor V’Shemesh before they go making definitive claims of what is and isn’t allowed to be said about gender in our mesorah

      • Steven Brizel says:

        A simple reading would be Miriam and the women who played critical roles in Yetzias Mitzrayim had a special reason for celebrating separately apart from the men.

    • mycroft says:

      Unless you’re going to agree with Marc Shapiro that the Yud Gimmel Ikkarim were occasionally not accepted l’halakha

      There are many Rishonim who disagreed with at least some of the Rambams Ikkarim. We dont pasken a machlokes in this area. No need to. One should not confuse the lack of agreement with the 13 Ikkarim with a belief of Orthoprax that belief does not matter. Others could probably derive a much better summary than mine, which is a belief in Torah min hashamayim,, abelief in sechar vonesh, and of course belief in a God. Even the question of what are the books of Tanach we only pasken because of the question what is mtamei et hayadayim.

  38. Lev Kavoni says:

    Look, at minimum, we have a good case to do this if we want. Making God agender is pretty well established in Judaism. I think it’s fine either way, but to act like it’s not okay restricts God and our understanding of God.

    Similarly, if someone said we had to make God agender, I’d defend that hey, the text often makes God male. If they said we had to make God male, I’d argue and say, hey, the text often makes God agender.

    We have a lot of textual support, rabbinical commentary and Jewish tradition to support this. You gotta let ’em cook.

    Man, I love this religion.

  39. Rami says:

    As a side note, the author states “On the other hand, the Shechinah is intentionally presented in the Torah as a female noun”. However, the term Shechinah (as in God’s presence) is rabbinic and not found in the Bible.

    • Avrohom Gordimer says:

      My intent was in reference to Torah in a larger sense – Torah literature – not TSBP specifically.

      • Shmuel Emuni says:

        Shechinah is not a thing. It is not an ‘aspect’ of Hashem. It is an abstract, feminine noun (literally ‘presence’ or ‘adjacence’) that refers to awareness of Hashem and/or the presence of His blessing. See Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 95, R’ Hirsch Shmos 25:9ff.

  40. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr. Bill -I am surprised at your contention that very few Halachos are derived by Chazal that are not rooted in Pshat we know that Chazal use many levels of interpretation that differ from the Pshat in many sugyos .We do not accept pure Pshat in the Mitzvah of Sefiras Haomer .the Avodas YK and Hilcos Tzitis and Siddur Kiddushin is certainly performed by the the means prescribed by Chazal -Chupah and Kiddushin with witnesses as opposed to any other means .There is a strong view that once Chazal define how one performs a Mitzvah that performing it in any other way has zero Halachic significance The Beis HaLevi in one of his drashos points out that we would not know how to perform any of the Mitzvos that are associated with RH YK and Sukkos Learning Pshat is important but IMO hardly the key when you are confronted with a passage in Chumash that is neither narrative nor a Mitzvah in terms of context

    • William Gewirtz says:

      Steve, please read more accurately; I never said that what Hazal instituted was inherent in the peshat. I said that the rulings are not based on a midrashic reading of a passuk; your examples are dinim de’rabbanan , that may have a semach in a passuk. A semach is not a new Midrashic interpretation.

      I will start you off with two examples: Shemot (20:20) or Vayikra (25:35). In both instances halakhot are derives from an interpretation that is not the peshat, as for example indicated by Onkelos. (As I demonstrate, the trop follows rabbinic exegesis.)

      There are precious few additional examples. I suggest a book suggested to me by Rav Wieder by Prof. Simcha Kugot, HaMikre bein Te’amin le’Parshanut..

      I currently have only 6 uncontested examples with halaklhic significance. If a find a few more, i will publish an article.

      btw, if one does she’tayim mikre (with the trop) ve’echad Tarhum (with Onkelos), very carefully, such examples will present themselves. My favorite annoying habit is to tell the ba’al keriah he read according to Onkelos and not the trop.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        The Avodas YK. Sefiras HaOmer ( as understood by Rambam)and Chupah VKiddushin are not Dinim DRabanan.When Chazal dictate how we perform aMitzvah Min HaTorah then not doing it in that manner is halachically of zero halachic significance ( Lo oseh klum).

      • William Gewirtz says:

        Not a single one of your examples, sefirat ha’omer, avodat Y’hK, etc. are at all similar to the two pesukim I provided. There is no passuk in the Torah whose peshat has to be modified to account for rabbinic practice. Hazal merely added details that are not explicit in the Torah.

  41. Shmuel Emuni says:

    Shechinah is not a thing. It is not an ‘aspect’ of Hashem. It is an abstract, feminine noun (literally ‘presence’ or ‘adjacence’) that refers to awareness of Hashem and/or the presence of His blessing. See Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 95, R’ Hirsch Shmos 25:9 ff

  42. Bob Miller says:

    I want to applaud Rabbi Gordimer, and anybody else involved, for frequently monitoring and posting comments here so we can have a brisk (small b), often productive, exchange of ideas. If anyone’s keeping track, is this one of the longest threads at this blog, overall or per day? Authors at Cross-Currents who cut off all commenting should reconsider our need to inform or vent.

    • William Gewirtz says:

      You can a great deal about one’s orthodox orientation by observing their library. Mine includes the Toseftah by the GRACH ztl, almost a complete set of Techumin, Mishneh Torah by Rav Kapach ztl, Maimonides and Nachmanides by Halbertal, few if any books by Artscroll, Daat Mikre, a host of rishonim, etc.

      I attended a shevah berachot 2 nights ago and was not surprised when I checked out the library. It seems to work.

      • Bob Miller says:

        So would a private shidduch investigator need to catalogue the book holdings of the relevant people? A note handwritten into the book could also be a zechut. Reb Sherlock could then set up a bright light over a table and ask serious questions. The targeted people could earn added points by quoting book contents from memory.

      • William Gewirtz says:

        Bob, I hope that and my non-white *(but ivory) linen – lace tablecloth from Brugge and my choice of seforim chase inappropriate shidduchim away.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        We agree-take a look at a person’s library and you can tell whether or not he or she is overly dependent on English Judaica as opposed to the best editions of what are our classical Jewish texts in lashon Kodesh-as a long time chavrusa mentioned to me years ago-Kli Sheni Eino Nvashel when it comes to learning. It also helps if you if have the sefarim of Gdolim whose contribution to Limud HaTorah is huge even and especially if youhave different hashkafic views and sefarim by many Gdolim with differing views.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Do you have a ChiddusheiHaGRiz al HaRambam? you have to look far and wide for the sefer in the uS but in Yerushalayim you can get it at the home of R Dovid Soloveitchik ZL It is indeed fascinating to compare the style of the Griz ZL with R Chaim ZL Even if one disagrees with the hashkafic views of R Elchanan WassermanZLHYD, the Kovetz Hearos and Kovetz Shiurim are great seforim that add to your understanding on evey daf covered-No less than R Rosner cites both very often in his superb Daf Yomi shiur

      • Bob Miller says:

        Steven Brizel wrote, “…you can tell whether or not he or she is overly dependent on English Judaica…” Every person has an appropriate level of learning, depending on personal aptitude and history, and other factors. When the person progresses to the next level, the books acquired earlier are often still there.

      • william l gewirtz says:

        Steve Brizel,

        I have any number of Brisker seforim including both the GRI”Z ztl with the unattributed responses to his teenage nephew ztl and REW ztl, who I quote in my upcoming sefer. Nonetheless, I agree with scholars as well as great ba’alai ha-mesorah, (including RHA, the CI, RYYW, etc. all zichronom le’veracha) that Brisk frequently represents brilliant, but modern insight, as opposed to the views of rishonim like Rambam, which provide the basis/springboard for their questions and analysis. The fact that a view expressed by a Brisker does not reflect the rishon it is addressing is of interest to an academic interested in establishing the author’s intent, but not to a posek or RY or a talmid learning Torah. This important hashkafic topic is well beyond the scope of a blog post!

        As you might guess, I stand in awe of the Rav ztl and his hiddushim. But I believe that if Rabbeinu Tam would hear his Yartzeit shiur – Yom ve’Lailah, he would say, a brilliant reformulation of my shittah, but well beyond what I said.

    • Chana Siegel says:

      Yes. The ability to comment adds to the value and interest of posts.

  43. Bob Miller says:

    These presentations made this week, while they cover the whole issue of today’s bad Jewish leadership and its effects, are essential to our understanding of the external and internal forces directed against Jews and Judaism:


  44. Shades of Gray says:

    The Jewish Press published in 2017 an interview with Koren publisher Matthew Miller with the subtitle, “The Target Audience For Our Books Is Any Observant Jew,” excerpted and linked below. Note the part about a separate imprint, Maggid Books, for potentially controversial titles:

    Q-How would you describe your target audience?
    A- Any observant Jew. I think our audience is very broad. I don’t see any reason why it can’t extend from let’s call it right-wing Conservative all the way through the haredi world.

    …[But that’s why] we have Maggid Books, which is our imprint for Jewish thought. We don’t publish Maggid books under Koren because we don’t want someone who disagrees with a writer not to be able to buy our siddur, for example. We only publish sifrei kodesh under Koren – Tanach, Talmud, liturgical works, etc.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      Anyone who is a Yodea Sefer knows that every publisher offers some great sefarim some which are old works with a new coverothers that aren’t worth the price and others that might not pass the hashkafic litmus test of a purchaser

      • Shades of Gray says:

        ArtScroll, by the way, also has a separate brand, Shaar Press, in part for potentially controversial titles. It is marketed as:

        “The imprint for thoughtful people… Shaar Press presents authors of distinction, with stimulating, innovative — sometimes controversial — ideas.”

  45. Shades of Gray says:

    It might be instructive for Sefaria to consider the approach of other Torah databases which have created separate “Bnei Yeshiva” versions. From a post on Seforim Blog(“The Censorship Of Rav Kook And Other Hebrew Books On Hebrew Book Databases”, November 23, 2011):

    “Today, there are three distinct databases, although they each borrow from one another. The three are Otzar HaHochma, Otzrot ha-Torah and The first two are more explicit about their censorship of some texts. They provide options when purchasing their databases, a scrubbed version and a more complete version. Some refer to the scrubbed version as the “Benei Yeshiva” version…”

    Similarly, if someone does not want to have access to the new gender-sensitive translation, to Shadal, or even to Jastrow, for example, Sefaria could create an option to block it.

    Sefaria’s mission, according to Sara Wolkenfeld, is to be “a library for the entire Jewish people, ” as per last week’s JTA article about the gender- sensitive translation. Likewise, Yochonon Donn, news editor of Mishpacha Magazine, was quoted in that JTA article that “Sefaria is a tremendous resource for the Olam Hatorah…If this is true,I can’t see people learning from an unholy source.”

    The article notes that already in Sefaria, how “[u]sers can select their own preferred English translation, and RJPS is not the default translation for the Book of Prophets.” If Sefaria would go further and create a completely separate Bnei Yeshiva version, the problem would be solved!

    • Reb Yid says:

      It’s an open library.

      Like any library or database, know how to use it to access what you want.

      It’s not a JCC where you’re demanding separate hours by gender to access the pool.

      • Bob Miller says:

        Alice’s Restaurant?

        Anyway, this is represented as Jewish. To you that might mean that anything goes.

      • Shades of Gray says:

        “It’s not a JCC”

        I agree.

        While nothing can be demanded from Sefaria, cooperation may be possible, if it is mutually beneficial.

        Ultimately, the free marketplace, as educated consumers will decide, as Joel Rich pointed out above.

        In the case of a non-profit like Sefaria, the major donors are also players.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Most JCCs in observant communities offer separate swimming hours to accomodate rather than exclude those members of the Torah observant commubity who view Tzniut as important as having an opportiunity to go swimming

      • Reb Yid says:

        Mr Brizel

        I am fully aware of what these JCCs do.

        That was my exact point—to distinguish it from a library.

      • Reb Yid says:

        To Bob Miller:

        And there are Hasidim who would not consider the meat that you or I eat to be kosher, either, in our “restaurants”.

        So I guess we’re not Jewish, either.

  46. Aharon says:

    sefaria is simply an online library. Are we going to avoid every library that happens to have some books we dont like?

    • mark says:

      No one advocated avoiding it. All that was written was a note of caution that not everything in Sefaria is to be trusted. Using that knowledge, one can choose to avoid it altogether, or to use it judiciously and be sure that everything that one sees there is from a kosher source.
      This is not difficult, folks.

  47. Steven Brizel says:

    Dr BIll-you wrote in relevant part:

    ” There is no passuk in the Torah whose peshat has to be modified to account for rabbinic practice. Hazal merely added details that are not explicit in the Torah.”

    Is it not so that Chazal rejected the Pshuto Shel Mikra as advocated by the Tzadukim who rejecred TSBP in the relevant sugyos of both Sefiras HaOmer and Avodas YK?
    Your forthcoming sefer on how the Briskers viewed the Rambam as opposed to their contemporaries sounds qute interesting-There is a story about R Isser Zalman ZL who in the Hakfama to Aven HaEzel wrote that not every Halacha can be understood via conceptualizing the same as “Shtei Dinim” . When this was mentioned to the Griz ZL, the Griz ZL is reported to have said-maybe he ( implyingR IsserZalman ZL can’t). FWIW, as I am sure you are aware, both Kovetz HeAros and Kovetz Shiurim contain many Chiddushim of RChaim ZL that you won’t find eslewhere

    • William Gewirtz says:

      Steve Brizel, context matters. I would never write something that stupid. I gave explicit examples of halakhot based on reading differently than peshat (*e.g. Onkelos.) I was referring to your examples: I wrote: Not a single one of your examples, sefirat ha’omer, avodat Y’hK, etc. are at all similar to the two pesukim I provided. There is no passuk in the Torah whose peshat has to be modified to account for rabbinic practice. Hazal merely added details that are not explicit in the Torah.

      my forthcoming seforim will not address Brisk vis a vis Rambam. My next sefer is on Bein Ha-Shemashot. I did address several passages in Mishneh Torah that I don’t believe were previously addressed properly in my last article in the last(est) TuMJ, without any reliance on Brisker methodology, of whom I am a great fan..

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Dr Bill Thanks for your clarificationl. Sefiras HaOmer and Avodas YK are clearly examples where Chazal rejected the teachings of the Tzadukim in defining the Halacha and performance of a Mitzvah. One can maintain ( see RYBSs shiurim on Avodas YK and Hamoadim BHalacha as well as many other sgyos where Chazal emphasize their approach to a Kiyum HaMItzvah Min HaTorah is what is defined as proper adherence to Halacha ) that those two sugyos are not just about the mere adding of details but rejection of the approach of the Tzadukim in approach to Halacha in general

        You have been writing about Bein HaShemashos and Shittas Rabbeunu Tam for a while in different venues. How do you account for the popularity of the view of Rabbeinu Tam with respect to defining Shekias HaChama andTzes HaKochavim in the face of so many mkoros in Chazal that would support the view of Gra whichis based on the view of the Gaonim IIRC? Maaseh ShehayaKach Hayah-on a family trip in New Hampshire we had dinner one summer night in late August a Satmar run hotel in Bethlehelm . After dinner and it was clearly getting dark, I thiought I would daven Maariv with a minyan there. I opened my Siddur and the BaalTefilah said “Ashrei Yoshvei Vesecha”. It is recorded in a bio of the Satmar Rav ZL thatthe other Litvishe Ysuch as RYK and RMF ZL and others had to meet with the Satmar Rav ZL on an early afternoon. The Satmar Rav ZL asked if he could daven Mincha and it was still quite light afternoon. RYK ZL as noted in the book stated that it was a great Zcus to see the Satmar Rav ZL daven Mincha while it was well before Shekias HaChamah!

      • william l gewirtz says:

        My view is in a way similar to Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld ztl, with a critical difference. He recognized the difficulties of the Gaon and RT and was machmir like both. I show yet more difficulties with RT, and believe me’ikur ha’din Shabbat starts after sunset and ends at a time similar to the geonim. However, this is lomdus not pesak!!

        I can not justify the behavior wrt to minchah in the Satmar community. Remember however, they are following their traditions. Before WWII, Satmar also started Shabbat more than a half-hour after sunset.

        For those who attack my liberal MO views, remember no one other than I have ever been able to defend RYCZ ztl, albeit not completely. An early version of that defense is in my TuMJ article about a decade ago.

  48. Steven Brizel says:

    The following is ArtScroll’s comments on Vayikra 18: 22

    “The chapter of immorality ends with two forms of sexual perversion: homosexuality and bestiality. The harshness with which the Torah describes them testifies to the repugnance in which God holds those who engage in these unnatural practices.

    The following is the commentary of R Hertz ZL:

    “22. With mankind. Discloses the abyss of depravity from which the Torah saved the Israelite. This unnatural vice was also prevalent in Greece and Rome.

    The following is the translation and commentary offered byKoren
    “For many, verse 22 is among the most challenging verses in the Torah, on both an emotional and intellectual level, as well as touching deeply on their faith and how they relate to God. Like other laws in the Torah, God gives a command that is difficult for us to comprehend, even at odds with accepted values and life experiences of family members, friends, neighbors, perhaps even ourselves. Our challenge, as Jews engaged with the modern world, is to remain faithful and respectful to the integrity of the word of God, while considering how we reconcile these values in our daily lives. This specific verse discusses a prohibited act. Our Jewish responsibility is to ensure that this verse, which has often been the source of much pain and confusion, should never prevent us from ensuring that every member of our community feels loved and respected.”

    Ask yourself which approach represents unnecessary apologetics and which stands up for the values of the Torah as defined by Chazal throughout SederNashim

    • Bob Miller says:

      Which Koren book? The quotation here tries to distinguish the actor from the act, but that doesn’t work when the actor blatantly identifies with the act and demands respect for that. It’s not the verse that causes the “pain and confusion”: it’s the failure to commit unequivocally to Torah values.

    • Nachum says:

      As Ben Shapiro quoted his brother-in-law, it’s actually super-easy to comprehend for anyone whose awareness of the world goes past ten minutes ago. “Nebach it’s a chok” is a copout.

  49. benshaul says:

    i may be missing something, but i don’t understand the argument of implying that since G-d is non-gender, whats the issue in changing the translation in English.
    No religious Jew thinks G-d has a gender. However the gender used in loshon Kodesh DOES have meaning, at the kabbalistic level. G-d as male, implies a mode of giving -being mashpia; G-d as female, implies a mode of receiving- i.e. the Shecinah being dependent on the Jewish nations actions.

    • mb says:

      “i.e. the Shecinah being dependent on the Jewish nations actions.”Sounds like avodah zara to me, but what do I know

      • benshaul says:

        Clearly you don’t know. No disrespect -but all the sifrei machshava and kabbalistic seforim, define the term shechina used to describe the presence of G-d in this world -based on the actions, i.e. the good deeds of the Jews. (Without getting into the nuance of G-ds presence always being there.)
        G-d reveals his presence and makes his actions manifest, when the Jews act as they should. We say it daily in the second paragraph of the shema. “If you heed my mitzvot that I command you, then…..”

        When we discuss the “marriage” of G-d to the Jews at Sinai, G-d is the male and the jewish nation the female. When we discuss the sabbath queen (to use one example) G-d is the female, WE are the male. The sefirot of Yesod & Malchut are also Male/Female.

      • Nachum says:

        MB: Some say that that’s why people who don’t know what kaballah is “really” talking about should stay far from it. Others say that kaballah should just be stayed far from, period. I incline to the latter.

        Also, “male=giving and female=receiving” puts God into *way* too creepy sexual terms.

      • Bob Miller says:

        If it’s really about our interface with HaShem, the condition of that interface could depend in some way on us. As I recall, R’ Aryeh Kaplan used the concept of interface in this connection.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        See Bava Basra 25b-the Shechinah is described as everywehere but R Rosner quoting the Ohr Chaim HaKadosh at the beginning of Parshas Terumah explains this to mean that the degree of intensity in which one feels the presence of the Shechinah is directly related to the intensity of our Avodas HaShemChazal inmany places indicated that you can either have a father-son relationship or a king-subject relationship with HaShem with the hope that you can elevate your level of Avodas HaShem to that of father son

  50. benshaul says:

    Perhaps understanding that the Masculine and Feminine are used as paradigmatic of giving and receiving.
    These terms are used in this way for plumbing supplies, Electrical parts and more.

    One other point. See the Ohr Hachaim on Shemos 14:15, where he explains that the Jews need to do an act of faith to “energize” the Midah of Rachamim over that of Din. Quite clear that G-d set up a system that is energized by our actions.

    • mb says:

      Quite clear that you want to see that God set up a system that is energised by our actions.
      Which is a defintion of avodah zara, that is, minimising God. And that is the tragedy of Kabbala.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Mb wrote in relevvant part:
        “Quite clear that you want to see that God set up a system that is energised by our actions.”
        First of all, there are times of the year when Gilui Shechinah is manifest and Hester Panin is maniest and that Midas Harachamim or RL Midas HaDin is manifest. OTOH, one can argue that we are commanded to live a life of adherence and observance to Mitzvos is for our benefit or to demonstrate not just that we ware obeying a Divine Ciommandment but also as a means of demosnrating our fulfillment of Ratzon HaShem as well

  51. benshaul says:

    MB, Your last comment is the end of our conversation.
    Calling this “a definition of avodah zara” or “the tragedy of Kabbala” is beyond the pale for a religious Jew. The entire Nefesh Hachaim is dedicated to how one’s actions influence the “Shefa” of Divine influence, (to put in simple terms).

    Much of our Avodah, is to affect the Divine will. I’m sure there are those more learned and erudite than I, who can cite chapter & verse showing how this is a basic principle of Judaism. If they want to engage with you on that, that’s their prerogative.

    I don’t engage in debate with heresy!

    • Mb says:

      Heresy is in the eyes of the beholder. What you claim to be a basic principle of Judaism was unheard of until relatively recent times.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Chazal in many places state in no uncertain terms that our actions have a huge influence on how we are judged and treated individually and communally.

      • mb says:

        Steven Brizel, which is very different from what BenShaul suggested, and many other kabbalistic claims.

  52. DF says:

    To Willaim Gewirtz – in this thread you claimed that JTS published “perhaps the greatest work of rabbinic scharship of the last century” and “some/many of the best texts of Rishonim and Talmudic work come from academic scholars”. Neither claim is remotely true.
    In the first claim, I’m willing to bet money that you’re referring to RSL’s Tosefta. In my experience, those who speak about this work in glowing terms have usually never actually used it, beyond maybe looking up a citation here or there. The reality is, it’s utility is very limited. It is extremely cumbersome to use, requiring the reader to have two separate volumes, and constantly look back and forth from one to the other. It has an extreme obsession on Girsaos, the vast majority of which do not affect anything of significance. There is a strong tendency to quote obscure sources, most of which are obscure for a reason. The author on practically every page claims something is ברור, rather than נראה לי. The overconfidence is off-putting and frankly unbecoming. (While RSL was undoubtedly a Gaon, many others were Gaonim and do not speak in such self-assured words.) In addition, he does not offer a basic pshat in anything he writes about. One almost gets an impression that RSL thought himself above such trivialities. One gets a smorgasbord of citations, without any real understanding. Moreover, there is almost no “learning” in the traditional sense in the work – no svara, no lomdus, no chakiros. It is virtually all citations. To be sure, this is important for establishing basic pshat. But real learning has to go beyond that.

    That’s not to say the work has no value at all, GF. It is certainly a work of great scholarship, after all . But there have been many, many important works published in the past 100 years, and RSL’s Tosefta is nowhere even near the top of the list.

    Your second claim is that many of the best texts of Rishonim and the talmud come from academics. (There are people who think like this who still have in mind a single commentary of the Ravad published by Samuel Atlas sometime around WWII.) Wake up and smell the coffee. “The academy” hasn’t produced a serious edition of any Rishon, or any edition of the Talmud, in many decades. The days of RSL, Ginzberg, or any of the other “JQR” scholars is loooooong gone. At the same time, the yeshivah world has made tremendous strides in learning, and has learned to separate the wheat from the chaff. For many years the yeshivah world has been using manuscripts and first editions. The academy, playing happily in the sandbox and splashing in the tub, is putting out books on “Gender Bias in the Talmud.” In the grown up world, yeshivah graduates are producing new editions of the Yerushalmi and the Sifra.

    I’m not unsympathetic to all of your views, and express no opinion here on the underlying Sefaria post. I simply could not let the two erroneous assertions I address here, go unaddressed.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      Machon Yerushalayim and Mossad HaRav Kook , neither of which should or could ever be considered “academic” presses, have been publishing the best edititoons of Rishomim and Acharonim which can be found in any Beis Medrash.

      • benshaul says:

        Thank you for your earlier post, re MB.
        Do we need to go any further than the Shema? We say it daily, and in the second paragraph G-d promises “if you will heed my commandments then…..”
        I have no issue with answeing a question or explaining a concept that seems strange or difficult to reconcile with other sources. However the blanket statement expressed was not of that genus.

      • mb says:

        BenShaul, what the Shema says is very different from what you claimed above and I highlighted as heresy and still do.

      • DF says:

        Correct. And today there are many other Machons, by many other names, producing high quality work. That’s the point. The “academy” (to use an out of date term) long ago ceded the floor on rabbinic scholarship to yeshivah products. There are still a few older scholars in Israel, but they are few and far between, and outside of Israel they are entirely gone. I say this without any triumphalism or emotion of any kind – its just a fact.

    • William Lawrence Gewirtz says:

      The Grash ztl needs your haskamah as much as I need your insight. I thank you for your gratuitous insult about my familiarity with tosephtah ke’peshutoh. I suggest you do three things: First, tell me about all the times the Grash is quoted w/o attribution by “frimme” authors. Second, read the sheloshim hesped by the late Prof. Ta-shma for the GRASH and his views on published manuscripts. Third, a visit to the Grash’s kever asking mechilah for your characterization of his scholarship might be appropriate.

      • DF says:

        Neither of us need each other’s haskama or insight. You claimed (as I obviously surmised correctly) that TKP was “perhaps the greatest work of rabbinic scholarship of the last century.” You failed to give any reasons to explain why. I gave you concrete reasons to explain why its not. Finished.

        (PS, What was the point of mentioning Ta-Shma? I have his כנסת מחקרים: ספרד ואשכנז on my bookshelf, and have read both of them. Is there something special about name dropping academics?)

      • william l gewirtz says:

        Gratuitous name-dropping?? Read the essay in Prof. Ta-shma vol 4 published posthumously concerning his first and only encounter with the Grash.

      • DF says:

        Thanks, I’ll pass. My only point was to refute your unfounded assertion about the TKP. You keep ducking the issue.

      • william l gewirtz says:

        If you will not read what I suggest, then there is no point in further discussion. You accuse me of name-dropping; without reading you will never realize why I quoted the late Prof. Ta-Shma. I dare not mention his knowledge of the literature produced during the era of rishonim.

      • DF says:

        I repeat: My comment was addressed solely and only to your – still – unfounded assertions about the TKP. Anything else might be interesting to you, and possibly even to me in another discussion, but would be completely irrelevant here.

  53. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that R Zevin ZL inHaMoadim BHalachs cited Tosefts Kpshutah in a footnote it i be an not sure exactly where

    • DF says:

      Why not, its a tremendous work of scholarship. That’s not in dispute. What *can* be disputed is its overall value, and the claim of WG that it is “perhaps the greatest work of rabbinic scholarship of the last century.” THAT is a patently false claim.

      • mapquest says:

        K’ilu RSL’s work compares with that of his deservedly more well-known cousin, the CI.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Dr Bill is referring to academic Talmudic scholarship as opposed to the Sifrei Kodesh of great Talmidei Chachamim RHS in one of his sefarim about RYBS mentioned that RYBS was not blown away by the sefarim of RDr SL ZL

  54. Shades of Gray says:

    R. Gil Student has a recent post about Sefaria. His last paragraph mentions that uses some texts from Sefaria with curated settings :

    “In this way, Sefaria partners with Orthodox organizations that provide users with a more comfortable experience.”

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