Virtual Geula - Seforim Store Online

Stolen Sefer found …or a storm in a teacup ?

נמצאה גמרא עתיקה שנגנבה מהספריה הלאומית

 כרך גמרא עתיק שהודפס עוד בעיר ברדיטשוב נמצא בחנות יודאיקה לאחר שנגנבה מהספריה הלאומית. את הגמרא זיהו בעקבות העובדה לזה לא ציפו בלשי תחנת משטרת שרת בתל אביב. בד”כ הם נוהגים לפגוש עבריינים ולטפל במעשיהם. אמש התקבלה שיחת טלפון בתחנת שרת ומצדו השני של הטלפון היה קב”ט הספרייה הלאומית. 
הקב”ט סיפר לבלשי המשטרה כי במסגרת עבודתו גילה באתר אינטרנט של בית מסחר ליודאיקה כרך של מסכת מהתלמוד הבבלי שככל הנראה נגנבה ממחסן בספריה.

ראשיתו של הכרך בהדפסה בברדיטשוב בשנת תרנ”ז (1896) ולאחר זמן הועבר הכרך ע”י הספריה הלאומית למחסן גניזה. הכרך התגלה במקרה על ידי הקב”ט. חוקרי שרת החלו בחקירה וגילו כי מדובר בבית מסחר ליודאיקה בדרום תל אביב. 

החוקרים הוציאו צו חיפוש וביחד עם קב”ט הספרייה הגיעו לבית העסק ושם מצאו את הכרך החשוד כגנוב. הקב”ט לא התקשה לזהות את הכרך מאחר וחותמת הספרייה התנוססה בעמוד השער.

הספר נלקח ע”י השוטרים ואילו בעל העסק תושב עיר במרכז הארץ עוכב לחקירה. החוקרים ממשיכים בחקירה כיצד הגיע הכרך לחנות.

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סערה בכוס מים 
הספר לא שוה יותר מ50 דולר לקונה פרטי ופרייר ,ואף גנב שמכבד את עצמו לא יגנוב דבר שלא שווה כלום כשיכול לגנוב דברים יקרים .
הספר הוא עב כרס וקשה לגניבה והחבאה 
ולגופו של שטות :הספריה הלאומית מוכרת כל כמה חדשים אלפי ספרים כפולים ומיותרים בפרוטות עד כדי שקלים בודדים ממש והיה זמנים שחלקו חינם דברים שלא הצטרכו
כך שכנראה מישהוא קנה זה לא גנוב וכל הסיפור מצוץ מהאצבע הכל כדי שכתב טפש שלא מבין לא בספרים ולא בגנבים יקבל שכר סופרים …..טוב,גם טפש כמוהו צריך פרנסה……
שלום
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ובכן כל הסיפור מעניין עוד יותר ..הנה ספר קשה לגנוב, בקושי שווה את הנייר שלו, מחלקים אותו חינם, ומסכן הסוחר הזה צריך לעבור חקירה משטרתית ואולי גרוע מזה, בגלל ששם אותו על האינטרנט ..
 
פשוט מוסר השכל למחוק את כל החותמות מתוך הספרים ולא לסחור ברשת בספרים שהבעלים הקודמים משועממים ואין להם מה לעשות כל היום  והם יחפשו אותם בגוגל כדי לשחק שוטר וגנב.
 
Book stolen from National Library… dealer   apprehended. This report which sounds like a real Dick Tracy thriller  attracted my eye until I realized how easy it is for a collector or dealer to get dragged into the police station when all he did was post a book on the web and forget to remove the library stamp. We all know that old books change owners frequently and it is almost impossible to determine how the previous previous owner obtained it .. so beware now that the Internet lets  anyone peek over your shoulder, even if you are honest you may be in trouble for posting a Sefer if you can”t show how how got it
 
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Manuscript of Rambam Sefer Mada online at Bodleian Library

Manuscript of Rambam Sefer Mada online at Bodleian Library.
(From the BBC Sent to us by Dr. ME Tobias of the Otzar of Yad Shaul Kollel in Johannesburg SA).

An ancient Hebrew manuscript which has been stored in an Oxford library and is part of the first comprehensive code of Jewish law, Mishneh Torah, written in the 12th Century, has been digitised by Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. More than 350 pages of handwritten text, signed by the Hebrew scholar Maimonides, have been captured.

The manuscript, widely regarded as one of the most important in Bodleian’s Hebrew collection, has been stored there since 1692. The library said the last owner – scholar Eleazar, son of Perahya – stipulated in his will that the Mishneh Torah should always be made freely available for people to consult. The manuscript was written between 1170 and 1180 by Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known as Maimonides or by his Hebrew acronym, Rambam.

Eleazar’s wish was that the manuscript should “not be sold or redeemed, nor should any single person ever take possession of it. It should rather be kept available so that all scholars can correct their own version against it, but not read from it regularly or copy from it”.

But concerns about conserving the 800-year-old volume and the practicalitiesof making it available meant access had, until now, been limited. Dr Piet van Boxel, curator of the Hebrew holdings at the library, said: “The digital revolution, once and for all, has overcome these limitations and enables the Bodleian in an unexpected way to fulfil Eleazar’s request by giving worldwide access to Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah.” 

The book took 10 years to write and remains the clearest guide to Jewish law The digitised volume, the Sefer Madda, which means Book of Knowledge, is the first of two which make up the Mishneh Torah. The second is the SeferAhavah or Book of Love.

The volume includes a handwritten note by Maimonides, which reads: “It hasbeen corrected from my own book. I am Moses son of Rabbi Maimon of blessed memory.”

Maimonides, who lived in Spain and Egypt between 1137/8 and 1204, is regarded as the greatest Jewish scholar of the Middle Ages and was a royal physician and philosopher of renown. The Mishneh Torah, which translated means Repetition of the Law, took him 10 years to write and remains the clearest guide to Jewish law. 

Librarian Dr Sarah Thomas said: “Thanks to the generosity of our donor, George Blumenthal, we are adding the Mishneh Torah to the list of literary and sacred treasures that we have made available in cyberspace for all to share.”

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Hannuka VG Update

חנוכה שמח 
(עברית בהמשך)
 

b”h We are happy to announce the completion of a major update of the VG website.

Twenty catalogs have been added or updated in the Publishers Showcase including a section for Academic publishers. Inactive catalogs have been removed. 

A new marquee on the homepage shows announcements from Seforim distributors that we receive weekly.

Over the last year we added 320* new and classic Seforim to the Seforim in Demand Catalog  includes for the first time, many frequently requested rare and out of print titles**. 

 
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As we approach the new secular year we are also approaching the 20th anniversary of VirtualGeula (VG), the website of The Judaica Archival Project (JAP) ! So please permit me a few retrospective remarks (I am also rapidly approaching retirement age). ***

The Seforim market like the secular book market has radically changed over the last twenty years. The reading public is larger in numbers but is reading in depth much less. We all have learned how to effectively skim for information among the trillions of words on the web but we rarely have the time to enjoy a Sefer from cover to cover. A very high percentage of Kollel men are self-publishing their study notes but happily/sadly because of this, their is less and less interest in new authors. Please see our Blog comments

On VG we have recently decided to downplay new authors and to concentrate more on well known Mehabrim and new editions of Rishonim and Achronim. Also we are trying to meet the growing demand for used Seforim and print-on-demand copies since many important works are not being reprinted for commercial reasons . Since I founded JAP in 5746 I have always had the very ambitious goal of making accessible all the important Torani publications under one roof. IY”H we will continue this endeavor as long as we are capable. 
Yaakov Rosenes
 
* Potentially we could catalog 300 Seforim monthly but  our standard of full cataloging with 4-5 images is relatively expensive, so we will are looking for a partner or sponsor to expand this extremely important bibliographic resource.
**The titles chosen are Seforim which are generally available on the used book market or as facsimile copies. 
*** No I am not yet ready to retire .. but I am looking for a younger active partner  
 
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ב”ה אנו שמחים להודיע על השלמת עדכון משמעותי של אתר וירטואל גאולה
 
עשרים קטלוגים נוספו או עודכנו ברשימת המו”לים כולל קטלוגים של הוצאות אקדמאיות. קטלוגים שלא היו פעילים הוסרו. בעמוד הבית ישנם עכשיוהודעות ממפיצי ספרי קודש,שאנו מקבלים מדי שבוע. השנה הוספנו 320 ספרי קודש חדשים וקלסיים לקטלוג הספרים המבוקשים, ולראשונה כלולים בהם ספרים נדירים ומשומשים.
 
 ככל שאנו מתקרבים לסוף השנה האזרחית, אנו מתקרבים גם ליום שנת ה-20 של שרות האינטרנט שלנו. ברצוני לכתוב כמה מחשבות לסיכום. שוק ספרי הקודש, כמו שוק הספרים החילוני, השתנה באופן קיצוני בעשרים השנים האחרונות. צבור הקוראים גדול יותר – אך רדוד יותר מאי פעם. כולנו למדנו כיצד לגלוש ביעילות ולמצוא מידע בין טריליוני המילים באינטרנט, ובכל זאת אנו כמעט שלא עוצרים ליהנות מהקריאה כמו שעשינו לפני עשרים שנה. בשמחה אבל גם בעצב אנו עדים לאחוז גבוה של אברכי הכולל המוצאים לאור חיבוריהם כאילו באופן מסחרי, אבל בגלל ריבוי הספרים  בשוק, ההתעניינות בסופרים חדשים הולך ופוחת
 
לאור הנ”ל החלטנו להמעיט בקטלוג הספרים המבוקשים מחברים חדשים ולהרבות במחברים ידועים ובמהדורות חדשות של ראשנים ואחרונים. גם הוספנו בפעם הראשונה ספרים ישנים ונדירים ומבוקשים. כמו כן אנו נותנים לכם הזדמנות לפרסם ספרים יקרים שאולי יש לכם באוסף הפרטי שלכם
 
 יעקב רוזנס
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Innovative program to help print personal copies of Hiddushim

Blog Torah Diley_Page_1 Blog Torah Diley_Page_2 Blog Torah Diley_Page_3 Blog Torah Diley_Page_4

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“Ask Rabbi Google” !?

From  Seforim Blog July 26
By Yaakov Rosenes
 
When Rav Yisreal Gustman Zts”l eulogized Harav Moshe Feinstein Zts”l beside his grave at Har Menuchot he mourned the loss of  the last real Talmid Hacham, i.e. the last Rav whose knew all of the Torah and Shas Poskim, Rishonim and Ahronim, Midrash and Aggadata, Mussar and Hashkafa. But to comfort the mourners and the holy Niftar, Rav Gustman said something new. He said that today although no individual is likely to approach Rav Moshe in his breadth of knowledge but the sum total of all the individuals learning Torah rivals and even surpasses Rav Moshe. Seeing that today there is an unprecedented number of people studying Torah therefore their common knowledge is like a Rav Moshe! For all his prescience I am not sure that the Rosh Yeshiva Z’l understood then in 5747 (1987) that what he was also prophesying an entirely new phenomenon which would become a reality in a few short years. 
 
It is true today we have unprecedented Koach Haklal . There are more people are sitting and studying Torah that any generation since Har Sinai but unfortunately the Torah of our generation is fragmented and there no one person, no Gadol Hador, who can unify, filter and absorb all of it. Today sadly each Talmid Hacham is sitting in his corner and working on his project but there is no Rav Moshe who can compile it and view it its entirety. Rav Gustman himself was simultaneously a leading: Rav, Dayan, Rosh Yeshiva and a Baal Eitza. How many people in our generation can aspire to all these titles? Today thousands of Talmid Hachamin are working on thousands of Hibburim of Torah all over the world but with little coordination, with much duplication and unfortunately a high percentage of wasted resources.

In terms of printing Seforim I once believed that we need a Vaad HaRabbonim for publishing – a coordinating committee that would approve and recommend who should publish his Sefer and who not. However I quickly rejected this idea as totally undo-able and ill advised. Then I dreamed of a grandiose project which would coordinate authors and tell each Mehaber on what topic to write. Sadly the age of grandiose projects like the Encyclopedia Talmudit has passed and even the Encyclopedia Talmudit which has a good start will need at least another 36 volumes or 75-100 years to reach the end of the aleph-bet!

However it recently dawned on me that there is another approach, an organic approach which is even happening on its own. There is a new Rav Moshe on the horizon,a new star has risen, a new Super Talmid Hachami, and he isn’t even Jewish – his name is Rabbi Google! Before you exclaim “Rachmane Letzlan” and go on to the next screen let me tell you a story. At a wedding 12 years ago I once asked Hagaon HaRav Shlomo Fisher Shlita if computers are not a “Maase Satan”. His answer shocked me to the core. In his quiet way he dropped a bomb. “There is no such thing as a Maase Satan”. Computers and cell phones and Internet and all of the technology that is driving the world towards distraction are only a Golem. If  we choose to use it for good – Hashem Yaazor, and if we choose to use it for bad -Hashem Yaazor. Let’s step back and look at Limud Torah and the Mesora of Torah from generation to generation and lay down certain premises.
 
1. No word of Torah that has been thought, spoken, written, or printed, from Har Sinai until today, was in vain. Every single Torah Hiddush, idea, expression or word is intrinsically significant. Of course there are levels and levels and levels of Torah thoughts. There are Torah essays that are fully formed, succinct and encompassing and there are those that are far less – but every Torah thought is significant. No Torah thought should be left to wither. Each thought should be explored and examined and if found true recorded somewhere in the Torah of Klal Yisrael. As the Haffetz Haim wrote technology which records past events is only a Mashal (metaphor) how every deed (or for our purposes word of Torah) is remembered in heaven. 
 
2. Hazal themselves say that Rav Eliezer Ben Hyrcanus’  teachings could not be recorded, even if all the inhabitants of the world were Soferim and all the reeds were quills and all the heavens were parchment. What do they mean by this hyperbole? I suggest that it should be taken literally! Today we have almost unlimited machine memory: Terabytes, Petabytes, Exabytes, Zettabytes,and Yottabytes of memory. If this happening now in the physical universe certainly in the spiritual universe all of our Torah is being recorded. 
 
3. Shlomo HaMelech writes that there is no end to books and we all know the adage that not every thing you think should be expressed and not every thing you speak should be written and not everything you write should be printed etc. However I have noticed that almost every Sefer has at least one reader. Among the thousands of Seforim I have handled over the past 40 years invariably someone has become excited and asked me to find that specific Sefer. Even the most unremarkable Sefer in my eyes seems to somehow attract a kindred Jewish spirit somewhere in the world who wants to learn from it. That is not to say that there are no Seforim out there which the groaning bookshelves of the world would prefer not to bear – there are thousands. But nevertheless, at least from the point of view of the author, it was a learning experience – he didn’t waste his time.
So if we posit that the main benefit of publishing Seforim today is for the author and not the reader – how do we restructure Jewish publishing so that it reflects this new function? 
The immediate answers are simple:
  1. Rule 1 Stop, Don’t Print – Research!  Check your local Seforim store and Torani library to see if your topic is already covered and if your content is original. Look on Google.
  2. Ask the Rabbis who are giving you letters of recommendation for advice. What could I do to improve the book? How can I make it shorter? Soft-cover or Hardcover? How many copies?
  3. Show your manuscript file to a professional editor and book designer and get a price.
  4. Print an edition of 100 copies for distribution via your personal network of friends and students.
  5. If you run out of copies copy in .pdf files or print digitally and bind soft-cover another 10
  6. If you sell out in a month take your Sefer to a commercial publisher or Machon to get their opinion.
  7. Completed all of the above – Now you can print
No matter what we can be sure that printing a “best seller” today on a Torani topic is a major illusion. Today in Jerusalem one only has to pass by one of the Shteiblach to witness the death of  uncontrolled Seforim printing. There out in the elements, in winter’s rain and summer’s heat, hundreds of Seforim sit on tables offered for only 5 shekels each and sadly no one is buying them! However the world of joint publishing is coming into its own. The Torani databases: The use of: Otzar HaHachma and Hebrewbooks.com, Otzrot HaTorah and The Judaica Archival Project are growing by leaps and bounds. I have been told that new authors can now send unprinted works in digital format directly to these databases. Electronic books and electronic readers are not at all suitable for commercial Torani publishing but as learning tools and a place to mine information the electronic media have no comparison. Let’s be frank with ourselves sometimes despite the stigma we may feel the best person to ask is “Rabbi Google”.

 

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Best analysis yet of events in Gaza

torah magina ve matzila

תורה מגינה ומצילה
credits to Arye ספרים שיווק והפצה

Best analysis yet of events in Gaza

 

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Publish and Perish or Digital Death

http://seforim.blogspot.co.il/2014/06/publish-and-perish-or-digital-death.html

Actually this is an article which I  wrote 2 years ago.  In the meantime I have somewhat modified my views. After reading the reading Rav Ben Zion Kooks article  on Rav Ovadia’s attitude about self-publishing authors (see  in our blog) I now agree that there is no reason to  attach any stigma to a Torani author who prints his own Sefer. If an author is using the opportunity of printing a Sefer to consolidate and crystillize his thinking – he is doing something good and this is laudable. Only one must clearly distinguish between Mechabrim who are printing books for their  לימוד תורה ולתלמידים and the Mechabrim who are printing a Sefer כקרדום לחפור בו כבוד או כסף.

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“Sefarim Hunter” from Ami magazine

Shalom 

A few apologies for some of the  innaccuracies and attempts at  sensationalism here but in our relentless “hunt” to publicize the woeful plight of Sifrei Kodesh publishers we decided to ignore the populist styles of Ami magazine and Talkline on New York  to get our message out ..

ami_1 ami-2

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Great video on getting your garden ready for Shmitta

Great video on getting your garden ready for Shmitta in Hebrew about 8 minutes

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Halacha Yomi B’Hilchot Shmita

Sholom
You can sign up here for a daily Halacha in Hilchot Shmitta plus an app for learning about Shmitta on your smart phone. (I don’t have one but maybe you do :) .
Rav Adas’ Sefer on Shmitta is available via VirtualGeula.com

dailh halacha shmitta

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