Weekly Freebies: Written and Oral Torahs

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A number of books have been composed attempting to connect the Written and Oral Torahs. R. Barukh Epstein’s Torah Temimah collects Talmudic and Midrashic comments on the Pentateuch, by verse and with his commentary to the rabbinic exegesis. R. Menachem Kasher created a much more thorough collection in his Torah Sheleimah, using a vast array of texts and manuscripts and offering commentary that is often extensive. R. Yechiel Mikhel Stern attempts the same on the Prophets and Writings in his recent Ha-Torah Ha-Temimah. His commentary is much less creative than R. Epstein’s and R. Kasher’s. However, his collection of rabbinic sayings is extremely valuable. In contrast, R. Aharon Hyman’s Torah Ha-Kesuvah Ve-Ha-Mesurah completes the entire Bible but only provides references rather than quotes and commentary.

The following volumes are available for free download on HebrewBooks:

See prior posts here: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

55 comments

  1. Cue for Shaul — • Five Megillahs

    shaul shapira on April 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Sorry, I cant’t resist:

    What are ‘bochers’? Have you beeen ‘Bar-Mitvahed’?
    Please say bochurim.

    🙂

  2. Torah Sheleimah seems to have stopped short at the end of Bamidbar. They’ve come out with at least three Megillot (I’ve seen Esther, Ruth, and Shir HaShirim), but where’s Devarim?

  3. GIL:

    thanks for linking to torah shelema, a great (and underappreciated) work by a towering gadol, talmid chacham and human being. the list of his accomplishments on in scholarship and in other ways on behalf of individual jews and am yisrael is quite long and we would be indebted to him if he had done even one item on that list.

    btw, what about meam loez? i’ve always considered it in a similar genre as the other works in this post.

    NACHUM:

    r. kasher himself scaled down the scope of torah shelema as he got older and realized he wouldn’t complete it. the later volumes lack some of the apparatus.
    when he died his son continued at the helm of the project but they stopped at the end of sefer bamidbar and never continued. it’s been quite a while and i assumed that was the end of it. (although in r. leo jungs biography i think he stated that r. kasher had done all the reasearch to complete through devarim and that his machon had his index cards.) when did these megillot come out? by who? using r. kasher’s research or his methodology?

    there is a reprint available of the 40-something volumes in 12 vols. also an english translation of the first few volumes

    since you live in israel (although for all now with internet radio), if you listen to reshet gimmel at 6 (?) am you will hear the first paragraph of kerias shema, owing to r. kasher’s agitation. he had a kerias shem campaign and wanted every israeli to being the day with kabalas ol malchus shamayim.

  4. ANON:

    “Also HaKesav V’Hakabala”

    certainly worthy of a link, but of a different genre

  5. Would not one also include HaEmek Davar by the Netziv as worthy of a link, even if not exactly of the same genre?

  6. There’s a machon run by Rabbi Kasher’s family that takes care of his works, and not long ago they came out with a Pessach Haggada which i got as a gift from them. Excellent Haggada btw. His Torah Shelema is very appreciated in the Zionistic and academic circles but in the Yeshivish world you will not find any mention of it. i was drawn to his work because of his excellent section on Ktav Ivri and Ashurit, which has become a classic work.
    I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the content is available online – i looked for it in the past but couldnt find it. Thanks

  7. IH- Sorry, no raayah. You can’t say “torim”

    🙂

  8. Two more additions-how about Meshech Chachmah and Malbim?

    YK-I agree wholeheartedy with your views re R Kasher ZL. I should note even one of the local yeshivos which is not of a RZ POV has a set of Torah Shelemah (“TS”) in its library, and TS is listed in the bibliography of the ArtScroll Stone Chumash. However, as Nachum stated, there is no comparison between the contents and depth of commentary of the early volumes of Torah Shelemah and the later volumes thereof.It is an unfortunate fact of life that the publication of volumes of TS and the Encylopedia Talmudis ( “ET”) is dependent on donors with $. Halevai that both the TS and ET, as well as other worthwhile Mchabrei Sefarim and Talmidiei Chachamim could attract donors and publish volumes as well as ArtScroll.

    FWIW, the Torah Shelemah Haggadah and Megilas Esther both are superb volumes. I didn’t know that there were volumes available on Rus and Shir HaShirim. For those interested, HaTekufah HaGedolah is an important sefer, especially in demonstrating which Gdolim, from all streams, had very positive views on Hakamas HaMedinah, the short lived combined Relgious Front and the Olim who were talmidim of the Gra, Baal Shem Tov and Chasam Sofer. Charedim , both here and elsewhere, try to dismiss the sefer based on the claims of a Toen who claimed that there was no such combined Religious Front and the views of the CI and R Velvel ZL, but one cannot deny historical facts or the events described in Cleveland by R E Muskin in the latest issue of Hakira as to attempts to Orthodox unity that at least for one Yom HaAtzmaut, bridged hashkafic differences between Agudah, Telz Yeshiva, RZ and MO.

  9. YK on April 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm
    “There’s a machon run by Rabbi Kasher’s family that takes care of his works”

    Do you have any idea if R Kasher’s Milchemes Yom Kippurim exists a separate sefer or is part of another one? I saw it in Merkaz Harav and can’t seem to find it anywhere else.
    Thanx.

  10. SHAUL:

    it was published at least twice as a separate edition. both editions in jts library. also of related interest his tekufa gedola

  11. Steve: It wasn’t me who pointed out that the newer volumes are thinner (literally and metaphorically), but, yes, it is sadly true.

    I’ve seen Ruth in the US, but Shir HaShirim just came out, so maybe it’s only in Israel now. I’m sure it will be in the US in time for next Pesach. 🙂 (By the way, Mossad HaRav Kook’s Torat Chaim now has all five megillot in three volumes in addition to the Haggadah and a matching Pirkei Avot, under a different name, in two volumes. Someone there told me they want to do the whole Tanach. Of course, Bar Ilan is doing that as well.)

    As to the Encyclopedia Talmudit, I’ve heard that the new editor is working on producing a lot quicker. Certainly the last few volumes have come out in less time than the others. I think a number of the later large entries are ready already- they’re just waiting their “turn.” (I say, release it all on disc or online for now.)

    YK: The Haggadah came out years ago- in fact, he had an older one which you can see on Hebrewbooks in two editions, and a newer one that matches Torah Shelemah. The volume on K’tav Ivri and Yerushalmi is after the Tazria-Metzora volume, probably because of the “middle letter” there.

    Of course, one of his most famous books is the one on the Apollo landings in halakha, also on Hebrewbooks.

  12. nachum (steve):

    “newer volumes are thinner”

    he stopped including his biur in the middle of sefer va-yikra, with the hope to publish it later in supplement volumes. and at the point there were lots of hands invovled in it.

    “Someone there told me they want to do the whole Tanach. Of course, Bar Ilan is doing that as well”

    each one has slightly different appeal. bar ilan tanach is more expensive, but is available on disk.

    “in fact, he had an older one ”

    his original haggadah was a very zionist publication
    http://abbasrantings.blogspot.com/2012/04/haggadah-and-zionism-and-rav-kasher.html

  13. to read how amazing r. kasher was the biographical sketch in “sages and saints”

    STEVE:

    those other works you mention all deserve links, but they are unrelated to the works in the original post.

  14. “Someone there told me they want to do the whole Tanach. Of course, Bar Ilan is doing that as well”

    “each one has slightly different appeal. bar ilan tanach is more expensive, but is available on disk.”

    Does anyone know the status of this project? They haven’t published a new volume in many years. Is Mikraot Gedolot Haketer dead?

    Also: Where is it available on disk? I cannot seem to find it anywhere.

  15. I don’t think it’s dead- it comes out, bit by bit.

    To see a *really* slow-moving project, see the Hebrew U. Tanach- almost sixty years on, three volumes (Yishayahu, Yirmiyahu, Yechezel) have appeared. I think there’s another “stuck” project, but can’t remember what it is.

    I see that one of the R’ Kasher Haggadot on Hebrew Books is in English- I think of the Haggadah Shelema (I know that one is available in English), but I’m not sure.

  16. SHMUEL:

    i bought the disk about 5 years ago directly from office in bar ilan bible dept. i think it was $100 if shipped in israel. they gave me a free update disk about 3 years ago also. in addition to the mikra, mefarshim and masora it has a very specific search engine that enable to search trop, dagesh, meteg, etc.
    but disk lacks targumim and all the editorial introductions and appendices

  17. NACHUM:

    his earlier (zionist) haggadah eretz yisraelit was published in hebrew only and hebrew-english editions. are you sure haggadah shelema also appeared in english?

  18. “I bought the disk about 5 years ago directly from office in bar ilan bible dept. i think it was $100 if shipped in israel. they gave me a free update disk about 3 years ago also. in addition to the mikra, mefarshim and masora it has a very specific search engine that enable to search trop, dagesh, meteg, etc.”

    OK I just called the Bible dept., they redirected me, no one is there today but someone will be tomorrow… Not a very well-marketed program to say the least 🙂

    I also found their website (totally not amazing):
    http://www.biu.ac.il/js/mghaketer/

    Does the disk contain mefarshim for the volumes that haven’t been published yet?

  19. abba: Not sure, but there is an English one still in print.

  20. ABBA’S RANTINGS

    I have HH, but haven’t been able to find MYH. Do you know if there’s a link availible to it anywhere, perhaps from a RZ website?
    [i.e. I’m trying to shnorrer a freebie :—-)]

  21. SHMUEL:

    the disk contains meforshim and mesoras for all of tanach. i’m not that familiar with the print edition so i can’t say if it has exactly the same meforshim (it definately lacks the targumim). but when i bought it i was promised free updates, so presumably if they ever add meforshim i will hopefull get those as well.
    (as an aside wrt to meforshim, bar ilan is unfortunately not a replacement for standard mikraos gedolos)

  22. SHAUL:

    don’t know, i never looked online. sorry.

  23. The Malbim’s peirush on the Torah (especially his lengthy peirush on sefer Vayikrah) is, in my opinion, the best of the genre, using a very careful and precise reading of the text to show how chazal saw unexpected words/phrases in the text, and how those unexpected words/phrases indicate precisely the drashos on those words/phrases.

  24. Nachum-I just heard that Mosad HaRav Kook has released the Toras Chaim editions on Eicha and Koheles in addition to the also recently released volume on Shir HaShirim and Rus.

    Abba-Take a look at the intros of R Y Kuperman to his unsurpassed editions of Meshech Chachmah and HaEmek Davar ( which includes a wonderful commentary on Shir HaShirim, and which is a major source for the Netziv’s Imrei Shefer on the Haggadah). R Kupperman posits that Mesech Chachmah and HaEmek Davar ( as well as R Kasher’s Torah Shelemah) were written to show the indivisible nature of Torah Shebicav and TSBP, but not in what R Kooperman describes in the apologetic style of either the Malbim, RSRH or HaKesav vHaKabalah.

  25. STEVE:

    i consider the works in the post (and i would add meam loez) a separate genre because of their encyclopedic nature

  26. The comparable feature of all the works in this post is the citation of the Oral Torah from multiple sources next to the Written Torah. I haven’t seen any suggestions above of any similar sefer, except for certain editions of the Malbim that contain the halakhic midrashim (and only the halakhic midrashim!) along with the Torah text.

  27. “Nachum-I just heard that Mosad HaRav Kook has released the Toras Chaim editions on Eicha and Koheles in addition to the also recently released volume on Shir HaShirim and Rus.”

    Yes, I own it.

  28. R Gil wrote:
    “A number of books have been composed attempting to connect the Written and Oral Torahs”

    R Gil then qualified the above lead in sentence after many posts:

    “The comparable feature of all the works in this post is the citation of the Oral Torah from multiple sources next to the Written Torah. I haven’t seen any suggestions above of any similar sefer, except for certain editions of the Malbim that contain the halakhic midrashim (and only the halakhic midrashim!) along with the Torah text”

    I don’t think that one can discuss such works as TS, and Torah Temimah, without at least a passing reference to such works as Malbim, Hakesav VeHaKabalah, HaEemek Davar , Meshech Chachmah or RSRH, all of which are premised on the united nature of Torah Shebicsav and TSBP.

  29. I don’t think that one can discuss such works as TS, and Torah Temimah, without at least a passing reference to such works as…

    I emphatically disagree

  30. R Gil-Have you read R Kasher’s critique of the TT?

  31. Yes, and I’ve seen the few criticisms RYBS had on the TT

  32. R Gil-I have heard and seen the same critiques, and one can argue that the TT cannot be mentioned together with TS, or with the other Mfarshim mentioned by others and myself on this thread. I have had a TT for years, but I have used it with great caution, once I realized that it was criticized by R Kasher ZL, aside from sotto vocce comments that the yeshivishe world also was very cautious about the TT.

    On a totally unrelated thread, am I correct in stating that the Yeshiva world does not “hold from” the amazing work that R Kupperman performed in rendering the commentaries of Sforno, Meshech Chachmah, and two volumes of HaEemek Davar (which was completed by his son)?

  33. Rafael Araujo

    “His Torah Shelema is very appreciated in the Zionistic and academic circles but in the Yeshivish world you will not find any mention of it.”

    Not true. Don’t know where you and other outsiders get your information. There are sets of Torah Shleima in all yeshivishe kollelim and shuls that I’ve visited and is quoted often.

    It boggles my mind how so many commentators here think they know things about the yeshivishe velt or the chareidi world when they don’t.

  34. R Gil-one of the “few criticisms RYBS had on the TT” was the TT’s claim that Mkadesh Yisrael VaHazemanim was a printer’s error. RYBS very strongly rejected that claim.

  35. For those who own the Mossad HaRav Kook Chumash Toras Chaim-if you check in the footnotes, there are numerous references to TS.

  36. I have nothing against R. Kuperman but I have no interest in long footnotes on Acharonim. They slow me down incredibly to the point that I don’t bother. Same with the extensively footnoted Maharal sefarim. They are good for the occasional research project but in general learning, I’m happy with the simple Meshech Chochmah and Haamek Davar that I own.

  37. Steve: one can argue that the TT cannot be mentioned together with TS, or with the other Mfarshim mentioned by others and myself on this thread

    The Torah Temimah is great because he quotes the Gemara/midrash as it relates to the pasuk. You can take or leave his further commentary. If we’re going to evaluate based on quality of commentary then Rav Hirsch should never be mentioned except in the context of elaborate derush.

  38. R Gil-Does your view on “long footnotes on Acharonim” extend to Rishonim also? Would you ever consider learning from the old and inaccurate versions of Rishonim such as Ritva, Rashba, etc or the old editions of the Minchas Chinuch? Most of the footnotes in R Kupperman’s editions of Seforno, Meshech Chachmah, and HaEemek Davar, , R Y Hartman’s works on Maharal are to enhance the reader’s comprehension of the text and to provide basic Mareh Mkomos and cross references in the author’s other works as well as other Mfarshim that discuss the issue at hand. IMO, there is no comparison between a rigorously edited sefer with footnotes and the old inaccurate edition-using the latter is akin to relying on a Sefer Torah Sheino Mugah.

  39. R Gil-I agree with your 10:32 A.M. post as to the TT being a nice reference guide to Talmudic and Midrashic passages, and RSRH.

  40. I hate using the Ritva on Yevamos and consider R. Kuperman’s and R. Hartman’s editions to be fairly similar.

  41. I recall reading in MOAG that RYK described Meshech Chachmah being written on the level of a Rishon.

  42. For many years, I bought and learned from the pioneering editions of Ramban that R C Chavel ZL edited and translated, which openned Ramban’s writings to a new generation. After reading on the Seforim blog about the Machon Yerushalayim edition of the Ramban’s commentary on Chumash, I bought the same and have found it invaluable.

  43. Life is too short to spend on footnotes.

    The Meshech Chochmah is written in a classically Acharon style, not a Rishon style. It’s brilliant and unique but nothing like any of the rishonim.

  44. R Gil-Like it or not, the Ritva on Yevamos and other Masectos,and the footnotes therein, as well as the Otzar Mfarshei Talmud’s, and the ET’s many heavily footnoted volumes are indispensable works.The Machon Yeruahalyim edition of the Mnchas Chinuch vastly enhanced and improved the ability of the average lamdan to learn what had been a difficult sefer.

    Here is another case-the Pri Megadim wrote a wonderful sefer called the Psicha HaKolelles. It was an almost inpenetratable sefer because of the author’s Roshei Teivos and Mareh Mkomos. R A Eisenberg of Detroit, a Musmach of Ner Yisrael, published a wonderful edition that leads the talmid into the Mareh Mkomos relied on by the Pri Megadim, thus rendering the sefer comprehensible to any talmid with a reasonable degree of background.

    I think that we can agree to disagree- I wouldn’t consider bying any sefer of a Rishon or Acharon that had not been subjected to strenuous editing with extensive footnotes, which aid the average lamdan’s comprehension as well as provide food for for thought for the adventurous and curious talmid or talmidah.

    Simply stated, I don’t see footnotes as unnecessary erudition or ideas for kolleleit interested in subjects for chaburos and the like, but rather as aiding the lamdan in comprehending the scope of the author’s intent and providing food for more sophisticated thinking to those intent upon the same.

  45. Shtus ve-hevel

    You didn’t bother reading what I wrote so I won’t bother explaining why everything you wrote is utter nonsense.

  46. Steve, footnotes and jumbo-deluxe new-and-improved seforim are great, but they are not the seforim themselves.

  47. R Gil-we agree to disagree.

  48. Anonymous-a “new and improved” sefer IMO greatly enhances one’s ability to comprehend the same.

  49. Life is too short to spend on footnotes.

    Rashi and Tosfot are footnotes. Just learn pshat gemara without all the pilpul.

  50. “Mkadesh Yisrael VaHazemanim”

    What does he say? And where does he say it? In TT or in Baruch Sheamar?

  51. Nachum-IIRC, the TT’s comment re “Mkadesh Yisrael VaHazemanim” is in Baruch Sheamar.

  52. Famously, Baruch Shemar claims that “Migdol” in Birkat HaMazon and “Pesachim u’Zevachim” in the Haggadah are both printers’ errors.

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