Cherem on sefer “Pshuto Shel Mikra”

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    Has anybody heard anything about this?
    Someone mentioned that there is a Cherem on this sefer Pshuto Shel Mikra. Does anyone know if this is true and if yes why?


    Here are the facts that I know:
    A couple of weeks ago I saw posters hung in Kiryat Sefer announcing that this book is full of misunderstandings and invented pshatim. The posters bore the signature of my Rebbe, R. Aharon Feldman, Rosh Yeshivas Ner Yisrael שליט”א.

    Whether the posters are truth or someone’s fraud I have no idea. I have not called R. Aharon to verify because I don’t use books like this one anyway, since Mikraos Gedolos is better.


    It’s on par with most of what gets published today. There isn’t a reason to single this sefer out. The press that is geared to the yeshivaliet today, has very little safeguards. All seforim are self-moderated by the authors and publishers. This cherem is not about content. It’s a spinoff of another chareidi schism.


    Are the topic covered going to a football game or waiting for yshtabach?


    Does the sefer have a haskamah?



    Your comment makes sense for someone who says he has no value for mesorah. It is also why it is not surprosing why you make such incorrect comments.

    I bet you have no idea why there is a cherem. There were clearly defined reasons and myriad examples. Primarily that the “pirush” veers unapologetically from mesorah.


    In the matter of the Chumash “Pshuto Shekl Mikra”

    We have come to reveal our opinion about the “Perush – Pshuto Shel Mikra” – “The Simple Interpretation of the Mikra”, which is an obstacle for the public, as it ignores the words of the Sages, and is a serious change in the form of studying the Mikra handed down to us by our Sages. And their intention is clear with the aim of replacing Rashi’s interpretation – which has always been the foundation of education and Judaism , and especially for the young people of the flock, and that all the foundations of faith and study of Torah Shebiksav and Torah Shebaal Peh are built on it – in this interpretation, R”L.
    The aforementioned book also has strange and fake interpretations in the name of the Meforshim, and there is a spirit of Haskala in it. And it is not correctable at all.
    And the great Torah scholars in the Land of Israel have already published their opposition in writing and by letter.
    Therefore, it is simple and clear that this book must not be “Bo B’Kahal” and must be removed from homes and Shul’s and Beis Medrash’s and it is forbidden to trade in it.

    Signed by
    Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler
    Rabbi Dovid Schustal
    Rabbi Yitzchok Sorotzkin
    Rabbi Yaakov Forchheimer
    Rabbi Osher Lieberman
    Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel
    Rabbi Yisroel Neuman
    Rabbi Aharon Zuckerman
    Rabbi Aharon Feldman
    Rabbi Herschel Zolty
    Rabbi Osher Eliyahu Kalmanowitz
    Rabbi Shlomo Feivel Schustal
    Rabbi Yerucham Olshin


    Both of my posts are my own translation from the original.
    The original hebrew version can be found on the internet.

    A side note on the page has the words of Rav Yerucham Ginsburg shlit”a as follows.

    The interpretation “Peshuto Shel Mikra” demeans the sanctity of the Torah, and interprets many things in their own opinion, completely not as the Torah intended. It also brings the words of the Ramban in twisting his intention, and when studying such an interpretation, the reader will start minimizing the sanctity and greatness of the Avos Hakedoshim.
    And instead of our knowledge and belief that their lives and their words were all in loftiness and great madreigos the reader will come to crooked De’os, R”L.
    Surely it is forbidden to study in such an interpretation!

    And many, many times this bad interpretation goes against the interpretation of Rashi and the interpretations of Chazal and minimizes the greatness and holiness of the Avos ,R”L, and woe to the one who wrote these words!
    And who requested that they come to cool the words of our Torah, which are like coals of fire, and our Holy Torah, of which we have no idea of ​​its Exaltedness, Greatness, and Holiness.
    “Strangers came and defiled it”, and all their words are a great obstacle to many.

    There is no room for a Limud Zechus of such a Perush.

    And what is printed on the cover of the book ‘quality books’ is not comprehensible at all, because it has no “quality”, nor is it even a Sefer.And it is a terrible bizayon to our holy Torah that the Chumash was printed with such malicious “commentaries”.

    And CH”V, that in the Holy Chadarim where they study with the ” Tinokos she Beis Rabban”, the dear Melamidim and Morim who come to implant the Torah and the fear of God and the greatness of the holy Avos in the hearts of their students who thirstily drink their words, will use words of malice and the opposite of this goal.

    Chaim Yeruham Ginsburg


    Dear Nisht,

    I never shared my views on mesorah. The reasons are generic, and the examples are unclear. I happened to have been in the room when one of the rabbonim was being briefed on this sefer. The OP asked if anybody knew about it. So I posted what I know.


    It has a haskamah from a reputable Rav.


    IF you look at the haskama to the sefer, you will see that the hakama was given to the RASHI KIFISHUTOY, NOT PISHUTO SHEL MIKRAH.
    The haskamos were copied from the sefer Rashi Kefeshutoy which was not banned.
    Look at the haskama or look at the rashi kifishutoy and you will see. There was no haskama given just to peshuto shel mikrah


    “[This new sefer] has a haskamah from a reputable Rav…”

    So you are suggesting that R’ Kotler, Schustal, Sorotzkin etc. are not “reputable” and their seemingly unanimous views regarding the sefer containing apikorsus are incorrect??


    I must admit that the Sefer mentioned in the op is not the one I was thinking about. Indeed there is a Sefer Pshuto Shel Mikra by R Cooperman Ztl which has approval by R Weiss there is no ban for this Sefer. A number of years ago, the Leshem publishing company put out a Sefer, pirush on Chumash called Pshuto Shel Mikra which is under this ban. As it stands this Sefer of controversy is indeed alleged to not have legit haskamah.


    The American letter adds that the ספר being outlawed is from Leshem publishing. Which is confusing, because the complain is that it disregards the teachings of Rashi, but the Pshuto Shel Mikra from Leshem is literally meant as an explanation of Rashi.
    There is however another Sefer, originally in Hebrew but translated recently into English R’ Yehuda Cooperman by Moziac press, of the same title. This seder does seem to encourage reading Chumash כפשוטו, which may mean without commentary.
    Could someone please clarify which are being consigned to the bonfire?

    red sock

    This ban is honestly ridiculous לפי עניות דעתי.ֶ I would like to give an example from the beginning of this week’s parsha ויצא. The pasuk says ויקח מאבני המקום וישם מראשותיו and then it says ויקח את האבן. Rashi who usually will comment from midrashic literature in this case chullin 91b says that he initially took many stones and then they fought עלי יניח צדיק את ראשו and ה׳ subsequently made them all join into one large stone. We were all taught this midrash as kids. Tosfos on that gemara as well as ALL the pashtanim on the pasuk (rashbam, ibn ezra, bchor shor, radak etc) all say that pshuto shel mikra is that Yaakov took one stone from stones of the area. So the whole question never begins. Now according to these ban signatories, this pshat is kefira since it disagrees with Rashi and the gemara. Horrific. I’ve got news for you, Rashi and Ramban will sometimes dismiss the midrash and favor pshat. An example of Rashi doing that is on the words כברת ארץ bereishis 35:16 and Ramban does it on the words מערת המכפלה.ֶ should we ban Rashi and Ramban too??
    I’ve read the sefer quite a bit and I don’t recall one controversial pshat; they purposely avoided them and there are quite a few of them from rishonim.

    Reb Eliezer

    What do we do אין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו which Rashi emphasizes the poshat pshat? Of the seventy interpretations the poshat pshat is the first. Rashi goes out of his way to explain the pasuk ויפן כה וכה וירא כי אין איש where Moshe Rabbenu was looking into future generations before killing him. The Binah Leitim explains it pashut where Moshe Rabbenu wanted to know what is contributing to the Jews being in servitude וירא בסבלותם, he looks into their work, into the reason for their working. So he goes out and sees how a mitzri is hitting a Jew and no one מאחיו, from among his brothers stands up for him. He looks around back and forth among the people and no one does anything. He kills him and says אכן נודע הדבר now I understand why they are being worked as they don’t care for each other.


    Now I have to buy a copy of it, since it will be valuable soon.


    When the letter came out a few weeks ago, the oilam in shul asked the Rav of the shul (a major talmid chacham) why is this Chumash any different than the Emek Davar, as he also gives a pshat in Rashi. People were also wondering why this Chumash was any different than the Artscroll Rashi Chumash. The Rav answered that they ruined the tzura of the page. The tzura is Chumash and then Rashi underneath it. The pshuto shel mikra chumash first put the pasuk, then their pshat and then Rashi after that. The Emek Davar and Artscroll placed their pshat after Rashi. They didn’t take away the tzura of the Chumash.


    “Could someone please clarify which are being consigned to the bonfire?”
    The Leshem one.
    There are two pirushim they have “Rashi kipshutio” this is explaining Rashi and not the subject at hand. And “Pishuto shel mikra” This is explaining the pesukim often differently than Rashi

    red sock

    Before calling it ridiculous you should understand it.

    You say “Tosfos on that gemara as well as ALL the pashtanim on the pasuk (rashbam, ibn ezra, bchor shor, radak etc) all say that pshuto shel mikra is…”

    Yes but Rashi says differently. The signatories feel Rashi IS peshuto shel mikra.

    Just like you would ban a hashgacha that allows chicken and milk to be mixed together even though R’ Yosi holds that it can, as the halacha was decided not like him.
    So too , they feel that pshat in chumash is decided by Rashi, not by the Ramban, and not by the author/editors of pishuto shel mikra

    You can certainly argue and point to other chumashim that.

    I grant the whole thing is a bit odd, since lots of chumashim have a running commentary that differs from Rashi at times, Artscroll has done this (eg their Stone commentary does not allways follow Rashi) . I’m not so sure why this one raised so much ire maybe the title “pishuto shel mikra” or maybe as N0mesorah suggested its a spinoff from something else


    @ yeshivaguy I’d be disappointed if it was a typesetting issue.


    *should read chicken and milk

    (and yes obviously the two are not directly comparable, was the first example that came to my mind point is just because a machlokes exists doesn’t mean all sides are always given equal weight)


    I have not read the sefer and can only comment on the comments here but it seems universally accepted that rashi is more often than not – not pshat. the rashbam himself in his intro to his peirush claims that Rashi had told him that if he could have had his time over again he would have put more emphasis on the pshat of the text. so if you set out to write a sefer focused on pshat you by definition have to be giving the ramban, rambam, ibn ezra, rashbam, ralbag, etc. to the detriment of rashi.

    as anyone who learns mikra can tell you, the ramban is not really a peirush on the torah but rather a peirush on rashi (and to a lesser extent the rambam and ibn ezra). virtually every ramban begins with rahsi’s pashat and why rashi’s pshat is not pshat.

    would rabbi feldman put the ramban in cherem?


    The level of distance between basic mesorah and what is being spewed here makes me think that if chazal were around today, they would institute a bracha “shelo asani moderni”


    Besalel: Would Rabbi Feldman put Abaye in cherem for arguing on Rava?


    @ aveira If חז”ל were here today, they would wonder what other immediate issues directly impacting the community have provoked similar announcements.


    Agreed with Avira

    The Am Haaratzus is staggering.

    This is major issue in Halacha and Torah Hashkafa. Yheres a Gemora in Kiddushin that discusses an actual issur to create one’s own “Peshito Shel Mikra”.
    You have to know the facts of the sugya before spouting opinions about what you think makes sense or doesn’t make sense.

    ArtScroll has Poskim who have them direction. There are subtle distinctions between may of yhe examples being ignorantly bandied about here.

    It’s so sad how far we have fallen. Even the basic Mesora to know that you have to k ow what’s legit and what is Megaleh Panim BeTorah is lost …


    Though Acharonim offer a different Pshat than Rashi, none state that their pshat supercedes Rashi.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Ohr Hachaim Hakodash says in Parashas Beraishis that one is allowed to interpret the Torah according to his own understanding as long as it does not affect the halacha.


    midwesterner: halacha has a methodology and that methodology tells us that beis shamaya “eina mishna” (see, e.g., berochos in the neighborhood of lamed vov). That has nothing to do with rishonim providing various pshat, drush, agada, etc on the mikra. eilu ve’eilu divrei elokim chaim but not all of them are pshat.

    quite frankly, i do not understand how certain segments simultaneously tell us that mikra should not be taught and at the same time tell us how to study mikra. I am sorry but if your hashkafa tells you to ignore the study of mikra, then your opinion on how to learn mikra doesnt matter.


    It’s good that among the people who i argue with on here, it seems only AAQ has the decency to not be mekaneh shem lechavero


    “they would institute a bracha “shelo asani moderni””

    Can a person born moderni but who then converts to Torah True Judaism tm still make the beracha?

    What about the reverse?

    Yabia Omer

    You guys genuinely seem somewhat learned. What excuse do you guys have to be so involved in CR? So much wasted time


    Who is asking my opinion? I did not read the book, thus
    Making it difficult for me to comment. Although, out
    Of the curiosity, looks like I would need to buy this one.
    Gadol is asking whether we can rely on the names.

    I know at least one example of a very decent book written by a reputable Rav that was banned for an inexplicable (for me) reason. I am glad I was able to read it.

    Thanks to jackk for translating the letter. It is understandably generic. I wonder whether you guys can find a specific example and explain what is wrong there. Otherwise, everyone is talking to their prejudices.


    Unfortunately, the ban looks to me to be wholly unwarranted.

    Yes, Rashi will often give you the Drush, especially when it doesn’t go against the flow of the Pasuk, and when it seems obvious that something is being hinted to. Still, what if someone decided to focus on the basic interpretation of the words? Nothing wrong, and plenty of Rishonim did just that.

    The complaints sound like poor excuses.

    Sholom D

    It’s quite interesting that this issue started in EY a year-and-a-half ago and has been through several Battei Din there, yet the Lakewood Rabbonim issued a harsher condemnation than either of the EY Battei Din had.

    The Eida Chareidis and Bnei Brak Battei Din were in personal contact with the authors of this peirush. Neither of the Battei Din disparaged the authors of this peirush personally. And neither of them said the harsh things that the Lakewood Rabbonim’s condemnation said.

    The Eida Chareidis Beis Din said that their shaliach had reviewed the entire set of all five volumes and determined that peirush was “Kulo Kodesh.” They therefore ruled no changes were necessary and it could be used as is.

    Incidentally, this publishing team’s newest work, Chok l’Yisroel, was just published and has current haskomos from this Beis Din.

    The Bnei Brak Beis Din of Rav Sariel Rosenberg said that a revised edition should be printed, as replacement for the current one, and that the publisher could continue to sell the remaining copies of the present edition. They did not disparage the authors personally and said that the sefer needed to be “fixed.”

    The Lakewood Rabbonim, however, were far stronger in their condemnation and even said — unlike the EY Battei Din that had fully investigated the matter, gone through all five volumes, and spoken to the authors — that no “tikkun” was possible.

    I was wondering if any of the oylam here had spoken to any of the Lakewood Rabbonim and asked them what led them to sign a letter that was far more harsh and far-reaching than the EY Battei Din. Did they have information that was unknown to the EY Battei Din? If so, have they shared this information with the EY Battei Din?


    Btw, could you find the name of that banned book in my previous post?

    Sholom D

    The Lakewood letter is very similar to the attacks made on the sefer from the Eitz faction in EY several years ago, which led to the investigations by independent Battei Din, which, after doing their investigations, did not agree.

    It’s therefore interesting that for the Lakewood signers, it’s almost as if the Dinei Torah by recognized Battei Din, which went through the matter thoroughly and systematically, had never occurred.

    It’s almost as if the Lakewood signers aligned themselves with the Eitz attacks, rather than with the Battei Din.

    I wonder why that would be and wonder whether anyone in the oylam has asked Lakewood Rabbonim for an explanation.


    Ubiq, in reverse it would be “ain zu mevarech ele mya’aitz


    Forget about understanding subtle distinctions – at the very least, let’s be clear what the issues are, and avoid the straw man.

    There are many claims mentioned in the letters, such as misquoting and attributing extra details, that are not benig addressed here at all.
    But to stick to what IS being discussed –
    No one has a problem with learning different Peshatim than Rashi, whether “pshat” or otherwise.
    We learn Chumash Rashi. NO ONE ever learns Chumash/other pirush, disregarding Rashi. You might have learned Rashi in oast, and are now learning Ramban etc, but not to say, I’m learning Cumash/Rashbam, it’s the mehalech I use to understanbd Chumash. No one has done that. Therefore, to have a pirush that is being used as a basic explanation of the test disregard Rashi is a serious change.
    Additionally, this pirush is being used by many to supplant Rashi. Many people are learning Chumash/pshuto shel mikra. That is a fact in many circles. This alone is a problem – Artscroll does not imagine that someone will use their pirush as “the” way they understand Chumash, as the main way to learn it, at the expense of leanring Rashi (unless they are incapable of reading the Rashi text, which is a different story). The placement on the page is not the problem per se, but illustrative of this issue. It also makes the earlier issue a bigger problem – if this is becoming “THE” pshat used, it cannot just offer any pshat they choose, especially disregarding Rashi.

    Let’s remember that things that are overtly ‘treif’ are not nearly so dangerous to us, and often do not even require a harsh response, if any at all. It is precisely those things whose problems are more subtle that carry the danger of going undetected and creating negative change, and those require a strong response from those whom we trust and look to for guidance.

    red sock

    Rashi admitted to Rashbam that if he would have more time he would have written a new peirush that focused more on pshuto shel mikra. So Rashi by his own admission is mostly not pshuto shel mikra. Ibn ezra also took a jab at Rashi and said that one out of a thousand of rashi’s peirushim are pshat.

    For goodness sakes, this chumash has rashi kepshuto right opposite the pshuto shel mikra commentary! Also Rashi is often quoted for the pshuto shel mikra commentary. And while it is true that chumash is most commonly studied with Rashi nowadays, in the past there was a whole different school of thought such as that of the geonim and the chachmei sfarad who held that pshuto shel mikra was the ikkar.

    Notably absent from this ban is Rav Shmuel Kamenestsky. His father Rav Yaakov zt”l was very into pshuto shel mikra and their commentaries.


    Not straw man but grasping at straws. Who is supplanting Rashi? It’s a wild claim. Why does their basic explanation require an earlier source if it just basic?

    One widely touted example is the cooking of the lentils. Rashi quotes the Medrash that the lentils were to mourn the passing of Avraham Avinu. Obviously that is not the actual technical translation of the words of the Pasuk. And so, although obviously we’re aware of the back story given by the Medrash, there is room to express that the most basic reading is simply as someone cooking food.

    Personally, I think they should have skipped that, since there is nothing to explain, but so be it.

    This is perfectly in line with the Rashbam, who writes that the Drash is the main thing but the words do have a meaning without it, and it is worth devoting some time to understand that too. In fact, he writes that Rashi agreed surg him, and said that had he had more time he would have done the same.


    Red sock

    You added “mostly”
    And again yes Rishonim argue on Rashi that is irrelevant . The argument goes that we’ve accepted Rashi as pshat


    Yeshivaguy45 said at 12:43pm on Nov 30, 2022:

    “When the letter came out a few weeks ago, the oilam in shul asked the Rav of the shul (a major talmid chacham) why is this Chumash any different than the Emek Davar, as he also gives a pshat in Rashi. People were also wondering why this Chumash was any different than the Artscroll Rashi Chumash. The Rav answered that they ruined the tzura of the page. The tzura is Chumash and then Rashi underneath it. The pshuto shel mikra chumash first put the pasuk, then their pshat and then Rashi after that. The Emek Davar and Artscroll placed their pshat after Rashi.”

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

    Are you indeed Yeshivish? I don’t want to shock you, but the title of the Sefer is HaAmeik Dovor, which means “delve into the matter”, not “the Emek Davar”

    If you can’t get the name right, I cant take your opinion seriously.


    Logician said at 11:45pm on Nov 30, 2022

    “Therefore, to have a pirush that is being used as a basic explanation of the test disregard Rashi is a serious change.
    Additionally, this pirush is being used by many to supplant Rashi. Many people are learning Chumash/pshuto shel mikra. That is a fact in many circles. This alone is a problem –”

    I am having serious trouble understanding your claim.

    If the Sefer had included ONLY their own Pirush you might have a point. BUT they feature their Pirush alongside Rashi. So why on earth would anyone think it supplants Rashi? I always only ever saw it as an additional, alternative Pirush to Rashi


    Are you indeed Yeshivish? I don’t want to shock you, but the title of the Sefer is HaAmeik Dovor, which means “delve into the matter”, not “the Emek Davar”

    If you can’t get the name right, I cant take your opinion seriously.

    This is immature. Deal with the substance rather than pouncing on a memory lapse.


    Leyzer, sorry that I left out the hey. I assumed everyone would know what I was referring to. (In case you didn’t realize, I was referring to the chumash from the Netziv. It could be you are referring to something else)
    Zei mir mochel


    Some guy is going all blitzkrieg on this random sefer. Dude, seriously. Did Peshuto Shel Mikrah hit you as a kid or something? I mean, there’s a million seforim coming out every year and I’m sure there are plenty that people can find fault with. Does this one sefer really warrant the number of Roshei Yeshivos this guy got to sign a petchkvil about?


    The layout of the sefer seems to be designed to encourage the study of Chumash with Rashi.

    Reb Eliezer

    It has no haskamas and the Ramban has a cherem to learn a sefer without them. It can be downloaded from hebrewbooks dot org. The author is Kuperman in two volumes The first volume tries to justify the second volume. I saw something in itself questionable that Hashem leads the world through emtzaim, agents. It is published by a Michlala College for Women. His name Yehuda is designated as a son of his father Avraham and mother Sara Zelate Kuperman which I have never seen before.

    Sholom D

    Does anyone have any reaction to what I wrote above, describing the background and political context to this ban (Eitz activists), which the Lakewood Rabbonim issued as if Rav Shternbuch’s Beis Din, after having someone go through Peshuto shel Mikra in its entirety (all five volumes, every single word), had not declared Peshuto shel Mikra: “kulo kodesh”?

    And where two Battei Din, one in Bnei Brak and Rav Shternbuch’s in Yerushalayim, investigated both the sefer and its writers, met with every one of them, and NEVER disparaged them personally, unlike the Lakewood Rabbonim?

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