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  • in reply to: Different levels of religious observance (frumkeit) #2004495

    A Jew has many obligations.
    You are asking about what is beyond these obligations.
    What I heard and read from multiple sources is that regarding what is considered stringencies or optional is that one should do what is appropriate for his spiritual level. Over time, one can raise their spiritual level and thereby “raise the bar”, so to speak.
    Doing what is beyond one’s real level at the time can do real spiritual damage.

    in reply to: Otzar HaCochma vs. HebrewBooks vs. Bar-Ilan #1988390

    We”re talking about very different products.
    1. Otzar Hachachma – contains over 100K scanned books, with search capability. Each year there is a new version with more thousands of morebooks. This includes options for all the books from certain publishers, which one must pay extra for. The main three publishers are Oz VeHadar (includes Mesivta, but no printing on anything), Mossad Harav Kook & Machon Yerushalayim (I think no printing). They have a new really nice product called HaMefaresh which gives all known commentaries, discussions, tshuvot related to every sentence found in Gemara, Rashi & Tosafot. IMHO, this gives really high added value.
    There are two possibilities of using this –
    1) purchasing the product. I priced this with the Book Week discount + the above three publishers + HaMefaresh (you cannot purchase HaMefaresh without Otzar HaHachma) – came out to over 10000 shekels (I am zocheh to live in Eretz Yisrael and pay with the local legal tender). The yearly upgrades are also around 1500 shekel/ per year. Unless one will use this basically 6 days a week, I personally see no economic justification for purchasing this.
    2) Use the online version – which one purchases rights for a day, weeek, month, year or 10 separate days. The cost for a day is 20 shekel. Access to books from the above publishers cost a few shekel per day. HaMefaresh 15 shekel/day (you don’t need to also pay for the basic 20 shekel). You don’t pay for yearly upgrades, they come automatically online.
    I”ll just add an anecdote, when my 6th grader asked a really good question on the Gemara he learned, paying 15 shekel and finding with him several answers with the Mefaresh was a pretty good Geshmake.

    Bar-Ilan – honestly, an excellent product. The price point is pretty reasonable. There is a rich set of Seforim + Shut”im + Encyclopedia Talmudit with footnotes (costs more). The search engine is probably the best in the business. The seforim are shown in text mode, not as the original page. This has advantages – allows for clean copy-paste, allows for quick find within the text (think of looking for a certain sub-topic in a long shu”t). This also has disadvantages – I find it difficult to “learn” without the original look and feel. There are yearly updates, more books. Updating once every few years is pretty reasonable.

    HebrewBooks – Free online repository of about 100K scanned books. There used to be a hard drive version for sale ($100), but from what I can tell this is no longer available. There are lots of old books, but also a reasonable amount of current or near current books. There are two sites, the regular one and a beta site, with site differences. The regular site has Shas Nehardia, which can be downloaded. The beta site has a pretty good Tur & Shulchan Aruch (no download). Each book can be read online or downloaded as a PDF. From my experience, one can find some real gems on HebrewBooks and its all free.

    Sefaria – Useful for online copy+paste and has some parts have a translation. The translations have plenty of mistakes – but it can still be useful when you need it.

    in reply to: Its impossible to make a living in Israel #1983619


    You need to make serious research and preparations, such as speaking to people and getting help from Nefesh B’Nefesh
    You need reasonable expectations and plans
    You need Emunah and Bitachon
    You also need to learn Hebrew (BTW, it also improves one learning)
    It certainly can be done and is being done by many people.

    in reply to: Where can I buy a kosher Zohar? #1968480

    IMHO – best Hebrew translation and explanation is Matok Midvash מתוק מדבש.
    Translation/explanation style is similar to that of Artscroll Gemara.
    In the translation/commentary They differentiate between between the non-Kabbilistic parts (block script) and Kabbalistic parts (Rashi script)
    Not too expensive

    sorry no outside links

    Apparently, there is an inyan to have a Zohar is one’s house.

    in reply to: Can Yeshivish families make aliyah with school age children? #1959473

    With proper research and preparation it will the best thing for you and your family
    ברוך הבא

    in reply to: why is this happening #1851281

    Reb Eliezer: right on the money.
    Seems to be Bein Adam Lechavero – big time.
    Look at what we need to do – keep a distance of at least 2 meters = 6 feet = 4 Amot.
    Where do we have a situation where people cannot come with dalet amot of someone else? Niduy (excommunication)
    We”re all in Niduy!

    in reply to: learning from an artscroll #1768590

    For Bekiut – found nothing better than the Artscroll. IMHO Very legimate, especailly the Hebrew one.
    For Iyun – Artscroll is a not the way to break into the sugya.
    For Yerushalmi – I don’t know how much it is possible to learn this without the Artscroll.


    I”ll add my two agurot.
    I don’t know if it’s an obligation or a good idea or just plain permissible to make Aliyah.
    But how could someone seriously say that it is assur? The issue is discussed by the nosei keilim on Even HaEzer siman 75, especially the Pitchei Tshuva – the opinion of R. Chaim in Tosafot that it is assur is a talmid toeh and is not considered a valid shita.
    Lets look at some statistical projections – In a few short years a majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel – Eretz Yisrael. I think eveyone could agree that is a tremendous thing.
    For about 50 years ahead – it is projected that they”ll be about 20 million Jews in the world of which 80% will be in Israel (that’s about 16 million). You don’t want your grandchildren to be part of this? What is going to be left of American Jewry by that point?
    In terms of Torah and Mitzvot – in my experience, much further ahead here on this one. Simple example, I recite Birkat Kohanim (duchanin) every day. For just that, it was worth making aliyah 25 years ago.

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