Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New publication publicizes dialogue between Rabbonim and Oz Vehadar Corporation

Guest Post:

Oz Vehadar on the defensive as Rabbonim question its credibility with passionate attacks

Lately בעז"ה, many are studying Torah. Groups of people who never studied before, are opening their eyes to the wealth of our Torah Shebichsav Ubaal Peh. Consequently, many publishing houses have opened and are publishing many seforim including Chumashim, Tanachim, Gemoros, and other seforim.

One publishing house, Oz Vehadar, claims it has a mission to print and REPAIR the text of the Chumashim, Tanachim, Gemoros, and other seforim. Oz Vehadar also publishes its seforim in a very appealing appearance, Those who have limited eyesight enjoy its very clear print. Oz Vehadar library has become both attractive and free of errors.

But, that is only according to their perspective. Several Rabbonim and Talmidei Chachomim have stated emphatically with their written word, that there is a serious problem with the authenticity of the many hidden CHANGES in the seforim bearing the Oz Vehadar name. They consider the OZ VEHADAR corporation dishonest and its products not usable!

Oz Vehadar has responded to some of the charges.

In a newly released kuntres bearing the name ופרשו השמלה, the letters of communication between those Talmidei Chachomim and Oz Vehadar have been painstakingly gathered. Included in the kuntres are both the questions of Talmidei Chachomim posed and the answers of Oz Vehadar.

Perusing and studying this work may enable you to get a better understanding of this issue. You may then decide about the legitimacy of the work of Oz Vehadar. Is it our Mesorah that we carried through for thousands of years? Or is it another one of those irresponsible printing presses that have caused havoc on Jewish life, as we know it?

This issue affects directly each and every religious Jewish person. the stakes are high and the room for error is almost non existent.

Time does tell us many times the truth. The question is, "do we have the time to wait??


  1. The mesivta gemoro unlike the artscroll is full of mistakes not just print mistakes. It seems to have been made by novices who havent the faintest idea of how to learn a tosfos

  2. Garnel IronheartMarch 4, 2015 at 3:45 PM

    I love how the word "mesorah" is invoked every time someone wants to correct obvious errors that have become fixed in place. Is our mesorah to learn the texts as they were meant to be or as they became because of shoddy copyists? Are we learning to know the truth or just what's on the page by rote?

  3. Sorry I can't read through all 94 pages. Just a few comments

    יעקב בן חיים whom they mention as in charge of publishing the venice edition of tenach, later became a meshumed as R. Nota Rabinowitz mentions in his introduction of דקדוקי סופרים.

    - This whole attitude of being against amending seforim based on manuscripts comes from the Chazon Ish.

    - Why are publishers afraid of restoring censored texts? Are they afraid of the antagonizing goyim? They don't otherwise seem to be afraid of antagonizing them,

  4. "nly old manuscripts and well-authenticated readings, which Jacob
    zealously collected and examined, would he recognize as the norm." The Chazon Ish did not accept old manuscripts as the norm/

  5. This has nothing to do with Rabbeinu Tam. He was against scholars emending texts based on their own understanding, or "evidence supplied by the context." Here, Oz VeHadar is emending the text based on earlier printings and manuscripts, as well as explicit traditions in the Yemenite community.

  6. This is from Rabbi Moshe Bleich's discussion of the Chazon Ish's view in Tradition 27:2 1993

  7. see my recent comment to Humble Jew. Do you know for certain that each correction returns the text "as they were meant to be".
    In addition a textual correction which goes against halacha as it has been understood for hundreds of years is very problematic as noted by the Chazon Ish and others.

  8. As the article you cite states the Chazon Ish to some extent, and R. Soloveitchik certainly, distinguished using a newly discovered manuscript to establish halacha and using it to establish a correct girsa in an established text. The former requires that it have been discussed by others. And using well known manuscripts and early published editions to correct printer's errors is a different matter altogether.

  9. Bli neder I shall point you out dozens in the biur hatosfos.
    I have offered to give him my gemoro with the mistakes pointed out if he provides me with a new gemoro. Sadly he is not interested in my offer.
    I may also mention that otsar meforshai hatalmud is much more thorough and has much more on a given blatt than the mesivta.
    My advice for anyone using the mesivta (and I do use it myself extensively) is to have a otsar hachochma and check the seforim out.
    The mesivta is a massive great work and it is a great pity that hardly anyone uses it. Most kollelim in my area dont possess it. It has been badly let it down by the people who made it. They should have used talmidai chachomim like artscroll.
    But as I write it is still very valuable since it easy to check on the otsar hachochmo which most people have.
    My advice for people using the mesivta is never to waste time on it what is termed today 'omol'. It is not worth it. If you dont understand it immediately check the source.

  10. I remember when there was a shaale about the pshat in a rishon and somone brought out a newly released sefer which corroborated the non simple pshat that someone was advocating. Rav Friedler z"l said at the time that he had heard that Rav Ruderman z"l had a similar situation and he said it wasn't for nothing that these seforim were hidden from the mesora for hundreds of years. He said that the ratzon Hashem was that the seforim which were long in the mesora were the ones desired by Hashem to represent daas torah and new seforim although interesting didn't change anything.

  11. I should add and give credit where it is due.
    They have very good writers. For instance if they bring a ktsos and I think they bring every one, if they understand it, the way they write, it is better written than the ktsos himself.
    And that goes for all the seforim they bring. I dont believe in wasting time, what is today termed 'omol' to learn from the 'original' if it has been rewritten by someone else better.
    That is my main reason for using it all the time apart from my not knowing where every sefer is.
    Life is too short to waste unnecessary time to use the original if the subsequent 'copy' is 'easier'.
    Many seforim have been rewritten like rambam 'more nevuchim and chasidic ones like the 'toldos'.
    I believe all kollel people who are paid to learn should be doing this to benefit the kllal and not just take money for nothing unless they can be mechadesh themselves.
    The chazon ish seforim would be a prime candidate for this. Most are left 'unused' because of the difficult language.


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