Monday, February 24, 2020

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Thank you for your article about our recent presentation at Frisch (“Yeshivat Frisch Holds YU Ideas Panel on ‘Future of the Book,’ June 13, 2019). Regarding the quote “You can make your own Mikraot Gedolot [with Sefaria],” I think that Dr. Koller was actually referring to a different site, Al HaTorah (https://mg.alhatorah.org). The typical, printed Mikraot Gedolot presents the reader with a just a few commentaries, based on what was available to the original printers and what would fit on the printed page, while the excellent Al HaTorah website allows the reader to include Shadal (my personal favorite) and Rav David Tzvi Hoffman.

That is not to say that Sefaria is not an awesome website. Besides their open-sourcing of an extensive library and their stunning visualizations, they make use of algorithms to find and present linked data (e.g., by finding all the times Rambam references a particular pasuk and presenting Rambam as commentary on that pasuk) so that the reader experiences the text in a novel way.

Also, due to technical difficulties (of the sort one would not experience with a printed book), the website address of my enhanced Babylonian Talmud, which lacked the leading “www,” would not load. The correct website address, which will bring up the current day’s daf, is www.mivami.org/talmud

Josh Waxman