‘Torah in Ten’ for iPhone

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There is a story about King David mentioned by Talmud in Tractat Shabbat (30b): “the Angel of Death stood before him but could not prevail against him, because learning did not cease from his mouth.”

It wasn’t only an escape before death but, foremost, a commandment fulfillment rooted from Joshua (1:8):  “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein”.

Studying Torah is not just only approaching G-d but a wonderful intellectual adventure, too. It is a challenge on many dimensions, a challenge which to be completed requires from us some effort, skill and time. The modern times pose numerous obstacles for us but, at the same time, offer unique opportunities.

Dozens of years ago on Motzaei Shabbat parshat Yitro, on radio celebrated the conclusion of a year’s broadcasting, and the beginning of the new year’s weekly shiurim on Tanya Lubavitcher Rebbe, amongst other issues, mentioned:  “Through the radio, the actual wellsprings of  Chassidus are spread instantly to every place in the world, engulfing the “outside” in the wellsprings — and thereby purifying the “outside.” It is the preparation to the fulfillment of the promise, “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the L-rd as the waters cover the sea,” for, as was promised to the Baal Shem Tov, Mashiach will come “when your wellsprings shall spread forth to the outside.”

What is quite strange, a few opponents of such kind of education came into picture at the time. “Evil cannot create; everything in this universe, including the ability to transmit through radio, is a creation of G-d” – Rebbe explained – “Since everything in the world was created ‘for the sake of the Torah and for the sake of Israel’ (Rashi, Bereishis 1:1), it is clear that the powerful force of radio was created so that it be utilized for holy matters, such as the dissemination of Torah.  However, as in all matters, man is given free choice to use radio for good or evil – ‘Behold, I have set before you this day [a free choice] between life and good and death and evil’ (Devarim 30:15). And, says G-d, ‘Choose life!’ (Devarim 30:19).

This was the beginning of the “technological” revolution in Torah teaching. Thousands if not hundreds of thousands websites dealing with Jewish education can be found on the Net nowadays. All the levels of advance and all the strands of Judaism – from the very basics to the most intricate halakhic disputes.

There are several thousands of  Sifrei Kodesh available thanks to such foundations as Jewish Publication Society or Bar Ilan University. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. Publishing houses such as Artscroll,  Nehora,  Kehot Publication Society, Feldheim Publishers,  Behrman House Publishing or many others can sell books from Alaska to Australia. Thanks to hundreds of computer software items created by Davka or TES you can thoroughly study Torah, Daf  Yomi or Chassidus even in the remotest of parts of  Siberia. You can find numerous examples of  radio or television programmes devoted to Judaism.

But that is not the end.

Now, you don’t even need a computer for all of that… all you need is a small smartphone*. It is not any more on a desk or a bag, in case of  laptop,  but in your jacket’s pocket where you can fit in Siddur (all nusachim), Tehillim, Tanach (and even better one for iPad) , Shas with an English translation, Mishnayot, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in several language versions, Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, Pirkei Avot. Using HebrewBooks.org app you can add to that over 40k of other Siferi Kodesh.  You happened to forget which day of  Omer it is, you are in a new town and you can’t find a kosher restaurant, or you might want to send a prayer to the Western Wall – for all of those problems there is one solution: the right applications. A magical tap on iPhone’s touch screen is all you need to get any information displayed on your palm.

But it doesn’t end on that yet.

A computer with a modern, fast Internet connection lets you to listen to audio and to watch video shiurim. In case of smartphones this is not different.

Because all of that it is our great honour to announce that we have commenced a cooperation with Kol Menachem  and his  foundation  Rabbi Chaim Miller.

Rabbi Chaim Miller is a leading international authority for interpretation of  Jewish Bible and mysticism,  specifically the Torah-related works of the late  Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Born and raised in London, in 2004 Rabbi Miller relocated to the United States with the intention of devoting himself almost entirely to the writing and editing of great Jewish liturgy for Kol Menachem.  Since this time he has completed the groundbreaking Kol Menachem Chumash (Gutnick Edition), the Slager Edition Haggadah — the bestselling work in its genre — and two volumes of a landmark series exploring Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Faith.

Rabbi Miller’s publications have received the attention of community leaders and various persons of note. In 2008, President George W. Bush sent the Slager Edition Haggadah to the troops in Iraq. The Haggadah was a recent recipient of the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award. The popular “Dummies” series published The Torah for Dummies in 2008, with author Arthur Kurzweil singling out Rabbi Miller’s Gutnick Chumash and proclaiming, “If I could have only one translation on a desert island, it would be this one.

Some time ago Kol Menachem launched an online classroom for Jews on the go – Torah in Ten. The series provides weekly insightful conversations on the current Torah portion. The class includes interesting commentaries from renowned historical figures as well as modern views in addition to thought provoking and inspiring questions.

Announcing his new idea Rabbi Miller wrote: “In this go, go, go world we live in, it can be difficult to sit down and find time to study the weekly parsha. And when shabbos rolls around, we all wish we had studied more and could contribute to the conversation at the shabbos table. Not to mention our children, don’t we all wish we could provide them beautiful insights into the weekly parsha?”.

Torah in Ten is now available not only from a computer. Asked by Jewish iPhone Community and many more iPhone users Kol Menachem kindly agreed to change the format of presentation so that weekly portion of  Torah in Ten was available to be watched on iPhone’s/iPad’s screens. Nu, now then, what kind of excuse will you come up with?

Torah in Ten will take place every Thursday, for ten minutes. Let’s sum up with Rebbe’s words: “Our task is solely to illuminate the world with the light of  Torah, Judaism and Chassidus”.

Shabbat Shalom

Robert Pass, Mati Szmidt

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To see your weekly “Torah In Ten” videocast –  Parshas Ki Tavo visit our “Video” section (click/tap here). To see Divrei Torah archives visit Torah in Ten website (click here).

Torah in Ten is brought to your iPhone/iPad by Kol Menachem and Jewish iPhone Community.

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* if you are an owner of a phone with Android system visit our “Android” section.

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