All posts filed under: Technology

Masoret haShas (and haMidrash)

If you’ve ever studied Talmud from the traditional Vilna Shas layout, you’ve probably noticed or taken advantage of the Masoret haShas in the margins. Originally compiled by Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch in the sixteenth century, Masoret haShas are notes and cross references on the side of the page, directing readers to related passages found elsewhere in the Talmud. It was an immense work that religious scholars have added to over the centuries. The William Davidson Talmud has our own take on Masoret haShas, finding and building over 50,000 textual links. And while the standard Masoret haShas connects different Talmudic texts, ours takes advantage of Sefaria’s library to create something new: connections between the Talmud and other texts as well, including nine major Midrashic works.

Sefaria for the Visually Impaired

Sefaria is all about making the texts of the Jewish tradition accessible to everybody. So far we’ve been accomplishing this by making texts and translations available on our website, in our mobile apps, and as data that people can download in a variety of formats. But could a blind or visually impaired person access these resources? Unfortunately, until recently, most of us on the Sefaria team hadn’t spent enough time thinking about this question.