LETTER: Shouldn’t we delete Sefaria from our phones?

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I’m wondering if I should delete the Sefaria app from my smartphone.

Does anyone happen to know if there is any guidance from Daas Torah on this important matter? My impression is that lots of frum Yidden have this app. Should they delete it immediately?

Last week I read on your website that Sefaria is offering a “gender-friendly” translation of Tanach, which changes the meaning of some or many words. I am not an expert, but isn’t this plain apikorsos?

After seeing that disturbing story, I started doing research, and it turns out that in addition to this new woke translation, the Sefaria online library includes many other controversial things .

Many sensitive topics are discussed, including Hashkafa and Philosophical – and in addition to the “sources” section, there is a “Sheets” section which quotes a whole spectrum of authors, including Reform “rabbis”.

This would seem to suggest that anyone who uses Sefaria is exposed to all sorts of potential kefira. How could this be permitted?

Again, I’m not an expert, so I’m merely wondering if anyone knows if Rabbanim have issued any opinion or guidance?

I recognize that Sefaria can be an extremely valuable resource. It has many seforim and translations which can be hard to find in digital format. So there are major positives.

With that said, how could those benefits outweigh the immense dangers and threat that one is exposed to when using this platform? I have seen ‘kol korei’s’ that urge people to avoid digital platforms far less dangerous than this one. Is this not a no-brainer?

I would add, some kosher smartphone companies offer devices that include the Sefaria app as part of their package. Shouldn’t these companies be told to stop including the app?

One final point. I’m not calling for a boycott of Sefaria. This is not about sending a message or trying to get them to change. This is much more basic. A platform that offers Torah resources, yet is operated by non-frum Yidden, and contains apikorsus, would appear to be dangerous and inappropriate to be used by Yidden.

I’m not asking for a boycott or even a ban. I’m wondering if it is flat out forbidden halachically and/or hashkafically?

— Looking for guidance

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35 Comments
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A REAL YID
A REAL YID
1 year ago

If you can have the comment section of this forum on your phone then Sefaria is a very small problem for you.

Z E
Z E
1 year ago

Another app can be made for $50,000.
If the complainers would put their money where their mouths are, the new app would be up and running.

ah yid
ah yid
1 year ago

First of all most rabbonim will tell you not to have internet on your home computer or a phone capable of having sefaria. Personally, I look at sefaria as a seforim store or better a Barnes and Nobles that sells seforim. Can you buy a sefer in Barnes and Nobles? Obviously you have to check who wrote the sefer. Sefaria is run by not frum people. Most of the seforim are just non formatted seforim They didn’t tamper with that so I don’t see any problem with it. It also not written so I don’t think it like sefer torah that a min wrote If anything its even less then printing and many of the early printed seforim were printed by non-jews. The translation for Tanach is problematic, but for chumash there are alternative translations that are good. Gemara also has a good translation. The mishnayos has a translation written by a conservative rabbi. There are other websites such as altorah.org and mercava that are similar to Sefaria, but Sefaria is very user friendly and has a great search engine.

Enough
Enough
1 year ago

Most major universities and major libraries including the library of congress have large Judaica departments And yes there is nothing out there that isn’t on the internet now Thousands of rear judiaca that can not be had can also be found there

Kvetch
Kvetch
1 year ago

This stinks bc your whole article isn’t at all about what you proclaim – finding hadracha. You’d simply privately ask your Rov. Instead you disguised your bashing of Seforia like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I find your conniving scheming behavior worse than Seforia’s transparency.

Independent
Independent
1 year ago

The “gender friendly translation” is not apikorsus. Per the JPS website: 1. They will be translating the shem havaya as GOD instead of The Lord 2. Phrases such as ויקבר עם אבותיו will be translated as “and he was buried with his ancestors” instead of “…his fathers.” That’s not apikorsus. If it bothers you, as using JPS always bothered me, change the default translation. They have Koren.
There is some user-created content that is indeed apikorsus, as well as some texts authored by apikorsim. I don’t see a difference between this and using a public library, but if this bothers you, then delete the app.

elyeh
Noble Member
elyeh
1 year ago

If there were sforim in a public non-lending library which you needed to consult (and could not otherwise find them or not easily get them now), would you go in and use them?

Last edited 1 year ago by elyeh
shloime
shloime
1 year ago

as one non-expert to another, i’d say that if you are incapable of differentiating between these types of content, you should absolutely delete the sefaria app. no question.

joe
joe
1 year ago

They are NOT changing “And Moshe said” to say “And she said”.
They just decided why refer to Hashem as “He” dont you think its more accurate to say “It” ?

They have many other problems and those other points should be discussed not this.

Big ideas
Big ideas
1 year ago

Only small minded people are afraid of being exposed to beliefs or ideas that are different than their own.