Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Chofetz Chaim's ban of a condensed Chumash

From the 1928 volume of בית ועד לחכמים:

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As you can see, the Hafetz Hayyim was shown a büchel (a little book) which was an abridged version of the Torah for beginners, called התחלת חומש. I am only guessing that it was shown to him to see a reaction which to the presenter was predictable: chagrin. As it turned out, this Bible stories for children skipped many important verses and parts of verses relating to matters of faith and the greatness of the Patriarchs. As an example, in its version of Genesis 14:19, instead of reading "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth," it only says "Blessed be Abram of God Most High." He therefore ruled that it is prohibited to read or study this book, or even to bring into one's home!

The book in question was edited by by David Frischmann and was fully titled התחלת חומש ספורי התורה ערוכים בלשון הכתוב לילדים מתחילים עם ציורים., and if anyone wants to flip through the many volumes of his collected works and find it, they are most welcome. link

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