Latest update: April 3rd, 2013
As the holiday of Shavuos rapidly approaches and the days of Sefirah draw to an end, what better way to prepare oneself for the holiday of receiving the Torah than to actually increase one’s familiarity with it? The Soncino Classics Collection on CD-ROM is a great accompaniment to your studies whether you a beginner or a scholar.
The Soncino Classics edition comes packed with many seforim. The Chumash (five books of Moses) comes with the complete Hebrew text of the Chumash as well as the Prophets and Writings. In addition, the full Hebrew text comes with the option of being displayed with Nekudos (vowelization) and/or the trop (cantillation). It also comes with a complete English translation. Rashi’s commentary is also included. However, it is only in Hebrew.
To complement your studies of the Chumash, the Midrash Rabbah makes an excellent accompaniment. The Soncino Midrash Rabbah comes with a complete Hebrew / Aramaic text and a complete English translation along with footnotes to help you better understand what you’re reading. The English translation includes a handy Glossary, Index, and Abbreviation section which will assist you in looking up difficult terms, finding specific concepts or people and helping you out with abbreviations that you are unfamiliar with.
For those who have a good command of the Talmud and its commentaries and who want to learn one of the most complex subjects of Jewish studies, the classics edition comes with the Zohar. The Soncino Zohar, like the Midrash Rabbah, comes with the complete Hebrew/Aramaic text. Included in the text is the Zohar, Ra’aya Mehemna Sitrei Torah, Midrash Ha-Ne’elam Idra Rabbah, Idra Zutrah, Raza D’raza, and Tikkunei Zohar. However, the English translation that appears in the software is only for the Zohar and parts of the Ra’aya Mehemna.
You will be quite surprised too at the way this program runs. The program allows you to link texts. The links allow the user to scroll trough various windows simultaneously. For example, if you were looking at the Talmud in one window and at Rashi in another, and you have yet another window open with the English translation of the Talmud, the link will allow you to scroll through all of them at the same time without having to navigate each window individually.
With all of these great works, there might come a time where you would like to find something specific. The program comes with a Hebrew-English search function that allows the user to search the texts with great ease, and for those who prefer Hebrew, there is an option that allowing you to switch the menus into Hebrew.
While studying, you may come across something you would like to print. What if you would like the English translation along with the Hebrew/Aramaic text of the Talmud? The program gives you the option of actually printing it all on the same page. And, not only does Soncino Classics Collection allow you to print directly through the program, but if you want to copy the text into another program, Soncino allows the user to copy and paste into other applications such as an English or Hebrew word processor, etc.
The program was designed to be considerate to those who might need bigger print or the like. The user can actually adjust the font size to his preferences. In addition to this, the color and styles can also be adjusted.
The installation of the program is relatively easy. What I happened to really like is that you have the option to install the entire program onto your hard drive. Besides the advantage of the program running much faster when it is installed on the hard drive rather than off the disk, I like the idea of not having to shlep the CD around when I am on the go.
The requirements for the program are minimal. In fact, for those of you whose computers are not up to date, you have no excuse as far as this program is concerned. The program runs on a PC or MAC (I am sure our MAC readers will be thrilled with this), and the requirements are as follows. All PC users need to run the Soncino Classics Collection are: windows 3.1 or higher, a VGA or SVGA display, at least 4MB of RAM, CD-ROM drive. For Mac users, all you need is 4MB of Ram and a CD-ROM.
This product can be purchased online at www.davka.com or at your better local Jewish bookstore.Shimon Lewin
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