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Torah Technology

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 4/7/2020

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Torah Technology

It has been said that one can fulfill תלמודו בידו[1] with the Torah he types with his fingers on the computer. Much Torah has spread with the advent of the computer. In this light, a Chassid explained המלמד תורה בכל כלי שיר[2], who teaches Torah accompanied by every sort of instrument, as Torah can be taught in many more ways today due to technology. There are recordings of thousands of great Shiurim. One can access tons of Torah literature and Sefarim that can be hard to find. One can have a Chavrusa in a different country not only by phone but even on the computer, with actually seeing him! Much Torah has been learned during this period of the coronavirus because of technology that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. 


Although since the 1960’s, R’ Dovid Kviat’s[3] (1920-2009) hands would shake, he overcame this physical impediment and continued to write his chiddushim. However, soon very few were able to decipher his handwriting, and therefore others were unable to type them up. Undeterred, R’ Kviat was able to locate someone in Yerushalayim who could still read his writing. However, a few years before he died, R’ Kviat’s handwriting deteriorated further. Now, no one could decipher his handwriting—not even R’ Kviat himself. Undaunted, he continued to write, because writing helped him crystallize his Torah thoughts. It helped him further his understanding of the sugya. Then someone suggested that he learn how to type on a computer. His initial reaction was that he was too old to learn a skill. He was almost eighty and the shaking in his hands was significant, in addition to his eyesight being poor. Nevertheless, he tried and in a matter of days, he was typing a few thousand words a day. A few months and a few Seforim later, he called the person who taught him how to type and said, “I want a laptop!” 

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the Sefer, Fascinating Insights: Torah Perspectives On Unique Topics. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Baba Basra 10b. Literally, this means his learning is in his hand, meaning he remembers what he learned. The Maharsha (s.v. שהיו) interprets תלמודו בידו as referring to the original insights and explanations a Torah scholar commits to writing, as that is תלמודו בידו—Torah that was penned by his hand.

[2] In the Hoshanos we say on Hoshana Rabba in the paragraph למען תמים.

[3] He was a Rosh Yeshiva in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn and the Rabbi of the Agudas Yisrael Synagogue of 18th Avenue. He survived the hands of the Nazis by fleeing with the entire Yeshiva through Siberia to Kobe, Japan, through the efforts of Chiune Sugihara, and on to Shanghai, China. His father was R’ Avraham Eliezer Kviat, a student of both the Slabodka Yeshiva and the Novadok Yeshiva in Europe, although he was a Slonimer Chassid. The Kviat family was extremely poor as were most residents of Białystok at the time. We know that on Friday nights if one doesn’t have wine, Kiddush is to be recited over bread. R’ Dovid Kviat vividly recalled how his father would only make wine once per year out of raisins so that they would have the four cups for Pesach.  At the age of three, R’ Dovid's mother died. His two older brothers continued after Mesivta in the Slonimer Yeshiva called Toras Chessed. For some reason, R’ Dovid chose to go to the Mir—a Lithuanian Yeshiva—instead of the Slonimer Yeshiva. R’ Dovid Kviat is most famous for his works on Gemara entitled Sukkas Dovid. 

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