The Stone Chumash
- Software review of the Stone Chumash
- The Stone Chumash has quickly become the Modern Classic commentary on the Torah, now available widespread in many synagogues in the English speaking world. The Stone has the complete Chumash, the Torahs Haf Torahs, the Megillos, and the Stone commentary. It is one of the clearer English translations available today. And the commentary is enthralling, clear, and 100% authentic.
- The Stone Chumash software contains all this, plus gives the Chumash a dimension that only a computer can give. The Stone chumash software comes with the entire commentary Rashi, Onkeloes, and graphics links. It contains a list of the 613 Mitzvoes that Jews are obligated to follow, including their biblical sources. It also contains a Gematria calculator, and graphics, a Hebrew English Note pad, and Hyper text Note taking feature, a search and verse compiler, and will link the Commentary to the Chumash.
- What you get: The Stone Chumash that I loaded for my IBM came with 4 disks in the box, a rather useful manual, a set of Hebrew letter stickers for my keyboard, and a registration card. The software is distributed through TES, who has a dandy of Tech support department. I have often spent many hours with Linda on the phone, figuring out customers problems, or going over particular glitches that various programs have. I have found them extremely helpful
- What it is: The Stone Chumash is really a Macintosh program that has been adapted for IBM machines. On an IBM the program works on DOS. TES says that the software should work on the Windows 95 operating systems without a problem, and TES is rarely wrong about these things. It will save files in a WINDOWS, DOS, or MAC format for both the Hebrew and the English, giving the program some decent compatibility with most operating systems and Hebrew word processors, including Dagash.
- The Macintosh program appears to have sound and voice notes. IBM versions don't have this compatibility. But the prospects of hearing a Haf Torah through the computer are quite intrigueing, and I would encourage the developers to expand on this feature.
- Installation: Like most DOS programs, Installation of the Stone Chumash is as easy as one to three. Put the install disk into the floppy drive when you have a DOS prompt, cue up the floppy drive with a "a:" or a "b:", depending on which is your floppy drive, and type "Install." Follow the screen instructions for swapping the floppy disks, and poof your done. Installation should be done from DOS, not from windows if possible. This is a glitch free process.
- What does it do: Upon loading the program, the Stone Software boots up a complete Macintoch windows like environment, with a Graphic of the 5 books of the Chumash, the Haf Torahs, and the Megillos. In the upper left, you are given a choice of "English/Hebrew", "English only", and "Hebrew Only" for the view of the text in the program. Clicking on one of the books "opens" the book up for your learning enjoyment. If you open the Book Genesis in Hebrew and English, the screen opens to Berashies 1:1, with the complete Hebrew and the English linear Stone translation.
- A few words of caution are in order at this point. The program, for some reason, has a habit of opening the screen without any letters in it. This has been a puzzle for me. It seems that for some reason, at times, upon start up, the fonts don't kick in. Across the top of the screen appears a menu bar. If you click the choice "view", and chose a Hebrew font, everything appears, and all is normal. This is a minor inconvenience, and it doesn't happen all the time. It may not happen to you. But TES is checking out this problem, and I expect that this will be fixed in a shot time.
- Another thing that you should be aware of, is that the IBM program can open 6 windows at once, and the Mac version 10 windows at once. The program is so packed with useful features, that it is easy to accidently try open a seventh windows ie: Chumash, Stone commentary, Rashi, a Personal notetaker, A verse list, Onkeloes, and a graphic and seven is a new note! and poof - your in trouble. Generally, when overwhelmed, the program gives you a warning, and simply doesn't open the seventh window. But - there is a slight possibility that you can try to open this seventh window, and lose some data that you've been working on. I've used this program now about 150 times, as it has quickly become very useful to me. This has only happened once. But you should be aware of this possible occurrence. In this line, it is better to use this program in DOS. I use a 486 sx with a zip drive and a 170 meg Hard drive and 12 megs of RAM. By today's standards, my machine is considered small to mid size in it's memory capacity. Like any program, the less windows junk that your computer is juggling, the more room it has to do the task on hand. Windows, and all it's graphic interfaces, can use up massive amounts of Virtual memory, memory best used for the Stones own windows interface.
***This program has the easiest menu I've seen yet for opening up books and search out phrases (to be discussed below).***
Once you have the section that you want to view open, opening any of the commentaries for this section is easy as Kosher cheese cake. Click on the file and open the commentary that you want to view. It opens to the first paragraph of the commentary, Berashies 1:1. Click back to the opened Chumash section. Put the mouse on the verse you want to see the commentary for, and hold down the alternate key and click the mouse. Now the commentary automatically links to the open Chumash, and scrolls forward to the section your looking at. It takes less than 5 seconds. Between the ease of the linking of the commentaries to the text, and the wonderfully simple and implicit search engine this program has, this has become the most used program in my software library.
- If you want to jump to another Book or Parsha, this is remarkably easy. Click on Search located on the memory bar and hold down the button. Slide the mouse down to where you want to go to, a chapter, a new book or a Parsha.
- Searching: Let's say your not sure where the source of something is, but you know that you want to search for Biblical sources of the Laws dealing with Family Purity and the women's obligation to use a Mikva. Well your in luck if you have a Stone Chumash, because it has the easiest to use, and most wonderful search engine I've seen to date!
- Click search and screen pops up with the search engine. Type in the word "Impurity", choose to make a verse list, and search. The program now searches out all the verses with this word in it. It can either compile a list of verse sources, or the verses themselves. Now you can scan this list, and find a verse that you want research. So you alternate/click that verse, and in microseconds, the chapter pops up for your learning pleasure! Now that the Chumash is opened to the correct section, Alternate/click the chapter, and the Stone Commentary is opened up for you! or the Rashi, or the Onkeloes! Within ten seconds the entire Mesoras has been opened up for you on this subject. This is a tribute to the power of the authentic Stone commentary, one of the best in the business. If your an advanced Torah Scholar, the commentary has annotated 100's of Rishonim, and Tanaic sources, placing 3000 years of Jewish learning at your foot steps!
- Now you can copy the verses, Commentaries, and sources, and put them into a note, add any graphics you think might be warranted, add your own comments, and link the note to the Chumash files themselves so that the whole private learning session, can be linked automatically to the Chumash, everytime you open this section of Chumash up. Save it as a Windows file, and use it with you Hebrew or English word processor. Print it out from the program and make a written record.
- What it means to be connected: Nearly everything in this program is collectable with a click of the mouse. The program has more links, hyper texts, graphics, then the internet. Verse Lists connect the Chumash, which connects to Commentaries, which connect to notes, which connect to Lists, which connect to graphics, which connect more commentary, graphics, Chumash pages, notes, and files. The program brings new meaning to the phrase - Reach out and Touch Somebody! And this is why I mentioned that it's important to try not to go over your 6 windows. It's much easier to do then you might at first think.
- I'm not writing the manual to this program, so I won't get into the fifty ways to Sunday that you can use to access the information that is stored here. But, if for any strange reason, this is not enough, you can also import into the program graphics in PCX form, text notes, and pages as you deem necessary. Flexibility is the name of the game here. You can NEVER outgrown this program. As long as there is a computer with DOS, this program will keep giving you years of learning. It is only limited by YOU.
- And I haven't even discussed the Gematria calculator and the lists of 613 Mitzvas ect that this program contains.
- Rating: This program is a MUST BUY for anyone interested in Learning Chumash, no matter their level of learning. I rate this Program a four star out of five. Give it a look. Despite a few of it's minor glitches you won't be sorry.