You are at work and you want to look up a Rashba on Baba Kamma. You are on vacation and you don’t want to carry all your Seforim with you. You need to look up a Sefer, but your Shul or Yeshiva library doesn’t own it. You are doing research and you need to look up a reference in an obscure Sefer printed in the 18th century.
This post is dedicated to Rabbi Rosenberg and all those who assist him in his endeavor to make Seforim available to the public anywhere in the world, at any time.
What started out as a project to save from oblivion the Seforim printed in America has blossomed into a virtual library of some 40,000 titles, literally at one’s fingertips. Hebrewbooks.org offers free of charge access to PDF’s of almost any Sefer imaginable. A search feature is included, in addition to a virtual keyboard. You can download any Sefer you want to peruse at your convenience. There is even a link to Amazon.com, where you can choose to have the Sefer of your choice printed, bound and shipped for a nominal fee.
Another amazing feature is the commentaries on the Rambam. You can choose any Halacha of the Rambam and see at a glance which Meforshim comment, and the digital text of what they say. This is a huge time saver, precluding the need to open up the various commentators.
Recently another section has been added to the site, which enables one to quickly see which Meforshim are available for any given page in Shas. Another new feature enables one to search the Shu”t Seforim for a Siman, rather than a page number.
You can search by author, you can search by title. You can even do an OCR search. The neatest feature shows the title page when you mouse-over the entry. Suppose there are several Seforim with the same name. Or even the same Sefer from different years. This quickly allows you to find what you need.
I’ve said in the past that in all good lies some evil. There is no evil on this website.
Disclaimer: I have no connection whatsoever to Hebrewbooks.org.