Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Feasting on the smaller fish
It's been a while since we took Artscroll to task here, and maybe because the topic was tiring. I think we have another issue at hand.
Your local Jewish paper probably had a big spread from "Ma Torah" (as in Ma Bell...) about another "landmark project" they're about to complete. It's the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, a good choice if you ask me, although not so popular among the Bnei Torah. (what do Hungarians know about Torah anyway, right?) My guess for them choosing the KSA that the MB has already been translated by another publishing company (Feldheim?) and they can't do the big Shulchan Aruch, soooo, enter the KSA. It seems like the boys at Artscroll never can decide on a project and stick to it; they always for new and exciting things to do. If only they'd stay focused maybe the Yerushalmi would already be completed, as well as other projects that take forever to complete. That's not to say we don't appreciate the good work they do, even if they do rely heavily on previous editions of translated works...
Anyway, judging from their insatiable need to advertise and publicize (of course, all in the name of spreading Torah...) one might say that Artscroll never seems content with what they do. I'm not suggesting they rest on their collective laurels, I'm saying that it seems like they want it all, like nobody else is allowed to do anything related to Torah and English anymore. It's as if they're trying to beat everybody else at anything Torah and English, and not just because they have more of a drive or need to do it. There's a sense of entitlement there that I don't think they earned. How did Reb Avrom Yehoshua Soloveitchik put it last year when they came to him to sign on to the Oz VeHodor fiasco? אלע מוזען געבן פאר קופת העיר, און אלע מוזען קויפען עוז והדר! "Let others make Parnossoh too!", he cried. The same can be said for the English Torah-books publishers; let others do their holy work!