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How many users on this website use programs such as Otzer HaChachma or Bar Ilan to make advanced searches in order to answer questions? I've seen in the past those that use the search function on Hebrew Books in order to find answers (or making a Google search as well and finding many answers.) However the search of Otzer HaChachma and/or Bar Ilan is seemingly much better and could yield more practical and localized answers.

Making a search on one of these programs certainly doesn't guarantee an answer. Many times you must sift through many results and read carefully until you find exactly what you are looking for and what can answer the question.

However I've seen many times answers that unless the person spent much time looking, is a massive Talmud Chacham, or simply had Siyata Dishmaya and already saw what could be considered an "obscure" Teshuva, then usually the aid of a computer program is what helped produce the answer. Not that this is a bad thing or a wrong thing. On the contrary it's an unbelievable tool. I always say in the mitzvah of Talmud Torah there are 2 parts. One that a person has to simply know what is written (where ever it might be) and however the person can get to this then that's how it should be done. The other is the "work" that a person puts into coming to a clear understanding in Torah and gaining Torah knowledge.

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I sometimes use not-very-advanced searches in Soncino Classics. I then read the context for whatever it found that looks promising.

  • In linux, the commmand pdfgrep works well for this. I downloaded all the Soncino texts from halakhah.com and search them using pdfgrep. pdfgrep.sourceforge.net – Menachem Nov 11 '12 at 19:12
  • @Menachem The Soncino app has a built-in search function. – Alex Mar 5 '19 at 17:27

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