Tuesday, , 17 Oct 2017
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The Otzar Sefarim of Yeshivat Sha'alvim - The Motzen Library

The Otzar Sefarim of Yeshivat Sha'alvim lives up to its name- a treasure of sacred literature in all realms.

The library was established in the era of the Yom Kippur War. It supplied a response to the needs of a handful of students. With the assistance of Avremi Motzen and Shlomo Aumann the library received a strong push forward and developed into a library that provided on a larger scale intellectual and spiritual resources in quantitative and qualitative realms.

After the death of the dear friends Shlomo and Avremi, may Hashem avenge their deaths, in the First Lebanon War, the Motzen Family rose to the task of strengthening and further developing the library.

The family forged a relationship with the yeshiva and the person responsible for the library. It began a massive project of acquisitions of Torah literature in all realms, in order to upgrade the Otzar into a magnet for all who seek Torah literature.

The literary phrase "Motzen Library" is prominently displayed on books, shelves, plaques and dedications throughout the Otzar and the various libraries of the yeshiva Beit Midrash. Once when I was walking in the Otzar I overheard an overseas student innocently remark to his friend: "Who is this prominent millionaire Motzen, whose name we see in every corner?"

The father, Yosef Shlomo, of blessed memory, was totally dedicated to the Otzar, in body & in soul. He tended the Otzar, fostered its growth, recruited sponsors and monitored its development. At the beginning of each month he would request the lists of new sefarim in various fields of scholarship, not resting until the volumes had been acquired, adding the name of the donor to each volume with the appropriate dedication.

On trips overseas he would recruit people who maintained low profiles to make dedications in memory of their loved ones exclusively on volumes of the Otzar. The yellow stickers with the "Motzen Library" caption began to appear throughout the yeshiva, virtually on every shelf and shtender.

The Otzar Sefarim- Motzen Library presently contains approximately 98,470 titles and 155,000 volumes. The volumes are catalogued in an exemplary fashion. In the Otzar one finds volumes on:

Tanach, with the accompanying commentators and researchers, numerous drashot on the Torah in the various terminologies and types.

Mishnayot with the commentators, Toseftot with the relevant literature of that era, Talmudic Midrashim, the entire writings of the Rishonim, and the majority of the literature of the Achronim. These include works that follow the pages of the gemara, those that focus on topics and those that encompass entire Masechtot.

Aids for Talmud study and in-depth understanding, through every sugya, halachic decisions starting at the time of the Geonim, continuing to the generation of the Rambam, to that of the Shulchan Aruch, to the halachic authorities of our generation, each with his particular sttyle.

Halachic decisions, responsum, volumes that deal with halachic topics, concentrated shiurim dealing with each and every topic to be found in the 4 sections of the Shulchan Aruch.

Literature addressing penetrating Jewish thought in the realms of: prayer, festivals, homiletics, ethics, philosophy, Chassidut and even Kabbalah.

In the Otzar one finds numerous manuscripts. Literature of the yeshivot, periodicals, research, memorial volumes, literature dealing with biology, the Holocaust, marriage, education, grammer and even exrensive research concerning linguistic matters.

The Otzar utilizes a unique catalogue system, which has been acquired by other yeshivot, which glorifies the process and enhances the productivity.

Virtually every volume that fits the critera of Torani scholarship is acquired by the Otzar and finds its place in the appropriate section.

Mr. Motzen was fond of saying: "Request what you need to study, clarify what has been published, buy it...and Avremi in Heaven will hear your words and will arouse Rachamim and the financial element will be taken care of."

The books are divided into the 22 letters of the alphabet, with each letter representing the major topic, and an accompanying number symbolizing the details of the topic. For example the letter "Aleph" represents sections that deal with Tanach, and the number "80" refers to the topic of "Mishkan & Mikdash". Thus we have volumes that engage topics of Faith & Mikdash.

An additional, new & innovative component of the Otzar has been donated by the family: Digital Torah literature, Torani Database. From the inception of the Bar-Ilan Responsum project, Mr. Motzen of blessed memory requested that we subscribe to the Responsum project. In the first stage we subscribed to the giant computer in Bar-Ilan University. Via cable communications we provided access to those who studied in the Otzar, and to scholars in various research forums. The family took care of the monthly subscription and dues for usage. Afterwards, via donations of the family we acquired the database itself, and the modern computer which operated it. Until the 18th version we remained up-to-date, acquiring the new version each year in advent of the yahrtzeit of Avremi, may Hashem avenge his blood.

In additon with the funds donated by the family we acquired the giant DBS database, and the "Otzar HaChachma" with its 45,000 volumes on a hard-drive with 1000 gigabytes. We continue to upgrade the program, placing it on the internet web for the use of owners of laptop computers.

Subsequent to the passing of Reb Yosef Motzen, of blessed memory, the son Yaakov, and grandson, Assaf Hevlin, assumed the responsibility to continue their grandfatherr's work, via acquisitions, dedications, and covering the budget of the Otzar.

In the near future, the catalog of the Otzar will go online. Thus anyone who so desires can check if a specific volume exists in the Otzar, which volumes engage a specific topic etc'. Every week we survey what has been published, classify what is appropriate for the Otzar, and acquire it. All of the volumes are in the computer system, borrowing a sefer is done via the medium of a computer and each and every volume is accounted for.

Without a doubt, this memorial for Avremi Motzen, may Hashem avenge his blood, is the most appropriate and fitting one for his unique character. Avremi merited that the giving towards others that marked him during his life, continues in his spirit after he died via Sanctifying The Name.