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Siddur Torah Ohr of R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi


Join us in creating a faithful digital transcription of the Siddur Torah Ohr (R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812)), a critical text of the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l.

The Siddur Torah Ohr was originally prepared by the Alter Rebbe, R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), the founder of the חב״ד ḤaBaD movement within Ḥassidut. Torah Ohr witnesses the Nusaḥ Ha-Ari, a nusaḥ prepared by R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi according to the tradition of R’ Yitzchak Luria, also known as the ARI. This siddur was originally published in 1803 in Shklov. The edition we are transcribing was prepared by anonymous editors according to the text of R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi and published by Shulzinger Brothers in Brooklyn, New York 1940.

Transcribing Siddur Torah Ohr began in the Summer of 2010 and continues today. Transcription of the siddur including commentary began in 2006 on Wikisource. Integration of wikisource material with this transcription effort was completed in July 2010. In June 2010, we received some transcriptions of liturgy prepared by Shmuel Gonzales for a another, later siddur prepared by Ḥabad, the Siddur Tehillat Hashem. If you are looking for downloadable segments of transcribed liturgy, please check Shmuel Gonzales’ Nusach Ha-Ari transcriptions.

After transcription and proofreading, this new digital edition will be shared under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) Public Domain dedication. The edition will then be encoded in TEI XML and archived in the Open Siddur database, a libre Open Access liturgy database.

Skills necessary

To participate in this transcription project, you will need the following:

  • basic literacy in Hebrew.
  • typing with a Hebrew keyboard layout including the full range of Hebrew diacritics (niqqud and t’amim) — (see here for more information)
  • registration in the collaborative transcription project, Hebrew Wikisource.

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8 comments to Siddur Torah Ohr of R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi

  • We should also note the unusual copyright status of this work:
    It was published in 1940 (or 1941) in the US without copyright notice, and no renewal records could be found. That’s why we consider this copy to be public domain, even though it was published after 1923.

  • Hi, I posted an “external link” at Hebrew Wikisource to this page, with a notice that the work begun there has continued here. This is the link:

  • Hi. I’d like to point out to you that the work you incorporated here from Hebrew Wikisource is NOT licensed THERE as CC0. It IS licensed there either under GFDL or CC BY-SA.

    Now, to my knowledge, I happen to be the major contributor to the work done on this sidur at he.wikisource.org. I do not claim copyright to the text itself, but would like to point out that the work that exists at he.wikisource.org may include typographical or other editorial elements that may be protected by copyright.

    I’m not pushing this issue or asking you to change your existing license, as the question of whether such stuff can be the subject of copyright is controversial. However, I merely wanted to point out that a “Free” license doesn’t always necessarily mean no copyright exists. I do not mind you using my work here, and am sure any other possible contributors to he.wikisource.org would feel the same. But in future, you should be aware of possible license conflicts and ask in advance permission for such minor changes in the license; most chances are, the owners of any possible rights would be more than glad to accommodate you if you ask nicely.

  • Avatar aharonium

    Hi Nahum. Thanks so much for working on this transcription at wikisource. I am not a lawyer, so please read my following comments with that in mind.

    I’m really surprised by your statement that there might be some copyrighted work in your transcription project. Could you be more forthcoming and explicit about what is copyright in your transcription? My thinking would be that a good transcription would try to be as faithful to the original (in this case, Public Domain) text, as possible. This is why in our own transcription work, we show the image of the work we’re transcribing side by side with our transcription. For our own transcription look here, and for our transcribed texts awaiting proofreading, see here.

    To quote my friend Efraim, “Creative Commons was prescient enough to explicitly exclude public domain material from any licensing restrictions in their CC licenses (term #2 in the legalese), so there’s no suspicion that CC licenses attempt to (legally or illegally) reclaim content from the public domain. The meaning of the term in plain English in the deed. That’s what happens when you have good lawyers with an interest in freedom writing your licenses for you.” There is no conflict since the Siddur Torah Ohr already resides in the Public Domain and changing the format of a work (print to digital) does not grant a copyright to the transcriber.

    I can only add that the GFDL hasn’t applied to Wikisource data since the Summer of 2009. So long as wikisource files were licensed GFDL, we could not use them because of the conflict between CC-BY-SA and GFDL.

    We are grateful to everyone who contributes Jewish resources on wikisource. It is thanks to the compatibility of the free/libre and copyleft license ecosystem (CC0, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA) that we are able do the work we do, integrating works contributed with any of these three licenses. Thanks to these licenses, other projects and transcribers are free to use these works. One of the reasons that I am such a fan of these Creative Commons licenses is that by using them I am explicitly granting permission to others to use these works.

    Shavuah Tov and Happy Purim. נהפוך הוא

    this comment was edited for minor spelling and grammar

  • Nahum and Dovi,

    I’ll reiterate Aharon’s thanks for the work you’ve done so far. We intend to be particularly careful about copyright issues; if you think I’m getting any of this wrong, let us know and let us know why. We are, of course, well aware that all free licenses are not universally compatible. I am not a lawyer either.

    I don’t think we would need additional permissions here, for a number of reasons:
    (1) We have a print copy of the siddur that (to the best of our knowledge) is public domain in the US. To the best of my knowledge, anything copied from Wikisource was checked against the page images (at least in a first pass) to make sure it corresponded to what was in the image. If there are still any differences (or typos), they’re bugs that should be corrected. I did a quick look through (not a complete proofread!) of what we have from Torah Or on our wiki already. What I found had no copyrightable elements I could see. The changes from the page images were: different paragraph breaking; addition of quotation characters; and inconsistent, but mechanical, substitution of the Tetragrammaton. These are bugs that should be corrected.
    (2) Wikisource is dual licensed GFDL 1.3/CC-BY-SA 3.0. CC-BY-SA explicitly disclaims placing any additional restrictions on public domain works (see term #2). Because of (1), we don’t want any additional (potentially) copyrightable elements. The non-copyrightable elements are public domain, independent of the license.
    (3) That said, the Wikisource transcription should still be credited as the source for everything that was from Wikisource. That’s our error, and we need to fix it. (We do have a mechanism for crediting external sources.)
    (4) Much of this is moot anyway, as we have a more complete transcription of Nusach ha-Ari (transcribed independently, but from a related work) that needs to be compared to our known public domain version. We need help with this.


  • Thanks Nahum. I’d just like to point out to all that Nahum clarified the matter publicly at the Hebrew Wikisource “Miznon” too.

    We’re all looking forward to productive cooperation!

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