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What is NAFSHI?

The Nafshi project enables you to explore the Hebrew text of Tehillim and Mishlei with an online translation and commentary. Although it is based on traditional sources, NAFSHI offers you a creative approach, resulting in an easy-to-understand resource that makes the material more relevant to your life. To see the Introduction to Tehillim, click here. To see the first chapter, click here. If you wish, you can click on either the Tehillim or Mishlei tab above and then select the article (e.g. a chapter of Tehillim) you want to see. You can freely print out any article, which is in PDF format.

If you wish to see how Mishlei deals with the universal concepts of ethics and morality, click here and you will see typical proverbs arranged alphabetically by concept. Each proverb is in turn linked to a full explanation of its meaning.

About the Editor of NAFSHI:

Yitzchok Kirzner is the editor of a number of popular seforim, including Call of the Torah (Artscroll) and the Ohr Avigdor series on Chovos Halevavos. You can contact him by writing to isaac@kirzner.com.

How Does NAFSHI Work?

You can freely download and copy the text for individual chapters of Tehillim or Mishlei. There is no restriction on non-commercial reproduction of this material on a chapter-by-chapter basis. However, you may not publish it in book form or put it to any commercial use.

In the case of Mishlei, the pesukim within each chapter are also grouped in segments, consisting of one or more pesukim that present a coherent idea. You may reproduce individual segments or entire chapters, as long as the material is not being put to commercial use and is not published in book form.

What makes Nafshi unique?
Nafshi was originally developed to meet the challenge of those who have difficulty in understanding what they are saying when they recite Tehillim. The fact that each posuk can be interpreted in many ways adds to the richness of the text but makes it more challenging to get a feeling for the meaning. The train of thought leading from one posuk to another is often unclear. Although there are many meforshim on Tehillim they cannot be absorbed without concentrated study.

Nafshi was designed to make Tehillim more accessible and so the literal words of each mizmor have been expanded to include the implied words that David might have used if he wanted to be less ambiguous (albeit less poetic). Additional linkage text has been incorporated within the translation to help establish the flavor, not just of a posuk, but of the entire flow of meaning. In addition, where a mizmor contains passages corresponding to the words of different speakers, these are clearly indicated.

Conventional translations are severely restricted by the fact that one translation cannot possibly convey the wide variety of interpretations that are out there. To resolve this problem Nafshi presents a single coherent view of the simple p’shat, reflecting the thoughts of as many meforshim as possible, but oriented to whatever makes the text more relevant to our present generation. A source index is generally included at the end of each chapter or segment, identifying the sources used for each posuk.

In recent years NAFSHI was expanded to include the Book of Proverbs (Mishlei). The same basic techniques were used, although more emphasis was placed on exploring the theme of each segment (posuk or group of related pesukim).

Authorship
NAFSHI was produced and edited with the help of Hashem by Yitzchok Kirzner of Flatbush, Brooklyn. The original technical design was provided by Mayer Fogel. Baruch Wahrhaftig is responsible for continuity of design and technical implementation as we move to a new technical platform (WordPress). For further information, please write to the following address: isaac@kirzner.com.

Latest NAFSHI News

Please note that the NAFSHI project is a work in progress. New material is added on a weekly basis. If you wish to be kept up to date, please check the NAFSHI News column to the right.

Recent Nafshi News Posts

News Item – Mishlei 20-12

29 Iyar – May 11. Alertness. In a new NAFSHI posting, Mishlei 20-12 teaches the importance of our critical biological sensory instruments (eyes and ears) to maintain awareness of our surroundings. It is our duty to maximize our use of these gifts from Hashem by staying  alert so that we can more effectively fulfill our obligations in life. Click here to read the new post.

News Item – Mishlei 20-11

28 Iyar — May 10. Character. In a new NAFSHI posting, Mishlei 20-11 discusses the subject of character. This segment points  out that a person’s underlying character traits can be revealed by patterns of childhood behavior. That suggests the importance of training in midos (character traits) from a young age.

A01 – Nafshi Activity Report

21 Iyar [May 3] — This past week the entire Nafshi web site, consisting of Mishlei and Tehillim commentaries, was switched over to a new, more powerful, technical platform called WordPress. As a result, there will be some differences in the look and feel, but the basic functionality remains the same. The purpose of the changeover has been better stability and control from a technical point of view.

There will be some clear benefits of the new platform, one of which is increased access to PDF copies of articles. No PDF versions were available in Mishlei Chapters 18 and 19. These are now being prepared using the new technology.

In conjunction with the migration to WordPress the editorial efforts have been reinvigorated. For example, four new articles have been prepared in Mishlei Chapter 20, as indicated below. Also the editorial content of the articles in Chapter 19 is in the process of being revised and updated. With the help of Hashem we hope to continue this process in the coming weeks and months.