The Bible, the best-selling book in history, is transitioning into the 21st century. An online project which intends to produce the first grassroots Bible, Tanakh b’Mirshetet (The Bible Online) has uploaded the entire Tanakh online. Each of its 23,127 verses is awaiting a participant that chooses a verse on the site, and may dedicate it, or indicate why they chose it. The final objective is to get 23,127 people to select one verse each, thus having a complete Tanakh annotated on the internet by the Israeli public.
So far some 8,000 verses have been chosen. There are around 15,000 more to be selected and personalized. Upon completing registration, each participant receives a certificate attesting to his participation.
The aim of the project, Raphael Harkham, project coordinator, told Tazpit News Agency, is to highlight the Bible’s unique value, not only to the Jewish people, but as a platform for dialogue: “It’s a project to unite Israelis from all different sectors, while strengthening the connection between the nation and the Book. It is a great platform for Tanakh conversation and a great tool for Tanakh study. We are also working to get Israeli youths involved. I feel this project is especially important for them because they represent Israel’s future.”
The site is currently in Hebrew, and four other versions are planned – English, French, Spanish, and Russian.
The website launched in April 2011 as part of a global project run by The Bible Valley, a non-profit organization, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry. In the project, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world, of all faiths, copy the Bible in their own handwriting, in 100 languages. This was preceded by the Bible Valley’s inaugural project “Children of the World Illustrate the Bible”, in which hundreds of thousands of Bible paintings were sent from 91 countries.
After all the verses of the Tanakh have been selected, the book will be printed, and along with the Bibles in 100 languages, will be placed in the planned Heichal Hatanach (The Hall of the Bible), to be built at the City of David in Jerusalem.
At the launch of the website, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cabinet were the first to choose their verses. Netanyahu chose the first verse: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:4). Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon chose “A Song of Ascents. I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains: from whence shall my help come?” (Psalms 121:1). Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he chose his verse because this was the vision of the prophets of Israel for the entire world: “While the Tanakh has a universal aspect, it is, first of all, the Jewish people’s book of books. The Tanakh conquers with its ideals, faith and unique character. No other book can compare to it. We hope that one day peace will prevail among all nations, and nation will not lift up sword against nation.”