Due to the poor health of Lithuania's last Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Shapiro, and due to his death in 1943, many of the residents of Kovno Ghetto addressed their questions to Rav Shapiro's student, Rav Ephraim Oshry. After the Shoah, Rav Oshry returned to the ghetto and retrieved the copious texts that he had written, all of which he had buried in jars. He published the bulk of them in New York in 1959, under the title שאלות ותשובות ממעמקים (Responsa from the Depths). An abridged version exists in Hebrew and also in English, the latter being titled "Responsa from the Holocaust", but neither of these versions contains the halakhic argumentation that makes of the original a text worthy of being studied (rather than just one designed to elicit an emotional response).

The volumes published in 1959 are all available at HebrewBooks.org, but I cannot bear to read literature from a computer screen and the cost of privately publishing them is prohibitive. Does anybody know if the original Hebrew texts are available for purchase? My searches have yet to reveal any promising leads.

  • have you tried a kindle? not a kindle fire, which is a computer screen, but a kindle basic, or else kindle paperwhite, which uses e-ink. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_Ink this might be easier on your eyes. May 20, 2013 at 10:11
  • They're really terrible for reading large PDFs. I tried. The best application (in my experience) is GoodReader on the iPad, but the iPad has a backlit LCD screen.
    – Shimon bM
    May 20, 2013 at 10:16
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    also, maybe this would work. onthemainline.blogspot.com/2011/10/… except i don't know if the versions mentioned on google books are printable. May 20, 2013 at 10:20
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    I seem to recall R' Rakeffet analyzing some of R' Oshry's responsa in depth in his classes at Gruss Kollel. It may have been when he did a series on the Holocaust in his Jewish History classes for a couple of months starting in February 2011. I also see that he gave a class entitled "R Ephraim Oshry" in 2007, which may have been devoted specifically to these responsa. R' Rakeffet frequently mentions the sourcing of the books he quotes, so you may find useful clues in these classes.
    – Isaac Moses
    May 20, 2013 at 15:56
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1 Answer 1


Rabbi Ephraim Oshry's son is the Rov in a shul in my neighborhood. He told me a short time ago that the family was working on republishing his father's works. I don't know what the schedule is but I assume you can contact him directly to find out. The shul is Khal Beth Avrohom on East 17th Street in Brooklyn.

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    mocdeg, please consider registering your account (it's free and easy) so that you don't lose access to your contributions here, and can participate fully in the community by voting etc.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2013 at 2:09

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