Jews have been writing, adding to the pool of Torah knowledge for thousands of years. How many complete or partial works do we have accessible, even by any means today?

  • The national library of Israel has about 5 million volumes
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 2:57
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    52,020 Classical Hebrew Books for Free Download
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 3:00
  • Welcome to MiYodeya and Sam and thanks for this first intriguing question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 3:36
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    @DoubleAA - That includes primary and secondary sources on all aspects of the Islamic religion, from its inception to the present day. Among these are Islamic law, theology, philosophy, mysticism and legal codes; the history and study of Islamic cultures. It also includes "Israeli" things including newspapers, maps, music , audio-visual and electronic material, all in a wide variety of languages and scripts. Not quite part of the pool of Torah knowledge. :-) Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 8:04
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    And to think that no so long ago that list was finite and documented in שרי האלף - info at he.wikisource.org/wiki/… Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 8:24

1 Answer 1


I would divide the answer into 2 periods.

Until about 50 years ago, the list of printed Torah literature was small enough for their bibliographies to fit into a 2-volume book - namely שרי האלף (Sarei Ha'Elef) - Masters of Thousands - referring to the 1,000 year period from the time the Talmud was sealed until the book was printed.

It was printed in 1959 in New York and then again in 1984 with all the recent additions. Since then people have been trying to keep it updated.

I can't find a "total number of books" that it contains, probably since it would depend on how you (want to) count similar editions, making the number meaningless.

More details (in Hebrew) can be found in its WikiText entry.

The second period started "recently" - somewhere before that 21st century began, when publishing became "trivial"; get a laptop, type (or copy/paste) in your spare time and once you have a few hundred pages then for a few hundred bucks you can publish your book.

Since being an author of a Torah-subject book (i.e. Sefer) is considered a prestigious achievement, it seems to have become the goal of many a Kollel-man to join that club.

As a result, there are multiple new Seforim (plural of Sefer) published daily!

And that's in the world of the Sefer, before we get to the grey area of publication appropriate for the religious home like Kosher novels, Chasidishe tales, Kosher Comic Books and similar.

At the moment you can access 90,200 Seforim (as scanned pages of the original, and searchable) if you have Access to Otzar haChochma - and they claim to be adding 5,000 Seforim yearly!

Disclaimer - I have never used Otzar haChochma and am not affiliated with them, I just see their ads occasionally and they are a good example of the scope of what the OP is looking for.

Point being that as you read this, the list grows.

  • For the record, Otzar Hachochma has a lot of doubles (and triples, and qaudruples, etc.) so the actual number of discrete sefarim available there is significantly lower.
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 9:21
  • @Alex - can you define "doubles" - I'm sure they don't simply scan the identical book twice. Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 12:19
  • @DannySchoemann They scan different printings/editions of the same sefer. For example, searching אבודרהם gives 14 hits, almost all of which are different editions of the same thing (in addition to separating a work into its respective volumes).
    – magicker72
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 14:24
  • @DannySchoemann As magicker72 said, they have multiple editions of many of the sefarim.
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 14:55
  • There are more... Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:57

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