The internet helps fulfill a medieval will at HARAMBAM:

The Bodleian Libraries are the proud custodian of Maimonides’ authorized manuscript copy of his major halachic work, the Mishneh Torah, a code meant to collect disparate rulings and to present them “succinctly and clearly, so that all the Oral Torah will be easily accessible to all.” … A later owner of the copy, a certain Eleazar, son of Perahya, stipulated in his will that this and the other volumes of the Code (now lost) should remain in the public domain for consultation….
In line with the will of Eleazar ben Perahya the Bodleian Libraries have always granted access to this precious document of Jewish Law. Conservation concerns and practical considerations, however, have thus far limited the possibility of consulting this authorized version of the Code. Modern technology once and for all has overcome these limitations and enables the Bodleian Libraries in an unexpected way to perform the religious duty (mizvah) of fulfilling the words of the deceased by giving universal access to the Mishneh Torah, authorized and approved by Maimonides.

Click on “Read the Manuscript” and you get a beautiful, zoomable reproduction of each page. (Thanks, Paul!)


  1. Thank G-d the internet was invented. Where would we be without Al Globe?

  2. Lars (the original one) says

    once and for all — but the page is made in Flash, and friends don’t let friends run Flash. The bits may live, but the technology dies.

  3. Stu Clayton says

    In other words, DON’T KLICK ON THAT “GET ADOBE FLASH PLAYER” ICON at the top middle of a blank black page. If you already see something different, you’re doomed until you deinstall that piece of poisoned software.

  4. David Marjanović says

    I already had Flash installed, suffered no ill effects, and don’t understand the need for the splash video.

  5. Stu Clayton says

    Security vulnerabilities. You don’t get bitten immediately.

    # Flash Player once had a large user base, and was a common format for web games, animations, and graphical user interface (GUI) elements embedded in web pages. Adobe stated in 2013 that more than 400 million out of over 1 billion connected desktops update to the new version of Flash Player within six weeks of release.[11] Flash Player has become increasingly criticized for its performance, consumption of battery on mobile devices, the number of security vulnerabilities that had been discovered in the software, and its closed platform nature. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was highly critical of Flash Player, having published an open letter detailing Apple’s reasoning for banning Flash from its iOS device family. Its usage has also waned because of modern web standards that allow some of Flash’s use cases to be fulfilled without third-party plugins.[12][13][14]

    In July 2017, Adobe announced[15] that it would end support for Flash Player at the end of 2020, and continued to encourage the use of open HTML5 standards in place of Flash.[16][17] The announcement was coordinated with Apple,[18] Facebook,[19] Google,[20] Microsoft,[21] and Mozilla.[22] #

    Adobe Flash Player: Security

  6. Somebody should alert the Bodleian. (One of my favorite lines from an apocalyptic science fiction story, which has stuck with me for over half a century now: “Pity about the Bodleian, though.”)

  7. Lars (the original one) says

    Actually Google Chrome has a built-in Flash player, probably lacking a lot of the less secure features of the original product, but perfectly capable of running most SWF files I encounter. (There was this site that tried to use Flash to store and run the installation files for a standalone client. No dice). I am willing to take the bet that Chrome sandboxes its builtin Flash at least as well as some of the other stuff I’m running. It was the ancient Netscape API used to start the Adobe version of Flash that was basically one big security hole, plus various OS access functions that you don’t want random webpages to be able to use.

    The problem on the Maimonides page is probably that it tries to run some Flash code and fails so it thinks there is no plugin available. I took the risk and clicked the little icon, Chrome then asked me to allow Flash and the page worked without downloading anything.

    But that’s a question of time. “[Google] will remove Flash completely from Chrome toward the end of 2020.” I just hope my go-to Sudoku site has earned enough money from me by then to reimplement itself in HTML5.

    There will probably ‘always’ be third-party extensions available to run Flash — cf VIC-20 emulators — but Adobe’s download page will almost certainly not help you find them. (At a guess, an unoptimized Flash bytecode VM can probably be written in less than 100K of compressed Javascript, maybe 20K, but using it for your RMTP player might run your phone too hot to hold).

  8. Lars (the original one) says

    @DM, it’s not just the splash page that’s Flash, all the page display and navigation is too, even the menu box at the top. And it’s singularly lacking in contact information. (Quick test, right click anywhere and if it says “About Adobe Flash Player …” somewhere near the bottom, it’s Flash you’re looking at).

    Also I have to correct myself, Oracle (who own the Adobe brand) seem to have broken under pressure and developed a version that uses Google’s new PPAPI instead of the old and broken NPAPI, so Chrome is running ‘real’ Flash but in its own sandbox. There were some versions of Chrome where that wasn’t so because Oracle was playing chicken with Google. But Adobe is ending support in 2020 as well, so the end result is the same.

  9. Stu Clayton says

    Lars: I’m sure it’s nice to know all those details, but I feel strongly that non-tech people should be told simply to avoid the Adobe Flash Player, as I do.

    “Flash Player” is tech parlance for any software that can handle video formats originally developed by Adobe, such as SWF, FLV itd. A “Flash player built into Chrome” is something quite different from an “Adobe Flash Player installed in Chrome”.

  10. Stu Clayton says

    so Chrome is running ‘real’ Flash but in its own sandbox.


  11. Lars (the original one) says

    Of course you can reduce your risk profile by never enabling Flash, but you can also just never turn on your computer. Walk to the library and get a real book, both are better for the soul.

    Less facetiously, Flash security has been tightened down a lot and these days the bad guys are targeting other exploits, so if you are on a reasonably modern system then avoiding Flash isn’t a high priority. Now Facebook…

  12. We’ve come a long way since

  13. Stu Clayton says

    But perhaps not so much as regards fiddlement mentalities, whether of the Linux or W*nd*ws tendency.

    Forget smooth video – how are you going to write programs that break down into parallelizable pieces, to take advantage of 4096 CPUs ?

  14. David Marjanović says

    it’s not just the splash page that’s Flash, all the page display and navigation is too, even the menu box at the top.

    Madness! Sparta even!


    Stealth Russian from Stu!

    (Or FYLOSC or lots of other things.)

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