On Sunday, Vanity Fair published a lengthy profile on Ben Shapiro’s rise to fame — but all Jewish Twitter seemed to care about was Shapiro’s bookshelf.
Great profile of @benshapiro and @JeremyDBoreing https://t.co/zIeThjhJtB— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) December 10, 2018
I was immediately intrigued by the fact that Shapiro’s bookshelf featured the Hebrew/English version of the Mishnah (the codified version of the Oral Law) published by Artscroll, and the Hebrew/English version of the Talmud (which includes rabbinic elucidation of this law, referred to as the Gemara) published by their biggest competitor, Koren. Though their titles are not clearly visible in the Vanity Fair photo, their spines are easily identifiable to Anglo Jews who study Torah regularly.
I wasn’t alone in my curiosity. Dovid Bashevkin, Director of Education for the Orthodox youth organization NCSY, tweeted:
**Broad-minded Yeshiva guy squinting at the Vanity Fair profile on Ben Shapiro**
“Artscroll edition Mishnah next to a Koren edition Talmud?!? This guy mamish is nonpartisan.” pic.twitter.com/4Fhcrh7U5z— D Bash (@DBashIdeas) December 10, 2018
Others attempted to identify other books on the shelves:
@benshapiro’s sefarim shelf, deconstructed. What a collection. pic.twitter.com/tpdVshkfr9— Yonatan Kurz (@yonatankurz) December 10, 2018
We reached out to Shapiro to set the record straight.
Many have noticed the unconventional choice of having an Artscroll Mishnah set and a Koren Talmud set. How did you choose which editions of the Mishnah, Talmud, and other works to purchase?
Ben Shapiro: My dad has a lot of the Artscroll Gemara, so I’ve diversified.
How many Sefarim (Judaica books) would you estimate you own?
BS: I haven’t counted; probably a couple hundred.
What books are the most often pulled off the shelf?
BS: Aruch Hashulchan, Tanach, Mesilat Yesharim, Gemara
To set the record straight once and for all, here’s the official unblurry view of Shapiro’s Sefarim:
Now we can get back to debating about his politics.