Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If a sofer takes money for a Sefer Torah and does not supply it, are the STA"M he writes after that considered kosher?

share|improve this question
Shimon, welcome to Judaism.SE! It sounds like you had a bad experience... – Dave Sep 12 '11 at 1:15
How'd you guess - :-) – Shimon Sep 12 '11 at 16:33

My understanding is there are two questions:

Is the individual capable of the ritual act required?


Can we trust his word that his materials are authentic?

The distinction appears with regards to kosher slaughterers. A person who outright rejects Judaism cannot create kosher slaughter, regardless of his technique or how many people watched him -- it just doesn't work on a metaphysical level.

There are others, however, who are able to create kosher slaughter, but we don't trust them without adequate supervision. (If I recall correctly Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ruled such in several cases.)

So the trust issue is a whole other ball of wax. As far as simply: "if we observed him writing with correct technique and intent, is the product kosher?", I'd assume it is.

A sefer Torah written by a true heretic is of no halachic significance and may (should) be burned. Whereas a sefer Torah written by a proper Jew who later became a heretic should be burie; the Torah itself is kosher, but we don't want people using for religious ritual an item now associated with a heretic.

Applying this logic, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote that Jewish music composed by a fellow who has since become a heretic is less than ideal for Torah scholars to associate themselves with. However if the composer was not a heretic, just someone who let his vices get the better of him, this would not apply -- halacha has no negative attitude towards his music.

So as long as the sofer maintains basic belief and keeps shabbos as far as we know, I don't think we can void the kashrus of his writing.

Whether we can trust him anymore for anything unsupervised, and whether it's wise to do business with the fellow, and so on, are separate discussions ...

share|improve this answer
Great answer, thank you. – Shimon Sep 12 '11 at 7:04
Kosher slaughterer problems are because an idol worshipper or break shabbat has the halacha of a goy. Goy shechita is posul. What does it have to do with STA"M ? I heard (so prob not true) that R Chaim holds that a scribe who has an internet phone has chezcat posul, and his scrolls are not kosher – user1040 Jan 23 '12 at 13:45
There is an emphasis in halacha on a sofer being ירא שמים. Not sure if it's posel, though. – JNF Nov 1 '12 at 6:17

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.