A scroll of parchment on which is written the Five Books of Moses. Portions from it are read aloud in synagogue at least 4 times a week.

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Should women kiss the Torah with their hand or with a prayer book?

When the Torah comes around in shul, is it preferable for women to touch it with their hand (and then kiss their hand) or with their prayer book (and then kiss their prayer book)? Presumably some ...
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2answers
65 views

Can I take out a sefer and not learn from it?

There is an issue with taking out a sefer Torah and not learning/reading from it, as it is disrespectful to the sefer. Does such a concern exist by other sefarim? I ask because I know that for some ...
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2answers
87 views

Machine-Readable Torah

Is there a machine-readable Sefer Torah or Chumash? Machine-readable meaning formatted as to be understood by a computer program. Despite the phrase, this is different from a Torah simply stored in ...
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1answer
76 views

Why do we only cover the head during Tachnun if there is a Aron Hakodesh

It says in Aruch Hashulchan1 That we tried all positions, Sitting by Krias Shema, Standing by Amidah, and Fall on one's face during Tachanun. So then we say ואנחנו לא נדע...מה נעשה "We do not know ...
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2answers
175 views

Is there a standard format for the start of each column in writing Sifrei Torah?

When I looked at a few Tikunei Lakor'im, they seem to follow what appears to be a standard where certain words begin at the top of a column. I did see several Sifrei Torah that seem to follow this ...
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1answer
50 views

Can the Torah Scroll be opened while still inside the Aron Kodesh?

I can't imagine for what reason, but can a Torah Scroll be opened while still in the Aron Kodesh? In other words, must a Torah Scroll always be removed from the Aron Kodesh in order to open the Torah ...
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115 views

If the “Nun” preceding Bamidbar (Num) 10:35 is not upside down, is the Torah still kosher?

While reading last week's parsha, I noticed that the letter "nun" immediately preceding the verse Vayehi B'nso'ah ha'aron Bamidbar 10:35 was written as regular nun (tagin on top) rather than upside ...
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1answer
80 views

Sending a Torah to the Moon

According to this article, there's an organization that wants to blast a Sefer Torah into space for safe keeping on the moon. Are there any halachik problems regarding such an endeavour (and if so, ...
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30 views

Are there any extant scrolls containing multiple books of Nach?

Related to this question, are there any known extant scrolls containing either all of tanach or multiple books of Na"ch? I am not counting trei-asar scrolls as they are considered one Book for ...
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2answers
93 views

Is a Torah that does NOT have the (rabbati) large and small letters (keti'ah) still kosher?

I have a Torah in my shul that does not have any large or small letters where required (e.g. - the 1st letter in the Torah, "Breishit", is written larger than the rest.) Is this Torah still considered ...
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40 views

In what relative positions are multiple Sifrei Torah placed on the bimah?

When two Sifrei Torah (when the second sefer is needed for a special maftir) are placed on the bimah just before hagbah for the first Torah, should the first sefer read from be on the left or the ...
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1answer
101 views

What are the differences between Teimani and Ashkenazi/Sefardi sifrei torah?

I have heard that there is a small number of textual differences between Teimani torah scrolls and Ashkenazi/Sefardi ones. What are these differences? If I encounter a manuscript of unknown origin ...
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1answer
46 views

What's the significance of בי״ה שמ״ו סימן, espcially on Dt. 31:28?

In most sifre Tora (Torah scrolls), 240 columns of text each start with the letter vav (ו), and five do not. The first of those five exceptional columns, of course, is the first column of the Torah, ...
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1answer
162 views

Is a miniature Torah scroll considered a real Sefer Torah

My son received a miniature Torah scroll as a reward in Hebrew school. The letters are not printed clearly and I cannot really read it well, but I would like to know if it should be accorded the ...
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51 views

Is it disrespectful to have a raffle where the prize is a Sefer Torah?

I recently came across an advertorial on thelakewoodscoop.com regarding a Shul that is having a raffle where one can win a Sefer Torah. The first comment was: "Is it just me or is using a Sefer ...
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2answers
138 views

Kissing a Sefer Torah as it passes

Some people in shul mark it as a sign of respect, as the Torah makes its way to/from the Aron Kodesh, to kiss it, and rush to get as close as possible. Others, given the cold season, think that this ...
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1answer
78 views

Fasting when seeing an Aron Kodesh fall with a Sefer Torah inside

Discussed already were the "customs" surrounding fasting when a Sefer Torah falls the floor: The earliest source is the Shu"t Mishpetei Shmuel 12 quoted by the Magen Avraham 44:5. He bases it on ...
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1answer
143 views

standing during gelilah

I've noticed that people usually stay standing after hagbah until the Torah is dressed, even after the magbia sits down. Is there a mekor for this practice, or is it muttar to sit once the magbia ...
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1answer
77 views

Why The Torah is in scrolls in modern times when books are more convenient

Why The Torah is in scrolls in modern times when books are more convenient to hold and read ? I can understand that in olden days it was convenient to carry and read on scrolls as the Torah was often ...
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2answers
244 views

What to do if you don't want a Torah written with a turkey feather?

Modern Ashkenazi Torahs are often (at least in part) written with turkey feathers. Not always - there are plenty of other quills that are acceptable (and reeds, plastic, and most say metal, among ...
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196 views

What scribes' Torah scrolls does a non-Orthodox synagogue use?

There are rules, codified in Shulchan Aruch, about how to write a sefer Tora, Torah scroll. An Orthodox congregation's sefer Tora is written in the prescribed manner by an Orthodox sofer — ...
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2answers
76 views

How does a Torah's life end?

Let's say a Torah has been in use for a temple's services for awhile. However the Torah was rendered incapable of use due to a disaster of some sort. Will the Torah (or what's left of it) meet a ...
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1answer
71 views

What is to be done with a Sefer Torah written by an apikoreis, or by a soffer of unknown apikoreis-status?

What is to be done with a Sefer Torah written by an apikoreis, or by a soffer of unknown apikoreis-status (whether it be a question of the status of the soffer who wrote it, or if it is unknown who ...
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What scribal variations (decorations etc) have changed from the earliest sifrei torah until now?

This article reports on the identification of what is possibly the oldest complete sefer torah we have, dated c.1155-1225, at the University of Bologna. (The scroll was previously thought to date to ...
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111 views

How much of the sefer torah did the king read each day?

According to D'varim 17:18-20, a king was required to write for himself a sefer torah and read from it each day ( וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּיו). This doesn't say he had to read the whole sefer each ...
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127 views

The Torah scrolls written by Jewish kings

The Torah commanded Jewish kings to write their own Torah scroll from a master in the possession of the Levites, and to read it every day of their life so that they should not become haughty and so ...
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265 views

Ta'amei Mikra and the Torah Scroll

I have heard that a haftorah klaf (scroll) is still considered kosher and usable if the Ta'amei Mikra have been written on it. Yet I've always been told that this is not true for a Torah scroll. Why ...
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1answer
84 views

Writing Sefer Torah for Melech (King)

It says in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin Daf 21b): וכותב לו ס"ת לשמו — that a Sefer Torah should be written for the King "l'shmo". What does l'shmo in this case mean: for the "sake of the King"? ...
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57 views

Sephardim and Two Sifrei Torah

On a day when we take out 2 Sifrei Torah do the Sephardim put both on the bima and open one and read from it leaving the other closed? Or do they put only one on the bima and leave the other in a ...
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199 views

Correct way to deal with a damaged mini-torah?

My son is 4 years old. When he entered Hebrew School at the local (Reform) synagogue, they gave him a mini-torah as part of a Consecration ceremony. Specifically this one: ...
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2answers
167 views

What is the appropriate method for transporting a Torah scroll?

Is there a best practice for transporting a Torah scroll from one building, or one city, to another?
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97 views

Sifre Tora in boxes vs. in cloths

All S'faradi synagogues I've been in have each sefer Tora in a box. All Ashk'nazi ones I've been in have each sefer Tora in a cloth. When did this split occur, and why, and how? I assume either: ...
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Why when we read from two Torah scrolls is the one taken out first returned last and vice versa?

When we Askenazim read from two Torah scrolls, the one taken out first is returned last and the one taken out second is returned first. But we say “maalin bekodesh ve’ain moridin” – we go up in ...
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5answers
272 views

What's a floor?

There are certain laws pertaining to a floor. For example, if a Sefer Torah is dropped on the floor, one is supposed to do some sort of atonement (eg., most famously, fasting for 40 days). What is ...
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62 views

Times where one must refrain from flatulence?

From my understanding one should refrain from passing gas during the amidah prayer and when wearing tefillin. Are there other times where one is adjured not to flatulate, perhaps when holding a sacred ...
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1answer
121 views

Layout of Shiras HaYam: Half-Brick Over Brick

Is there a reason/meaning behind the "half-brick over brick" layout of Shiras Hayam as written in a Sefer Torah? I am familiar with the gemara in Megilla (16b) that states the layout is to be that ...
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Removing dirt from Sefer Torah on Shabbos

In SA OC Siman 340 in the Taz Sif-Katan 1 and brought in M"B Sif-Katan 10 that one shouldn't remove wax from on top of an ois (letter) in a Sefer because of the issur of "erasing" (mechika). The Biur ...
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1answer
209 views

Can a Jew sell a sefer Torah to a non-Jew? Why or why not?

A question was raised whether a non-Jew can run a Judaica store. My thought on that was it depended on what types of judaica he sold. I doubted that a sofer would sell him mezuzah parchments, ...
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1answer
260 views

Can a chumash be used for a public torah reading?

I recently attended a weekday morning minyan where the Torah reader was reading simultaneously from a sefer Torah and a printed Chumash. It appeared that the person was mostly reading from Chumash and ...
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1answer
101 views

Fasting when Navi on Klaf falls on the floor

As is known if a Sefer Torah falls on the floor (even if it's covered) there is a halacha that one must fast. (See this question and answer for many sources on this topic.) What about in a case when ...
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1answer
82 views

Moving Sefer Torah with Tallis (source?)

Often times, when someone will move a Sefer Torah from one place to another, on top of what the Sefer Torah is already normally covered with, he will put an additional covering of a Tallis-Gadol. ...
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Use of a commoner's talis to read the Torah on

Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 153:21: אין לקנות מעילים שנשתמש בהם הדיוט לתשמיש קדושה One must not purchase for holy use garments that a commoner used. "Holy use" here includes use as the ...
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194 views

Customs surrounding fasting when a sefer torah falls to the floor?

Based on this question I would like to know what the earliest source for fasting when a sefer torah falls comes from? Is is true that if a person is in the room but turns away so as not to see it ...
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598 views

Is the winding פ in this sefer torah kosher?

Leaving aside all other issues with the text as displayed, are the pehs acceptable, or do they actually need an inverted vav on the inside (instead of these whirls).
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Learning the shapes of the letters as a Baal Koreh

I would have thought that the shapes of the letters would be a good thing for Baal Koreh to know, but I was told that since Sefrie Torah are not invalidated until they are declared as such, this would ...
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5answers
496 views

“Silk-Screened” Sifrei Torah

What are the halachic issues with Silk-screened sifrei torah? I am interested in a summary of concise halakhic rulings of multiple authorities on the prohibition or permissibility of HaRav Yitzchak ...
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1answer
454 views

What does the /shin/ marker (like Petucha/Setuma) at the end of Torah books mean?

I've been reading about details of Torah sofrut, and after learning about the paragraph markers peh / פ (petucha) and samekh / ס (setuma), I noticed some similarly placed shin markers (mostly at the ...
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3answers
231 views

May one use a Sephardic Torah in an Ashkenaz minyan?

May an Ashkenaz minyan use a sephardic torah (written in כתב וועליש) for their minyan or vise versa? Please cite a source
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Bells on Sefer Torah

If musical instruments are forbidden on shabbat why do we adorn the crown of a (ashkenazik) sefer torah with bells?
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Why does a Torah have 2 poles and a Megillah have 1?

A Torah scroll is a very long piece of parchement with two poles ("atzei chayim") at either end, while a Megillat Esther is a not-as-long piece of parchment with one pole at the end of the book. ...