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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Why can't a Sefer Torah be written in Aramaic?

In the Mishna, Megillah 1:8, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel is quoted as having said that Greek is the only language, other than Hebrew, in which it is permissible to write sifrei Torah. Commenting on ...
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46 views

Consequences for dropping a Torah scroll [duplicate]

Just before my Bar Mitzvah, I asked my Hebrew teacher what would happen if I dropped the scroll while holding it. She solemnly told me that I, along with everyone present, would have to fast for some ...
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Difference between touching a naked Torah vs. a naked Megillah

Megillah 32a: Megillah 32a:38-44: כל האוחז ספר תורה ערום נקבר ערום ערום סלקא דעתך אלא אימא נקבר ערום בלא מצות בלא מצות סלקא דעתך אלא אמר אביי נקבר ערום בלא אותה מצוה Whoever takes hold of ...
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Is there an online resource that gives an “overview” of safrut?

Between Mincha and Ma'ariv on Shmini Atzeret, I'd like to give a short shiur on some interesting facts about how a Torah is written. I'm looking for some fairly easy to understand online resources on ...
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208 views

Sefer Torah in reshus harabim

If one finds a Torah on the floor in a reshus harabim on shabbas what should one do? It is a big bizoyn to leave it on the floor but to pick it up and carry it is problematic. Question inspired by: ...
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278 views

Should we allow women to dance with a Torah on Simchas Torah?

Active women in my shul are demanding the right to dance with a Torah on Simchas Torah, behind the mechitza. They are saying that it is not something forbidden, and that it is religiously healthy. ...
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3answers
88 views

Are women explicitly forbidden from handling and reading the Torah?

I am interested to know, despite the "political agendas" involved, if the "women of the wall" are in breach of halacha and if so, which one(s). As a part of that, I ask: Are women explicitly forbidden ...
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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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Could a Torah Scroll Be Writtin in Ktav Ivri (Paleo Hebrew)?

The Talmud (ibid) brings different opinions about the origin of the two in regards to how was the Torah initially written. It is agreed by all that the language has remained the same, Hebrew ...
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Why Is A Yemenite Torah Scroll Kosher? [duplicate]

How come a yemenite Torah scroll is kosher to read from, even though it is different from all other Torah scrolls?
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55 views

What factors might allow a shul not to repair a passul Sefer Torah?

Our shul has numerous Torah scrolls that are passul (unusable). I'm assuming that they contain missing or rubbed-out letters, and other errors that would invalidate using the Torah. Our shul ...
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Figuring out where Torah scrolls come from

Lets say a synagogue has inherited a lot of Torah scrolls, but doesn't know where many of them come from. How would they go about determining from which countries these scrolls hail from? Are there ...
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2 Sifrei Torah for close readings

This morning we read Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1 - 24:18) and the special reading of Parashat Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16). The custom everywhere I have ever seen is to remove two Sifrei Torah from ...
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3answers
102 views

Why is beautification essential for a sefer torah?

The gemara in Gitin 54b declares worthless a Torah scroll that had all the Tetragrammatons rewritten because it ends up looking menumar (spotted), apparently because this would be a violation of "ze ...
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79 views

Help me find a source for glossing “sefer” (in Shabbat 14a) as “Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim”

In Shabbat 14a we find a discussion about the Rabbinic enactment that a book (sefer) renders one's hands unclean (which is itself discussed in the Mishnah Yadayim 3:5). Long ago I found a source ...
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57 views

Displaying Torah Fragments on a Wall [duplicate]

Assume the following: A Torah scroll has gone into such disrepair that it could not be made Kasher again. Rather than burying the remaining leaves that are still usable, they are sold off as art ...
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Are there any mentions of Torah Scrolls before Ezra?

Ezra the Scribe famously discovered a Torah Scroll and instituted public Torah readings on Shabat, Monday, and Thursday. Are there any mentions of Torah Scrolls (specifically written) between Moshe ...
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Is one allowed to create a “mixed” Vavei Ha'amudim and non Vavei Ha'mudim Torah?

Related to this M.Y. question: The answers and comments seem to state that one cannot create a Torah that has two different writing styles. During Simchat Torah, I noticed that the main Torah I read ...
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2answers
313 views

Was a sefer torah ever actually written in Greek?

This answer to a different question states that the only other language a sefer torah can be written in and be kosher is Greek. (Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah 1:19 says that this Greek no longer exists ...
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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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How to reconcile the possibility that Rashi had a slightly different text of the Torah

In the Parshah of Chayei Sara, in Bereishis 25:6, there is a Posuk that refers to הפילגשים - "the concubines". Rashi expounds that since the word is missing a Yud, it must be a reference to the fact ...
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112 views

Should the same laining procedure be followed for errors outside the aliyah as the ones during the aliyah?

According to Shulchan Aruch O.C. 143:4 (Mechaber), if someone finds a mistake in the Torah during the aliyah he is reading, he should stop, take out another Torah, finish the aliyah, and have the oleh ...
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245 views

what is the single letter difference between ashkenazi and sephardi torah scrolls

According to http://onthemainline.blogspot.co.uk/2005/12/textual-criticism-of-torah-response-to.html The only letter difference between Ashkenazim and Sephardim is whether a particular word ends ...
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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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99 views

How are Sifrei Torah typically checked today?

Our shul has about 10 Sifrei Torah (no exaggeration) that are all passul. I am curious how complicated it would be to discover where the problems are. Someone told me that today, many sofrim ...
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Would a non-Israeli Jewish king need to write a sefer Torah?

In Deuteronomy/Devorim 17:14, and 17:18-20 we see that a king of Israel is required to write a copy of the Torah to read and keep with him always. Would a Jewish convert who is a king of another ...
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200 views

Why do most Ashkenazim read the Torah flatly on a table while many Sefardim read it standing vertically?

(In case you didn't know,) I am Ashkenazic. Most Ashkenazic congregations perform Torah reading by laying the Torah flatly on a table and reading the Torah as it is on the table. Many Sefardic ...
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37 views

Spanish-Portuguese Torah Vestments

The first Shabbat I was in Yerushalayim (Parshat Shoftim) my father and I davened at the Italian Synagogue. While the nusach there follows the older Roman nusach, the Sifrei Torah are caparisoned in ...
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Are there any halachot regarding the “atzei chayim” (wooden poles) placed on a Torah scroll?

Are there any halachot regarding the poles used on the sides of a Torah scroll? For example: All the poles that I have seen are made from wood. Must they be made from wood or can any materials ...
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Are the chaseiros and yiseiros (optional vowelizing letters) in our Torahs identical to the original? [duplicate]

In the introduction to the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, it says that it is an important belief that every letter of the Torah is the original as dictated by God to Moshe, and it says that every ...
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1answer
83 views

Is one allowed to remove sections from a Torah to repair one or more pasul ones?

This is a scenario of possibly benefiting multiple communities. Let's say there are five different shuls all in remote communities. Each shul has just one Torah but it is pasul (non usable). They ...
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3answers
106 views

Torah - as a source of ritual impurity

During the Second Temple period, Torah scroll was considered to be a source of ritual impurity? Today this is not the case. When did this halakha change?
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Does the Rambam's definition of cofer Torah no longer hold? [duplicate]

In hilchot teshuvah, perek 3, halacha 8, the Rambam writes that someone "who denies the Torah" is "one who says the Torah, or one verse, or one word is not from God". Taking into consideration the ...
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What is Sta"m ink made from?

I have several questions related to Sta"m (Torah, mezuzot tefillin) ink: What materials are allowable? What materials are typically used to make the ink? Why these materials, specifically? (cheaper, ...
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Touching the Klaf of the Torah not while reading it

Is there a distinction made between during Torah reading and not during Torah reading in regards to the halacha to not touch the klaf (parchment) of a Torah scroll directly? I have seen people use ...
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Following both Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam (mezuzah, sefer torah and tefillin)

I have heard it said that the reason as to why Ashkenazim place their mezuzot at an angle is to harmonise the opinion of Rashi, who held that it should be vertical (Menachot 33a, s.v. איסתוירא), with ...
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Can Torah scrolls be stored in drawers laying horizontally?

All arks that I have seen have the Torah scrolls stored standing vertically in the ark. Is this an absolute halachic requirement that the Torah must be stored vertically? What if an ark contained a ...
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482 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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Rabbi Akiva and Ketarim

In Menachos the Gemara relates the Moshe asked Hashem about the meaning of the "crowns" on many Hebrew letters as written in the Torah. Hashem then gives the following response: אמר לו, אדם אחד יש ...
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599 views

Different Size Letters in the Torah

I've often wondered if someone has compiled anything about the "special letters" in the Torah: All the letters that are either big or small. Together, do they read as something special? One or more ...
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1answer
89 views

Where to place the tie/wrap when doing Gelilah

We were taught as kids that when doing Gelilah (for an Ashkenazi Sefer Torah) that the tie/wrap around the Sefer Torah should be in the upper-third of the Sefer Torah similar to a Mezuzah should be in ...
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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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Why do we cover a Sefer Torah with a talis when traveling? [duplicate]

There's a widespread custom to cover a Sefer Torah with a talis when travelling. Has this custom been mentioned in halachic literature? Why is this done? The closest I found was Shulchan Aruch, YD ...
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1answer
122 views

Why is a Greek Torah Scroll Kosher?

I once read that a Greek Sefer Torah is Kosher, is this correct? Is it also correct that Greek is the only language other than Hebrew that a kosher Sefer Torah can be written in?
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What is the reason for “stretched” letters in the Torah?

I noticed that in many Sifrei Torah, Sofrim prefer to "stretch" certain letters. It seems that these letters are stretched to end a line if there wouldn't be enough space to start a new word. That's ...
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389 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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Why can't someone who can read check the Sefer Torah?

In this question, i talk about if a Sefer Torah might have a misformed letter, a child who can recognize letters but not read is brought to say what letter it is. If everything surrounding is covered ...
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What happens if a sefer torah might have a mistake?

If a sefer torah has a definite mistake, it cannot be used, and the reading must be done again from a kosher torah. (SA OC 143:4) But what if it only might have a mistake? For example, if it's ...
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707 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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Is a machine written sefer torah distinguishable from Machine Matzos

The Jewish University in Berlin has developed a machine written quill* on parchment Sefer Torah. The report from the BBC takes it for granted that such a Sefer Torah is posul because it lacks the ...