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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15
votes
2answers
785 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).
32
votes
6answers
3k views

Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in?

I've assumed that the Torah scrolls we read today as the same that Moses wrote. I always assumed it's been the same alphabet. However lately I came across documents explaining the evolution of the ...
17
votes
4answers
418 views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
337 views

What are the halachot when finding a Sefer Torah on the floor?

Recently, 6 Torah Scrolls that were stolen from the Tzemach Tzedek shul in Yerushalaim were found on the floor of a cave. I am curious what the halachic differences are (if any) between finding a ...
8
votes
6answers
506 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
192 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
331 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
3
votes
3answers
295 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
226 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
110 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. ...
12
votes
3answers
179 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
325 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

“HagGomel” and Sefer Torah

The widespread practice seems to say the beracha of HagGomel in the presence of a Sefer Torah. Is this a halacha or a minhag? What is the source for this practice? Furthermore, what is the ...
3
votes
2answers
132 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
633 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
153 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
92 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, ...
12
votes
1answer
673 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
122 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
232 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: ...
6
votes
1answer
137 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
282 views

Did the Sefer Torah written by the Maharam of Rottenberg survive the Holocaust?

There is a famous story of the Maharam copying a Sefer Torah written by Moshe Rabbeinu. Before passing, he threw it in the river by the castle in which he was arrested. This Sefer Torah reached ...
5
votes
2answers
88 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
111 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
265 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
205 views

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. ...
4
votes
2answers
269 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
92 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
49 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
322 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
164 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: ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
13 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
294 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
118 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
101 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
64 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 ...