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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28
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6answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
352 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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
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).
12
votes
1answer
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
146 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
270 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 ...
9
votes
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 ...
9
votes
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
108 views

How are we allowed to take out two sifrei Torah?

The Mishna in Yoma says that when the Kohen Gadol used to read from the Sefer Torah on Yom Kippur, he had to read two portions: one from Acharei Mos and the other from Emor. It says that he used to ...
7
votes
5answers
379 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
139 views

Copies of Aleppo Codex

From what I understand, the loss of the Torah portion of Keter Aram Soba (the Aleppo Codex) in 1948 is heavily lamented because it was the oldest preserved and probably most accurate text of Torah. ...
7
votes
1answer
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
103 views

Sefer Torah enclosures

The Torah scrolls of Ashkenazim have a very different look than those of Sepharadim. Ashkenazim just roll the parchment onto two poles, and read it in a horizontal position; the Sepharadim install the ...
7
votes
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, ...
7
votes
1answer
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: ...
6
votes
1answer
704 views

What does it cost to write one's own Sefer Torah - and how long would it take?

I'm wondering if anybody else has experience writing their own Sefer Torah, how long it took them and how much it cost. It took me about 9 years and about $3,500 to write mine.
6
votes
1answer
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
241 views

Why do we put the belt (gartel) of the Sefer Torah on the top third?

I have observed in the Shuls I Daven in that the one who does Gelila often puts the belt (gartel) on the top third of the Sefer Torah. Is there a reason or source for this? Why not in the middle?
6
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
139 views

Fulfilled the Mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah then lost the Sefer

Suppose a person had a Sefer Torah written in order to fulfill the Mitzvah (Devarim 31:19) and then the Torah got lost, has he still fulfilled his mitzvah, or is he required to write another one?
6
votes
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
206 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
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 ...
5
votes
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
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
168 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. ...
5
votes
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. ...
5
votes
1answer
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
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: ...
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

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 ...
4
votes
0answers
77 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
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
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 — ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Bells on Sefer Torah

If musical instruments are forbidden on shabbat why do we adorn the crown of a (ashkenazik) sefer torah with bells?
3
votes
1answer
55 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
0answers
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
92 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
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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
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, ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
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 ...