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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32
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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
412 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
777 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).
14
votes
5answers
622 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
3answers
178 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
658 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
326 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
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1answer
183 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 ...
10
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1answer
333 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
285 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
500 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 ...
8
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4answers
182 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. ...
8
votes
1answer
123 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
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. ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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.
7
votes
1answer
140 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
116 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
2answers
118 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
95 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
103 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
229 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
3answers
325 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
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
2answers
292 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
278 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
1answer
54 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
168 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
2answers
57 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
314 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
225 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
2answers
282 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
152 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
2answers
107 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
90 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
203 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
261 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
86 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
249 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
2answers
256 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
107 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
95 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
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2answers
466 views

Why is a “classicly” printed Sefer Torah not kosher?

"Classic" printing was a fairly simple process, very similar to using a large stamp. You carve out letters on a block, and cover it with ink. Then the printer presses the board on paper. This printing ...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
77 views

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 ...
4
votes
0answers
70 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
91 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
2answers
130 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
282 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
148 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 ...