3

I gather that when writing the Torah, there is a maximum allowable space between columns.

Hence, my question, which may be based on the above assumption...

If the stitched seam between two parchment sheets is beginning to fray such that the two sheets are beginning to separate, is there a maximum spacing or length of breakage allowable before the Torah would be considered pasul?

Concerns:

If there is a maximum allowable spacing between columns, would it become pasul if any part of the gap exceeds this spacing? For example, part of the seam is ripped but not its entire column length. If even one line between two columns is too far, is that a problem? The majority of the seem needs to be ripped? Or, how much? Or is it good as long as there is even a tiny piece still sewn together?

4

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 278:3 does not seem to hold that there is any minimum relative height of the seam that needs to be connected in order for the Torah to remain Kosher, as long as '5 or 6 stitches' are still holding it together (full disclosure, I am not a professional seamster by any stretch of the imagination, so not sure how much '5 or 6 stitches' is, but in context, it seems like a relatively small portion of the complete height of the parchment. And according to the Aruch Hashulchan in 278:10 the number of stitches isn't an exact number, rather it means any amount of solid stitching that keeps the Torah together is fine, i.e. four strong stitches is fine too).

The Taz (quoted in a brief summary in the Ba'er Hetev in the first link above) disagrees, and says that the majority of the stitching needs to remain together, and if a majority of the stitching comes apart, the Torah is Passul.

The Aruch Hashulchan quoted above seems to conclude that while one should try to be stringent like the Taz, and if a majority of the stitching between two sheets came apart one should fix it. However, one can rely on the Shulchan Aruch and use the Sefer Torah even if a majority of the stitching came apart but the Torah is still held together (and one should definitely continue using it as normal if it came apart/was noticed to be mostly apart in the middle of a Torah reading, and not start 'Passul Sefer Torah' proceedings for the rest of the reading).

  • Your halachic facts are correct. In reality, the average Sefer Torah only has about 5 - 8 stitches. I don't know why. – Danny Schoemann Oct 27 '19 at 10:54

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