I was watching the movie “National Treasure” and thought how can I apply the lessons of this movie to Judaism. In the movie, Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) decides to steal the Declaration of Independence. He is told that it could reveal some secret information, specially encoded by the Founders. On the back of the Declaration of Independence is a treasure map written in invisible ink (ferrous sulfate) which could reveal an ancient hidden treasure. To bring out the encryption one applied lemon juice to the back of the document. When heat is applied the ink becomes visible.

Everyone agrees that the Declaration of Independence is the most important document in US history. Similarly, the Torah is what bides Jews together for a millennium and is very important to Jews. Both documents contain intrinsic, moral messages about equality: Jefferson wrote that "all men are created equal." Genesis 1:27: "G-d created man in His image, in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them." Both are written on parchment animal skin with black ink. Some Jews believe in Torah codes, cryptic messages hidden throughout the Torah.

If we apply the same logic to the Torah, is it possible that the back of a Torah scroll also contains the secret location of Solomon's treasures, the Lost Ark, or even the “The Ten Lost Tribes,” which can be seen as a treasure? According to halakha, Jewish law, is it permissible to swab some lemon juice on the back of a Torah scroll?

Sources, please.

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

  • dornsife.usc.edu/wsrp/copper-scroll
    – The GRAPKE
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 5:11
  • 3
    If you try to take a torah and put lemon juice on it, watch the reaction of the people who use the torah and you will see that the torah IS the national treasure.
    – rosends
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 10:58
  • @TheGRAPKE Very interesting. Thanks.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:49
  • @rosends Good point.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:49
  • Why was this question closed? It was for Purim Torah and it received a great answer. The question was not supposed to be taken seriously, so why the close?
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 6:26

1 Answer 1


Instead of swabbing Lemon 🍋 juice on ancient Torah scrolls, try scanning ספר תורה with an Apple 🍎computer - using real National Treasure tools like "Volume Cartography" :

Papyrus was much less durable than parchment and vellum, which is why most early scriptures written on papyrus only exist in pieces, if at all. Trying to handle these delicate artifacts without damaging them further has proven painstakingly difficult. Fortunately, advances in technology now enable scholars to “digitally unwrap” ancient scrolls too delicate or damaged to touch to read their written text.
One technology, a computer imaging program called Volume Cartography, was developed by University of Kentucky computer scientist W. Brent Seales. Scientists used the technology to digitally unroll and read a badly charred Hebrew scroll first discovered in the 1970s near the Dead Sea.

To the naked eye, the scroll looks like a lump of black charcoal. So researchers were amazed to discover, after it was scanned, that the En-Gedi scroll contains the first two chapters of the Book of Leviticus.


"Ein Gedi is a community that was destroyed by Byzantine emperor Justinian in 800 AD. The burning of the synagogue reduced its scrolls on parchment to lumps of charcoal. The burned scrolls were discovered by archaeologists during an excavation in 1970. They were so fragile that they disintegrated whenever touched. Various attempts were made to mechanically unwind and read the scrolls, but the scrolls were too delicate.
In 2016, W. Brent Seales, a researcher at the University of Kentucky, created a set of computer programs called Volume Cartography to reconstruct the layers of text in a digital X-ray image of the one of the scrolls, known as the En-Gedi Scroll"
  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. I did not know about this new technology. What was asked for Purim Torah yielded new, exciting information! Thank you!
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 3:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .