According to a halacha I read,

There is an obligation to purchase any Sta”m which is in the possession of a non-Jew. If such items remain in his possession, they may become desecrated. If the non-Jew is demanding an exorbitant price, the Jewish buyer should negotiate to pay only market value. If the non-Jew is insistent, the items should not be purchased. Otherwise, an incentive would be created to seize such items and demand hefty prices for them.

סעיף ח, ס"ק ז-ח, וביה"ל ד"ה אין

I assume (though I might be wrong) that this only applies to hand written works of a sofer (as opposed to any printed seifer) but if this is expanded to any printed kodesh text (let's say any thing from Tanach) or then any printed Oral Law text, please let me know. (also, does it matter if the scrolls are currently kosher or does the law hold if I know they are posul?)

But assuming that this relates only to Torah/nach scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzah scrolls, does this mean that I need to bid any time I see an auction for these items? I don't know who the "owner" is (the religion of a private individual or the status of a company).

A quick look at Ebay shows many up for auction, and auction houses regularly list antique scrolls.

Are there opinions that say I should be actively looking for any sales and trying to buy any/everything? Or that I am only required to bid if I stumble upon an offering? Or do current authorities not require me to try to buy up all items I see listed?


1 Answer 1


Interesting question. In regards to the comment about if the Halacha is different whether they are kosher or not, the MB 39:17 states clearly there’s no difference (unless there’s reason to believe it was written by a non Jew or Apikores)

ופשוט דה"ה אם הם פסולין מחמת עצמם ג"כ חייבין לקנות מהעו"ג כדי לגונזן אבל בכתבן אפיקורס דטעונין שריפה א"צ ליקח מהם

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