2

I watched a video on YouTube titled "I sent robot forgeries to a handwriting expert." I was wondering if would it be technologically possible to design a robot that could write a Sefer Torah.

5

2 Answers 2

3

Would it be technologically possible? Yes!

Tzfi Fishman, in a Jewish-Press article called: Can A Robot Write A Sefer Torah? An Interview with Rabbi Menachem Perl, Head of the Tzomet Institute writes that Rabbi Menachem Perl, head of the Tzomet Institute for Technology and Halacha, declared that, under certain conditions, a robot could write a kosher Sefer Torah (my edit: I do not totally agree with what is written in this interview, but it shows an interesting perspective on this subject).

In my humble opinion, there isn’t any real halachic obstacle to a robot writing [a Sefer Torah] provided that a sofer manually operates the writing of each letter – by, for example, pressing a button – and writes the names of Hashem.

However, since there is a considerable amount of innovation in this halachic understanding, the leading halachic authorities of the generation will have to give their consent to any practical application of it.

However, the writer needs to have kavannah and yirias shimayim. How can a robot then fulfill the job?

The writing must be for the sake of the mitzvah, and kavanah is especially required when writing the names of Hashem. But my assertion is that if a scribe with yirat shamayim operates the robotic mechanism and the computer controlling it – and he himself writes the holy names with the necessary intention – the Sefer Torah will be completely kosher.

Related sources: Ohr Yitzchak (brought down in a comment here).

Maybe the principle of chadasha assur min HaTorah applies here? Any thoughts?

One of the problems, halachically speaking, would be that the Bach says that before writing the words down, it needs to be vocalized (please add-in any sources, I could not find it at hand) - see this article from Rabbi Pinner.

1

Hmmm...

See Keset HaSofer Perek 1:

או אשה או חרש או שוטה או קטן פסולי' ויגנזו שנא' וקשרתם וכתבתם ודרשינן כל שישנו בקשירה ישנו בכתיבה וכל שאינו בקשירה ... It says "you shall bind them and write them", this is darshaned whomever can tie can write whomever cannot tie cannot write

So a robot has no mitzvas and cannot write a kosher sefer Torah. The other answer by Shmuel quotes someone saying it can be used as a writing implement - I suppose.

However this is debatable please see Keset HaSofer 3

הקולמס אעפ"י שלאחר שעשה בה מלאכתה אינה ניכרת כלל בכתב. מ"מ צריכין לדקדק שתהא קולמס נאה. יש אומרים שיש לכתוב בקולמס של קנה ולא בנוצה ואין נוהגין כן אלא כותבין בנוצה ואפי' בקולמס של ברזל. ויש להסתפק אם מותרין לכתוב בנוצה של עוף טמא (דב"ש סוף סי' קס"ד): ...There are those who say you should write with a reed and not a feather, but that is not the minhag; rather, we write with a feather or an iron quill

Although this appears to permit a metal pen, it is clear that it should be a feather quill from a kosher animal as that is something kosher like the klaf etc... We can see from this though that what is written with does matter, it is not just an extension.

Also see the end there:

מעשה היה באחד שהיה גדם ותפס את הקולמס בשפתיו וכתב ופסלו אפי' באם אי אפשר למצוא אחרים מפני שאין דרך כתיבה כלל בפה (הרמ"ע סי' ל"ח):

There was an incident where an amputated man wrote with his mouth and it was decided to be pasul even if no other version can be found, because this is not the way of writing.

So after all of that, I don't think that pressing a button is called a way of writing ink on paper.

I didn't read the aformentioned linked article, but also in pure logic, I can see how the written Torah (via robot) can be ascribed to the button pusher, ie: he caused the ink to be put on the Torah, but I don't see how it could be called "writing". Ie: He didn't write it, he at best caused it to be written. I don't know if that is enough.

12
  • A feather quill from a kosher animal is not ideal. Ideal is a reed (from a plant).
    – Double AA
    May 30, 2023 at 22:41
  • There is a lot of disagreement, and I agree to disagree. Even those who think a reed is preferable do not use reed, it breaks too often. Also the Ch"S states explicitly there that feather is preferred (if I recall correctly) and in all honesty I have only seen Sofrim using a feather. Not that I go to any conventions. So perhaps you mean theoretically? I was speaking practically, and also it misses the point (no pun intended) - sorry had to.
    – msj121
    May 31, 2023 at 0:31
  • You are correct that few sofrim use reeds, but no one disagrees that's the best thing to use if you can. Some even say feather quills are invalid.
    – Double AA
    May 31, 2023 at 0:45
  • @DoubleAA That is almost an impossible position on almost any topic. No one disagrees? Chasam Sofer there (Keset Sofer siman 3) says explicitly that feather quill (ie: from something you eat) is better. Lishkas Hasofer also says not to use a reed because they are too brittle, iron/feather are better. Rav Yitzchak MPoznah also could not use a reed for his own Torah, due to physical issues with reeds/gvil. If you find a good reed, maybe it would be preferable (tho not to Ch"S), but that is why most don't use it. Due to the nature of reeds they (or the klaf combo) are worse nowadays.
    – msj121
    Jun 1, 2023 at 1:11
  • Long story short, it all depends on what you mean as preferable. Theoretically, or practically. Practically is what I meant, but yes theoretically you are likely correct that a reed would be preferable if you could find a good one. Either way I was quoting the Keset HaSofer a major posek on Safrut, and moving from his point about the minhag to use a feather or Iron quill :). I have translated more of the text so you can see his opinion about reeds.
    – msj121
    Jun 1, 2023 at 1:16

You must log in to answer this question.

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