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 be a bad idea.

So I have two very related questions:

  1. Is a Sefer Torah pasul if it has errors but they are not acknowledged?
  2. Should one turn a blind eye to such errors if they do find them, or should they be careful and "try" to find errors?
  • re #2: There is also the possibility that you don't ignore them when you find them, but you don't go hunting to find one. – Double AA Jul 22 '12 at 20:42
  • @DoubleAA, right, didn't really know how to express that, hence the "try" – soandos Jul 22 '12 at 20:42
  • So if, for instance, a peh is missing the tail on it's whitespace bet, is the Torah post-facto pasul? – Charles Koppelman Jul 23 '12 at 0:43
  • @CharlesKoppelman, this is not one of the halachot that I know as of now, but it is the type of mistake that I am talking about – soandos Jul 23 '12 at 1:44
  • @CharlesKoppelman Not only is that peh kosher, but if a regular bet is missing its tail it is still kosher, provided that the bottom right corner is square and not rounded. – Double AA Jul 24 '12 at 19:03

In my experience having "passuled" more Torahs than I should admit over the last 13 years layning in Shuls in the US and Israel, mistakes are mistakes, whether they are noticed or not.

However, in regards to the simple Halacha, if the mistake does not seriously affect the letter's form, then the Torah is still Kosher, but should be corrected as soon as possible. If it's a serious mistake, you should say something (such as if two letters are clearly linked to each other or a letter has faded to the point that it looks like something else.)

Personally, I tend to not look for mistakes, but if I see one, I say something. I do that mainly for Tircha D'Tzibura purposes - it's really annoying to the congregation if the Ba'al Koreh keeps "passuling" the Torahs and stretching out davening more than necessary. Also, I find it helpful to know what the letters are supposed to look like.

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