Modern Ashkenazi Torahs are often (at least in part) written with turkey feathers. Not always - there are plenty of other quills that are acceptable (and reeds, plastic, and most say metal, among other options).

There are those who think that a Torah must be written with a feather from a kosher (species of?) bird (according to Wikipedia and more reliably, Keset ha-Sofer (Tinyana) 3:6 (English)). There are those who dispute the kashrut status of turkey.

Are there those who overlap in both of these sets such that they would dispute the kashrut of a Torah written with a turkey feather? If so, how is that handled practically? I assume if you buy a new Torah, you can commission the sofer to not use turkey feathers, but how does someone in this set ensure that his pre-existing Torah is kosher according to that set of opinions?

(This is not l'maaseh)

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    I'm fairly certain that no one is so worried about the Turkey being not kosher to be careful about this, especially given the opinions that anything is kosher for a quill.
    – Double AA
    Jul 30, 2013 at 17:29
  • @DoubleAA Probably right. Does that make it safek in a safek? If so, that's a potential answer. Jul 30, 2013 at 17:33
  • So practically speaking the answer is: You find a sofer and pay him a lot of money to do everything exactly according to your shitos.
    – Yitzchak
    Jul 22, 2014 at 23:52
  • @Yitzchak acknowledged in the question. But see the last question Jul 23, 2014 at 2:03
  • Assuming there was such a person, there would be absolutely no way to tell. You can tell a sefer written with a reed from one written with a feather by sight but I don't think it's possible to tell what sort of feather just by looking at the writing
    – Yitzchak
    Jul 23, 2014 at 2:07

2 Answers 2


The Divrei Chaim (Sanz) writes very emphatically about using only a feather from a Kosher bird, though this is an almost-universal practice even among contemporary sefardim (relatively few of whom still use reeds). However the halacha of "min hamuttar l'picha" only applies to the ink and parchment (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 32:5-8) so even those who dispute the kashrus of Turkey are within the realm of halacha using a Torah written with a Turkey quill.

That being said, being within the realm of halacha never stopped anyone from pursuing hiddurim and I'm sure someone, somewhere, may have ordered a scroll specially for that reason but as far as I know (having studied and practiced safrus under a very experienced mentor) it is not the accepted practice of any community.


In the original קסת הסופר written by the author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch - Rav Shlomo Ganzfreid - there is no mention of not using a quill from a non-Kosher animal.

All he says (in Ch 2:16) is: Some say that it's better to use a reed than a feather - but this is not the custom.

The Chasam Sofer in his notes (ibid at the bottom of the page) says that feathers qualify - and may be preferable - as they are permitted to be eaten - i.e. kosher.

It seems that he took it for granted that one wouldn't use a feather from a non-Kosher bird.

They do not discuss what would be the Din if you wrote a Sefer Torah with a feather from a non-Kosher bird.

  • Reeds aren't kosher?
    – Double AA
    Jul 31, 2013 at 7:03
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    In any event, while the first edition may not have mentioned it, the final edition of the קסת הסופר by R Ganzfreid clearly states like the OP quotes hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8308&st=&pgnum=18
    – Double AA
    Jul 31, 2013 at 7:08
  • @DoubleAA: Thanks! I was wondering why the layout didn't look familiar. While reeds are "kosher" I think he's referring to the fact that they are not edible - same way that gold is "kosher" but not edible, as he mentions. Jul 31, 2013 at 11:44
  • This actually opens up the question a bit more - when did that piece in the Keset Hasofer get added and why? Aug 1, 2013 at 17:28
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    But a reed is as kosher as a feather--both are permitted, neither is edible.
    – wfb
    Oct 30, 2013 at 15:10

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