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This is a scenario of possibly benefiting multiple communities.

Let's say there are five different shuls all in remote communities. Each shul has just one Torah but it is pasul (non usable). They each called a professional sofer, and the sofer says that the place where it is passul has extremely brittle parchment and numerous errors that he cannot properly rewrite it without replacing the whole piece of parchment.

Let's further state that each of these Sifrei Torah are "Vavei Ha'amudim" Torah, meaning they they all are written in the same (standard) format. But, in each Torah, the brittle parchment is in a different place. None of these communities can afford to pay for a sofer to rewrite this section on a blank parchment, and they are all seeking a donation from someone for the correct parchment replacement.

A shul in a big city has an extra Sefer Torah that they can spare, and they would like to help out all five communities. It's a choice of these shuls having no Torah at all, so there is never a public Torah reading, or helping them out. Can the shul use a completely good Torah and divide it to help out these other shuls?

What if the shul in the big city has a pasul Torah, but this one could be easily fixed? Now that the Torah is pasul anyway, can they choose not to fix it and divide it up for the other shuls?

  • This scenario only works if all of these sefarim were written in the last ~30 years, since the modern tikkun only came about in the 1980s. There is also a very real issue of tartei d'satrei, as the sefarim might not be written in the same k'tav. – Noach MiFrankfurt Aug 10 '15 at 20:16
  • "as the sefarim might not be written in the same k'tav." Excellent point, as I did not think of this. (It's still excellent even if I had thought of it ;-) I'm unclear about the "tartei desatrei" claim, here. I know what the term means, but, I don't think this is a halachic problem. My shul has several sifrei Torah that were either pieced together or written by multiple sofrim. I agree, that as a Ba'al Kri'ah, I find the change annoying sometimes. (I really detest a sofer that overuses stretched letters! I understand their necessity, but IMO, a good sofer tries to minimize this technique.) – DanF Aug 10 '15 at 20:36
  • A good example for a possible tartei d'satrei would be if one yeriah were B"Y and the next, vellish. Some also say the same is true between B"Y and Ari – Noach MiFrankfurt Aug 10 '15 at 20:38
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt Sorry. Can you explain the terms B"Y and "vellish" – DanF Aug 10 '15 at 20:39
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    @NoachmiFrankfurt Thanks for the explanation. I haven't seen any combo Sifrei Torah like what you described. I would imagine that there is no halachic problems with this. This may be worth asking about doing this lechatchila, i.e. having a Sefer Torah initially designed by different sofrim each having such drastically different styles. It would be confusing to read from it, but can one initially do this? – DanF Aug 11 '15 at 2:28
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OK, I'll try to address all the issues including the ones brought up in comments in no particular order, starting with the practical concerns.

  1. Mixed k'sav is not an issue. (Source: I have checked mezuzot with mixed k'sav on the same line which Rabbi Dovid Feinstein previously looked at and said were OK.
  2. There are some tikkunim that were somewhat-standard before Rabbi Davidovich developed the currently popular one; Berditchev comes to mind. Assuming they all used the same tikkun, or one that was similar enough that the line endings were within a few words (without Divine Names) so you could scrap and stretch, there are ways around the formatting issues.
  3. It is assur to strip a kosher sefer torah for parts because you are essentially "erasing" a sefer torah. (source: extension from the biblical prohibition to even rub away one letter)
  4. A passul Torah is not subject to that prohibition and people do, in fact take kosher individual sheets from old sifrei torah to repair other ones, particularly antiques where it is hard to match the writing style. I believe Kesset Hasofer discusses the practice in one of the Chakiros but it seems to be well established as permitted and became very widespread in America.
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    Thanks for this answer. I'll relay this to my rav, b"n. I stumped him on this one. (I've been giving him a few stumpers, lately ... just to see what he doesn't know or what I know more than he does ;-) I should prob. add Kesset Hatorah to my library if a printed copy is still easily available (any ideas on that?) BTW, too bad you didn't answer this a few weeks ago when a bounty was available. – DanF Aug 27 '15 at 16:02
  • "It is assur to strip a kosher sefer torah for parts" -- Why would anyone want to do that? – Maurice Mizrahi Dec 12 '18 at 17:51
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It is an explicit statement in Masheches Sefer Torah 2:8

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"If a sheet is worn out, one may not remove 2 columns and replace them with 2 new ones. Rather 3 columns should be removed and replaced by 3 new ones. The new ones must be the same size as the original script".

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    Doesn't it refer to the fact that the whole sheet has to be replaced? So you can't cut it up to save an intact part. – Kazi bácsi Feb 19 at 8:16
  • This doesn't address where you get the new sheet from. We all already agreed that you can put a new sheet in. Maybe you have to write it from scratch though – Double AA Feb 19 at 13:17
  • There'sa Masechta called Sefer Torah? I thought it was Masechet Sofrim. Also, "what does the same size as the original script" mean? Does that mean that all the letters on the replacement sheets need to be the same size as those on the surrounding sheets? I can see that may be a bit hard to accomplish exactly. I don't know of two sofrim that write exactly alike. – DanF Feb 19 at 14:47

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