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Why does the Torah have to be in a scroll format?

How do we know that's what God wants?

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The halachos of writing a sefer torah are הלכה למשה מסני (Halacha given to Moshe on Mount Sinai) which mean that the methodology of the writing of the torah, tefillin, and mezuzos were given as part of the oral law from the very beginning.

Here is an example of how to sew the columns of the sefer torah to the aitzai chayim

We see this as an example in the Rambam Tefillin, Mezuzah and Sefer Torah - Chapter Nine The instructions show that the columns must be sewn together and have staves at each end rather than be bound like a book.

Halacha 2

The following margins should be left [on each column]: Below the column: four thumbbreadths; above the column: three thumbbreadths; and between each column: two thumbbreadths.

[To allow for these margins,] one should leave an additional thumbbreadth at the beginning and the end of each portion of parchment and room to sew the parchments together. Thus, when one sews all the portions of parchment together, there will be two thumbbreadths between each column throughout the entire scroll.

One should also leave an extra portion of parchment at the beginning and the end of the scroll, to wind around its staves.

and

Halacha 13

When one sews the parchments together, one should use only sinews from a kosher species of animal or beast. [Sinews taken from] animals which died without being ritually slaughtered or which were killed by wild beasts [are, nevertheless, acceptable].

This is a halachah transmitted to Moses on Mount Sinai. Therefore, if one did not sew them with sinews, or used sinews from a non-kosher animal, the scroll is unacceptable until one removes the threads and sews them again.

Note that this means that if one does not sew the columns together (as in a book) it is not valid.

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