As a Ba'al Kri'ah (Torah reader), I sometimes find it difficult to locate the start of an aliyah (reading) on Shabbat, esp. in parshiot Vayetze and Miketz where both of these are one contiguous parsha (paragraph) with no breaks.

Would one be allowed (before Shabbat, of course) to mark in the side margin where the aliyot are located?

I've see sofrim sometimes mark in pencil something in the margin that indicates the place for a correction or some serial number that they need for their records (I guess when scanning). So, I'm uncertain if there is an exception for sofrim in certain occasions and, whether only an erasable marking may be used (like an erasable marker or pencil) or may one use a permanent marker as well?

  • R' Meir wrote notes in the margins of his Sefer Torah. – DonielF Feb 8 '17 at 21:42
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    did he lein from it? – sam Feb 9 '17 at 3:19
  • Halacha: One cannot add vowels or cantillation marks to a Sefer Torah; mixes up the Oral and Written law IIRC. I wonder if placeholders are similar. – Danny Schoemann Feb 9 '17 at 10:04
  • to extend the question - what about "illuminated manuscripts" in general - why not be mehader the sefer torah by illustrating the blank spaces on the klaf? – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 14 '17 at 21:42
  • @IsaacKotlicky Interesting idea. Don't they have illuminated megillot? – DanF Feb 14 '17 at 21:43

The sefer Piskei Teshuvos (OC 32:12-13) writes that l'chatchila one should not write anything on the margins (or anywhere else) of the sefer torah. If one did write something, even a sofer marking a mistake, he should erase it.

However, as he writes there, b'dieved it would not be a problem.

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The poskim at Dinonline write,

We should not be adding anything to the sefer torah. The reason is because the sefer torah has to be the same way that we got it from Moshe Rabbeinu. The same applies to a mezuzah in not adding anything to mezuzah. Sources: Y.D. 274-7, Taz ibid 7, not to make markings to separate the pesukim or to make nikudos (vowels) in the sefer torah. Rema 288, See Rema O:CH 691-2 regarding a megillah.

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    Many Mezuzot actually do have extra kabbalistic markings on them – Double AA Feb 15 '17 at 22:19
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    Many old Torahs actually do have extra space between verses – Double AA Feb 15 '17 at 22:20
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    Are you sure that this din addresses also writing in the margin? – kouty Feb 16 '17 at 2:13
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    This doesn't answer my question. The margins are not part of the ketav, itself. – DanF Feb 16 '17 at 15:32

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