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וְ֠כָתַב אֶת־הָאָלֹ֥ת הָאֵ֛לֶּה הַכֹּהֵ֖ן בַּסֵּ֑פֶר וּמָחָ֖ה אֶל־מֵ֥י הַמָּרִֽים׃
The priest shall put these curses down in writing and rub it off into the water of bitterness. (Bamidbar 5:23)

I want to know what material was most likely used to "write down" the prescribed writings of the Sotah on? "Be'sefer" I think translates as "in a book", but my Hebrew isn't the best. Was the material from an animal (like how a sefer Torah is made) or was it paper like from a tree?

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    Did they have paper from trees? – Double AA Jun 7 '18 at 10:38
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    @DoubleAA, no-one had wood-pulp paper prior to 1843. I don't believe that paper had even been invented in China at the time – Noach MiFrankfurt Jun 7 '18 at 13:25
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    "Scroll" or better yet "parchment" is probably a better (contemporary English) translation of the biblical "sefer". – Loewian Jun 7 '18 at 14:08
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The Rambam writes in Hilchot Sotah 3:8

Afterwards, a scroll of parchment from a kosher animal, like the parchment used for a Torah scroll is brought.

R Eliyahu Touger explains "the Jerusalem Talmud (Sotah 2:4) states that the parchment must be made from the hide of a kosher animal, lest the woman refuses to drink and the passage be required to be entombed. It would not be fitting for God's name to remain on parchment from a non-kosher animal."

See also Hilchot Sotah 4:8 ("not to write on paper" because it is writen "ba'sefer") and Hilchot Tefilin 1:10 ("hides of [all] kosher animals, wild beasts, and fowl").

  • According to R Touger's explanation, why is Diftera invalid? – Double AA Jun 7 '18 at 10:59

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