My cousin is writing a new Torah. He requested that anyone who wishes to write a letter in the Torah must have gone to the mikvah that day.

Is this halacha or minhag? The sources that I saw that mention this don't indicate the reason for this and whether this is necessary.

I saw a few sources (will link one, later) that says that sofrim need to go the mikvah daily. Does this apply to writing only sifrei Torah or mezuzot and tefillin as well? If there are differences, please explain why.

  • I suggest that the insistence that the person writing the letter must have gone to the mikvah "that day", is not intended to mean specifically that. It might be a diplomatic way of saying, that someone who had an emission should not write a letter unless he used the mikvah prior to writing. So if a person went to the mikvah YESTERDAY, and did not have an emission since then, then he may write a letter TODAY. Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


As @DoubleAA wrote in the comments, this is not halacha, but a minhag brought by some, e.g., from here #2

  • "Ritual immersion on a regular basis (not just because of the decree of Ezra) is fitting for a sofer" (Chida)


  • It is fitting to be particular about this matter (Aruch HaShulchan; Kesset HaSofer).

R Reuvain Mendlowitz in his book Inside stam (p.73) writes

A number of sources [cf. above] mention the concept of a sofer immersing in the mikveh before writing a stam item or a Shem Hashem within one. While different communities follow different customes in this regard, it would be a hiddur for the sofer to immerse in a mikveh at least when impure so as to write only in a purified state (as so did I hear from R Mordechai Friedlander).

Note however that a possible mistake is for sofrim of tefilin or mezuza to leave blanks for the name of God so they can write them "in one go" after immersing in a mikve. Since tefilin and mezuzot have to be written k'sidran (in the order of the text, without going back, SA OC 32:1, see e.g., here), this invalidates the parchment. This is a case where mistaken application of a minhag can go against basic halacha.

  • sefaria.org/Guide_for_the_Perplexed%2C_Part_1.61 "You must beware of sharing the error of those who write amulets (kameot). Whatever you hear from them, or read in their works, especially in reference to the names which they form by combination, is utterly senseless; they call these combinations shemot (names) and believe that their pronunciation demands sanctification and purification, and that by using them they are enabled to work miracles. Rational persons ought not to listen to such men, nor in any way believe their assertions."
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 16:57

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