Questions tagged [sefer-torah]

A scroll of parchment on which is written the Five Books of Moses. Portions from it are read aloud in synagogue at least 4 times a week.

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39
votes
5answers
8k views

Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in?

I've assumed that the Torah scrolls we read today as the same that Moses wrote. I always assumed it's been the same alphabet. However lately I came across documents explaining the evolution of the ...
24
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3answers
2k views

Is the winding פ in this sefer torah kosher?

Leaving aside all other issues with the text as displayed, are the pehs acceptable, or do they actually need an inverted vav on the inside (instead of these whirls)?
23
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6answers
795 views

How to reconcile the possibility that Rashi had a slightly different text of the Torah

In the Parshah of Chayei Sara, in Bereishis 25:6, there is a Posuk that refers to הפילגשים - "the concubines". Rashi expounds that since the word is missing a Yud, it must be a reference to the fact ...
18
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3answers
383 views

2 Sifrei Torah for close readings

This morning we read Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1 - 24:18) and the special reading of Parashat Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16). The custom everywhere I have ever seen is to remove two Sifrei Torah from ...
18
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5answers
1k views

Was a sefer torah ever actually written in Greek?

This answer to a different question states that the only other language a sefer torah can be written in and be kosher is Greek. (Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah 1:19 says that this Greek no longer exists ...
17
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5answers
1k views

“Silk-Screened” Sifrei Torah

What are the halachic issues with Silk-screened sifrei torah? I am interested in a summary of concise halakhic rulings of multiple authorities on the prohibition or permissibility of HaRav Yitzchak ...
15
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4answers
271 views

Why is the Torah divided into five books?

When the Torah refers to itself, it refers to itself in the singular. There are numerous verses, notably in Devarim. One notable example Devarim 31:16 (Sefaria English translation:) "לָקֹחַ אֵת ...
13
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1answer
2k views

What does the /shin/ marker (like Petucha/Setuma) at the end of Torah books mean?

I've been reading about details of Torah sofrut, and after learning about the paragraph markers peh / פ (petucha) and samekh / ס (setuma), I noticed some similarly placed shin markers (mostly at the ...
13
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2answers
365 views

Sending a Torah to the Moon

According to this article, there's an organization that wants to blast a Sefer Torah into space for safe keeping on the moon. Are there any halachik problems regarding such an endeavour (and if so, ...
12
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1answer
653 views

What are the halachot when finding a Sefer Torah on the floor?

Recently, 6 Torah Scrolls that were stolen from the Tzemach Tzedek shul in Yerushalaim were found on the floor of a cave. I am curious what the halachic differences are (if any) between finding a ...
12
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1answer
477 views

Ta'amei Mikra and the Torah Scroll

I have heard that a haftorah klaf (scroll) is still considered kosher and usable if the Ta'amei Mikra have been written on it. Yet I've always been told that this is not true for a Torah scroll. Why ...
11
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6answers
1k views

Different Size Letters in the Torah

I've often wondered if someone has compiled anything about the "special letters" in the Torah: All the letters that are either big or small. Together, do they read as something special? One or more ...
11
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5answers
457 views

What's a floor?

There are certain laws pertaining to a floor. For example, if a Sefer Torah is dropped on the floor, one is supposed to do some sort of atonement (eg., most famously, fasting for 40 days). What is ...
10
votes
1answer
182 views

Moving Sefer Torah with Tallis (source?)

Often times, when someone will move a Sefer Torah from one place to another, on top of what the Sefer Torah is already normally covered with, he will put an additional covering of a Tallis-Gadol. ...
10
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2answers
471 views

What is the reason for “stretched” letters in the Torah?

I noticed that in many Sifrei Torah, Sofrim prefer to "stretch" certain letters. It seems that these letters are stretched to end a line if there wouldn't be enough space to start a new word. That's ...
9
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1answer
497 views

Did the Sefer Torah written by the Maharam of Rottenberg survive the Holocaust?

There is a famous story of the Maharam copying a Sefer Torah written by Moshe Rabbeinu. Before passing, he threw it in the river by the castle in which he was arrested. This Sefer Torah reached ...
9
votes
1answer
255 views

If the “Nun” preceding Bamidbar (Num) 10:35 is not upside down, is the Torah still kosher?

While reading last week's parsha, I noticed that the letter "nun" immediately preceding the verse Vayehi B'nso'ah ha'aron Bamidbar 10:35 was written as regular nun (tagin on top) rather than upside ...
9
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1answer
214 views

How are we allowed to take out two sifrei Torah?

The Mishna in Yoma says that when the Kohen Gadol used to read from the Sefer Torah on Yom Kippur, he had to read two portions: one from Acharei Mos and the other from Emor. It says that he used to ...
9
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1answer
201 views

Rabbi Akiva and Ketarim

In Menachos the Gemara relates the Moshe asked Hashem about the meaning of the "crowns" on many Hebrew letters as written in the Torah. Hashem then gives the following response: אמר לו, אדם אחד יש ...
9
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2answers
521 views

May one write with a pencil or marker in the margins of a sefer Torah?

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 ...
9
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1answer
666 views

Customs surrounding fasting when a sefer torah falls to the floor?

Based on this question I would like to know what the earliest source for fasting when a sefer torah falls comes from? Is is true that if a person is in the room but turns away so as not to see it fall,...
9
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4answers
176 views

Can a sefer Torah serve as a mezuzah?

This question is inspired by the extremely large mezuzot at Ben-Gurion airport (original image, rehost). If one attached a complete, kosher sefer Torah to a sufficiently large doorpost, would it ...
9
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1answer
213 views

When and how did Chet get its STaM easy-to-differentiate-from-Hay form?

I have been looking at photos of old (pre-1300'sCE) Torah scroll fragments, most notably the Song of The Sea pictures of the 700-800CE Ashkar-Gilson fragment and the 1150-1225CE Bologna complete ...
8
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3answers
539 views

May one use a Sephardic Torah in an Ashkenaz minyan?

May an Ashkenaz minyan use a sephardic torah (written in כתב וועליש) for their minyan or vise versa? Please cite a source
8
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3answers
2k views

Would a woman be permitted to write a sefer Torah?

Would a woman be permitted to write a sefer Torah? I understand that it is not done (at least in Orthodox circles), but would doing so violate any halacha? What about the general catch-all of kevod ...
8
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2answers
287 views

What's the significance of בי״ה שמ״ו סימן, espcially on Dt. 31:28?

In most sifre Tora (Torah scrolls), 240 columns of text each start with the letter vav (ו), and five do not. The first of those five exceptional columns, of course, is the first column of the Torah, ...
8
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2answers
808 views

Can a chumash be used for a public torah reading?

I recently attended a weekday morning minyan where the Torah reader was reading simultaneously from a sefer Torah and a printed Chumash. It appeared that the person was mostly reading from Chumash and ...
8
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1answer
229 views

Why does the Torah have to be in a scroll format

Why does the Torah have to be in a scroll format? How do we know that's what God wants?
8
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4answers
266 views

Copies of Aleppo Codex

From what I understand, the loss of the Torah portion of Keter Aram Soba (the Aleppo Codex) in 1948 is heavily lamented because it was the oldest preserved and probably most accurate text of Torah. ...
8
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1answer
121 views

Figuring out where Torah scrolls come from

Lets say a synagogue has inherited a lot of Torah scrolls, but doesn't know where many of them come from. How would they go about determining from which countries these scrolls hail from? Are there ...
8
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1answer
184 views

Sefer Torah enclosures

The Torah scrolls of Ashkenazim have a very different look than those of Sepharadim. Ashkenazim just roll the parchment onto two poles, and read it in a horizontal position; the Sepharadim install the ...
8
votes
1answer
207 views

Would a non-Israeli Jewish king need to write a sefer Torah?

In Deuteronomy/Devorim 17:14, and 17:18-20 we see that a king of Israel is required to write a copy of the Torah to read and keep with him always. Would a convert to Judaism, who is a king of another ...
8
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1answer
223 views

Is a machine written sefer torah distinguishable from Machine Matzos

The Jewish University in Berlin has developed a machine written quill* on parchment Sefer Torah. The report from the BBC takes it for granted that such a Sefer Torah is posul because it lacks the ...
7
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1answer
2k views

what is the single letter difference between ashkenazi and sephardi torah scrolls

According to http://onthemainline.blogspot.co.uk/2005/12/textual-criticism-of-torah-response-to.html The only letter difference between Ashkenazim and Sephardim is whether a particular word ends ...
7
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3answers
787 views

Why is a “classicly” printed Sefer Torah not kosher?

"Classic" printing was a fairly simple process, very similar to using a large stamp. You carve out letters on a block, and cover it with ink. Then the printer presses the board on paper. This printing ...
7
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2answers
220 views

Is it disrespectful to have a raffle where the prize is a Sefer Torah?

I recently came across an advertorial on thelakewoodscoop.com regarding a Shul that is having a raffle where one can win a Sefer Torah. The first comment was: "Is it just me or is using a Sefer ...
7
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1answer
3k views

What does it cost to write one's own Sefer Torah - and how long would it take?

I'm wondering if anybody else has experience writing their own Sefer Torah, how long it took them and how much it cost. It took me about 9 years and about $3,500 to write mine.
7
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3answers
100 views

In what relative positions are multiple Sifrei Torah placed on the bimah?

When two Sifrei Torah (when the second sefer is needed for a special maftir) are placed on the bimah just before hagbah for the first Torah, should the first sefer read from be on the left or the ...
7
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2answers
224 views

Fulfilled the Mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah then lost the Sefer

Suppose a person had a Sefer Torah written in order to fulfill the Mitzvah (Devarim 31:19) and then the Torah got lost, has he still fulfilled his mitzvah, or is he required to write another one?
7
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1answer
268 views

Fasting when Navi on Klaf falls on the floor

As is known, if a Sefer Torah falls on the floor (even if it's covered) there is a halacha that one must fast. (See this question and answer for many sources on this topic.) What about in a case when ...
7
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1answer
282 views

Learning the shapes of the letters as a Baal Koreh

I would have thought that the shapes of the letters would be a good thing for Baal Koreh to know, but I was told that since Sefrie Torah are not invalidated until they are declared as such, this would ...
7
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1answer
358 views

Correct way to deal with a damaged mini-torah?

My son is 4 years old. When he entered Hebrew School at the local (Reform) synagogue, they gave him a mini-torah as part of a Consecration ceremony. Specifically this one: http://www.israelbookshop....
6
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2answers
1k views

Is there a standard format for the start of each column in writing Sifrei Torah?

When I looked at a few Tikunei Lakor'im, they seem to follow what appears to be a standard where certain words begin at the top of a column. I did see several Sifrei Torah that seem to follow this ...
6
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2answers
239 views

Is a Torah that does NOT have the (rabbati) large and small letters (keti'ah) still kosher?

I have a Torah in my shul that does not have any large or small letters where required (e.g. - the 1st letter in the Torah, "Breishit", is written larger than the rest.) Is this Torah still considered ...
6
votes
2answers
190 views

Sifre Tora in boxes vs. in cloths

All S'faradi synagogues I've been in have each sefer Tora in a box. All Ashk'nazi ones I've been in have each sefer Tora in a cloth. When did this split occur, and why, and how? I assume either: ...
6
votes
3answers
496 views

Why do we put the belt (gartel) of the Sefer Torah on the top third?

I have observed in the Shuls I Daven in that the one who does Gelila often puts the belt (gartel) on the top third of the Sefer Torah. Is there a reason or source for this? Why not in the middle?
6
votes
1answer
71 views

May one place letters under one another as long as there is a space between them?

Soferim 2:2 rules that one must put a line-width space between lines, a letter-width space between words, and a hair-width space between letters. Certain letters leave much space beneath them, and ...
6
votes
1answer
194 views

How much of the sefer torah did the king read each day?

According to D'varim 17:18-20, a king was required to write for himself a sefer torah and read from it each day ( וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּיו). This doesn't say he had to read the whole sefer each ...
6
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1answer
190 views

Cleaning a Torah Scroll

Our shul recently had a sofer in to look at our newer Torah scroll. He suggested to the Rabbi that we clean the scrolls regularly, which we have never done. So we did it a few days ago, about 20 of ...
6
votes
1answer
151 views

What is the difference in meaning between a Pesucha and a Setuma?

Paragraphs in a Torah scroll are separated in two ways: "open" breaks (a “Pesucha," generally a gap to the end of the line) and "closed" breaks (a “Setumah,” generally a gap in the middle of the line)....