The Torah Scroll
Let Us Help You Write A Torah Scroll
As written in the Torah... And now, record for yourselves this song and teach it to the Children of Israel, place it into their mouths; so that this song should be for Me a witness among the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 31:19).
Rabbah said: Though one's ancestors have bequeathed to him a Torah scroll, it is a mitzvah for him to write one using his own resources, as it is written, " And now, write for yourselves this song " (Sanhedrin 21b)
The Sefer Torah is the most cherished legacy of the Jewish people. It has been more than three thousand years since Moshe Rabbeinu, the first sefer Torah scribe, presented the Jewish nation with their first Torah scroll. Since that monumental day, years of exile and persecution have been endured, yet the Jewish nation and its sefer Torah live on. Throughout Jewish history, Jews have lived by the Torah and died for it. If the sifrei Torah in the arks of our synagogues could speak, each would have its own story to tell. Some were written over a century ago to commemorate joyous occasions, while others were written to memorialize loved ones who passed on. Memories of generations past, remain alive with the Torah Scroll.
Sefer Torah Sium Celebration
Our generation has been privileged to witness the dedications of hundreds of newly written sifrei Torah. Communities and individuals throughout the world have committed themselves to mitzvas taryag the 613th commandment of writing a Torah scroll.
It takes approximately one year to write a complete sefer Torah. The sofer who writes the sefer Torah must be a pious, G-d fearing individual. He must be knowledgeable in all Halachic aspects of Torah script, while being an expert craftsman, for the task of writing of a sefer Torah is difficult and complex. The penmanship, spacing and uniformity of script will differ from sofer to sofer, ranging from minimally acceptable to excellent. They would be the most preferable and mehudar, using a meticulously exacting script. The attractiveness and consistency of k'sav, script, is one of the determining factors for the cost of the sefer Torah. The precision of each written letter, the crowns, curves and points, although seemingly insignificant, are what differentiate the sefer Torah from an ordinary Chumash. No two letters may touch. Each letter must be surrounded by parchment, mukaf g-vil.
Each sefer Torah is handwritten with a simple turkey or goose quill, copied from the text of an existing sefer Torah. The klaf (parchment) is made from the hides of kosher animals that have been soaked, stretched and sanded lishma, for the specific intent of writing religious scrolls. The parchment surface should not be coated or glazed. The klaf is scored with horizontal and ver-tical lines called sirtut to guide the sofer in his writing.
Components of the Torah Scroll
Although the line and column format of sifrei Torah may vary, most newly written scrolls contain 245 columns of 42 lines each. The average parchment height is between 17 and 20 inches tall, although some have been written as small as 6 inches or as tall as 28 inches. Approximately 62 pieces of hide are needed to complete a sefer Torah, and each yeriah, sheet of parchment, contains from three to five columns. Once completed, all yerios are joined and sewn together with giddin, the sinews and tendons of a kosher animal.
Once the writing of the sefer Torah is complete, it is proofread by reputable ba'alei magiah, examiners, to ensure that all words and letters are intact. With the advent of computer technology, we have the capability of inspecting the sefer Torah by computer to virtually ensure halachic accuracy. The computer will detect any missing or additional letters that may have been overlooked by previous proofreaders. Although all aspects of the sefer Torah writing are done traditionally with the simple ancient tools used by Moshe Rabbeinu and all sofrim since, modern technology is utilized to ensure that our sacred scrolls are as perfect as humanly possible.
love and honor of the Torah
The Chasam Sofer writes that one who commissions the writing of a sefer Torah and goes through the difficulty of choosing the appropriate scribe, selecting the finest hides for the parchments, appointing the best possible proofreaders and choosing the most beautiful atzei chaim and Torah covers has a great merit. He makes an indelible impression upon his offspring, making a profound state-ment about one's willingness to expend energy and resources for the love and honor of the Torah. He has re-enacted what transpired on Mount Sinai centuries ago, recreating the ecstasy, joy and splen-dor of the giving and receiving of the Torah.