Did you know?


1. The Scriptural source for writing a Torah scroll comes from the book of Deuteronomy.
 "And now, write for yourselves this song and teach it to the Children of Israel, place in into their mouths." (Deuteronomy 31:19) “This song” has been interpreted to mean the Torah.

2. There are 304,805 letters in a Torah scroll. E
ach of us is represented in this timeless story and the scroll may not be used if a single letter is missing. 

3. No two letters in the Torah may touch each other. Each letter must be surrounded by parchment.

4. Each Torah scroll is written by hand using a turkey or goose feather quill. The scribe copies from the text of an existing Torah, following traditions detailed by Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Sefer Torah, 8:4.

5. The letter that appears most frequently in the Torah is the letter “yud” which is written 31,530 times. “Yud” is the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, representing sanctity and holiness.

6. The Torah is divided into 54 weekly readings, each of which is called a parshah. Around the world since the 6th century BCE, the Jewish people have read aloud from the Torah on Shabbat and throughout the week and studied its teachings for deeper meanings and relevance to their lives.

7. Most new Torah scrolls are written in 62 individual panels of parchment consisting of 245 columns of 42 lines each, which are stitched together by hand. The scribe does not have to write the panels in sequence.

8. To ensure that the writing is perfect, today optical scanners are used for accuracy and completeness in addition to proofreading by experts. The scribe may correct errors and the work is not done until the scan comes back with a "clean" report. 

9. Older scrolls had a whitewash applied to the parchment on the back, which made the color uniform but also added considerable weight. Today a more natural look is preferred and the whitewash is no longer used. Modern scrolls weigh less due to this change.

10. Most columns of a modern scroll start with the Hebrew letter "vav." This both standardizes the writing and also adds significant meaning. The “vav” is both a connector in relation to its meaning of "and," as well as a "hook."  

11. There is a widespread custom for one who writes a sefer Torah to invite others to share in this mitzvah by filling in a letter (or letters). The source of this custom is a Talmudic passage in which correcting a single letter is compared to writing an entire Torah.

12. A sefer Torah should always be carried on one’s right side. This custom is linked to the Scriptural verse, "From His right hand, He presented His fiery Torah" (Deuteronomy 33:2).


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