How is a Torah Scroll Written?
An authentic Torah scroll is a mind-boggling masterpiece of labor and skill. Comprising between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment-cured, tanned, scraped and prepared according to exacting Torah law specifications-and containing exactly 304,805 letters, the resulting handwritten scroll takes many months to complete. An expert pious scribe carefully inks each letter with a feather quill, under the intricate calligraphic guidelines of Ktav Ashurit(Ashurite Script).
The sheets of parchment are then sewn together with sinews to form one long scroll. While most Torah scrolls stand around two feet in height and weigh 20-25 pounds, some are huge and quite heavy, while others are doll-sized and lightweight.
To become a scribe requires rigorous study and training-and great skill. Certainly, a person who has not carefully studied the laws pertaining to composing a Torah scroll cannot be a scribe. Above all, however, the scribe must be a G‑d-fearing and pious person, dedicated to the sanctity of the Torah scroll.
The scribe may not rely on his memory, but must copy the letters, word by word, from a kosher Torah scroll or a copy of a certified Kosher scroll. A right-handed scribe writes only with his right hand; a left-handed scribe, only with his left hand.
The Torah scroll, and especially the Names of G‑d contained therein, must be written with utmost purity and devotion. It is therefore customary that the scribe immerse himself in a Mikvah (ritual pool) before beginning his work. He also recites a blessing at the outset of his work and before each time he writes the Name of G‑d.
what to expect at our sefer torah dedication:
What is it?
The most important items in the synagogue are the Torah scrolls that reside in the ark at the front of the sanctuary. Handwritten in ink on parchment, these scrolls are read regularly during the prayer services. People donate Torahs to synagogues to celebrate milestones, memorialize loved ones, or just because they are needed.
A Hachnasat Sefer Torah is the celebration that centers around the welcoming of a scroll to its new home. It’s a really big deal, akin to a wedding. In fact, the entire town skips Tachanun (penitential prayers) that day in celebration.
The term (hach-nas-at means “bringing in of,” and Sefer Torah means “Torah scroll”). You can also just call it a “Torah celebration” or “Torah parade.”
WHO IS INVITED?
Everyone! This is a celebration honoring Chaim Boruch’s Bar Mitzvah with a Torah dedication! Please feel free to reach out to us personally if you know someone who would like to attend to celebrate with us.
In order for us to plan accordingly please click on the menu tab above; “Invitation” for more information about Chaim Boruch’s Bar Mitzvah celebration.
What to expect:
There is precious little in the way of absolute protocol for these celebrations, so things can vary, but there are generally four parts:
a. The Finishing of the Letters: In the donor’s home or another convenient location, invited guests will take turns assisting the sofer (scribe) to fill in the final words of the Torah scroll. Sometimes the assistants will be allowed to actually fill in the letters on their own, but often they symbolically hand the quill to the scribe and let him do what he does best. Once the last of the ink is dried, the scroll is lifted for all to see, and dressed in its velvet mantle, silver crown and pointer.
b. The Parade: Under a chupah (canopy), accompanied by joyous music, the new Torah is jubilantly carried to its new home. Traditionally, marchers carry torches, and paper flags are distributed to the young ones. In some communities, the parade is led by a music truck with a giant crown (not sure whose idea that was). You’ll notice that the Torah is passed from hand to hand, as marchers are given the honor of carrying the Torah along the way. Clap, dance, sing, and just become one with the proceedings.
c. The Welcome: As the procession approaches, the congregation’s existing Torah scrolls are brought out to greet the latest addition. Together they are danced into the sanctuary and joyously carried around the room, similar to the dancing that takes place on Simchat Torah.
d. The Feast: After the Torah scrolls have been safely returned to the ark, there is normally a celebratory meal.
do men and women celebrate in the same way?
All Jews are invited to celebrate with the Torah. Even though the guys will be the ones to hold the Torah, men and women are encouraged to give it a kiss during the parade and participate in the march. Of course, you can also celebrate by simply soaking up the incredible energy, joy and spirit of the moment, by just being present.
How can i participate?
It is a great merit to contribute financially to a new Torah scroll, thus fulfilling the biblical obligation for every Jew to write a Torah scroll. We offer sponsorships for letters, words, or even entire sections of new Torah scrolls. This Torah scroll is in honor of Chaim Boruch, so please join us in this celebration and don’t feel the need to sponsor anything in order to come. We are celebrating the life of Chaim Boruch and having each of you there will make this milestone so very meaningful.
SEFER Torah facts:
• A Torah Scroll is the holiest book within Judaism, made up of the five books of Moses.
• There are 304,805 letters in a Torah Scroll.
• Each page has 42 lines.
• The Torah Scroll must be written by a specially trained pious scribe called a sofer.
• A sofer must know more than 4,000 Judaic laws before he begins writing a Torah Scroll.
• It takes about a year to write an entire Torah Scroll.
• Even a single missing or misshapen letter invalidates the entire Sefer Torah.
• The Torah we use today in your synagogue is written exactly the same way the Torah was written the very first time by Moses 3,300 years ago.
• The Torah is made of many sheets of parchment that are sewn together to make one very long scroll.
• The entire Torah is written by hand, each letter is inscribed and individually formed with a quill and specially prepared ink.
• The Torah is read at least four times a week in synagogues around the world.