Have you ever read about the dedicated effort that goes into making a Torah scroll? It is truly fascinating. God’s Word is treated with such deep reverence. It is even forbidden to do anything disrespectful in the presence of a Torah scroll.
A scroll is a masterpiece of skill and strict adherence to 4,000 laws that direct the copying of a scroll. Each is comprised of between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment, which have been made from the skin of a kosher animal and cured, tanned, scraped, and prepared according to the law’s specifications.
Each scroll must contain exactly 304,805 letters. Laws dictate the precise writing of each letter, and if even one letter is missing or misshapen, or in some instances, merely cracked or smudged, the entire Torah scroll is considered not kosher and is disqualified.
Because the message of the Torah embodies holiness, the text, and especially the names of God, must be written with utmost purity and devotion.
Only a special black ink and feather quill may be used.
Not only do precise laws regulate the materials and copying of the Torah but they also regulate the scribes who copy it. For the writing of a scroll is a holy task.
A scribe is called a Sofer, which literally means one who counts letters. To qualify as a Sofer, one must…
* be pious and train rigorously to know the governing laws before he begins.
* not write even one letter into a scroll by heart but copy from a second, kosher scroll opened before him at all times.
* be totally clean spiritually by immersion in a mikvah (or mikveh) bath before beginning his work.
* pronounce every word out loud before copying it from the correct text.
* recite a blessing at the outset of his work and before each time he writes the name of God.
* recite before writing God’s name, “I am writing the name to sanctify the name,” or “My intention is now to write the Holy Name.” Then, he must inscribe it without interruption.
* not alter the design of the sections, lines, and columns, conforming to a particular format.
A scroll takes about 2,000 hours to copy, comprising of around one year’s work. It takes a scribe about one week to write one page, writing approximately three to four letters per minute.
When the writing has been completed, the pieces of parchment are sewn together with thread made of animal sinews. No element containing iron or steel may be used in the creation of a Torah scroll, because metals are used to create instruments of war.
There are accessories that go with the Torah…
1) Two wooden shafts, in Hebrew called trees of life, are attached at either end of the Torah so it may be rolled up.
2) A sash called a Gartel or belt is used to tie the Torah so it remains closed and secured under a velvet covering.
3) The velvet covering is called a mantel and is embroidered with golden thread, silk, and ornamental beads and covers the Torah so it is not exposed and vulnerable.
4) A crown called the Keter adorns the Torah and is usually made of silver, as a symbol of endearment and veneration.
5) The Yad is a pointer used by the reader of the Torah to follow the text during the Torah reading. Usually made of silver, the end of this rod is commonly shaped like a hand with its index finger extended.
According to Jewish tradition, the words contained in the Torah are the words God dictated to Moses, and are, therefore, from the Divine and treated with utmost respect. The Jews are taught that whoever honors the Torah will himself be honored.
There is so much more but that’s about all I could fit in here. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I have.
May we remember to honor the Word of God with the same deep reverence.
*Info gathered from the following sites: