A Torah scroll is the holiest book in Judaism and given utmost respect and significance in synagogues all over the world. It is something that Jews hold high regard for and seek enlightenment from. The Torah scroll acts as the foundation for Jewish law and practice. It has been around for 3,300 years and will continue to be one of the most carefully put together holy script. However, very few are aware of the hidden secrets and facts around the Torah scroll. That is why we have curated a list of things that you need to know about the Torah. Have a look.

1. There is no room for mistake 

Torah is written on a special scroll. There are over 4,000 Judaic laws governing the writing. The rules are quite strict, and even the slightest mistake can be the cause behind the burning of the scroll. The rule says that there cannot be any mistake in writing the Torah, especially in the word God. If there is any, the scroll should be burned down, and sofer should start all over again after taking a bath in a mikvah (religious pool). Any single mistake defeats the whole purpose of writing the Torah.  

2. Tools for writing the Torah

Usually, the Torah is written between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment that are sewn together to produce one long scroll. Traditionally, parchment is made from the skin of a kosher animal, and the writing tool is a quill from a kosher bird. Another interesting rule of writing Torah is that only specially prepared permanent black ink is allowed. One cannot use any other ink to write the Torah. Each letter is written by hand with the help of the feather quill. The sofer has to be extremely careful of the words written in it to avoid making a mistake.

3. Who can write the Torah?

Torah cannot be written by just anybody. It has to be a specially trained sofer who is well versed in Hebrew and aware of the 4,000 Judaic laws before writing a Torah scroll. Each page of the scroll has 42 lines, and it takes up to a year in finish writing the scroll. In total there are 3,04, 805 letters in a Torah scroll. It holds a lot of importance because the Torah is read at least four times a week in synagogues around the world. Synagogues’ walls are often adorned with Torah paintings to add to the beauty. Not just Synagogues but people often buy Torah paintings for their personal space. It adds a certain level of old world charm to the place.

4. How different is it from Torah by Moses?

Another interesting fact is that the Torah that is read and written today is entirely similar to the Torah that was written years ago by Moses. It was 3,300 years ago when Torah was written for the very first time. It is exactly the same because no mistake whatsoever is acceptable in writing the Torah, which is why no alterations could creep in, and the text could be as pure as it can be. When the Jewish new year starts, Jews read Torah from the beginning and finish reading it by the end of the year. One is supposed to read one section each week in order to finish it on time.

5. Torah and its honor

Torah is considered to be of utmost importance in a synagogue. It is the holiest book in Judaism. And only a few are given the honor to hold the Torah. A Torah scroll usually weigh around 25 pounds. And if by mistake, the Torah is dropped from the hands, it is considered to be quite a serious matter, and consequences are to be faced. Conventionally, if a person drops Torah from their hands, every person present in the room must fast for 40 days to make amends. That is the kind of significance the Torah holds in the hearts of Jews.  

There are a thousand of details that go into the making of a Torah scroll which is why it is curated with such precision and affection.

Published by Christina Woodard