Part II: Yoreh De'ah
Chapter 22 - THE TORAH SCROLL
Every male Jew should copy or buy Torah books and in particular a Torah
scroll; see 270:1-2. Such books must not be sold unless the proceeds are
needed for Torah study or for other important purposes such as marriage
or ransom (270:1-2).
A Torah scroll may be written only on the skin of a kosher type of animal
or bird (271:1), preferably on the inner surface of the outer part of the
skin (see 271:3-4). The skin must be cured by a Jew for that purpose
(271:1); on the method of curing see 271:2. The skin must be ruled (271:5)
and the writing must be done with the proper type of black ink (see 271:6)
and with a reed pen (271:7). The writing must be done intentionally (274:1)
by a religious adult male Jew (see 281:1-5). Each word must be read aloud
from a written text before writing it (274:2).
The height of the scroll should be equal to its circumference (272:1) and
the lines of writing should be 30 characters long (272:2). Each sheet of
skin should contain between three and eight columns of writing (272:3)
and each column should contain between 42 and 60 lines (see 275:6). The
last sheet may contain fewer columns, but the writing in the last column
must end in the middle of the bottom line (272:3-4).
The sheets must be sewn together with the sinews of a kosher type of animal;
see 278:1-4. There should be two-inch margins between consecutive columns
(in addition to space for stitching the sheets together and rolling the
first and last sheets on sticks; see 278:2), a three-inch margin at the top
of each column and a four-inch margin at the bottom (273:1). There should
be a line-width of space between consecutive lines and four blank lines
between consecutive books of the Torah (273:1).
The letters should not vary in size (see 273:2-3) and the edges of the
columns should be as straight as possible (see 273:3-5). If a word was
omitted it may be inserted between the lines but not between the columns
(273:6;276:1). The letters should be well-formed (274:3,6), legible (274:5),
and separated by small spaces (274:4) and there should be one-letter spaces
between words (274:4). The words must be correctly spelled (see 275:6) and
there must be no punctuation (274:7). There must be paragraph spaces nine or
more letters long in the middles and at the ends of many specific lines; see
275:1-2. On the arrangement of the lines of the songs in Exod. 15:1-19 and
Deut. 32:1-43 see 275:3-5.
Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.