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Chapter 24: 3-5
Error in a Torah Scroll

3. The following rules apply if one letter is joined to another letter: If it appears that the letters became joined after the passage was written, and the form of the letters was not altered, the scroll is acceptable.

However, if it appears that the letters were joined while the passage was being written, the ruling depends on whether the letters were joined before the letter was completed - e.g. a final "Nun" which was joined at its midpoint to the left leg of a "Taf" - or the letters became joined after the letter was completed.

[In the latter instance, the scroll] may be considered kosher, and it is not necessary to take out another scroll. [In the former instance,] it is unfit [and may not be used]. Nevertheless, during the week, it is permissible to rub off some ink to separate the letters. [This will make the scroll kosher.]

4. The discovery of a letter whose proper shape has been distorted [renders a scroll unfit. This applies] regardless of whether the letter was originally written in this manner or this occurred afterwards because of a perforation of the scroll.

Should, however, a perforation be discovered within a letter or outside of a letter that does not change the form of the letter, but does prevent it from being mukaf g'vil (surrounded by empty parchment), it is kosher provided it is apparent* that the perforation was made after the letter had been written. The decision is rendered because the letter was mukaf g'vil when it was written.

* { The Mishnoh Beruroh 32:55 writes that if there is a doubt regarding when the perforation occurred, we may rely on the scribe and assume that it happened after the passage was written.}

The fading of the ink of a letter to the extent that it is no longer sufficiently black [renders the scroll] unfit.*

* {The Chasam Sofer (Yoreh De'oh 256) allows a Torah scroll to be used if the color of its letters has faded because of age. See Misgeres Hashulchon 2, Mishnoh Beruroh 143:25, 32:128.}

5. When a question exists whether a letter is the proper shape or not, it should be shown to a child who is neither wise or foolish (i.e., one who recognizes and reads letters, but cannot comprehend what he reads). If he reads it properly it is kosher. If not, it is not kosher. If several children [were consulted and they] disagree, the decision follows the majority.

A child's identification of a letter avails only when adults are in doubt. Then, the child is [not contesting the opinion of adults, but] rather revealing the nature of the situation. However, when we can see that the letter was not written properly or when the yud of the Ayin, Alef or Shin or the foot of the Taf is detached, the scroll is unfit even if the child reads the letter properly.

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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.

 
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