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Chapter 28: 1-3
The Torah Scroll and Sacred Texts

1. It is a positive command incumbent on every Jewish man to write a Torah scroll for himself, as [Deuteronomy 31:19] states: "Now, write for yourselves this song." Our sages received the interpretation of this verse as: Write the entire Torah which contains this song [Ha'azinu]. Even if one inherits a Torah scroll from one's father, it is a mitzvah to write one alone.

A person who hires a scribe to write a Torah scroll for him, or who buys a scroll which contains errors and corrects it, is considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah of writing a Torah scroll.*

* { A person who cannot write a Torah scroll himself or afford to commission a scribe to do so may fulfill the mitzvah of writing a Torah scroll by purchasing letters in a scroll written through the contributions of many individuals.}

It is forbidden to sell a Torah scroll. However, in a time of great need, one should consult a Rabbinic Sage.

2. Similarly, it is a mitzvah for a person to purchase the sacred texts which are used to study - e.g., the mishnah, gemorah, and the works of the halachic authorities - so that he may study from them himself and lend them to others. A person who cannot afford to buy both a Torah scroll and texts for study should give priority to the texts he needs for study.

[Kesuvos 50a] states that [Psalms 112:3]: "His righteousness endures forever" refers to a person who writes (or purchases) sacred texts and lends them to others.

3. A person must treat a Torah scroll with great honor. It is a mitzvah to designate a special place for it and show respect and beautify that place.

One should not spit in front of a Torah scroll or hold a Torah without its mantle. A person who sees a Torah scroll being carried must stand before it until the Torah scroll is returned to its place or until it passes out of his sight.

In the synagogue, when the Torah is removed or returned to the ark, it is a mitzvah for everyone whom the Torah passes to accompany it to its place. Similarly, the person who lifts up the Torah scroll and the one who rolls it closed should accompany the scroll.


   The Torah Scroll and Sacred Texts
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.

 

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