Wednesday, 8 February 2012

How The Torah Scroll is Created Part 2

Next is the quill.
The scribe writes with a feather pen or reed pen, filling its tip from the ink. An iron pen is not use for two reasons:
1. There is a good chance the pen may puncture the parchment.
2. Iron is often used to make weapons of death and destruction, both of which oppose the intent of the Torah, which is life.
The letters of a Torah scroll are written in the "Assyrian" script. The various scripts or fonts in which we see  Hebrew commonly written or printed are not valid. The lines must be perfectly straight and even.  There are numerous laws detail the precise figure of each letter, and if even one letter is missing, even merely cracked or smudged, the entire Torah scroll is not kosher A printed Torah scroll, even if its letters conform to the required form, is not valid.It must me hand written.
Because the Torah scroll embodies the holiness of its message, the scribe's  focus exclusively on its pure text.  Any illustrations or artistic decorations are forbidden.
The Scribe. To become a scribe requires rigorous study and training-and great skill. Certainly, a person who has not carefully studied the laws pertaining to composing a Torah scroll cannot be a scribe. Above all,  the scribe must be a G-d-fearing and pious person, dedicated to the sanctity of the Torah scroll. If the scribe isn't G-d fearing and pious, like an unkosher parchment, the Torah Scroll is deemed unkosher.
The scribe may not rely on his memory.  He must copy the letters, word by word, from a kosher Torah scroll or a copy of a certified Kosher scroll.  Interesting, a right-handed scribe writes only with his right hand; a left-handed scribe, only with his left hand.
Since the  Names of G-d is  contained on the Torah, the scribe must write with utmost purity and devotion. It is customary that the scribe immerse himself in a Mikvah (ritual pool) before beginning his work. He also recites a blessing at the outset of his work and before each time he writes the Name of G-d.
The following is from the Chabad Site;

The Atzei Chayim
(Hebrew, pl., trees of life; sing., aitz chayim) The atzei chayim are the two wooden shafts attached to either end of the Torah.

The Gartel
(Yiddish, belt) The gartel is the sash used to tie the Torah scroll so that the Torah remains closed and secured under its velvet covering. When a Torah scroll is found to be non-kosher (e.g., a letter has faded) and awaits correction, its gartel is tied around its velvet covering, on the outside, as an ostensible reminder that it is out of commission.

The Mantel
(Yiddish, cloak) A valuable treasure is not left exposed and vulnerable. We cover the Torah scroll with multiple coverings, dressing it in a "cloak" before restoring it to its honourable place in the Ark and drawing the curtain. The mantel is an ornate covering that both protects and beautifies the Torah scroll, typically made of velvet and embroidered with golden thread, silk, and ornamental beads. Note; it is NOT called a foreskin.

The Keter
(Hebrew, crown) The Torah is our most precious possession, and we lovingly display that. We adorn it with a crown, typically silver, as a symbol of our endearment and veneration. The keter rests on the wooden shafts, which extend above the scroll.

The Yad
(Hebrew, hand) The yad is the pointer that the reader of the Torah uses to help others follow the written words as he reads. Usually made of silver, the end of this rod is commonly shaped like a hand with its index finger extended. A chain attached to its other end can be used to drape it over the Torah scroll when put away.

I first became interested in the construction of the Torah Scroll several years ago, when I thought it would be cool embroider Torah. I knew there were many laws surrounding the Torah and I didn't wish to do anything deemed unkosher.
It was in my research that what I had in mind would not be considered a kosher Torah. Oh I cane still do it, if I wish. But like a printed scroll, it would be invalid.
I still might do it, just for my own sense of touching the Divine, of feeling each letter of the Torah, making this Torah uniquely mine.



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