The Sacredness of the Torah

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Some have asked, how could a scribe ensure that there are no mistakes made when copying the individual letters? The scribes followed strict guidelines when preparing a new Torah scroll.

These include:

The new scroll had to be copied directly from another scroll. Nothing was copied from memory.

The scribe must repeat every word out loud before writing the word down.
If a Torah was written incorrectly, it could not be kept more than thirty days without being corrected or hidden.

Every word and letter must be individually counted when it was completed.
The script was written without vowels-just as they were in ancient times.
Every Hebrew letter and each line is individually examined to ensure that the form of each letter and line is correct. If a mistake is made, that section of the scroll is not permitted to be sewn together with the other parchments.

If there is a letter mistake, a scribe is permitted to scrape off that letter and remake it. It is, however, forbidden to erase the sacred name of God once that name has been penned on the parchment. If a mistake is made related to God's name, that section of the parchment must be buried in a special place for scrolls, and the process must begin again. There are three other trained persons who each examine the individual sections of the parchments before they are approved.

Once the parchments are completed, the scribe will take threads from the sinews of kosher animals (a cow, ox, or a sheep) and sew the back of the scroll in a special manner so the threads are not visible from the front. The large scroll is then placed on the two rollers, called in Hebrew Etz Chayim, or the "tree of life."

Writing God's name was so sacred that if a scribe was copying God's name on the parchment and a king walked in, the scribe was not permitted to look up until the name of God was completely written. It is reported that before and after writing God's name, the scribe's pen was wiped clean, and in ancient times scribes would leave the table and wash in honor of writing God's holy name on His holy Word. Each scroll was copied from a previous scroll, using the above guidelines and regulations when copying the Torah.

Perry Stone is the author of numerous books, including Breaking the Jewish Code (Charisma House), from which this article is excerpted. To purchase a copy, click on the book.


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