Let’s Perform the Last Mitzvah

by Arliene Botnick, February 26, 2020

The Mitzvah to write a Torah Scroll is understood by the Rabbis through the following words delivered to Moses and Joshua by God in Deuteronomy 31:19.

Therefore, write down this poem and teach it to the people of Israel; put it in their mouths, in order that this poem may be My witness against the people of Israel.

Some sages, like Rava, interpreted the above commandment to mean that each and every Jew is commanded to write his or her own Torah. And today, not as individuals, but as Jewish communities, we still write (have written) on parchment, by hand, with a specific ink and quill pen, the Torahs that fill our arks.

The writing of a Torah is a long and arduous and holy task. Each letter must be carefully formed and though mistakes made by the scribe (sofer or soferet) in ordinary words can be corrected readily, if a mistake is made in writing God’s name, corrections involve redoing a whole section of the parchment (since erasing even a part of God’s name is not acceptable).

The process of writing a new scroll takes almost 3 years and of course, comes with a need to remunerate the scribe. When an existing Torah cannot be repaired, when letters become so smeared or parchment wears too thin, the existing Torah is buried in a special area of our cemetery, called a genizah.

The Torah is God’s blueprint for Creation. We are told to “turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it”. (Ben Bag Bag – a Rabbinic sage).

And now, we, as a congregation, have the opportunity to write a new scroll for Solel. One of our existing scrolls is no longer considered Kosher and cannot be used. A soferet (female scribe) has been commissioned to write a new Sefer Torah for us. Through the generosity of one of our congregants, a significant part of the cost of this new scroll has been covered, but more is needed. And so my plea to all Solelniks: Let’s fulfill the last commandment by contributing to the Torah Fund. The scribe will be starting the project soon and we hope to raise the funds necessary to cover all costs, including some visits by the scribe to Solel and Bet Sefer Solel to explain the project.

This is a first for Solel since this is the first Torah Scroll in 47 years that we have commissioned. Please be part of this wonderful opportunity!

Contribute in honour of a child, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or a wedding. Contribute in memory of a loved one. Contribute in honour of Solel as it approaches its 50th year.

Let’s all support Solel’s new Torah and be part of fulfilling a Mitzvah.

Filed under: Educator's Message

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