Image: A Sefer Torah belonging to Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA. Photo by Susan Krauss.
1. The proper Hebrew name for a Torah scroll is Sefer Torah. It’s pronounced “SAY-fehr toe-RAH,” or in the Yiddish/Ashkenazic pronunciation, “SAY-fehr TOE-rah.” It means “book of Torah.”
2. A sefer Torah contains exactly 304,805 Hebrew letters in a special script. There are no vowels and no punctuation. One must study in order to be able to read or chant from the sefer Torah.
3. It takes a sofer (SOH-fehr) (specially trained scribe) approximately 18 months to produce a sefer Torah. It takes so long because every letter is written by hand, every detail has to be checked and rechecked, and there are special rules for writing the name of God. As a result of this care, the text has been preserved accurately over…
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