KOSHER or PASUL?
18 Nisan/4 Pesach
My latest Megillat Esther amudim 17 & 18
10 ways to tell whether you can use your Sefer Torah (no particular order):
1) Anything that makes it impossible for a 13-year-old boy or 12-year-old girl to read any letter in a Sefer correctly, with difficulty, or not at all renders that Torah pasul (not kosher).
2) Tears at the top or bottom of the parchment render the scroll unfit until they are repaired - unless the tear runs through more than 5 lines of the text. If this is the case, you must geniza the whole thing.
3) If the Sefer Torah does not have the Halakhically required 11 large letters, 6 small letters, 250 petuchot (open paragraphs) & 379 stumot (closed paragraphs), it's unfit & must be put away.
4) If the scroll has one or more missing or extra letter(s), it's pasul.
5) A Torah which is written in any language other than the original Hebrew is not kosher
6) Only Katav Ashuri, the "Syrian" or "Square" script used since Ezra the Scribe, is allowed. Note: Samaritans still use the pre-Ezra Katav Ivri, "Hebrew" script, but we don't use their Sifrei, & it's ok for them.
7) When a seam is torn or has broken stitches, it is pasul until this is repaired.
8) If part or all of a letter's ink has broken away but the stain left behind where the ink used to be is dark enough for a child to read, it's still not kosher & must be re-inked before it's publicly read again.
9) A Sefer written with sub-standard d'yo/ink, particularly the type that sheds dust each time it's used, has to be buried. The text is constantly fading & obscuring itself. This type of "d'yo"is made in the USA by sofrim trying to make a buck. Generally in Brooklyn.
10) When a hole appears inside the inked part of a letter, you can't patch it from behind as all words must be written on the same piece of parchment. To make it kosher you must cut the word out & re-write it on a new piece of parchment, gluing it in place from behind (only kosher glue, please).
My other sofrut top 10s are here & here.
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