Monthly Archives: December 2009

Proofreading, part 16

There’s still chance for human error though – misspeaking, mishearing, losing the place, saying “hang on a minute” when marking an error and needing to re-establish the place afterwards, going too fast and missing bits, going too slow and wasting time. Plus, it still takes a long time, and paying someone to sit there and […]


Proofreading, part 15

Broadening our scope back into the general activity of proofreading, we left off with me saying that one person checking the Torah by reference to a tikkun isn’t terribly efficient, for several reasons. This is why tradition developed an alternative process, in which a Reader has the tikkun and a Sofer has the klaf. The […]


Proofreading, part 14

Proofreading also picks up on things which are technically kosher and wouldn’t make the reader confused, but just aren’t very pretty. This stage is a tricky one, because there’s always, always going to be stuff you could have done better, and if you’re not careful you’ll drive yourself into a frenzy of ever more microscopic […]


Proofreading, part 13

The astute will have worked out by now that this Torah has advanced into the proofreading stage, writing and proofreading happening simultaneously. I just thought I’d mention that.


Proofreading, part 12

As a keen Torah reader myself, I’m well aware of those horrible moments when you’re reading along and you look at the Torah and you think “huh? what on EARTH is that?!” When I’m proofreading, I try to pick up on that sort of thing. Here’s an example. That mem and nun are a bit […]


Proofreading, part 11

Pasul letter mem Proofreading has to pick up on letters which have real problems in their form. Maybe the scribe’s hand slipped, maybe the letter got smudged by accident, maybe the ink spread after being put on – letters can go wrong, and we don’t always notice while we’re writing. So proofreading has to be […]


Proofreading, part 10

We saw an example of one sort of thing which proofreading turns up – where the text is Just Wrong: Text should read שמנה מאת שנה. That was a case where the extra letter vav completely changed the meaning – “eight hundred” became “one hundred and eight.” But in some cases, an extra or missing […]


Proofreading, part 9

All this place-finding and looking up and down takes time. Only a couple of seconds each time, but that adds up fast, as you can probably imagine. Holding a string of letters in your mind isn’t efficient either, partly just because one can forget things, and partly because of anticipation; when you’re reading the text […]


Proofreading, part 8

When I’m proofreading my writing for the first time, there are two questions I’m asking regarding each of the 304,805 letters: is the letter there, and is the letter kosher? The process goes like this. With a sheet of freshly-written Torah in front of you, you find your place in the tikkun and look at […]


Proofreading, part 7

Getting back to proofreading proper. As we’ve heard, in order to encourage integrity of the text, we have a rule that even one wrong letter invalidates the entire Torah. When you’re writing 304,805 letters, you’re bound to slip up on some of them. So, when you write a Torah, you proofread it extremely carefully, more […]