Monthly Archives: April 2012


We reached a halfway point this week; 122.5 columns of 245. As it happens, 245 is also the number of words in the Shema (full text here). The Shema is the cornerstone of the liturgy; the Torah is the cornerstone of the religion. The Shema says, bring God into all your doings; the Torah is […]

Darosh Darash–Shemini

Here’s a section of parashat Shemini, from Leviticus 10:16: וְאֵת שְׂעִיר הַחַטָּאת דָּרֹשׁ דָּרַשׁ מֹשֶׁה וְהִנֵּה שֹׂרָף – And Moses he inquired diligently concerning the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt. See how the scribe has stretched out the first words of the verse so dramatically? What’s going on there? An […]

More letter adornments

Following on a bit from last week’s post, here are a few of the other things this sefer contains. Descriptions are mine, not hallowed by tradition.

Tagin: the crowns on the letters of the Torah

When we look at words in the Torah scroll, we notice unusual decorations on the letters. What are they? Why are they there? A very few seconds’ thought tells us that they are not vowels or cantillation, the more usual “decorations” of Hebrew letters. The fourth-generation amora Rava states [Men 29b]: There are seven letters […]