Category Archives: safrut

From Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s has gigantic Judaica auctions every so often, and they often put the items on public display right before the auction. If you time your visit right, it’s almost as good as a museum (except that unlike a museum, it’s only open for three days, and then it’s over). Last time I was there, I […]

DRBR 17: In which I am rendered speechless

Regard, if you will, this photograph of a Torah scroll. That’s a Metro card under there. A Metro card is the same size as a credit card. This is a real handwritten originally-kosher sefer Torah, and it’s smaller than a credit card. It’s three inches high. Here’s another picture: Speechless? I was. When I took […]

From the Megillah repair mines

Sometimes you see letters which look broken, pasul: But don’t freak out. Tilt it up, see what you can see. Candlewax tends to gleam. Candlewax you can generally crack off with a scalpel, or X-acto knife, or a plastic spoon if you’ve really got nothing else handy. Then you can take a blurry picture. A […]

Writing instruments

(Repeat of an old post, seasonally relevant) The original stone tablets were written by the finger of God, etzba Elohim. Nowadays we write their less cumbersome representations, the Torah-scrolls, with quills, but what most people today don’t know is that ideally you don’t use a quill to write sifrei kodesh. You’re supposed to use the […]

Fun with megillot

It’s megillah-writing season. So here are some fun pictures from a megillah. A photocopy of a megillah, actually, whose provenance I do not know (other than the obvious “Ashkenaz, Beit Yosef script”). Students, look and be impressed at the scribe’s creativity, but also take the time to look critically. Notice how you can make a […]

Hooray scribal colleagues

Go Linda!

From the Torah repair mines

This is interesting. Gives you an insight into how the scribe was forming his letters. From the same sefer. Internet cookies to people who can figure out what happened here:


Something you do not need to see when you open tefillin: BUGS. The vacated exoskeletons of bugs, I grant you (note the hole in the centre one where the bug burst its way out), but still, ick. At least a dozen of them. Perhaps surprisingly, the klafim were ok, once I’d brushed the crumbled bugs […]

Parashat Teruma and vavei ha’amudim

This week’s parasha describes the worship-tent that God commands the Israelites to construct in the wilderness. Around the tent, they are to construct a courtyard, of panels held between columns. Perhaps you’ve seen a Torah scroll being unrolled around a sanctuary at Simchat Torah. You’ve seen how it’s long enough to go around the whole […]

Brush-up post on erasing…

I’ve been neglecting you a bit, I’m afraid. This is because I’ve been posting regular posts for my current Torah client at their special blog, and I haven’t had energy to do two lots of posts or to set up proper cross-posting. Check out last week’s post A single mistake invalidates the entire sefer Torah […]