Scribes restore sacred scrolls
Temple Beth-El will honor completion of yearlong Torah work
BY ALBERTA LINDSEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Jun 5, 2004
More than 5 million Hebrew letters in Temple Beth-El's 17 Torah scrolls are in perfect condition.
Rabbis Gedaliah and Moshe Druin know because they checked out the 304,805 letters in each of the congregation's 248-page Torah scrolls, the most sacred texts in Judaism.
The father and son team from South Florida are soferim, specially trained scribes who travel the world evaluating and repairing Torah scrolls.
Torah scrolls should be evaluated from time to time for proper care, said Rabbi Gary S. Creditor of Temple Beth-El.
"Over time the letters on the parchment deteriorate and need to be inspected and repaired," he said. No one can remember the last time the scrolls were inspected. They will be checked again in about seven years.
"The person doing the work has to be a real artist on parchment. The scrolls are handwritten by scribes, so the writing looks different from scroll to scroll. When a scribe comes to repair a Torah, he has to make his handwriting match the previous work," Creditor said.
Because the handwriting has to match, repairing a Torah scroll is harder than copying an entire scroll, he said. In addition, the scribe must be an observant and pious Jew, he added.
Saturday, June 05, 2004
SOMEBODY HAS TO DO IT, PART TWO: