Torah literally means teaching. A Torah scroll contains The Five Books of Moses, which lays out the overall body of Jewish religious teachings encompassing the whole body of Jewish law, practice and tradition.
The Beth David scroll celebrated during a Torah restoration event on Apr. 14 was rescued by Barbara Lefcourt from a collection of 1,564 Torah scrolls confiscated from synagogues in Europe by Nazis during the Holocaust.
In ancient times, the ink used for writing a Torah was obtained by boiling oils, tar and wax, and collecting the vapors. The mixture would be combined with tree sap and honey, then dried and stored. Before its use, it would be mixed with gall-nut juice.
Nowadays, scribes prepare ink using gall-nut juice and gum. Black is the only color acceptable for writing a Torah and the black color is achieved by adding various tints.
Most Torahs today have 42 lines per column, however, the Beth David scroll has 57 lines per column and is nearly 5-6 inches taller than most scrolls today. It is lighter in weight than most of its size, due to the fine, thin gauge of the parchment. A Torah may be written only on parchment from the skin of a kosher animal and must be prepared with the intention that it be used for a Torah. The scribe writes with a feather pen or reed pen, filling its tip from the ink. Iron and steel nib pens are not proper for two reasons:
1. They may puncture the parchment.
2. Iron and steel are often used to make weapons of death and destruction, both of which oppose the intent of the Torah.
For more information about future Torah restoration events at Beth David Congregation, call 305-854-3911.