What is a Torah?

Yanov Torah, another Torah rescued from the Holocaust. Source: Wikimedia Commons

“A Torah scroll, known in Hebrew as a “Sefer Torah,” is a rolled parchment upon which a ritual scribe has handwritten the words of the five books of Moses. In synagogues around the world, Jews publicly read from Torah scrolls as a component of their prayer services.

Creating a Torah scroll that is considered acceptable for the purposes of synagogue ritual is an exacting process.

Jewish communities generally treat their Torah scrolls with reverence. It is customary for Jews in a synagogue to stand when in the presence of a Sefer Torah, and to engage in a communal fast should the scroll mistakenly fall to the ground. When a Torah scroll is no longer considered acceptable for ritual purposes because of damage, it is not discarded but buried.”

-This definition/description is adapted from the Pittsburgh Torah Scrolls Project

Learn more: The Making of a Torah Scroll

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