Writing a sefer Torah

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, May 12, 2013

The last thing that Moses commands the people is to write down the Torah (Deuteronomy 31:9).  This commandment is not only for the élite but for everyone. 

What’s the point of this mitzvah? Is it to spread Torah learning or to reconnect with the Sinai experience?
Rabbeinu Asher (1250 -1327) believed that increasing knowledge was the goal and therefore writing and/or buying other Jewish books counted toward fulfilment of the mitzvah.

The Rambam, however, linked, writing a sefer Torah to reliving its original giving. That means, that today when we can easily buy printed books, there is still meaning in writing a Torah yourself.

A scribe may write a Torah on your behalf.  However, it is expensive.  Rabbi Moshe Feinstein rules that one may not spend more than 10 per cent of his income on such a project.  It may not come at the expense of giving tzedakah.

Even though this mitzvah is beyond the means of most, the principle is inspiring.  

Last updated: 12:45pm, May 12 2013