YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Last month, the Chabad of Yorktown celebrated the completion of a new Torah scroll, a lengthy process that includes writing all 304,805 letters by hand, using a feather, ink and authentic parchments.
Rabbi Yehuda Heber said he started the project last year following the death of his mother, Rochel Leah Heber.
“After she passed, I searched for a project which would do honor to her memory and to the beautiful person she was,” Heber said. “The writing of a brand-new Torah certainly does that.”
The Torah, the holiest book of Judaism, is more than 3,300 years old.
“Remarkably, despite the passage of thousands of years, some filled with upheaval and suffering for the Jewish people, not one letter of the Torah has ever been changed,” Heber said. “The words we read today in synagogues all over the world are exactly those dictated by God, recorded by Moses and meticulously transcribed for generations.”
In a properly written Torah, Heber said, every letter must be perfectly formed. The Chabad commissioned a scribe from Israel.
“None may be missing or even cracked,” Heber said. “Our sages have taught that the same applies to our nation. Each and every Jew is of utmost importance and constitutes an essential and integral part of the Jewish people.”
A ceremony celebrating the new Torah scroll was held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Mohansic Elementary School in Yorktown Heights.
“We are perpetuating our precious heritage for yet another generation,” Heber said.
Participants had the opportunity for a scribe to write their Hebrew name on parchment as a keepsake. Children also participated in a Build-a-Torah workshop, creating a plush stuffed Torah to keep.
Jewish tradition says that a new Torah is to be welcomed into a community just as one welcomes a bride and groom. Accordingly, the scroll was carried down from the school at the Chabad synagogue, about a 10-minute walk away, under a Chuppah (wedding canopy), accompanied by music and dancing. It was then placed in the Holy Ark at the Chabad synagogue.