It’s Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, so there’s an extra Torah reading this week.
I bet most of you reading this have two Torah scrolls in your shul. There’s the one you read from every week, and there’s the Rosh Chodesh Torah. It gets used on Rosh Chodesh and festivals for the seasonal readings, and never gets used for anything else. It’s probably the heavy one, or the old one people don’t really like using.
המפקיד ס”ת אצל חבירו גוללו כל שנים עשר חדש פותחו וקורא בו אם בשבילו פתחו אסור סומכוס אומר בחדש שלשים יום בישן שנים עשר חדש ר”א בן יעקב אומר אחד זה ואחד זה שנים עשר חדש
If one deposited a sefer Torah with his fellow, he rolls it every twelve months, opens it and reads from it. If he opened it for his own needs, he may not read in it. Sumchus says one rolls a new Sefer Torah every thirty days and an old one every twelve months; R’ Eliezer ben Yaakov says whether new or old, they must be rolled every twelve months.
Bava Metzia 29b; the Talmud is talking about how you keep objects in good order if you’ve been entrusted with their care. To keep a sefer Torah in good order, you must roll it from end to end at least once a year and possibly once a month, and reading causes wear and tear.
People who repair Torah scrolls can always identify a Rosh Chodesh Torah. The Rosh Chodesh section is in unbelievably bad condition, like this:
Sorry for the fuzzy image–if you can see it, the letters are flaking off and the section is in no way kosher.
It is possible to repair damage like this, but it is time-consuming, expensive, and not especially long-lived.
You should be rotating your scrolls. If the big one is the Rosh Chodesh Torah this year, make it the main reading Torah next year (and I don’t care if no-one can lift it; do you want a pasul Torah on your hands? No you don’t). If you’ve got spare ones, get the bar mitzvahs or the ritual committee to roll one of them each month and bring them into the rotation next year.
If you’ve just commissioned a shiny new scroll (hello, CBH!), make it the reading scroll this year and the Rosh Chodesh scroll next year and roll it end-to-end every month to keep it healthy. Otherwise in fifty years it will look like the one in the picture, and you do not want that to happen.
Mirrored from hasoferet.com.