1

Thus, it can be concluded that there are twenty factors that - each in its own right - can disqualify a Torah scroll. If a scroll contains one of these factors, it does not have the sanctity of a Torah scroll, but rather is considered like a chumash used to teach children. It may not be used for a public Torah reading.

They are:
a) that the scroll was written on parchment from a non-kosher animal;
b) that the scroll was written on parchment from a kosher animal that was not processed;
c) [that the scroll was written on parchment] that was not processed with the intention that it be used for a Torah scroll;
d) that it was written on [the side of the parchment] that is not appropriate for writing; i.e., on g'vil on the side of the flesh, and on k'laf on the side of the hair;
e) that a portion was written on g'vil and a portion on k'laf;
f) that it was written on duchsustos;
g) that it was written on unruled [parchment];
h) that it was written with [an ink] other than a black ink that remains [without fading];
i) that it was written in a language other [than L'shon HaKodesh];
j) that it was written by a nonbeliever or others whose writing is not acceptable;
k) that the names of God were not written with the proper intention;
l) that even a single letter was omitted;
m) that even a single letter was added;
n) that one letter touches another;
o) that the form of a letter is distorted so that it cannot be read, or so that it would be read as another letter. This applies regardless of whether the distortion was caused by the original writing, a perforation, a tear, or an erasure;
p) that additional space was left between letters, so that a word would appear as two words, or that too little space was left between words, so that two words appear as one;
q) that the form of the passages was altered;
r) that the form of the songs was altered;
s) that other passages were written in the form of the songs;
t) that the parchments were sewn together using [thread made from anything other] than animal sinews.


Any other factors were mentioned only as the most proper way of fulfilling the mitzvah and are not absolute requirements.

א

נִמְצֵאתָ לָמֵד שֶׁעֶשְׂרים דְּבָרִים הֵן שֶׁבְּכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן פּוֹסֵל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה. וְאִם נַעֲשָׂה בּוֹ אֶחָד מֵהֶן הֲרֵי הוּא כְּחֻמָּשׁ מִן הַחֻמָּשִׁין שֶׁמְּלַמְּדִין בָּהֶן הַתִּינוֹקוֹת וְאֵין בּוֹ קְדֻשַּׁת סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וְאֵין קוֹרִין בּוֹ בָּרַבִּים. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. א. אִם נִכְתַּב עַל עוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְמֵאָה. ב. שֶׁנִּכְתַּב עַל עוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְעֻבָּד. ג. שֶׁהָיָה מְעֻבָּד שֶׁלֹּא לְשֵׁם סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה. ד. שֶׁנִּכְתַּב שֶׁלֹּא בִּמְקוֹם כְּתִיבָה עַל הַגְּוִיל בִּמְקוֹם בָּשָׂר וְעַל הַקְּלָף בִּמְקוֹם שֵׂעָר. ה. שֶׁנִּכְתַּב מִקְצָתוֹ עַל הַגְּוִיל וּמִקְצָתוֹ עַל הַקְּלָף. ו. שֶׁנִּכְתַּב עַל דּוּכְסוּסְטוּס. ז. שֶׁנִּכְתַּב בְּלֹא שִׂרְטוּט. ח. שֶׁנִּכְתַּב בְּלֹא שָׁחוֹר הָעוֹמֵד. ט. שֶׁנִּכְתַּב בִּשְׁאָר לְשׁוֹנוֹת. י. שֶׁכְּתָבוֹ אֶפִּיקוֹרוֹס אוֹ כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ מִשְּׁאָר פְּסוּלִין. יא. שֶׁכָּתַב הָאַזְכָּרוֹת בְּלֹא כַּוָּנָה. יב. שֶׁחִסֵּר אֲפִלּוּ אוֹת אַחַת. יג. שֶׁהוֹסִיף אֲפִלּוּ אוֹת אַחַת. יד. שֶׁנָּגְעָה אוֹת בְּאוֹת. טו. שֶׁנִּפְסְדָה צוּרַת אוֹת אַחַת עַד שֶׁלֹּא תִּקָּרֵא כָּל עִקָּר אוֹ תִּדְמֶה לְאוֹת אַחֶרֶת. בֵּין בְּעִקַּר הַכְּתִיבָה בֵּין בְּנֶקֶב בֵּין בְּקֶרַע בֵּין בְּטִשְׁטוּשׁ. טז. שֶׁהִרְחִיק אוֹ שֶׁהִקְרִיב בֵּין אוֹת לְאוֹת עַד שֶׁתֵּרָאֶה הַתֵּבָה כִּשְׁתֵּי תֵּבוֹת אוֹ שְׁתֵּי תֵּבוֹת כְּתֵבָה אַחַת. יז. שֶׁשִּׁנָּה צוּרַת הַפָּרָשִׁיּוֹת. יח. שֶׁשִּׁנָּה צוּרַת הַשִּׁירוֹת. יט. שֶׁכָּתַב בִּשְׁאָר הַכְּתָב כְּשִׁירָה. כ. שֶׁתָּפַר הַיְרִיעוֹת בְּלֹא גִּידֵי טְהוֹרָה. וּשְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים לְמִצְוָה לֹא לְעַכֵּב:

Thus, it can be concluded that there are twenty factors that - each in its own right - can disqualify a Torah scroll. If a scroll contains one of these factors, it does not have the sanctity of a Torah scroll, but rather is considered like a chumash used to teach children - i.e., although it is still considered to be a sacred text, it does not have the same degree of holiness as a Torah scroll. (See also Chapter 7, Halachah 14, and Hilchot Tefillah 11:14.)

It may not be used for a public Torah reading. - There is an apparent contradiction between this ruling and one of the Rambam's responsa, which states:

It is permitted to recite a blessing when reading from a Torah scroll that has been invalidated. This practice was carried out in the presence of the geonim, Rav Yosef HaLevi and Rav Yitzchak Alfasi, without protest....
The blessing is not dependent on the scroll from which the scroll is read... but on the reading itself....

The Kessef Mishneh attempts to resolve this difficulty, explaining that the responsum deals with a circumstance when there is no proper Torah scroll available. In contrast, the decision rendered here is a priori in nature (לכתחילה) The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 143:2-3), however, rules that a blessing may not be recited on such a scroll. See also Hilchot Tefillah 12:23.

They are: a) that the scroll was written on parchment from a non-kosher animal; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 10.

b) that the scroll was written on parchment from a kosher animal that was not processed; - See Chapter 1, Halachot 6-9 and 14.

c) [that the scroll was written on parchment] that was not processed with the intention that it be used for a Torah scroll - See Chapter 1, Halachah 11.

d) that it was written on [the side of the parchment] that is not appropriate for writing; i.e., on g'vil on the side of the flesh and on k'laf on the side of the hair; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 9.

e) that a portion was written on g'vil and a portion on k'laf; - See Chapter 7, Halachah 4.

f) that it was written on duchsustos; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 9

g) that it was written on unruled [parchment]; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 12, and Chapter 7, Halachah 4.

h) that it was written with [an ink] other than a black ink that remains [without fading]; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 5.

i) that it was written in a language other [than L'shon HaKodesh]; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 19.

j) that it was written by a nonbeliever or others whose writing is not acceptable; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 13.

k) that the names of God were not written with the proper intention; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 15.

l) that even a single letter was omitted; m) that even a single letter was added; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 2, and Chapter 7, Halachah 9.

n) that one letter touches another; - See Chapter 1, Halachah 19, and the conclusion of Chapter 8.

o) that the form of a letter is distorted, so that it cannot be read, or so that it would be read as another letter. This applies regardless of whether the distortion was caused by the original writing, a perforation, a tear, or an erasure; - See Chapter 1, Halachot 19-20; Chapter 7, Halachah 9; and Chapter 9, Halachah 15.

p) that additional space was left between letters, so that a word would appear as two words, or that too little space was left between words, so that two words appear as one; - See the conclusion of Chapter 8.

q) that the form of the passages; - i.e., one wrote a passage that should have appeared p'tuchah as s'tumah, or vice versa

was altered; - See Chapter 8, Halachah 3.

r) that the form of the songs; - the song of the Red Sea and the song Ha'azinu

was altered; - See Chapter 8, ibid.

s) that other passages were written in the form of the songs - See Chapter 7, Halachah 11.

t) that the parchments were sewn together using [thread made from anything other] than animal sinews.; - See Chapter 9, Halachah 13.

Any other factors were mentioned only as the most proper way of fulfilling the mitzvah and are not absolute requirements. - Sefer Kovetz adds one more disqualification: that a Torah scroll was written with half of God's name within the line and half added outside the line (Chapter 1, Halachah 16).

2

A proper Torah scroll is treated with great sanctity and honor. It is forbidden for a person to sell a Torah scroll even if he has nothing to eat. [This prohibition applies] even if he possesses many scrolls or if he [desires to] sell an old scroll in order to purchase a new one.

A Torah scroll may never be sold except for two purposes:
a) to use the proceeds to study Torah;
b) to use the proceeds to marry.
[Even in these instances, permission to sell is granted only] when the person has nothing else to sell.

ב

סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה כָּשֵׁר נוֹהֲגִין בּוֹ קְדֻשָּׁה יְתֵרָה וְכָבוֹד גָּדוֹל. וְאָסוּר לָאָדָם לִמְכֹּר סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אֲפִלּוּ אֵין לוֹ מַה יֹּאכַל. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ לוֹ סְפָרִים רַבִּים. וַאֲפִלּוּ יָשָׁן לִקַּח בּוֹ חָדָשׁ. לְעוֹלָם אֵין מוֹכְרִין סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא לִשְׁנֵי דְּבָרִים. שֶׁיִּלְמֹד תּוֹרָה בְּדָמָיו אוֹ שֶׁיִּשָּׂא אִשָּׁה בְּדָמָיו. וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה לוֹ דָּבָר אַחֵר לִמְכֹּר:

A proper Torah scroll is treated with great sanctity and honor. - This general principle is the foundation for the remaining halachot in this chapter.

It is forbidden for a person to sell a Torah scroll even if he has nothing to eat. - The Rambam's words (quoted from Megillah 27a) should not be taken absolutely literally. Surely, if a person is in danger of dying of hunger, he may sell a Torah scroll. Rather, this refers to an instance when a person lacks a source of income and is required to sustain himself from charity (Kessef Mishneh). (See also Ramah, Yoreh De'ah 270:1; Siftei Cohen 270:2.)

[This prohibition applies] even if he possesses many scrolls or if he [desires to] sell an old scroll in order to purchase a new one. - Rabbenu Manoach explains that the reason for the latter ruling is that, despite one's resolve, circumstances may arise, and ultimately, one may never buy the new scroll. Accordingly, if the new scroll has already been completed and an agreement concluded, the old scroll may be sold. The Siftei Cohen 270:3, however, forbids a sale even under these circumstances. (Compare to Hilchot Tefillah 11:12.)

A Torah scroll may never be sold except for two purposes: - Tosafot (Bava Batra 8b) states that a Torah scroll may also be sold to redeem captives. From Hilchot Matnot Ani'im 8:10-11, it appears questionable whether the Rambam would accept this point.

a) to use the proceeds to study Torah; - for Torah study leads to the performance of mitzvot. This is the purpose of a person's life (Megillah, ibid.).

b) to use the proceeds to marry. - An unmarried person leads an unstable, unsatisfied existence (Megillah, ibid.).

[Even in these instances, permission to sell is granted only] when the person has nothing else to sell. - Megillah, ibid., states that a person will never see any blessings from the proceeds of this sale. See also Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 282:18), which quotes a debate whether a person is allowed to use the proceeds of the sale for his personal use. Note the Turei Zahav 282:13, which states that it is forbidden to use one sacred text as a prop for another one.

3

A Torah scroll that has become worn or disqualified should be placed in an earthenware container1 and buried next to a Torah sage. This is the manner in which it should be entombed.

The mantle2 of a scroll that has become worn should be used to make shrouds for a corpse that has no one to bury it.3 This is the manner in which it should be entombed.4

ג

סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה שֶׁבָּלָה אוֹ שֶׁנִּפְסַל נוֹתְנִין אוֹתוֹ בִּכְלִי חֶרֶשׂ וְקוֹבְרִין אוֹתוֹ אֵצֶל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים וְזוֹ הִיא גְּנִיזָתוֹ. מִטְפְּחוֹת סְפָרִים שֶׁבָּלוּ עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן תַּכְרִיכִין לְמֵת מִצְוָה וְזוֹ הִיא גְּנִיזָתָן:

4

The [following] are all considered to be sacred articles: a container that was prepared to be used for a Torah scroll and within which a scroll had actually been placed,5 and similarly, a mantle, a movable ark or cabinet in which a Torah scroll is placed6 - [this applies] even though the scroll is within its container - and similarly, a chair that was prepared for a Torah scroll to be placed upon it7 and upon which a scroll had actually been placed. They are forbidden to be discarded. Instead, when they become worn out or broken, they should be entombed.

In contrast, the platform on which the chazan stands while holding the Torah scroll8 and tablets used for the instruction of children9 are not sacred in nature.10

Similarly, the decorative silver and gold pomegranates that are made for a Torah scroll are considered sacred articles and may not be used for mundane purposes, unless they were sold with the intention of purchasing a Torah scroll or chumash with the proceeds.11

ד

תִּיק שֶׁהוּכַן לְסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וְהֻנַּח בּוֹ וְכֵן הַמִּטְפָּחוֹת וְהָאָרוֹן וְהַמִּגְדָּל שֶׁמַּנִּיחִין בּוֹ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַסֵּפֶר בְּתוֹךְ הַתִּיק וְכֵן הַכִּסֵּא שֶׁהוּכַן לְהַנִּיחַ עָלָיו סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וְהֻנַּח עָלָיו סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה הַכּל תַּשְׁמִישֵׁי קְדֻשָּׁה הֵן וְאָסוּר לְזָרְקָן אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁיִּבְלוּ אוֹ כְּשֶׁיִּשָּׁבְרוּ נִגְנָזִין. אֲבָל הַבִּימוֹת שֶׁעוֹמֵד עֲלֵיהֶן שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר וְאוֹחֵז הַסֵּפֶר וְהַלּוּחוֹת שֶׁכּוֹתְבִין בָּהֶן לְתִינוֹק לְהִתְלַמֵּד אֵין בָּהֶן קְדֻשָּׁה. וְכֵן רִמּוֹנֵי כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן שֶׁעוֹשִׂין לְסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה לְנוֹי תַּשְׁמִישֵׁי קְדֻשָּׁה הֵן וְאָסוּר לְהוֹצִיאָן לְחל אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן מָכַר אוֹתָן לִקְנוֹת בִּדְמֵיהֶן סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אוֹ חֻמָּשׁ:

5

It is permissible to place a Torah scroll on another Torah scroll and, needless to say, upon chumashim.12 Chumashim may be placed upon books of the Prophets or of the Sacred Writings.13 In contrast, books of the Prophets or the Sacred Writings may not be placed on chumashim, nor may chumashim be placed on Torah scrolls.

All sacred writings, even texts of Torah law and allegories, may not be thrown.14 It is forbidden to enter a lavatory wearing a amulet containing verses from the sacred writings unless it is covered with leather.15

ה

וּמֻתָּר לְהַנִּיחַ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה עַל גַּבֵּי סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר עַל גַּבֵּי חֻמָּשׁים. וּמְנִיחִין הַחֻמָּשִׁין עַל גַּבֵּי נְבִיאִים וּכְתוּבִים. אֲבָל אֵין מַנִּיחִין נְבִיאִים וּכְתוּבִים עַל גַּבֵּי חֻמָּשִׁים וְלֹא חֻמָּשִׁים עַל גַּבֵּי סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה. וְכָל כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ אֲפִלּוּ הֲלָכוֹת וְאַגָּדוֹת אָסוּר לְזָרְקָן. הַקְּמֵעִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם עִנְיָנִים שֶׁל כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ אֵין נִכְנָסִין בָּהֶן לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיוּ מְחֻפּוֹת עוֹר:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.

6

A person should not enter a bathhouse, lavatory, or cemetery while holding a Torah scroll, even if it is covered by a mantle and placed in its container. He should not read from the scroll until he moves four cubits away from the corpse or from the lavatory.

A person should not hold a Torah scroll while naked. It is forbidden to sit on a couch on which a Torah scroll is placed.

ו

לֹא יֹאחַז אָדָם סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה בִּזְרוֹעוֹ וְיִכָּנֵס בּוֹ לְבֵית הַמֶּרְחָץ אוֹ לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא אוֹ לְבֵית הַקְּבָרוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא כָּרוּךְ בְּמִטְפָּחוֹת וְנָתוּן בְּתוֹךְ הַתִּיק שֶׁלּוֹ. וְלֹא יִקְרָא בּוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּרְחִיק אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת מִן הַמֵּת (אוֹ מִבֵּית הַמֶּרְחָץ) אוֹ מִבֵּית הַכִּסֵּא. וְלֹא יֹאחַז אֶת סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה כְּשֶׁהוּא עָרֹם. וְאָסוּר לֵישֵׁב עַל מִטָּה שֶׁסֵּפֶר תּוֹרָה עָלֶיהָ:


A person should not enter a bathhhouse, lavatory, - since it is unbecoming to bring a Torah scroll into such places. (See also Chapter 7, Halachah 3.)

or cemetery while holding a Torah scroll - It is forbidden to perform mitzvot next to a corpse or in a cemetery, because by doing so, one appears to be mocking the dead, who cannot serve God in this manner (Berachot 18a). Holding a Torah scroll itself fulfills a mitzvah even when one does not study from it (Kessef Mishneh).

even if it is covered by a mantle and placed in its container. - As explained in the previous and the following halachot, a Torah scroll that is covered by its usual containers is considered as if it is openly revealed.

He should not read from the scroll until he moves four cubits away from the corpse - See Chapter 4, Halachah 23; Hilchot Kri'at Shema 3:2.

or from the lavatory. - See Chapter 4, Halachah 17; Hilchot Kri'at Shema 3:8.

There are certain versions of the Mishneh Torah that state: "until he moves four cubits away from the corpse, bathhouse, or lavatory." Since the Rambam does not mention the obligation of moving away from a bathhouse in Chapter 4 or in Chapter 3 of Hilchot Kri'at Shema, we can assume that he does not feel that it is necessary, and that as soon as one steps outside of the bathhouse he may recite words of Torah.

A person should not hold a Torah scroll while naked. - Megillah 32a states: "A person who holds a Torah scroll while naked is buried naked." Noting the difficulty with the simple interpretation of this statement, the Talmud interprets it to mean, "buried naked of the merit of this mitzvah."

Our translation follows the Bnei Binyamin, who interprets "naked" as modifying "a person," and not the scroll. There are authorities who interpret the Talmud's statement to mean that one should not hold a Torah scroll while the scroll is uncovered. See the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 147:1). Note also the Noda BiYhudah (Orach Chayim, Responsum 7), who discusses the Rambam's perspective on this law. (See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah 9:5; the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Yadayim 3:3.)

It is forbidden to sit on a couch on which a Torah scroll is placed. - The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 3:5) relates that Rabbi Eliezer accidentally sat down on a couch on which a Torah scroll was placed. When he discovered it, he recoiled in shock as if facing a snake.

The Siftei Cohen 282:8 relates that this law does not apply if the Torah scroll is placed on another article that lifts it up at least a handbreadth (three handbreadths is more desirable) above the couch. The Ramah (Yoreh De'ah 282:7) states that the same restriction applies to other sacred texts as well. (See also Siftei Cohen 282:9.)

7

It is forbidden to engage in intimate relations in a room where a Torah scroll is located,16 until one either:
a) removes the scroll;
b) places it in a container, and then places that container in a container that is not intended for it. If, however, the container is intended for it, even ten containers, one over the other, are considered as a single entity;17 or
c) constructs a divider at least ten handbreadths high.18

[The above applies] only when there is no other room available. If there is another room available, one may not engage in intimate relations unless one removes the Torah scroll.

ז

בַּיִת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אָסוּר לְשַׁמֵּשׁ מִטָּתוֹ בּוֹ עַד שֶׁיּוֹצִיאֶנּוּ אוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּנִּיחֶנּוּ בִּכְלִי וְיִתֵּן הַכְּלִי בִּכְלִי אַחֵר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְזֻמָּן לוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה מְזֻמָּן לוֹ אֲפִלּוּ עֲשָׂרָה כֵּלִים זֶה בְּתוֹךְ זֶה כִּכְלִי אֶחָד הֵם. אוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה לוֹ מְחִצָּה גְּבוֹהָה עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים אִם לֹא הָיָה לוֹ בַּיִת אַחֵר. אֲבָל אִם יֵשׁ לוֹ בַּיִת אַחֵר אָסוּר לְשַׁמֵּשׁ עַד שֶׁיּוֹצִיאֶנּוּ:

8

Any impure person, even [a woman in] a niddah state or a gentile, may hold a Torah scroll and read it. The words of Torah do not contract ritual impurity.19 This applies when one's hands are not soiled or dirty with mud. [In the latter instance,] one should wash one's hands and then touch the scroll.

ח

כָּל הַטְּמֵאִין וַאֲפִלּוּ נִדּוֹת וַאֲפִלּוּ כּוּתִי מֻתָּר לֶאֱחֹז סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וְלִקְרוֹת בּוֹ. שֶׁאֵין דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה. וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ יָדָיו מְטֻנָּפוֹת אוֹ מְלֻכְלָכוֹת בְּטִיט אֶלָּא יִרְחֲצוּ יְדֵיהֶם וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִגְּעוּ בּוֹ:

9

Whenever a person sees a Torah scroll being carried, he must stand before it. Everyone should remain standing until the person holding the scroll reaches his destination and stands still, or until they can no longer see the scroll.20 Afterward, they are permitted to sit.21

ט

כָּל הָרוֹאֶה סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה כְּשֶׁהוּא מְהַלֵּךְ חַיָּב לַעֲמֹד מִפָּנָיו. וְיִהְיוּ הַכּל עוֹמְדִים עַד שֶׁיַּעֲמֹד זֶה שֶׁהוּא מְהַלֵּךְ בּוֹ כְּשֶׁיַּגִּיעֶנּוּ לִמְקוֹמוֹ אוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּתְכַּסֶּה מֵעֵינֵיהֶם וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִהְיוּ מֻתָּרִין לֵישֵׁב:

10

It is a mitzvah to designate a special place for a Torah scroll22 and to honor it and glorify it23 in an extravagant manner. The words of the Ten Commandments are contained in each Torah scroll.

A person should not spit before a Torah scroll, reveal his nakedness before it, take off his footwear before it,24 or carry it on his head like a burden. He should not turn his back to a Torah scroll unless it is ten handbreadths higher than he is.

י

מִצְוָה לְיַחֵד לְסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה מָקוֹם וּלְכַבְּדוֹ וּלְהַדְּרוֹ יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי. דְּבָרִים שֶׁבְּלוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית הֵן הֵן שֶׁבְּכָל סֵפֶר וְסֵפֶר. לֹא יָרֹק אָדָם כְּנֶגֶד סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וְלֹא יְגַלֶּה עֶרְוָתוֹ כְּנֶגְדּוֹ וְלֹא יַפְשִׁיט רַגְלָיו כְּנֶגְדּוֹ וְלֹא יַנִּיחֶנּוּ עַל רֹאשׁוֹ כְּמַשּׂאוֹי וְלֹא יַחֲזִיר אֲחוֹרָיו לְסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה גָּבוֹהַּ מִמֶּנּוּ עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים:

11

A person who was journeying from one place to another with a Torah scroll should not place the Torah scroll in a sack, load it on a donkey, and then ride on [the beast]. If, however, he is afraid of thieves, it is permissible. If there is no danger, he should carry it in his bosom while riding the animal, and journey [onward].

Anyone who sits before a Torah scroll should sit with respect, awe, and fear, because [the Torah] is a faithful testimony [of the covenant between God and the Jews] for all the inhabitants of the earth, as [Deuteronomy 31:26] states: "And it will be as a testimony for you."25

A person must honor a Torah scroll [to the full extent] of his potential. The Sages of the early generations26 said: "Whoever desecrates the Torah will have his person27 desecrated by people. Whoever honors the Torah will have his person honored by people."28

Blessed be God who offers assistance.

יא

הָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם וְסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה עִמּוֹ לֹא יַנִּיחַ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה בְּתוֹךְ הַשַּׂק וְיַנִּיחֶנּוּ עַל גַּבֵּי הַחֲמוֹר וְיִרְכַּב עָלָיו. וְאִם הָיָה מִתְפַּחֵד מִן הַגַּנָּבִים מֻתָּר. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם פַּחַד מַנִּיחוֹ בְּחֵיקוֹ כְּנֶגֶד לִבּוֹ וְהוּא רוֹכֵב עַל הַבְּהֵמָה וְהוֹלֵךְ. כָּל מִי שֶׁיּוֹשֵׁב לִפְנֵי סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה יֵשֵׁב בְּכֹבֶד רֹאשׁ בְּאֵימָה וָפַחַד. שֶׁהוּא הָעֵד הַנֶּאֱמָן לְכָל בָּאֵי עוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לא כו) ״וְהָיָה שָׁם בְּךָ לְעֵד״. וִיכַבְּדֵהוּ כְּפִי כֹּחוֹ. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים כָּל הַמְחַלֵּל אֶת הַתּוֹרָה גּוּפוֹ מְחֻלָּל עַל הַבְּרִיּוֹת וְכָל הַמְכַבֵּד אֶת הַתּוֹרָה גּוּפוֹ מְכֻבָּד עַל הַבְּרִיּוֹת:
נִגְמְרוּ הִלְכוֹת סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה בְּרַחֲמֵי שְׁמַיָּא