Scribal Arts Miscellany

Sheets of Torah, pre-sewing


All about parchment (aka klaf). Klaf in warm weather; in general klaf can be hard to write on.


Lots of stuff about ink. A description of identifying ink types with chromatography. Also, a brief note about bugs in ink.


Quill cutting list. Description of tempering quills with sand.

How you know what to write

What scribes copy from – a tikkun soferim and how it is used. With a bit of discussion on historical tikkunim.


How the finished sheets are sewn together; a digression on silk.

Fixing mistakes

What happens if you make a mistake? Part 1 and part 2. A digression on erasing God’s Name. A cute little blot

Writing techniques

The principle of not carving to form a letter (aka hak tokhot). Why we don’t use metal implements on Torahs


On repairing broken letters, and on seeing Torah repair as a metaphor for Life.


Writing surrounded by Torah – Part 1 and Part 2.

Notes on Torahs in airports – transporting sifrei Torah requires care and attention. Also, notes on breaking shabbat to save Torahs.

Torahs and cruelty to animals

Parchment’s made from animals…why not just write on paper? Exploring the ethical alternatives for vegetarians;

Things you really never want to see

coffee rings, lipstick stains, and ghastly blots on Divine Names.

Jen Taylor Friedman's Torah site