Sunday, July 31, 2016

אָלֶף־בֵּית עִבְרִי

Basic Laws Regarding Torah Scrolls

A Torah Scroll is handwritten by a scribe with a feather and special ink on carefully prepared parchment.
An authentic Sefer Torah is a mind-boggling masterpiece of labor and skill. Comprising between 62 and 84 sheets of
parchment-cured, tanned, scraped and prepared according to exacting Halachic specifications-and containing exactly
304,805 letters, the resulting handwritten scroll takes many months to complete.

An expert scribe carefully inks each letter with a feather quill, under the intricate calligraphic guidelines of Ktav
Ashurit (Ashurite Script). The sheets of parchment are then sewn together with sinews to form one long scroll.
While most Torah scrolls stand around two feet in height and weigh 20-25 pounds, some are huge and quite heavy,
while others are doll-sized and lightweight.

Uploaded on Oct 11, 2011
This video illustrates the scribal formation of each Hebrew letter for writing a Torah. British sofer, Mordechai Michaels ( created this animation as a commission for the Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco for the exhibition, As It Is Written: Project 304,805

The Hebrew alphabet (Hebrew: אָלֶף־בֵּית עִבְרִי[a], Alefbet ʿIvri), known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square scriptand block script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as of other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish,Judaeo-Spanish, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two script forms in use; the original old Hebrew script is known as the paleo-Hebrew alphabet (which has been largely preserved, in an altered form, in the Samaritan alphabet), while the present "square" form of the Hebrew alphabet is a stylized form of the Aramaic alphabet and was known by Israel's sages as the Ashuri alphabet, since its origins were alleged to be from Assyria.[1] Various "styles" (in current terms, "fonts") of representation of the letters exist. There is also a cursive Hebrew script, which has also varied over time and place.
The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. It does not have case, but five letters have different forms when used at the end of a word. Hebrew is written from right to left. Originally, the alphabet was an abjad consisting only of consonants. As with other abjads, such as the Arabic alphabet, scribes later devised means of indicating vowel sounds by separate vowel points, known in Hebrew asniqqud. In rabbinic Hebrew, the letters א ה ו י are also used as matres lectionis (the use of certain consonants to indicate a vowel) to represent vowels. A modified version of the Hebrew alphabet is used to write Yiddish, known as Yiddish alphabet, which is a true alphabet (except for borrowed Hebrew words). In modern usage of the alphabet, as in the case of Yiddish (except that ע replacesה) and to some extent modern Modern Hebrew, vowels may be indicated. Today, the trend is toward full spelling with these letters acting as true vowels.

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