‘Time-share Torah’ is reprehensible

I was appalled to read the Saturday article, “Florida torah turns into time-share,” in which the following sentence appeared: “One synagogue … is taking the unprecedented step of allowing congregants to host Judaism’s sacred text in their homes in exchange for a donation.”

Just how far should we be willing to go in pursuit of the almighty donation? Would an environmental group offer the opportunity to take a chainsaw to a tree for a donation? Would a house of worship allow lewd behavior for its donors? Should we regress to the “sale of indulgences” of centuries ago?

There is a reason this step is unprecedented. The Torah scroll, which most would know as the first five books of the Bible, is painstakingly handwritten on handmade parchment by a trained ritual calligraphist called a Sofer over a period of more than six months, using handmade ink and quill. This scribe may have immersed each day in a ritual bath before performing what was to him a holy task. There are detailed rules for securing and protecting the Torah scroll, as well as transporting it, the least of which is that it must be wrapped in a Tallit, a ritual prayer shawl. More on this can be found at www.SnoJewish.org/518721.

There are many other time-proven ways of raising funds to purchase or fix a Torah scroll. Congregations have allowed members to symbolically purchase a letter or paragraph in the scroll for which they receive a certificate listing their section. Perhaps a gift of a printed Torah book, with a commentary for study, will allow the families to actually enjoy the teachings of the Torah in their home for more than a short visit. There is no need to denigrate what is considered a sacred artifact in Judaism for this purpose.

Rabbi Yossi Mandel

Director, Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County


Talk to us

More in Opinion

File - A teenager holds her phone as she sits for a portrait near her home in Illinois, on Friday, March 24, 2023. The U.S. Surgeon General is warning there is not enough evidence to show that social media is safe for young people — and is calling on tech companies, parents and caregivers to take "immediate action to protect kids now." (AP Photo Erin Hooley, File)
Editorial: Warning label on social media not enough for kids

The U.S. surgeon general has outlined tasks for parents, officials and social media companies.

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, May 28

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Forum: Especially at time of peace, U.S. must honor its fallen

As diplomacy takes precedence over military action, Memorial Day reminds us of our duty to history.

Comment: Federal student loan repayments need reforms

With repayments resuming soon, borrowers and the government need to prepare income-based plans.

Comment: Veterans struggling with addiction need our support

Connect veterans with the services they need through encouragement, understanding and advocacy.

President Joe Biden meets with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., to discuss the debt limit in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, May 22, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Comment: A brief history of risks and outcomes of debt crises

Past debt ceiling and budget crises in 1995, 2011 and 2013 offer perspective on the current situation.

Comment: Hospice care isn’t giving up; it’s a gift of time, love

End-of-life care offers patients and families comfort, better quality of life and time to say goodbye.

Comment: State, local libraries rebuilding lives after prison

For those leaving prison, a library card is key to starting again. A new program offers that key.

Most Read