‘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

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Sept. 24

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

Randall Tharp’s month recovery coins after battling a fentanyl addiction.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Editorial: Fentanyl crisis should force rethinking of approach

A continuum of care, that includes treatment in jails, is imperative, says a journalist and author.

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, pumpjacks are seen operating in Bakersfield, Calif. On Friday, April 23, 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would halt all new fracking permits in the state by January 2024. He also ordered state regulators to plan for halting all oil extraction in the state by 2045. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Comment: If ‘peak oil’ is ahead why is oil industry doubling down?

Fossil fuel use could peak by 2030, but Big Oil may be putting profit ahead of prudent transition.

Reports back removal of Snake River dams to save salmon

The recent letter to the editor claiming that removing dams on the… Continue reading

Comment: ‘Legacy forest’ term hides an unproductive intent

Meant to lock up state forest lands, it discourages responsible and valuable timber management.

Comment: Effort to lower drug costs could hurt other patients

Those suffering from rare diseases face a longer wait for medications if research is discouraged.

Forum: Hospital waiting rooms shouldn’t be patient warehouses

Why are hospitals, like Providence, understaffed with nurses, leaving patients to wait for hours for care?

Flowers bloom on the end of a dead tree on Spencer Island on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Restore salmon habitat but provide view of its work

Comments are sought on a plan to restore fish habitat to the island east of Everett with popular trails.

FILE - Six-year-old Eric Aviles receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Sylvia Uong at a pediatric vaccine clinic for children ages 5 to 11 set up at Willard Intermediate School in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. In a statement Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, California's public health officer, Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, said that officials are monitoring the Omicron variant. There are no reports to date of the variant in California, the statement said. Aragon said the state was focusing on ensuring its residents have access to vaccines and booster shots. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Editorial: A plea for watchful calm this time regarding covid

We don’t need a repeat of uncontrolled infections or of the divisions over vaccines and masks.

Most Read