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We are writing a Sefer Torah and we would like to keep it in our house when it is done. What are the Halachos about that? We do not have a specific shul to give it to right now.

What are the rules of keeping a Sefer Torah in the house if we wont really be using it for Krias HaTorah generally?

Answer:

Firstly, keep in mind that a Shul you choose to give the Torah to is only considered a “loan” and you may take it back whenever you want. Also, the traditional celebration “Hachnasos Sefer Torah” is usually done when the Torah is going to be brought to a Shul so it can be read from in Minyanim.

In any case, the following is the guidelines to having a Sefer Torah in a home:

One must have a designated and set place for the Sefer Torah. This place should not be in a bed room. It should also not be under a bathroom or husband and wife’s bed room on the floor above.

Since one must act respectful in front of a Sefer Torah, the Torah should be covered as follows: The Torah should be at least 32 inches off the ground on a shelf that is at least 13 inches by 13 inches wide and be blocked by a partition which is 32 inches high. It is customary for the Torah to be in an upright position (standing, as opposed to lying down). If the Torah is placed in a cabinet, the cabinet will become holy and cannot later be used for other things (even after the Sefer Torah has found a new home). If the Torah is placed in a cabinet matching the above description (32 off the ground, 13×13, with partition of 32) then the doors of the cabinet can be considered the partition, but it is best to add a second partition (a solid one, not a Paroches/curtain, unless you fasten also the bottom of the curtain in a way which would prevent it from moving), however this is not an obligation. There is also a custom to have a curtain in front of the Aron Kodesh.

If at the time of the Torah’s arrival one does not yet have a partition etc. with which to cover the Sefer Torah as explained above, then the Torah should be wrapped in two covers (or Taleisim) for the time being, but should still be kept as explained above, at least 32 inches off the ground on an area at least 13×13 inches wide and not in a bedroom etc.

 

Sources:

ראה שו”ע יו”ד סי’ רפ”ב סעי’ ח’, וסעי’ י”ב, שו”ע או”ח סי’ ר”מ במג”א ס”ק ט”ז, ובמשנה ברורה ס”ק כ”ה, שו”ת אבני ישפה ח”ד סי’ ל”ח, ושו”ת תשובות והנהגות ח”ב סי’ תקל”א, ושו”ת עטרת פז ח”ג ביו”ד סי’ ד’, ועוד


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