The Torah scroll is a scroll containing the entire text of the Five Books of Moses, hand-written by a pious scribe in the original Hebrew. It is rolled up around two ornate wooden shafts, attached to either end of the scroll.
Kept in the Ark of each synagogue, the Torah scroll is routinely read aloud in all synagogues, and in its presence we offer prayers and blessings for all those in need. We read from the Torah scroll four times a week: on Shabbat morning, Shabbat afternoon, and on Monday and Thursday mornings. In addition, the Torah is read on many Jewish festivals, the first day(s) of the new Hebrew month and fast days.
Yet the Torah scroll is much more than that. It is the core representation of Judaism itself. It is the tangible embodiment of our connection to G‑d and of His wisdom and guidance. On the most joyous day of the year – Simchat Torah, we embrace it in our arms, as we dance ecstatically and celebrate that connection. Our holiest and most precious treasure, the Torah is literally G‑d's gift to the world. The Torah is our guide to life. Actually, the Torah is our life. Without it, the Jewish People cannot live. It is the heart, mind and soul of Judaism, right there in front of you, black on white -- The original hard copy.
The first Torah scroll in history was dictated by G‑d verbatim and written by Moses, just before his passing. In his parting words, he told them to listen to the words found in that scroll and to reference them in response to life's questions. They taught their children to do the same, and that's how we've kept its tradition until this day.
From that Torah scroll, many identical copies were hand written by a pious scribe, and likewise in all subsequent generations. Today there are many hundreds of thousands of Torah scrolls in existence.
What's special about this Torah Scroll?
Which is the most important letter in the entire Torah? Maybe the first one? Or the last one? Or the one in the middle? Do you think there might be one letter that the Torah just can't do without?
There is: If any single letter of the Torah's 304,805 letters is missing, the whole Torah scroll has to be wrapped up and put away until it is fixed. So if someone asks you, "What’s the most important letter in the Torah?" the answer is, "Every letter is!"
Now imagine all the Jewish people as one Torah scroll. Each person, big or small, rich or poor, a pious scholar or just a simple Jew, is one letter. That makes everyone just as important as everyone else, right?
Children from across the globe living in different cultures come together through this Torah. Children, the Torah tells us, are considered to be pure and without sin. Thus the Children’s unity, through the Torah, is much purer than a unity between those who are older.
That's what's so special about every Jewish child having his or her very own letter in the Children's Torah Scroll. It ties all the Jewish people together stronger and tighter to each other and to our precious Torah, and shows us that we are all important to each other.
Who can get a letter?
Every Jewish boy or girl under the age of bar/bat mitzvah (12 for girls and 13 for boys) can acquire a letter in the Children's Torah Scroll.
Why is this Torah Scroll just for kids?
When we get older, we become more aware of the differences between us. We say, "I'm rich and he's poor," "I'm religious and she's not," or "I'm smarter, more famous, better educated than her/him" and so on. We set up dividers between us because of these "differences." Children are not yet spoiled by this adult silliness. That's why G‑d loves children so much--for their purity and innocence. What better way to unite the Jewish people than through the children!
How many Jewish children have a letter?
Since the writing of the first Children's Torah Scroll in 1981, five Torahs have been completed - a total of 1,741,815 Jewish children having each acquired a letter. The sixth Torah is currently being written, with thousands more acquiring letters each month.
How much does a letter cost?
The cost of each letter is $1 (one U.S. dollar) or its equivalent in the currency of your country. It is your Torah and thus it is preferable that you pay for your letter with your own money. If this is not possible, your parents can give you the money to buy your letter.
Why does a letter cost one dollar?
The goal of the Children's Torah Scroll is to unite Jewish children, from across the globe, in one Torah. The one dollar is only a token amount for all children. When the child pays for the letter they truly feel a part of the Unity Torah.
The one dollar, in fact, does not cover the costs involved in writing the Torah scroll, producing and mailing the certificates from Israel, etc.
Will I know which letter I got?
You will receive a special, beautiful certificate with your name and the Parshah (Torah section) in which your letter appears.
Why won't the certificate specify the actual letter?
Every letter in the Torah is equally special and holy. But some children may be disappointed that they got a less "prestigious" letter than their friend did (one child may get a letter in Moses' name, for example, and another in Pharaoh's name). That's why the certificate only specifies the Torah section in which your letter appears--so that no child should feel more or less important than another.