Responses to Torah Query
Responses to Torah Query from Members
I have had a number of replies regarding storing a Torah.
From Linda Ramsay at the National Archives of Scotland, reference to conservator Anna Wise of the Wellcome Institute Library in London, who documented a project on Jewish manuscripts that had specific ethical considerations and sensitivity issues for approach. To find out more, try www.wellcome.ac.uk or Chantry Library www.lib.ox.ac.uk/ipc-chantry/
From Clara Prieto a reference to a box at the historical archives in Madrid (I think in the National Library) made specifically for storing the 'Book of Esther', a scroll of aproximate 20 cm long. She says "the box was clamshell style, one piece, covers fold back and box opens flat. In the inside, they constructed a partition in cushioning material to hold the scroll. Furthermore, the scroll was protected with a 'cover' in cloth all around it." Clara has made a drawing which I post here as an attachment.
And from Walter Henry, moderator of the DistList, who refers to US conservator Jack Thompson's paper on this topic in Leather Conservation News, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1998 and which is available in Conservation OnLine: http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byauth/thompson/sacred/
Jack replied to our query, passed on by Walter, with the following:
"There is nothing kosher related to making a box to store a Torah scroll. It falls into the class of things which might be manufactured/supplied by a gentile, as with the wooden rollers to which the Torah is tied. If the rollers are sound, there is no reason that the box should be stored flat; upright would be alright. Sugar pine is a low resin wood which might be used to manufacture the box. Hinges have a way of catching on things and pulling loose, so I would probably suggest a sliding cover for the box."
Any further comments on Torah boxes are still welcome!