- Question: [Sunday, 29th Teves, 5783]
On Shabbos, as we were rolling the Sefer Torah, we noticed a tear in one of the pages. The tear starts from the top of the parchment and continues down until the second line of script in that column [i.e. it goes through two lines]. The tear runs through two words, by one word it runs right in the middle of the Vav, in essence chopping it in half, and by the second word it runs through the Reish. My first question is regarding if the Torah scroll is still valid, and if not then how it is to be fixed. One of the people who were there said that he thinks that there is no way to fix such a problem, and you have to cut out the entire piece of parchment with all of the columns [i.e. Yeriah], and rewrite it. Please clarify.
The law is clear that when a tear runs through a letter, then the letter is invalid if it changes the shape of the letter in an invalid way, and hence the Torah scroll is invalid and may not be read from until fixed. Now, regarding how to fix such a matter, there is no need to remove that entire piece of parchment from the Sefer Torah and replace it with a new one, as was suggested, and rather it suffices to simply erase the entire word that has the tear in it, assuming it is not the name of Hashem, and then rewrite it more narrowly within the erased area to the side of the tear. The tear itself can be sewn or patched up in the back by a Sofer. It does not help to patch or sew the tear without erasing and rewriting the word.
Sources: See regarding the invalidation of a letter if a tear runs through it: Michaber and Rama Y.D. 280:1; Michaber 32:16; Admur 32:20; Shach 280:8; Levush 280:1; See regarding that it does not help to simply sew it or patch it up: Rama Y.D. 280:1; See regarding the ability to erase the word and then rewrite it: Reim 89; Tzemach Tzedek Kadmon 112; Shmesh Tzedaka Y.D. 54; Emes Letyaakov Mishpat Hatefira 10; Zechor Leavraham 1 Y.D. samech; Meleches Shamayim 15:1; Kol Yaakov 280:17; Shevet Halevi 8:226; Yerios Shlomo 4:2; See regarding sewing or patching a tear when it is not by the letters: Michaber and Rama Y.D. 280:1; Shevet Halevi 8:226