Why Register a Sefer Torah?
The stealing of Sifrei Torah has become a too often occurrence. We at Machon OT have developed a system to stop this. There are three steps to stealing a Sefer Torah.
- The first is removing it from its rightful owners.
- The second is making changes that will make the Sefer Torah difficult to identify, thus preventing it from being returned to its rightful owner.
- The final stage is placing that Sefer Torah back into use by a congregation or school.
The first stage is often done by a common thief sometimes at the behest of a “so-called” Sofer Stam. The second stage may be done both by the thief and the “so -called” Sofer Stam. Simple removal of the cover and the Atzei Chaim may be enough to make ownership uncertain. More sophisticated methods of removing code markings, invisible ink, pin marks or embossed stamps usually requires a greater knowledge then that possessed by the common thief. The third stage is almost always done by the “so-called” Sofer.
Our goal is to prevent all theft by making their marketing to the public too risky. As our database grows, currently with over 12,000 Sifrei Torah, we hope to reach the critical mass of over 30,000. When we reach that point, the chances of getting caught will be too great for thieves to continue their activities.
In the past year alone, Machon OT has been instrumental in having two Sifrei Torah being returned to their rightful owners. The growth of our database is not only a protection for every synagogue and school it is also helping to build a torah shield for all of Klal Yisrael.