January 28, 2023 |

Writing Your Own Torah - On Your Wedding Day and Every Day

One of the 613 mitzvot, in fact the last of the 613, is that every Jew should write a copy of the Torah. It is derived from the passage in Parshat Vayelech that says “V’atem kitvu lachem et hashira hazot” – “So now, write this song for yourselves.” Our sages derive from this verse that every Jew is commanded to write a Torah scroll. A more contemporary interpretation is that this mitzvah can be fulfilled by buying a copy of the Torah. With the wide availability today of the Chumash in many versions, this is a very easy mitzvah to perform.

In the parsha of Shoftim, we are given instructions for the selection of a king and the conduct that is expected of him after he is crowned. The first thing he is told to do is to write not only one, but two copies of the Torah. “V’katav lo et mishneh haTorah hazot.” Rashi explains that one copy is to keep in his palace, and the other to carry with him whenever and wherever he travels.

Of particular interest to you on your wedding day, is that we have many sources that compare a bridegroom and bride to a king and queen. One source is a Midrash called Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer, where a Groom is compared to a King because of five similarities.
1. Both are praised by others,
2. Both wear honorable clothing,
3. Both have parties and happiness every day,
4. Both do not walk in the street alone,
5. Both of their faces radiate like the sun.

So, putting these two thoughts together, comparing a bridegroom to a king, and requiring a king to write two copies of the Torah, it can be inferred that a bridegroom (and his bride) should write and use two copies of the Torah, one to keep in their palace (or their house or apartment) and the other to carry with them whenever they travel.

There are midrashim that say that the king of Israel used to actually have a copy of the Torah attached to his arm whenever he left his palace, but I wonder how your friends and co-workers would react to you walking around with a 30 pound Torah scroll dangling from your arm.

But maybe that’s not what was meant by writing and carrying a sefer Torah. The practical way to fulfill this mitzvah today is to read and understand the teachings of the Torah at home, from the copy that you keep in your home or apartment and also the copy that you read in shul. Taking the other copy with you when you travel is a way of saying that when you go out into the world, you should keep the teachings of the Torah and its basic value system in your mind to apply every day as you encounter new situations and interact with people in your everyday life.

By applying the principles embodied in the Torah in your daily activities, you are in effect carrying the second copy of the Torah with you every day.


Al Kustanowitz

Joined: October 2, 2007

Al Kustanowitz is a speaker, lecturer, and entertainer in the field of Jewish humor. He is the author of nine books on Jewish humor and Blogger-in-Chief at Jewish Humor Central. He is the Aba of three extremely talented children and the Saba of five brilliant (and cute) grandchildren. Start every...

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