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The Mitzvah

  What is the mitzvah?
What can the mitzvah do for me?
Who is obligated in the mitzvah?
If I already own a Torah letter do I still get a mitzvah from buying one?
If I buy a letter for someone else, who gets the mitzvah?
How does owning one letter in a sefer torah fulfill the mitzvah of writing a whole sefer torah?


What is the mitzvah?

In Deuteronomy 31/19 the Torah states: "So now, write this song for yourselves.." The sages learn from this verse that every Jew is commanded to write a Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll). The Rambam writes (Hilchot sefer torah 7:1) that since the lack of one Torah letter causes a Torah Scroll to be invalid, the commandment can be fulfilled by writing a single letter of a completed scroll. The Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Ha'mitzvot lists this as one of the 613 commandments and quotes the Rambam saying that if it is not possible for a person to physically write the Sefer Torah himself, he has to buy a Sefer Torah or hire someone to write it for him. This the Chofetz Chaim says, is a mitzvah that applies to every time and place (Sefer Hamitzvah Ha'katzar).

Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that a person can fulfill their obligation to perform this mitzvah by uniting together with other Jews to write one collective Sefer Torah.

The Sefer Ha'chinuch writes that somebody who has the opportunity to fulfill this mitzvah and does not has nullified a positive commandment and his punishment is great & those who fulfill this mitzvah shall be blessed and he and his children shall become wise.

What can the mitzvah do for me?

Firstly it is important to note that the title of this question is misleading. The reason we do mitzvot is not so that we get something in return, but rather because we are commanded to do them. However, our sages do teach that we do in fact get rewards for all of our mitzvot in the world to come. The reward of a mitzvah is so great that it can't be paid for in the currency of this world thus we are rewarded in the next. As Rav Dessler writes "There is not in this world (sufficient happiness, joy or reward capable of being) the reward of a mitzvah (even the smallest mitzvah that one could possibly imagine.)"

Who is obligated in the mitzvah?

The mitzvah applies to all men over the age of thirteen. There are opinions that hold that it applies to everyone, men and women alike. Even according to the opinion that a women is not obligated, if she fulfills the mitzvah she still gets reward for it.

If I already own a Torah letter do I still get a mitzvah from buying one?

Yes, even though you fulfill your obligation with the first purchase, you get a mitzvah and thus reward for each torah letter that you own.

If I buy a letter for someone else, who gets the mitzvah?

When purchasing for another, the mitzvah of writing one's own sefer torah, is fulfilled by the recipient. When bought to honor the memory of a loved one, the mitzvah is used to elevate the deceased's soul.

How does owning one letter in a sefer torah fulfill the mitzvah of writing a whole sefer torah?

The Rambam writes (Hilchot sefer torah 7:1) that since the lack of one Torah letter causes it to be invalid, the commandment can be fulfilled by owning a single letter of a completed sefer (Torah scroll).

 
 
 
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