Manhattan, NY - Ancient Torah Discovered
Reisman says he had a partner in purchasing this scroll, and the partner didn’t trust his expertise so much. So they sent a small sample for carbon dating. The estimate they received was that the scroll was about 1000 years old.
“But my partner was still suspicious, so he took it to another company, for a little more money,” says Reisman, “and they presumably gave a more accurate dating: Between 1290 and 1315.”
According to Rabbi Reisman, this is a complete Torah, in a near-kosher state (meaning that it requires very few repairs). “The most interesting thing about it are the cabalistic ‘tagin,’ the calligraphic flourishes adorning the Hebrew letters, which I have never seen before in a Spanish Torah.”
Reisman and his partner contacted an academic expert in Israel, who examined the text and sent them back a letter asserting that it was probably written by a scribe named Shemtov Ibn Gaon, the author of several manuscripts, one of which was on the art of Torah calligraphy. Ibn Gaon left Spain for Israel in 1310, which further dates the scroll, according to Rabbi Reisman.
“It’s a unique, beautifully written Torah,” he says.
Is it ready for use by a congregation? “Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it for any congregation to use it; it’s a historical document, which must be treated with great care. This is the oldest known complete Spanish Torah scroll. And the cabalistic flourishes make it an even more valuable relic.”
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