Rav Yaakov Yosef: Most Sifrei Torah In IDF Are Pasul


“A religious soldier in the IDF today is like an orphan or the military. He does not have a father to look out for him…Most of the sifrei Torah in the IDF have not undergone a computer exam and if we take them for an exam, we can only imagine what the outcome will be” HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Yosef told Kol Chai Radio today, 21 Shevat 5772,

The rav stated “two months ago, the chief rabbi of the military stated that over 80% of military kitchens are treif. What did the military rabbonim say four of five months ago? Did they warn anyone that there are treif kitchens or did they opt to remain silent?

“If they are silent regarding kosher and treif do you expect them to open their mouths regarding the kashrus of sifrei Torah?

“Generally speaking, they prefer to remain silent. We don’t look to see what they are doing and saying and if they remain silent. We are looking to see what the poskim are saying, what the Rivash says, and what the Halacha is.

“This is the case regarding kashrus and the other matter. This is where we are to my sorrow and as such, one who has Yiras Shomayim should go elsewhere for Pashas Zachor to make sure he hears laining from a kosher Torah”.

The rav explained that regarding the sifrei Torah, many are simply in poor condition. In addition, they are all embossed with a watermark that says “property of the IDF” and one may not add these words and he feels adding these words, even without ink, is sufficient to make a Torah pasul. He added most of the sifrei Torah are from Romania. “Almost all the shuls in Romania were closed and all the Jews came to Israel. What happened to the sifrei Torah? They were brought to Israel and distributed in IDF bases. Most are very old, over 200 years, and the ink is faded and there are cracks in many letters making them pasul.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. It might be a good idea for chareidim to do their military service by writing sifrei torah and serving as mashgichim for the army. This would benefit everyone

  2. #1 Over 300 sifrei torah were donated over the last 5 yrs from National Council of Young Israel and from community shuls… is the Rav aware of those KOSHER TORAHS?

  3. Nothing unusual here.

    In many shuls here i n the U.S. the sifrei torah are posul. Many Rabbonim don’t really know hilchos safrus and don’t recognize that the sefer they are using has problems.

    In addition, there are unscrupulous sellers that sell posul sifrei torah, tefillin, and mezuzos to the unsuspecting.

    If an American goes into an Israeli sofer to buy a sefer torah, tefillin, or mezuzos the chances that he will get a sub-standard item is high. They think, “It’s good enough for Americans.”

    The fact that the sofer has a long beard, payos and seems frum and has a good reputation can be deceiving. Always have any st”m checked by an indeoendent sofer!

  4. As I am sure what the Rav said about the sefrei torah is accurate, I am extremely skeptical of what he said on the conditions of the kitchens in the army. As one who served in the IDF, I can tell you that the kitchens there are under the strictest levels of kashrut, and one who violates these laws can wind up in jail. A Rav of a base once explained to me that the rules of the kitchen run on “commands” not halachot, so even if technically something might be permitted by halacha, if it violated the rules of the kitchen, it must be thrown out. There is no cooking dairy products on bases as to not run into a problem of basar v’chalav. There are reserved areas for meat, dairy and parave. There are poster all over the kitchen with all the rules (halachot) that MUST be followed. Even the most irreligious of soldiers that i have met have been aware and of these rules and respect them.