Hebrew Scroll of Psalms

Psalms  – A Rare Scroll with a Very Unique Chapter

Scroll of Psalms
Psalm 119

1 alef through tav_001

Three things about this very long chapter of Psalms quickly come to mind. First, it consists of 176 verses divided into 22 eight verse sections. Every section is given one of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet to begin the first word in every verse. Second, every verse in this psalm speaks about the Word of God, e.g. Word, Law, Commandments, Ordinances etc. Third, Scrolls of the Psalms are extremely rare. Only two Scrolls of the Psalms are on public display and these two Scrolls are in Gentile Christian collections.
For higher resolution photographs of Psalm 119 go to my web site at –
www.scrolls4all.org

2 Psalm 119 V20_45

“they shall mount up with wings as eagles”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

 

This section is from a Hebrew scroll of Isaiah originally written on sheep skin with a quill and iron gall ink in Poland. Because of the iron gall ink degradation and the re-lettering in many sections it has been determined that the Scroll was written sometime in the 1800s.

After surviving the Holocaust this fragmented scroll was sent to a Geniza in Israel and finally was moved to America in 2008.
We have what is left of the scroll in our collection in Houston, Texas.
This photo contains verses from Isaiah 40:21 through Isaiah 41:2. The Yad (pointer) is indicating where Isaiah 40:31 starts.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

 

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

Scroll of Isaiah

This photograph is from the Scroll of Isaiah purchased from Machon Ot in Jerusalem in 2004. Rabbi Steiner wrote the following: “Isaiah Scroll (complete) – Russia 80 – 90 years old.” The Scroll had been re-lettered sometime in the past. The Scroll had been damaged since the re-lettering, probably in a pogrom in Russia and could no longer be made kosher.  The Scroll was in The Scriptorium in Texas for several years. I delivered the Scroll to representatives from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina in 2012. They were to secure a location for the Scroll in the Campus Museum.

Blog_001

137_001

Over a period of six years I purchased six Scrolls of Isaiah. They are all being used in research and museums owned and operated by Christian organizations in America. Scrolls such as Isaiah have been very rare to non-existent in the Gentile Christian world. I am trying to install as many photographs as possible in lessons on my website at www.scrolls4all.org and high resolution photographs will soon be offered at  www.ezdigitalbooks.com.

Lamentations

This is the complete Scroll of Lamentations (Eikhah in Hebrew) which is part of the Megillah. It was written according to the law of STaM (the many laws which regulate how kosher Scrolls must be written). It was written by a Sofer (scribe) in the 1800s or earlier in North Western Europe. The Sofer wrote with a quill on sheepskin using iron gall ink. This Scroll was badly damaged during the Holocaust and was moved from Israel to America in 2006 at which time Gary Zimmerman purchased the Scroll and had it framed to be hung in The Scriptorium.

lamentations-thumb
This is the complete Scroll of Lamentations, Eikhah in Hebrew.

Lamentations is read worldwide in Jewish Synagogues on Tisha B’Av, (the 9th of the month Av usually corresponds with the Gregorian calendar in August). The mournful reading of Lamentations is to remember the destruction of both the first and second Temples which, according to tradition, was on Tisha B’Av. The Scroll ends with hope and anticipation of The Messiah’s coming to renew the Temple in Israel.

The Ten Commandments

In 1999 a Christian businessman and I started the Scroll Project (I like to call it The Scriptorium). The project was to find badly damaged Hebrew Torah Scrolls, purchase them and frame as many pages as possible and then to donate them to places where they would be honored as the Written Word of God in the original form and before translation. Thus far we have distributed portions of non kosher, fragmented Hebrew Torah Scrolls to well over 500 Christian institutions and individuals. The Scrolls have dated from the late 1500s to early 20th century.

Each Portions of the Scrolls have been treated with the highest respect. When framed, over 300 sheets, the fragments have been framed to meet museum standards.

The first portion containing the Ten Commandments was donated to the Chief Justice of the state of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. He assured us he would hang it in his office. The Ten Commandments came from a very old fragmented Torah Scroll written in Yemen in the 1700s.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama the Honorable Roy Moore receiving the Ten Commandments from a very old fragmented Torah Scroll written in Yemen in the 1700s.

The second and third framed portions of the Ten Commandments are on loan to the United States Congress Congressman Mike Sodrel from Indiana and Congressman Kenny Marchant from Texas. Both Congressmen were very pleased to hang the large sheets in their Washington offices. They said many of their friends would be pleased to see them. The two sheets containing the Ten Commandments came from a badly damaged Torah Scroll written in Poland before the Holocaust.

Right to left: U.S. Congressman Mike Sodrel, U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant, Gary Zimmerman, Artis Zimmerman
Right to left: U.S. Congressman Mike Sodrel, U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant, Gary Zimmerman, Artis Zimmerman

The fourth framed sheet containing the Ten Commandments was donated to the Governor of the Island of Saipan the Honorable Benigno Fitial. He was very pleased to receive the sheet and said the Ten Commandments are very important for everyone to see.

The sheet containing the Ten Commandments came from a badly damaged Torah Scroll from Hungary. This Torah was damaged in the Holocaust.

From left to right: Governor of The Island of Saipan the Honorable Benigno Fitial, Dr Christian Wei Eucon International College
From left to right: Governor of The Island of Saipan the Honorable Benigno Fitial, Dr Christian Wei Eucon International College

The fifth framed sheet containing the Ten Commandments was donated to the Protestant Chapel at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Colonel Adele Hodges Commanding Officer of Camp Lejeune received the framed sheet for the Protestant Chapel.

The donation turned out to be quite a ceremony and it made the front page of the Marine Corps newspaper “The Globe” edition Thursday August 2, 2007.

The sheet containing the Ten Commandments came from a badly damaged Torah Scroll from Western Europe.

Receiving the Ten Commandments From right to left: Colonel Adele Hodges Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Gary Zimmerman
Receiving the Ten Commandments From right to left: Colonel Adele Hodges Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Gary Zimmerman

 

4 Scribal oddities first day of Creation

Lithuanian Torah
The Torah Scroll from Vilna, Lithuania
Written 1750 between 1770
4 Scribal oddities first day of Creation

Dr Colin Smith (1955 – 2008) Hebrew Professor from Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania was par excellence among the Hebrew professors I have worked with. His practical way of teaching using the basis of “how can I use Hebrew in my life” sparked the interest of students and produced really large energetic Hebrew classes. In 2005 we loaned Dr. Smith the Torah Scroll from Vilna, Lithuania to have his advanced Hebrew students photograph all the Scribal oddities contained in the Scroll. They studied and photographed the Scroll the fall semester of 2005 and spring semester of 2006. They found hundreds of embellishments and letter variances.

 

Dr Smith was a good friend of Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. and he asked if they would like to publish an article on the Vilna Torah in their Magazine “Israel My Glory”.  Their January/February 2006 used his article and a few photographs for a two page centerfold article.

f the many scribal oddities in the Scroll, this photograph of the first day of creation in Genesis 1:1-5 shows four variances in calligraphy.

Of the many scribal oddities in the Scroll, this photograph of the first day of creation in Genesis 1:1-5 shows four variances in calligraphy.

Lithuanian Torah Scroll written between 1750 and 1770

Sofer's (Scribe) quill used to write a Torah Scroll in Dallas, Texas

Sofer’s (Scribe) quill used to write a Torah Scroll in Dallas, Texas

 

In June 2004 we sent an individual to Jerusalem to purchase several non kosher Hebrew Scrolls for educational purposes to be used among Gentile Christians. It had been my goal to place in the hands of Christin seminaries, colleges, Bible schools, Bible translators, and churches portions of fragmented non kosher Hebrew Scrolls. Over 300 museum quality frames have been made to hold these fragmented pieces and were donated throughout the world.

The Scroll of Ecclesiastes was donated to Fudan University, located in Shanghai, China,
The Scroll of Ecclesiastes was donated to Fudan University, located in Shanghai, China,

 

Hebrew Scrolls have been very rare among Gentile Christians. Our Bible commentaries and Bible dictionaries rarely contained photographs of authentic Hebrew Scrolls. Most of the time an artist would draw a Scroll and add a few squiggly lines to represent Hebrew writing and pass these off as Scrolls. In the university and seminary I attended I was able to find only one authentic photograph of a Scroll among all the books available. (excluding Dead Sea Scrolls) The Scroll I found was of Esther and the publisher had printed the Scroll upside down. (Hebrew always looks best upside down to those not familiar with Hebrew.)

During the trip to Jerusalem in 2004 two Jewish Sofers (Scribes) heard about what we were doing and asked “Do Gentiles really honor and respect our Scrolls?” They were very pleased to know more about this project and offered Several non kosher scrolls to help us. One of the Scrolls was a Torah Scroll from Vilnius, Lithuania.

Part of the bill of sale for Hebrew Scrolls in Jerusalem.
Part of the bill of sale for Hebrew Scrolls in Jerusalem.

 

We are starting this blog so you can view this Scroll of which hundreds of high resolution photographs will be shown as the blog moves on.

The Scroll from Lithuania has hundreds of Scribal oddities, such as these beautiful Tagin (crowns above certain letters).
The Scroll from Lithuania has hundreds of Scribal oddities, such as these beautiful Tagin (crowns above certain letters).