Chabad of Park Heights recently welcomed a new Torah scroll. The Chabad celebrated the new addition on Aug. 26, when congregants paraded with the Torah scroll before bringing it into their sanctuary.
“Every time a scroll is written, it’s a great celebration,” said Rabbi Shmuel Raices, assistant rabbi at Chabad of Park Heights. “We had Torah scrolls beforehand, but it’s always a great celebration to have a new Torah scroll.”
The scroll was commissioned and paid for by one of the Chabad’s members, Levy Brody. The scroll was commissioned in memory of the grandparents of Brody’s wife, Raices said. A scribe in Israel spent nearly a year on its creation. Chabad of Park Heights officially took possession of it on Aug. 26, after Brody donated it.
The celebration over the scroll’s donation began in Brody’s backyard, Raices said, with Chabad members and a local scribe writing the last few letters in the new Torah. Members then marched and danced with the scroll through the streets to its new home in their Chabad.
“There was a lot of dancing and singing and just a general feeling of joy at bringing a new scroll to the congregation,” Raices said.
Chabad of Park Heights typically uses its Torahs for Shabbat and on Mondays and Thursdays, when the Torah is also read, as well as for holidays and b’nai mitzvah, Raices said.
“There’s a great joy when a congregation receives a new Torah, when a new Torah is written,” Raices said, adding that a Torah scroll is one of the most important holy items that can be found in a synagogue.
“In fact, the Torah has 600,000 letters, according to some counts, that reflect the 600,000 souls of Jewish people that came out of Egypt,” Raices said. “So essentially the Torah represents every single Jewish person in its letters.”