Rav Yaakov Yosef: Sifrei Torah in IDF Are Posul


rav-yaakov-yosefRav Yaakov Yosef, son of Chacham Ovadiah Yosef, has paskened that a watermark on Sifrei Torah used by IDF soldiers renders them posul. Rav Yosef publicized his p’sak in the “Eretz Yisrael Shelanu” weekly Torah pamphlet distributed in shuls around the country. The p’sak was rendered in time for Parshas Zachor, whose reading is Mide’oraisah.

Rav Yosef has advised religious soldiers to ask to be excused this Shabbos so that they can hear Parshas Zachor at their home shul and to make up their missed army duties during the week.

Rav Yosef wrote that the identifying watermark – the words “IDF property” imprinted on the Sifrei Torah – disqualifies them for use.

Brachos may not be recited when reading from them, and certainly not to fulfill the mitzvah min haTorah of remembering Amaleik,” said Rav Yosef. He based the p’sak on precedents set by his father, Chacham Ovadiah, in Shailos Uteshuvos Yechaveh Daas.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office has said that it is preparing a response in conjunction with the IDF Rabbinate. The response has not yet been publicized.

An official at Machon Ot, a non-profit organization that has developed a unique method to identify Sifrei Torah based on the distances between letters, said that watermarks have traditionally been accepted as a kosher means of identification. “Writing on the back of the parchment is considered okay, as are watermarks visible on either side,” the official said, according to Israel National News.

Machon Ot’s computerized technique has been used by Israel Police, Interpol, New York Police Department and others to identify stolen Sifrei Torah.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}