The Missing Parsha: A Story of Amazing Hashgacha Protis


sefer-torahIt was a fascinating turn of events, to say the least, but a story that was left for coffee room conversation, until now.

A month and a half ago, just one day after celebrating a massive Hachnosas Sefer Torah in honor of a new Sefer Torah in a shul in a prominent frum community, the shul took out the new Sefer Torah to lain from for the very first time. As the Sefer Torah was rolled to the correct place for laining, Parshas Beha’aloscha, the baal kriah and gabbaim were astounded when they discovered that the parsha was nowhere to be found. They looked and looked again, but to their chagrin, Parshas Naso was followed by Parshas Shelach. What was going on? No one knew. Without delay, the Sefer Torah was rolled up and a different one was used for the laining.

After davening, several individuals took out the new Sefer Torah to inspect it. Perhaps Parshas Beha’aloscha had been erroneously inserted elsewhere, in an incorrect place? The mispallelim went through the entire Torah, parsha by parsha, to determine what had happened to the elusive Parshas Beha’aloscha, which was to be lained that morning, during the very first kriah in this brand new, impeccably written Sefer Torah. After the painstaking inspection, it was determined that the yeriah, or parchment, containing Parshas Beha’aloscha, had, for whatever reason, not been sewn into the Sefer Torah. Every other parsha was there, though. As an aside, during the inspection, it was found that some sweat had dripped on the Torah the day before during the Hachnosas Sefer Torah and had ruined several letters.

The Sefer Torah, which had been written by an expert sofer in Eretz Yisroel, was sewn together, as is customary, by a separate individual, a tofeir, who takes the numerous pieces of parchment containing the parshiyos of the Torah and places them together. Immediately, a phone call was made to the tofeir to find out what had happened in this case and why Parshas Beha’aloscha was missing. The tofer responded that he would look into the matter right away. The tofeir called back within a short period of time to report that he had found the very parchment that was missing, containing Parshas Beha’aloscha, and that it had been inadvertently left out.

At the time, a number of expert sofrim, with decades of experience in safrus, stated that in all their years and experiences in the field, they never once witnessed or heard of such an incident in which a yeriah was mistakenly not sewed into a Sefer Torah. The unprecedented nature of what happened had everyone befuddled.

The tofeir, wanting to rectify the problem as quickly as possible, said he would be getting on the next flight leaving from Eretz Yisroel to bring the yeriah to the United States. He was reassured, however, that it would not be necessary to do so, and that the family would try to find someone who was anyway traveling from Eretz Yisroel to New York to bring the parchment with them.

After some phone calls were placed, contact was made with a son of a prominent rosh yeshiva who was going to be traveling at the end of the week from Eretz Yisroel, in time for Shabbos, for the auf ruf of his brother. Thus, a “ride” had been found for the missing yeriah.

That Erev Shabbos, with the parchment having arrived in the United States, the sofer sewed in the missing parsha of Beha’aloscha. That was followed by a ceremony attended by family members as well as the rov of the shul. The donor of the Sefer Torah filled in the letters that had gotten ruined by the sweat that had fallen on it on the previous Sunday.

To celebrate the true completion of the Sefer Torah, a special Kiddush was held on Shabbos at the shul.

Numerous lessons were learned and discussed regarding this story, not the least of which is the fact that out of all the parshiyos that could have inadvertently been misplaced, it was Parshas Beha’aloscha, the very parsha being read the very first time the Sefer Torah was being used. Thus, as some have observed, not one bracha levatala was made as a result of the gaffe. The amazing Hashgacha Protis was not lost on any of the mispallelim of the shul or those who have learned of this story.

The rov of the shul stated that we don’t know why Hashgacha had it that the yeriah should be missing in the first place, but he said that each member of the kehillah should contemplate and study his own deeds and perhaps determine where in his avodas Hashem he can upgrade and improve.

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  1. There is one lesson to be learned clearly from this: check, check and check again with human eyes. I advise the Baal Korei of any shul I write a sefer Torah for to go through the sefer Torah himself as well before the hachnossas sefer Torah. Some do some don’t but the trained eye of a baal korei is a very wise additional check.