Glossary of Terms Related to Torah Scrolls
Ari - 16th century Kabbalist - Rabbi Isaac Luria. In our case it refers to the style of writing instituted by him. This style is most commonly used by Chassidim and others who adhere to the Kabbalah.
Atzei Chaim - Literally “Trees of Life”. In this case it refers to the wooden poles with their handles which the Torah scroll must be mounted onto.
Beis Yosef - 16th century author of the “Shulchan Aruch” or “Code of Jewish Law” - Rabbi Joseph Karo. In our case it refers to the style of writing codified by him. This is the standard style used by most Ashkenazi Jews.
Gartel - Yiddish for belt. This is the belt that is tied around Ashkenazi Torah scrolls to keep it closed in the Mantel.
Keter - Hebrew for “crown“. The ornamental crown which is placed on top of Ashkenazi Torah scrolls.
Klaf - Hebrew for parchment. Klaf for Torah scrolls must be made from the skin of a Kosher animal. The entire process must be preformed by an observant Jew for the sake of the Mitzvah of the Torah scroll.
Mantel - Yiddish word for the decorative fabric cover which covers Ashkenazi Torah scrolls.
Mehudar - Hebrew for beautiful. Generally used to refer to a Mitzvah being performed in the best way. A Mehudar Torah scroll means a Torah scroll made in a way which not only meets the minimum requirements of Jewish Law, but also surpasses them and is aesthetically beautiful.
Sefardi - Literally means Spanish in Hebrew. In our case it refers to the style of writing used by Jews of Spanish and Middle Eastern descent.
Shlil - Refers to a type of Klaf made from skin of an unborn animal found in its mothers womb at the time of slaughter. This type of Klaf is considered the best type because of its superior texture as well as for Kabbalistic and other reasons.
Sofer Stam - A scribe of Torahs, Tefillin and Mezuzahs. “Stam” is an acronym in Hebrew of the words “Sefer Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah”. It requires years of training, practice and apprenticeship for one to become a Sofer Stam.
Tik - Hebrew for “case”. Refers to the hard cases which house Sefardi Torah Scrolls. These cases can be made of wood, silver, copper, or any number of other materials.