The Jerusalem Scribe - Megillot


(singular, Megilla)

means "Scrolls". While the term could accurately be used of scrolls of any of the Biblical books, it most commonly refers to the Book of Esther which is read on the Purim festival. Indeed that book is commonly called "The Megilla".

More generally one can speak of the Five Megillot which are customarily read in synagogues on holidays:

While many congregations read these books--except for Megillat Esther--from printed books, there are still many which read all of them from halakhically kosher parchment scrolls. On Purim the halakha (Jewish law) requires the use of a kosher scroll. In our day it is common for many congregants to follow the reading from their own parchment scrolls.

All beginning scribes start out writing Megillot Esther, because Esther is the only book of the Bible which doesn't contain any of the specially sanctified Divine Names. As a result, beginning scribes can write the megilla without having to worry about all the extra problems that could be created if they were to make mistakes on sheets containing the Divine Names, or even in the Names themselves. They proceed to writing other things usually only after several megillot. Of course, experienced scribes also write Megillot Esther.

Megillot Esther are usually written with columns of 11, 14, 21, 28, or 42 lines. They vary in height from about 6 cm (3") up to about 50 cm (20"). Megillot Esther are commonly written with the word HaMelekh ("The King") at the head of almost all the columns, as this format is popular. There is also an old tradition of illuminating scrolls of Megillat Esther. The Jerusalem Scribe continues this truly Jewish art tradition with its limited-edition HaMelekh Megilla illuminated with nine specially designed two-color wood-engravings. To see pictures of this Megilla, just write to us.


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