We often talk about God as a writer and ourselves as characters in a great ongoing story. This is particularly true during the High Holidays when we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life.
Holy books are sacrosanct for Jews. When no longer usable, they are buried with the same respect and ceremony afforded humans. Likewise, many Jews will kiss a prayer book if it falls to the floor.
Tevye, the famous shtetl milkman of Fiddler On the Roof often prefaced his nuggets of wisdom with “as the good book says…” The ‘good book,’ the Torah, is the single most precious item in Judaism.
A Torah scroll is a work of art. It takes about a year for a scribe to handprint the Torah, using a technique and material that hasn’t changed in thousands of years. The Torah scroll must be perfect. Even one small error can ruin it.
The Patchwork Torah tells the story of four generations in the family of a Torah scribe. As they rescue damaged Torah scrolls, we learn that a thing of value, even if it is old, can always be made new again.
On Simchat Torah, we complete the reading of the Torah for the year. We celebrate, and then we turn right back to the beginning to read it all over again. The story never ends.