There are two ways of buying a new Torah Scroll.
· Commissioning a Torah - Hiring a Sofer to write a Torah Scroll
· Ready Torah - Buying a new Torah scroll which has already been prepared
Commissioning a Torah
The advantage of commissioning a Torah Scroll and being involved in the writing from the beginning is being able to have the community participate in the process the entire way through. Please refer to the Torah project link for more information.
First a decision of what kind of writing- script we are looking for. There are three major styles:
1. AriZal - Typically used by Chassidic communities
2. Beit Yosef - Typically used by Ashkenazi communities
3. Vellish - Typically used by Sephardic communities
Generally, AriZaI script is used by Ashkenazi Chassidic communities whose nusach (prayer rite) is Sefard. Beit Yosef script is used primarily by non-Chassidic Ashkenazi communities. In most cases, Ashkenazi communities who pray in nusach Sefard use AriZal script Torah scrolls, while most who pray in nusach Ashkenaz use Beit Yosef. The differences between AriZaI and Beit Yosef are only in a few letters, while most of the script is the same.
The Vellish script differs from the two Ashkenazi styles in almost every letter, and is used by the Sephardic communities. There are other differences between the Sephardic and Ashkenazi traditions aside from the writing style. For example, unlike the Ashkenazi custom, most of the Sephardic communities do not put the Torah scroll on Atzei Chaim (wood rollers) but rather in an upright-standing case.
After deciding what type of script is appropriate, the next step is to find the right Sofer (scribe) to write the Torah Scroll. There are many scribes to choose from, most of them in Israel. When choosing a scribe it is important to make sure to get someone with the right experience and someone who can accomplish the project smoothly and on time.
An Average Torah scroll takes approximately one year to complete, although it can vary between 6 months to 2 years depending on the Sofer and the quality of writing.
Buying a Ready Torah
The advantage of buying a ready Torah scroll is that it can be inspected to make sure all the details fit exactly as desired. As well, the entire process from finding the Torah through buying it and until using it could be very short, so communities who need the Torah for immediate use might find this option appealing. Look also at the Used Torah Scroll page and Ancient Torah scroll page