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diary of a sofer - part 27

Mordechai Pinchas Sofer

This was actually the first ever siyyum (completion ceremony) I had been scribe in charge of (so to speak).  The Edinburgh community had planned it meticulously and one of the highspots for me was taht the Torah was not merely to be carried in to the hall under a canopy held by four members of the congregation but was to be piped in by real Scottish pipers sporting kilts.  Indeed the piper had apparently composed a piece specially for the event.

The service had been put together by one of the congregants and culminated in the flling in of the last two letters by the oldest and youngest members of the community.

I also gave a d’ar torah on the significance of the 613th commandment - to have a sefer torah. (Click here to read the d’var torah).

Lots and lots of pictures were taken by many photographers.  Though the hardest of all was when I was doing hagba’ah for some 10 minutes whilst they tried to get a ‘good shot’!  The whole thing went off without a hitch with no surprises, and everyone enjoyed themselves throughly as befits such an important event in the life of a Jewish community - large or small. For more on siyyumim click here.

However there was one suprise left and that was the airport going home after a lovely meal shared with my hosts.  Going through the x-ray machines, the security people stopped me and asked me if I had anything in my bag.  Suddenly I realised that I was actually carrying a bag full of knives of various kinds for cutting and shapping quills, sizing parchment, cutting patches etc etc.  I didn’t ever think of them as blades but more as tools. ‘Oh my gosh’, I suddenly exclaimed, slapping my forehead, ‘I’ve got a bag full of knives!’ One stanley knife, two craft knives, scissors, needles and spare blades, to be precise.  Eyeing me suspiciously I tried to explain what they were for and what I had been doing with them mere hours earlier. Fortunately my kit was also full of quills, animal sinews and other assorted paraphanelia and they believed me, but quite rightly made me put my luggage in the hold.

However the really scary thing is that I had exactly the same stuff in my bag going out of Heathrow to Edinburgh a day earlier. I hadn’t realised but niether did airport security.  Bit worrying that! 

Mordechai Pinchas

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