Around the same time Rabbi Bressman posted his recents concerns surrounding the issue of computer checking, I was receiving emails from friends regarding another online discussion on this issue. This discussion was being held in a closed forum for Chabad Lubavitch Rabbis (Achdus Shluchim Exchange), on exactly the same topic.
While most members of this forum are not affiliated with Chabad, I think it's of great value for everyone to see the types of complaints and comments that were raised. Most Sifrei Torah reaching Chabad Houses (a substantial amount globally) are originally sourced from many of the mainstream sochrim in Bnai Brak, Yerushalayim, Ashdod etc and the issues they raised are the same as the one's I hear from the Litvish, Sefardi, Chaseidish etc rabbis as well.
It started with a post from one rabbi complaining that he bought a new sefer Torah which was computer checked and found to have a spelling mistake. There were many responses and discussion with people sharing their experiences, mostly negative. It is interesting to see it from their perspective. But for those of us in the business of STa"M, it is important to hear them loud and clear.
Because it's a closed forum, I was advised not to cut and paste the discussion with names, etc. But here are some of the comments:
There were many comments, but these are just some of the experiences being shared:
> > > We bought a Sefer Torah from a very reliable person and it also had a
> > > mistake ארר instead of אשר. I don't know if the computer scan missed it
> > or
> > > it wasn't followed up on, but there is always the possibility for
Same here. Had a ST written through a very reliable [edited] sofer.
> > Beautiful ksav. Was computer checked and still found a mistake during
> > kriah, missing a letter.
This one is bad (Although its not really a computer checking issue):
A whole Yeriah was missing!!!
And this is pretty bad too:
> > > Over the past few years i have twice bought a new sefer torah.
> > > Both times I was
> > > assured that it was computer checked twice...
> > > Both times I paid kesef
> > > molei...
> > > Both times I bought by different well known [edited] sochrim...
> > > Both
> > > times they were written by different [edited] sofrim...
> > > Both times we
> > > discovered mistakes of chasir veyatir, (the last time it was missing an
> > > entire
> > > line!)
> > > my suggestion? if you buy or have bought a new sefer torah, demand a
> copy of
> > > the computer report, and double check each mistake found by the
> > > to
> > > confirm it was actually corrected!
Wow! This is scary stuff!
This one was written by someone from Australia. I include it not because he quotes me but because for me this has worked and brought me peace of mind:
> > >I was talking about his to Rabbi Eli Gutnick
> > who sells a lot of sforim, he said many of the private computer checkers who use the generic Tor or Duk software are unreliable,
> > > he always does an additional check at Mishmeres Stam PRIOR TO SALE, the software is better and the guys checking are more responsible.
> > Many of the seforim he deals with ALREADY computer checked
> > > are found to have errors at Mishmeres Stam.
> >The mishmeres stam computer check
> > > costs about $300 and can be done in a day.
> >It makes sense for anyone spending tens of thousands of dollars to pay a fraction extra to avoid the embarrassment and headache of mistakes.
This written in defense of the issue:
> > Have you ever bought a car and drove off the lot and a block away from
> > dealer the engine light goes on??
> > It happens
> > The question is what warranty you have...
Finally this one sums it up:
> > > the issue is not if the sofer fixes that letter, that is a joke fixing
> > one
> > > letter takes a few minutes and would be a very small charge. the issue
> > > that they say they are RELIABLE sofrim and checked it and computer
> > checked
> > > it PROPERLY! if it is checked properly any choser and yatir should be
> > > picked up. in the meantime we are reading for many years with a sefer
> > torah
> > > that is really possul!
I don't know what else to say but there, but comments are truly welcome.