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It Isn't the "Chabad Sefer Torah"

By Rabbi Zushe Winner for COLlive

All Sifrei Torah, Ashkenazi or Sefardi, have the exact same words and letters with the exception of one letter in the Torah in which there is a long standing debate. The spelling of the last letter of the word "dakah" in this week's Torah reading (Devarim 23:2) has two opinions, some spell the word with the letter hei and others spell it with an alef, the latter is also the Chabad custom.

In the book "Pathways of the Prophets" (Artscroll, 2013) by Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, he raises questions about the propriety of the custom to spell "dakeh" with an aleph. Under the subtitle "The Chabad Sefer Torah" (p.351), Rabbi Reisman states "The Ashkenazic custom, like that of all non-Taimoni Sefardim is to spell dakah with a hei" and goes on to say that "it is preferable not to use this Sefer Torah".

However, it must be noted that in reality this is not a Chabad invention but goes back to the earliest re…