In the spirit of this year’s Jewish High Holy Days in September, a 10-day period in which Jews repent their sins and ask forgiveness, a pair of brothers at Chabad of La Jolla went one step further: They offered to donate a Torah to a needy community.
It was no small consideration since Torah scrolls - Judaism’s founding legal and ethical religious texts - are written on parchment in a prescribed manner by specially trained scribes under strict requirements. Such scrolls are the product of an entire year’s labor and are valued between $30,000 and $150,000.
Stanley and Seymour Sheinbein of La Jolla, who are renowned for their generosity, donated the Torah, said Chabad’s Rabbi Baruch Ezagui.
They were traveling and not available for comment.
It was the perfect example of what the Jewish holiday is about, he added.
“The High Holy Days teach it’s better to worry about someone else than about yourselves,” he said, “that the best way to solve a situation is to make ourselves feel better by focusing on other people’s issues, which are far greater than ours.”
Ezagui noted the Torah is the very essence of Jewish religion and culture, and therefore holds great meaning. “A Torah is not only the symbol but the foundation of any Jewish community.”
The Sheinbeins’ donation came at an appropriate time with people distressed about the recent international financial crisis and what to do about it, the rabbi noted.
Hopefully, he added, their gesture will start a trend of Torah donations in time to come to aid and inspire the cause of Judaism worldwide. He said he hoped within the next six months to find and dedicate a Torah to a truly worthy and needy Jewish community somewhere in the world.