The Big Picture: A Robot writing the Torah in longhand
A robot arm in the Berlin Jewish Museum is hard at work, carefully inking thousands of Hebrew letters on an 80-meter (260-foot) scroll. In about three months, it will have transcribed the entire Torah “by hand,” a process that normally takes Jewish scribes about a year. The robot’s penmanship is delicate and exact, but its work is merely an exhibit: the completed work won’t be considered holy. “In order for the Torah to be holy, it has to be written with a goose feather on parchment,” explains Rabbi Reuven Yaacobov. “The process has to be filled with meaning, and I’m saying prayers while I’m writing it.” Yaacobov and the Robot are part of “The Creation of the World,” a new exhibit at the museum that highlights the significance of Hebrew handwriting. Yaacobov is on hand to show patrons how the Torah is written traditionally, and to explain the religious significance of the process. The human element will only be on site until August 3rd, but his robotic companion will be writing Hebrew scriptures until January of next year.