So now, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel. (Deut. 31:19)

The sages derive from this verse that every Jew is required to write a sefer Torah for himself. Why is it so important for each individual to write his own Torah scroll?

Ben was part of his college basketball team and was given instructions to practice a minimum of two hours every day. He did not own a basketball but he figured that he could always borrow his neighbor's ball. When it came time to practice he was just too lazy to go to the neighbor to get the ball and rarely practiced. Consequently his performance on the court suffered.

Similarly, God wants us to study the holy Torah at every available opportunity. We are commanded to write our own sefer Torah so that we always have one on hand. Technically, we can borrow one from the neighbor, but then we may lose our drive to study.

The constant study of Torah is crucial to one's spiritual growth. The Torah gives one the ability to overcome his instincts and harmful desires. Rav Shmuel Bernbaum zt"l was once walking down the street and stopped by a certain store. The store was closed and had a sign: 'Closed - Due to Death.' Rav Shmuel focused on the sign for a couple of moments and began to cry. His students asked him if he knew the man. He replied, "No." He went on to explain, "Every time I pass this store, whether it's early in the morning, late at night, raining or snowing, the man is there working. Nothing could prevent him from running his business. The only thing that held him back was - death!" Rav Shmuel exclaimed. "When I die I want that sign on my Gemara: Closed - Due to Death!"



1. Chinuch, Mitzva 613. Even if one inherited a Torah scroll he should nevertheless write one so that he can lend it to those that don't have one. (See A Minute Vort I for a different approach.).