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Robot writes the Torah at Jewish Museum in Berlin, but without blessing

A robot writes down the Torah much faster than a human, but the work cannot be used in a synagogue.
A robot writes down the Torah much faster than a human, but the work cannot be used in a synagogue.Adam Berry/Getty Images

BERLIN — The robot’s quill runs across the paper scroll, from right to left, scribbling down ancient Hebrew letters with black ink. It is penning the Torah, the Jews’ holy scripture, and it is doing it much faster than a rabbi could because it doesn’t need to take breaks.

The Torah-writing robot was developed by the German artists’ group robotlab and was presented for the first time Thursday at Berlin’s Jewish Museum. While it takes the machine about three months to complete the 260-foot-long scroll, a rabbi or a sofer — a Jewish scribe — needs nearly a year. But unlike the rabbi’s work, the robot’s Torah cannot be used in a synagogue.

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‘‘In order for the Torah to be holy, it has to be written with a goose feather on parchment, the process has to be filled with meaning and I’m saying prayers while I’m writing it,’’ said Rabbi Reuven Yaacobov. The Berlin rabbi eyed the orange-painted robot as it wrote down the first book of Moses. Yaacobov then showed visitors the traditional way of writing the Torah the way it’s been done for thousands of years.

Associated Press