Sofer (Hebrew סופר, pronunciation: [ sɔfeʁ ], " writer, scribe " ) is a term used in Judaism. At the time of the First Temple, this was the name for a scribe. At the time of the Second Temple it was the name given to a Jewish scribes. Perhaps there was at that time also writers / female scribes ( Sophereth סופרת ), cf Ezr 2,55 EU and Neh 7,57 EU.
Since Talmudic times, it again indicates a writer of Hebrew texts. The Sofer writes by hand Torah scrolls, tefillin and mezuzah. This profession requires a sound education and is highly regarded within Judaism.
The biblical texts are written with a bird feather ( quill or turkey feather ) and an ink without metal additives, which usually produces the Sofer himself. The underlay is always a hand produced just for this purpose from the skin of clean animals such as cattle, sheep, goat or deer parchment. The Hebrew texts are unvocalized, but have special ornaments that are also referred to as " crowns ". The text must be written flawlessly and accurately. The Sofer must not write from memory, but need to copy from the template each letter individually. Each individual letter has a precisely prescribed notation. The text must not be adorned by ornaments as ornaments could alter the original text or impair readability. If an error is discovered in a text, this that is not for the Torah, Tefillin or Mezuzah so that is ritually impure, are suitable.
Written by Sofer texts that are damaged mechanically or by wear and tear or old age, and have thus become useless, are not disposed of in the usual way, but kept in a Geniza or buried in a Jewish cemetery.