Jerusalem – Visitors at the Kosel Maarovi this week were in for a surprise: Offering no explanation, a man arrived, left a sefer Torah and quickly left the scene. According to Maariv Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rov of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites, discovered the sefer Torah was worth tens of thousands of dollars.
He sent the scroll to the Kosel sofer, Yisroel Gottlieb, who determined it was an old sefer Torah that is posul for leining. Upon examining the case that houses the sefer Torah – according to the Sephardic custom – he found the area that typically shows the name of the owners or donors or a dedication had been removed.
Based on concerns the sefer Torah had been stolen, Rav Rabinowitz reported the incident to the police and STAM organizations as part of efforts to locate the shul it was taken from.
Rav Rabinowitz says if the owners are not found, the sefer Torah will be retired as is and buried in a cemetery.