Mar 072014

This post is way off the topic of our tallit, tzitzit and tefillin blog, but I thought I’d write up a short informational post as a public service at this time of year. Have you been toying with the idea of buying a Megillas Esther for years and want to know how much it will cost? I certainly have.

Today I happened to be waiting in line at the local beis hora’ah and one of the people waiting in line was a sofer with a Megillas Esther in hand. It was a top-quality 11-line (Vilna Gaon) scroll that he managed to write in just two weeks. He is a veteran sofer, but still I was surprised that he could get the job done so fast. He needed to ask the rav two sheilas, both cases of a כ that had a very tiny protrusion sticking out from the bottom right, which could make it resemble a ב. Of course he could fix the letters, but a erased and rewritten letter doesn’t always come out looking so nice, so he wanted to ask if he could erase just half the letter in those cases (i.e. according to halacha the כ couldn’t be mistaken for a  ב).

Anyway, I went ahead and asked him how much that Megillas Esther costs. He said it was worth NIS 4,000 but he sold it for NIS 3,500 ($1,000). He added that the materials and checking cost him NIS 1,000.

I also asked him how much a basic 6-line Megillah with run-of-the-mill writing would cost. He said he doesn’t know market prices for lower-end Megillah scrolls, but he speculated that something like that would cost NIS 2,500. I have a feeling that prices outside of Israel run higher.

* A beis hora’ah is a rabbinical bureau set up to provide answers to everyday halachic questions.

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