TIME World

Introducing the World’s First Torah-Writing Robot

Robot Begins Writing Torah
An industrial robot, an installation work called 'bios [torah]' by the artist group robotlab, begins writing a Torah on July 10, 2014 in the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany. Adam Berry—Getty Images

A testament to the power of machinery

On display now at Berlin’s Jewish Museum is a robot that acts as a sofer, a.k.a a specially trained scribe who very carefully writes the words on the scrolls of a Torah.

This technological scribe is the brainchild of of the German artists’ group robotlab. It takes three months to complete the 260-foot long scroll, compared to the full year it takes for a human to finish the job, the Associated Press reports.

“While the Sofer guarantees the sanctity of the Scripture, the installation highlights its industrial reproducibility,” the museum explains on its website. “It simulates a centuries-old cultural technique that has long since been overtaken by media developments.”

No matter how authentic the robot’s work may seem, though, its scrolls cannot be used in a synagogue.

“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,” Reuven Yaacobov, a rabbi and sofer, told the AP.

If you’re curious, and have plans to be in Berlin, the robot is on display now through January 15.

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