STAM 101: Klaf

STAM is written on klaf, which could be made from the skin of any kosher animal (but not fish). Ritual slaughter is not required. The best kind of klaf – the most common in use today – is shlil, which is made from the skin of a cow fetus. The skins must be processed in a solution of lime or gall-nuts for 4 days or at least until the hairs fall off. The processing must be done lishma – the person putting the skins in the lime-bath must say that he is doing it “for the sanctity of a Sefer Torah (or Tefilin, Mezuza, etc.)”. A Sefer Torah is generally made from 62 or 63 sheets of klaf, each of which is the skin of one complete animal.

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