STAM 101: Parsha

A “parsha” is any portion of text in the Torah preceded by a significant amount of blank space. There are two kinds of parshi’os: “pesucha” (open section) and “setuma” (closed section). According to all opinions: If the text starts at the beginning of the line, and the preceding line ends in the middle of the line (with the rest of that line left blank) – it is a parsha pesucha; If the text starts in the middle of the line, preceded by a blank space, as well as some words from the previous parsha – it is a parsha setuma. Other ways of inserting blank space into the text (i.e. skipping an entire line), as well as the exact amount of blank space needed to be considered a parsha, are the subject of dispute among the Poskim. In most chumashim the parshi’os are indicated by a “פ” or “ס” between the last verse of one parsha and the first verse of the next.

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