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October 24, 2007

Torah 'healer' visits Derry synagogue

DERRY -- Rabbi Gedaliah Druin, nationally known as a healer of Torahs, spent the evening at Etz Hayim synagogue recently, examining the synagogue's three holy scrolls.

Druin, a native of New York City, travels around the country to examine and evaluate Torahs and and teach about their care and repair. He divided his time at Etz Hayim between examining and evaluating its three Torahs -- one from Africa and two he thought were from Europe -- and teaching those gathered about the meaning and care of the precious documents .

He said the Torah is not just a book, but a very unique physical and spiritual instrument. Druin likened his skills to that of surgeon, returning the documents to life.

"What I do is a healing process," he said. "The Torah is alive."

The healing is best described as a physical restoration performed through a spiritual process. The time-consuming endeavor involves Druin meticulously working his way through each book, line by line and word by word. He counts the words and the lines, making sure not one letter is omitted.

If he encounters any damage, he painstakingly restores the lettering. It is a process he repeats with love and reverence at synagogues across the country. Because they are hand-written, all Torahs eventually require healing due to normal wear and aging.

Druin said he was impressed with those gathered at Etz Hayim. He said they intuitively grasped the concept that the Torah is not a book.

"All of the Etz Hayim Torahs have different needs," he said. "They are not at the same level of working. One is having a hard time working. Two are extremely beautiful but in need of internal medical care."

He spent time teaching the audience what they needed to do to first adopt their Torahs and relate to them. Then he moved on to teach them the things they can do to maintain the health of the Torahs and to improve their condition.

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