An object initially believed to be a Torah scroll was seized from criminals during a police raid in Rio de Janeiro. Experts were summoned and they identified the item as a sefer haftarah, which contains readings from the books of the Prophets that are read on Shabbat following the Torah reading. The scroll was recovered last week from a drug dealer’s bunker in a stash of ammunition that was sufficient to “shoot down a helicopter,” according to the newspaper Extra.
The scroll was in a decorative box that was found among 1,000 rounds of ammunition in a basement under a secret passageway between two shacks. The hiding place was revealed when 20 police officers raided the den in an armored tank.
According to Rabbi Mendy Aboutboul of the Edmond J. Safra Ipanema Synagogue, the scroll bears the signature of a Rabbi David Basri, spiritual leader of the Sucat David community in Jerusalem. This type of scroll appears to have been given as a gift to large community donors.
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