a Torah story that seems unlikely



Greetings. Some where I heard that there is a tradition of driving a nail through a Torah ( likely folded in sections) and a student has to know the Torah soooooo well that one has to be able to tell every letter that the nail touches. Have you ever heard of this? Part of me find this hard to believe. Who in their right mind would want to so greatly want to damage a Torah-scroll just to test a students knowledge of the Torah? Thank you for your time.


To the Questioner, 

The story you quote is inexact and has changed along the way. 

The reference is to something that was called in Europe "the pin test". It is not about a nail, but rather about a pin. 

It is not about putting it into a Torah scroll - which is clearly prohibited (Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah 10:2) - but into a volume of the printed Talmud. 

It is not about everyone having to know this, it is about certain individuals who were gifted with a photographic memory, or that they had reveiwed so many times that they could picture where the words were on the page. 

Thus the claim to a thorough memory of a Tractate of Talmud, was by being able to predict which word the pin had gone through on each page.