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Who owns this sefer torah?


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

24 Tishrei 5767
Many years ago a man (now deceased) donated a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) to a synagogue (of which he was a member) in South Africa. A son of the donor now lives in the USA and has requested that the Sefer Torah be sent to him for the use of the synagogue (in the USA) that he belongs to. Two questions: Is this request halachically reasonable, i.e. to whom does the Sefer Torah belong? Should he be entitled to make this request, how must the Sefer Torah be transported and who should bear the cost of such transport?
A local Beit Din will have to determine whether the original tranfer of the Sefer was a gift, in which case it belongs to the shul, or a loan, in which case it belongs to the sons. (In that case all the sons would have to agree). This would depend on the ability to produce a contract, witnesses or a clear local custom. If the sefer belongs to the sons it would be their responsibility to tranport the sefer unless they could bring proof that it was originally stipulated that the shul was responsible.
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