A place for English speaking sofrim (scribes), magihim (examiners), rabbis and vendors of Stam (Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzah scrolls) from around the world to communicate, share ideas, ask questions and offer support and advice.
Since I just joined the forum I figured I would post something small that I found interesting to introduce myself.
Here is A source in Rishonim for the minhag of the backwards head of the letter Tzadik.
The Minchas Solet (R' Menachem Mendel Meshi-Zahav), perush on the Baruch Sheamar, brings that, while the custom of having the right head of the letter Tzadik face towards the right seems to originate from the Arizal, the truth is that you can find an earlier source for in the Rishonim. Namely, the Meiri and in his understanding of Rashi.
In explaining the statement in the Gemara that you should be careful in writing that your letters Tzadik and Gimel should not look alike (לאיעשהצדיןגמין), one explanation is that if you flip the gimel around it will look like the long Tzadik. Now, the sefer Hatruma qualifies this that the head of the backwards gimel will not match the right head of the Tzadik, since it will face towards the right. However, the Meiri understands Rashi to hold that it will match the Gimel, implying that the right head of the Tzadik also faces towards the right, according to Rashi.
I have been going through the posts on this blog and it is a tremendous resource and a wealth of practical insight. Yasher koach! Keep it up!
I have a blog where I sometimes post my Torah thoughts:
I have recently come across 2 cases of those plastic retzuos which were first discovered about two and a half years ago. This is the type that has the thick plastic (not paint veneer) heat pressed onto poor quality leather that easily tears once it is separated from the plastic.
One was from a pair of tefillin purchased in NY , the other, from Israel. Both sets were a few years old and could have easily come from those fraudulent batches being sold a few years ago.
My theory is that some of them began splitting right away or within a short amount of time, so people changed them. Some people may also have tested them when the fuss was being made once the fraud was discovered, and changed them then. But in all likelihood, many did not, and if the two parts are still bonded together (some may have been manufactured better than others) then people would be unaware that anything is wrong.
The common pask on those retzuos were that they were possul.
I'm wondering if anyone else is still seeing them and if sofrim in general keep an eye out for them when people bring tefillin in for checking. Now that it has been a few years, these will start coming in for routine checking, and if they are still out there and have not been replaced, it is incumbent upon the sofrim checking tefillin to keep an eye out for them. If they look suspicious, they should be tested immediately.
I am looking for a table while I am in Eretz Yisroel. I am here until next Wednesday, and the only tables I have seen are the ones that stand on an existing table or the Lanai one that I have shown on the right. I plan to bring the Table back to America in two checked bags.
I found the one on the right for 2000 shekels, and I am wondering if anyone knows a better price? If possible I would like to see if other table options exist already in America besides the one Merkaz Hasofrim sell (I think the Lanai one is better). Specifically I would like a Larger writing surface for working with large sheets of Bristol Vellum, but I still want the ergonomic benefits of the Sofer Table. I was thinking of just making my own piece of wood and attaching it to the Lani Table to suit my needs. Perhaps I would incorporate a Light Board into the Lanai Table.
On Friday morning I started writing parshiot for tefillin shel rosh. I didn't anticipate having any problem completing at least the first two, but it both took a lot longer than I expected and I had to stop twice to wait for letters to dry so that I could correct them. I ran out of time and was only able to finish the first parsha.
All the sources I've seen say that you need to write at least the first two in one sitting. What is the status of the parsha that I wrote? Is it kosher but not lechatchila? Should I start from the beginning but save it in case I ever need a first parsha written at an earlier date? I saw the Lishkat Sofer brings down an opinion that if there is a sofer who is not robust and will likely make mistakes if he writes for long periods, that it is better to take breaks. But I could not be certain if he was talking about breaks after finishing the second parsha (as opposed to writing all four at once), or breaks in general, and whether he is just talking about brief pauses or more than that.
And while on the topic, what are you supposed to do if you're writing tefillin and you make a mistake? Is the correct thing to sit by yourself and wait for it to dry without talking? Start another set of tefillin so that you stay in the same mindset? Or is it acceptable to take a break and come back to it?
הכ"ף פשוטה בסוף השיטה ענקית - אמנם נראה שמבחינת צורת האות היא כשרה, אך יש להסתפק שמא הוא מפסיק את הריוח שלאחר ובשעריך. שהרי כעת הריוח אינו פתוח לסוף השיטה. או לאידך שמא נעשה בעצם כאן פרשת סתומה במקום שאינה צריכה להיות פ' סתומה?
אמנם מדובר בתפלין של ראש שלדינא אינו מעכב בה צורת הפרשיות פתוחה וסתומה [וכמו כן יש לומר - אם הניח ריוח פ' סתומה במקום שאינה צריכה].
I recently got a tikkun for a 48 line meggilat Esther. The last two columns were made narrower, presumably to make sure the writing ended at the bottom of the column. Is this a requirement for a megillah? If so, what's the source? I have seen an older 50 line megillah where the writing ended in the middle of the column. Is it perhaps preferable to write columns that are all equal rather than have it end at the end?
The Alter Rebbe writes in the Piskey Hasiddur as we know, in Hilchos Tefilin that the Shel Rosh has to be between the eyes “Mamesh”. Meaning that we need to make sure its align as perfect as we can, due to the reason he gives, that according to Rashi’s shita, two parshiyos are on the right and two on the left, and based on the Rosh’s pirush - its on one’s head that two have to be on one’s right side of the head and the other two on the left side of the head etc. (checkout the leshon in the siddur below).
"ואח"כ יניח את של ראש בגובה הראש ויזהר שיהא באמצע רוחב הראש ממש שהרי אמרו 'קדש' 'והי' כי יביאך' מימין ו'שמע' 'והי' אם שמוע' משמאל, ובתפילין דרש"י שהפרשיות כסדרן אין בין ימין לשמאל אלא משהו דהיינו החריץ שבין והי' כי יביאך לשמע, על כן צריך ליזהר בזה מאוד".
However, the Alter Rebbe writes in shulchan Aruch siman 32 seif Nun Tes , (based on the Baruch She’amar) that the Bayis of shel Rosh only lachatchila needs that all four compartments /batim should be equally in size/width,
ושל ראש יהיה כל הד' בתים יחד מרובעיןולא כל אחד בפני עצמו -ולכתחלה יעשה כל הד' בתים שויןשלא יהא אחד רחב מחבירו
So my question is, if the batim machers are not particular about this, and each compartment of the Shel Rosh made, may be little bit off and are not identical in width, how is it possible that the Shel Rosh will ever be in the middle of the head where two parshiyos are on the right and two on the left? (based on the above words of the Alter Rebbe in the Piskey Hasidur) If one bayis is little small and the other slightly wider, the two parshiyos on either side will never be in the middle
While looking through an old Sefer Torah and some old tefillin and I found that consistently the second hey in the four letter name is rounded like a reish on the top right corner (example attached). None of the other heys are like this. According to the Mishna Berurah these would be b'dieved heys. Does anyone happen to know the source for this?
Does anyone happen to have or know where I can find a tikkun for a 48 line Megillat Esther with only parshiyot setumot (both of these being requirements mentioned by the הגהות מיימוניות) with bnei haman the same size as the rest of the ktav (like the Gra)? Also I keep getting mixed answers about this but some soferim have told me the columns after Bnei would need to be a different width. Is this an absolute or preferable? Is there any problem with the columns being different widths? Also, while looking through some old megillot from the Israel national library, I found that there were quite a few varying traditions when it came to smaller letters in Bnei haman. (They all had the bigger vav of course) If anyone could suggest poskim who discuss this matter that would be greatly appreciated.
Does anyone have knowledge of this Rov? I recently checked a pair of tefillin and the parshiyos are definitely not mehudar. The customer would like to go back to where he bought them and ask for a refund.
Is there a resource available that lists instances of shem Hashem in a given text?
To be more specific, I'm writing Megilat Rut and I'm wondering about 1:16, where Rut says "Elokayich Elokai." Since she's speaking generally, I would guess it isn't considered shem Hashem, but I'm wondering if there is a place to look these things up?
As per my previous post, this door frame is structured as follows (picture taking standing on the outside of the house looking in, by the left door post):
- an outer door frame
- then a sliding fly screen on the outside of the house
- then an "inner door frame"
- then a sliding glass door on the inside of the house.
In the previous post, several suggested the mezuzah should go on the inner door post, which as now confirmed is between the fly screen and glass door.
I would like to argue that the mezuzah should go on the far right outer door frame, as this is the most outer door frame.
I've been at this for many years and have been satisfied with Rotring. (I tried multiple brands and this is the best.) However, recently I'm having far more than normal trouble with air bubbles that is forcing ink out and making it very difficult to work. I switched to a new head and still have the problem. I cleaned the other head and tried it again and nothing has changed. I even switched to a new cartridge. I open and pop the air bubbles and put take the head on and off a few times to release the air. Ink is still often coming out the tip. I'm using Dio Lanetzach (I don't want to use over the counter ink and I had been using Hadar 17 but it was very difficult to work with.) Could the ink be the issue? The bottle is a few years old and maybe something to the remaining ink in the bottle?
How many Mezuzahs should be on this door frame(s)? and where should they be positioned.
To describe the frame:
there are 4 glass panels
the 2 middle panels are sliding glass doors.
There are door posts separating each glass panel.
There is currently a mezuzah at point C marked in the image.
Our work always bring interesting things our way. A few days ago I received a young Russian man working on his Doctoral PhD in a local university in my studio. With him were very old Chabad tefillin which he wanted for me to restore the Batim. Upon seeing them I remarked, these are at least over 100 years old! Yes, he remarked with much pride: "they span 5 generations!"
The housings are 4.4 cm x 4.4 cm and are painted with a hard shinny lacquer finish similar to those used in old pill-sized tefillin from the period. Besides encasing the entire batim, the paint also extends to the underside of the base creating a case of Hatzitzah for the wearer.
Their construction is very different than our modern tefillin. These would roughly fall into our category of Peshutim, but certainly not perudot. The divisions for the four interior housings of the Shel Rosh are created by gluing three separate pieces of leather to the interior of the head compartment, while the division lines from the outside remain purely cosmetic.
Upon checking the parashiot, the writing is within the"Alter Rebbe" family. The parchments had been checked by a different sofer in the past, and the last parasha of the shel yad -(Vehaya i'm Shamo'a) - replaced with a smaller modern Arizal. Unfortunately, upon my checking, the shel yad did not check-out properly. Some of the letters, although correctable, were not "makaf gevil." The landmine, however, in this type of writ; many times involves the writing of the letter BET. Five generations went by using a passul shel yad because a BET in the tefillin has the DIN of KHAF!
I have large older Russian parashiot that are still kasher and could technically replace the entire Shel Yad. However, if refurbished, the housings would still be Bedieved. What would you do? Refurbish or buy new?
היו"ד אמנם כשרה ביחס לעצמה, אבל היא גדולה מדי ביחס לתיבה שבתוכה היא נמצאת - ויש כאן בעיה של "כתיבה תמה" של יחס האותיות בתיבה זו לזו, כמבואר בדברי האחרונים בבעיה של "פן" כאשר הנו"ן פשוטה אמנם כשרה, אך ליד הפ"א היא נראית כזיי"ן.
ונראה שכאן מותר לתקנה בגרירה, למעט את עביה, כי אין חק תוכות אלא בעשיית צורת האות, וצורת היו"ד הזו עליה.
to the SA Harav (and pashtus from the Shimusha Rabbah himself and also sefer
Hatruma, Eshkol, Pri Megadim) the bayis shel yad need not be 2 etzbaos, which according to SA Harav refers to the ketzitzah (hence ketzitza is 4x4). Even according to those that it applies to the yad (See siman 32 Bach, Eliyahu Rabba and Be'er Heitev), this shiur is only lechatchila according to the Shimusha Rabba.On the other hand, according to the SA and Rama the bayis shel yad must fit on the muscle no higher than the 1/2 way point of the humerus bone. Presumably, a "4x4" bayis can't be accommodated within this space for some/many(?) bar mitzvah boys. If so, lechatchila, shouldn't a smaller bayis shel yad be (temporarily) chosen for such situations rather than to place the bayis higher up and rely on the Gra? (See Mishnah Brurah 27/4; Biur Halachah 32/41 “Ain Lo Shiur” in the name of Shulchan
Shlomo; Aruch Hashulchan 27/4, who writes that one who has a sore and can't place the tefillin according to the SA/Rama can rely on the Gra.)
I'm seeing more Ashkenazi sofrim who are not doing their own tiyug. While I expect this of sofrim writing low quality mezuzahs as they are knocking them out at the rate of upwards of 200 monthly and don't want to be "slowed down" by tiyug and their tiyug is likely of similar quality to their ksav so a metayeg would potentially do a better job, but even good sofrim are taking the lazy way out even though it's been our mesorah for the sofer to make tiyug, usually b'sha'as kesiva.
I just saw an expensive 15cm mezuzah with tiyug that was obviously done by a metayeg. It had a metayeg's typical "signature"
little straight lines without ziyunim whenever in the vicinity of a letter above rather than take a few extra moments to make properly, particularly in a mehudar ksav, (laziness and amaratzus)
tagei Yud, which few Ashkenazi sofrim do
While he he was fairly successful in putting most of the Bedek Chaya tagin close to the left edge, there were a few in the middle as done in a Sephardi ksav
Someone told me that the new shita of some safrus teachers is to train the sofrim to lechatchila not make their own tagin. So we're now teaching sofrim at the outset to be lazy and/or it's being presented as "let's focus on what's important", the actual letters, and let the poor metayeg do our dirty work. As has been discussed here, there's good reason for one to do his own tagin and not enter into the risks posed by using a metayeg but even if one finds a knowledgeable and ehrlich metayeg, similar to using a synthetic quill, while it may be halachically permitted (not the present discussion), our mesorah is to use a kulmus and part of "being a sofer" is knowing how to cut and use a kulmus and to make tagin. If the sofer, after making every effort, is having trouble making a kulmus or proper tagin then the alternatives should be looked at but to lechatchila ignore mesorah?
1) Is there a minhag to place the Sifrei Torahs inside the Aron Kodesh in between Hakafos by a Hachnasos Sefer Torah?
Any information on this would be helpful.
2) Why does the Rambam (Hilchos Tefilin UMezuzos 5:3) tell us which letters of the mezuzah need tagim, which mentions only a fraction of the Shatnez Ga'tz letters? See Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 36:3).