פורום בינלאומי לנושא סת"ם

Sunday, June 28, 2015


After I wrote the Shem, as I was writing the following line, the Hey got smudged.
Is there any chance the Shem can be left as it is?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ksav of a 15 year old Sofer.

(I believe the klaf is about 5 cm, so it's small. Click to enlarge.)
A 15 year old boy I've been encouraging to pursue safrus asked me to post his ksav and ask for comments.

He also would like to know how much the finished pitum haketores would be worth.

Thank you! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

High Price Mezuza

My father-in-law bought this Mezuza from highly regarded Sofer in Netanya. He paid a lot for it - 200 dollars - and I wanted your opinion about it.
I found that some Chaf Sofits are not long enough and that some Lameds are going into to letters above. Overall I'm underwhelmed about this one.

Monday, June 8, 2015

מידות השירות

I am having gvil made for a Sefer Torah for myself and the gvil macher wants to know how to be m'sartet the Shiros. I have never written a Sefer Torah before and I have no idea! How am I supposed to cheshbon them relative to the other yeri'os? It is a 48-line sefer; does that make any difference?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

פצפונים בדיו לנצח

I am looking for a sofer who can write very mehudar pitzponim in ksav Beis Yosef and has experience doing so with Dio Lanetzach. Any leads would be appreciated.

Source and punishment for soaking kemaya in water

Recently a shayla was posted about erasing shem hashem  by soaking in water.
See Shabbos 115: There was someone who used to write(brachot-kemeyot) in Tzidon, Reb Yishmoel was notified, Reb Yishmoel went to check him out,as he was going up the ladder, the writer realized(that he will be caught in the act)and took a package of kemeyos and sunk it into a bowl of water. These were the words of Reb Yishmoel גדול עונש האחרון מן הראשון
Mishna Brura biur halacha volume 3  chapter140 page 190  last 2 lines debates if one is to write 2 letters on shabbos one above the other if it is counted as one,while the m"b does not solve the question he refutes any interpretation of various sources that might seem as they do not connect.

shinui tzura?

...שמע ישראל

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Metal writing tip

How does the use of a rapidograph with a metal tip ‎sit with the kabbalistic concept of not using metal as a writing instrument.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Very Interesting Request

I hope everyone had a great Yom Tov,

Someone came to me last week and asked me to write yud kay vov kay of sheim hashem 7 times on seven small pieces of klaf (vertically). When I asked him why, he told me that he has a growth in his throat and a Rabbi / Mekubel in Israel had said to put the 7 pieces of klaf in 7 cups of water so that the ink should mix with the water. He should drink one cup of water each day for a week.

Two questions on this:

1) Would it be a question of mechikas hashem to do this? Or is the fact that it is written vertically remove this chshash.
2) Is it safe to drink water that has ink and klaf soaking in it?

Feedback appreciated

Monday, May 18, 2015

Letter Tzade

Please take a careful look at the TZADE of the word MATZOT.  The YOD HAFUKHA has no YEREKH and meets the body of the letter in the form of a pie-shaped wedge on the outside. However, on the inside the shape appears normal.  

This anomaly appears to have arisen due to someone going over the letter and causing damage to it.  

The question here is, do we hold that the letter maintains its shape, and we're therefore allowed to correct it.  Or, would we maintain that it does not maintain its shape and therefore has no remedy. Your educated responses are always appreciated.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

ר״ת ורש״י ביחד

Someone told me on Shabbos that there is a Rav in Israel selling Rashi and Rabbeinu tam parshiyot together in one bayit so that only one pair needs to be worn.
Does anyone know anything about this?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

nun / gimmel

This (nun from eineichem) was done by a magiha by accident who was fixing the tagin of the lamed. Not sure which direction the tikkun was made in but I don't think the end result is a  shailo of a gimmel because the negiya is not on the right but towards the left side. Thoughts anyone?

This one, on the other hand, is more of a worry.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Feh Meshunah

What is the status of the 'Pehs' where a line protrudes and closes the gap completely? In one of the peh's the line closes even the bottom moshav completely! (feh of nafshechem)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Damaged Mezuzah Case

What is the right thing to do with a damaged Mezuzah case (without the Mezuzah) that was taken off a door post?

Does it need Gnizah? Can it be thrown away?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

thin negiya lamed nun

The line connecting the two letters is a bit lighter than the letters themselves. You don't really see that in the pic

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sefer on Tefillin?

I got a pair of Tefillin to check from Klozenberg chossid. the holes are drilled different and I understand there is a specific way to sew the Tefillin back up... I was speaking to another Sofer and he mentioned to me there is a sefer I believe it is called Tefila Lemoshe? by R Moshe Kroizer it has illustrations of all the different Minhogim for Keshorim and ways to sew up Tefillin...

Does anyone know where I can get this Sefer or know of a similar sefer?


Question on Lamed

If the vertical top of the letter Lamed is slanted forward, almost 45 degrees, is it kosher?

רגל כקוץ

״...אבל אם הוא קטן מאוד ונראה כקוץ קטן אין להקל אף בדיעבד, ובתו״מ לא מועיל תיקון...״ (ועיין שבט הלוי ח״ה סי׳ ח ס״ק ד) משנת הסופר סי׳ ה׳ ס״ק פט

What does everyone think about this yud?

chof kfufa

The chof of lavoseichem and y'mechem. This is a mezuzah I see often which is very basic but sold by a reputable supplier. But are these chofs OK?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Does This Archway Require A Mezuzah?

See Picture. If it was built for decorative purposes (as an aesthetic feature to beautify an entrance hall) would it still require a mezuzah? (Obviously if it does, there would be no brachah said, as per any entrance without a door). Thoughts and comments welcome...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I recently wrote an article in which I discussed the common misconception of the weatherproof mezuzah case. While in recent years some companies claim to manufacture outdoor weatherproof cases, it seems, at least in my experience, that many of these are not as good as we think.

Waterproof cases are normally made of one piece with a screw or plug on the bottom that keeps moisture out. They can be made of metal, plastic, or wood. The metal cases are strong but I find that if exposed to heat ie sunlight, they may become hot and the heat no doubt affects the mezuzah. The plastic ones are good, especially the opaque ones, as they are less affected by heat or sunlight, however they easily develop cracks and can break easily, which renders them no longer waterproof. The wooden ones are great as they don't get hot and most have a waterproof coating / veneer over the paint. This works well initially, but after some time this layer seems to come away and then the wood rots and no longer remains waterproof.

So a really good, solid outdoor mezuzah case remains hard to find. If anyone has any experience with good outdoor mezuzah cases, or ideas how to better protect a mezuzah from the elements, please share.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Picture Of The Day

I took this photo of my friend,  Batim Painter Gabi Rosenbaum as he was checking the prudos on batim at the Os Leyisroel Batim factory in Benai Brak. It was nice to see how careful he was to make sure they were completely prudos and that the charitz was in the correct place all the way to the bottom of the bayis.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


The above is from a small 6cm Mezuzah.  In it the letter CHET has three basic problems.  1) The two Zenins are touching each other.  In addition, (2) there is a CHUTRA above them.  Third (3) the left ZAYIN is shaped like a DALED.

By themselves, all of the above may not be a problem, as the chutra and touching zenin can be fixed. Likewise, by the left DALED, the BELITA may not be long enough to disqualify the shape of the CHET, although there are many poskim that would.

Question:  Is the combination of all of the above factors enough to disqualify this CHET and render it PASSUL, or is there room to be MATIR and consider it KASHER?  Your comments are most welcome.

Monday, April 6, 2015

קסת הספר ס"ח לשכה"ס סק"ד

Shalom to all and a "Gut Moed".

In this לשכה"ס the קסת opens with the question of the גט פשוט that the סמ"ק seemed to have contradicted himself. On the one hand the סמ"ק holds that if a droplet of ink falls on a completed letter it is permissible to erase it. On the other hand סמ"ק writes the if one wrote a HEI instead of a DALED one may not merely scrape away the left leg to make it a DALED.

The קסת then writes עיין שם (בג"פ) מה שתירץ. ולפע"ד י"ל עוד דשאני התם שנעשה אות אחרת משא"כ הכא. 

I am confused by this. The Get Poshut wrote that the Sma"k distinguishes between if the droplet fell on its own or if the Sofer caused the problem by hand (intentionally). According to this, even if the droplet caused one letter to turn into another it is permissible to scrape it since it happened via a droplet i.e. unintentionally.

On the other hand, R' Akiva Eiger resolves the apparent contradiction that Sma"k distinguishes between if the letter simply lost its tzura or if it transformed into another tzura. In the former case the Smak is mattir. In the latter case the Smak is not mattir - even if it took place unintentionally. 

In other words there is a clear Nafka Mina between the two approaches in a case in which a droplet caused a letter to change into another. According to Get Poshut the Smak is mattir to remove the droplet. According to R' Akiva Eiger the Smak prohibits it.

So, when I look at this Keses I'm confused. How did the Keses learn. Both? They seem to me to be two variant approaches to resolving the contradiction in the Smak with a very concrete Nafka Mina. How could they both be conflated?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hourly rate for Torah repair

I was asked to check all the seams in a sefer Torah, and to fix any tsuras ha'os issues that I saw in passing, for a Torah with a number of damaged seams.  If anyone in the New York area could give me an idea of the going hourly rate for this in our area, either by commenting here or by e-mail to sofrus AT, I'd be most appreciative.

A zisn Pesach!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

project -Making Klaf from animal skins

Hello everyone,

I want to prepare my own Klaf. I have been offered to take skins from freshly slaughtered animals. Fro a farm in Maryland. Does anyone want to get involved in this project?

Kol Tuv,

Song of Songs

Hello, I recently had a gentile ask me to write him a Song of Songs scroll. He wants it for himself to keep since this is his favorite book. I know we are allowed to teach Torah to a goy that wants to learn it for the sake of Heaven and so forth, but this seems like a grey area.

If there is someone who has experience with this sort of thing please enlighten me.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

psucha / stumah shailo

This question is a bit random, but someone asked me (I guess in my capacity as a sofer) why a) by the Aseres Hadibros in parshas Yisro, all are stumos except the commandment of Shabbos (which is a psucha), and b) in the 2nd Aseres Hadibros in partshas Veschanan, all ten are stumos without exception.

If anyone has seen an explanation for this, I'd be grateful if they could kindly share it...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jewish Marriage part 14

An old friend of mine, (and former employer) owns a Tefillin store in Jerusalem. When he was a child, he contracted a very invasive form of cancer. It was already stage four by the time it was diagnosed. Doctors held out little hope. There was, however, a slight chance. An experimental treatment was to be tested. His parents agreed to have him take part in the first human trial. It didn't work. Of the 400 children treated, 399 died. Only my friend survived. The doctors called it a miracle. They cautioned, however, that he would never be able to have children. He s now the proud father and grandfather of many! When I worked in his store, frequently people with advanced cancers would come to him for counseling. He would put his work aside, and give these people his full attention, He gave them the feeling that there is always hope; not because he had READ it, but because he had BEEN there.
As I have written before, divorce is sometimes necessary. But media make it seem almost trendy. Anyone who has been through one can tell you that there is hardly a worse nightmare. One newspaper columnist, writing in about 1980, said it best: "The person you have loved and nurtured now wants to eat out your liver!".
I have been struggling for the last several days as to what to right, and how to phrase it. I wasn't even sure if I should post this. But, if some are helped, it will have been worth it.
I had wanted to get married since I was seventeen. I did not meet the "right one" (or so I thought) until I was twenty seven. We were soon married. Everyone thought that we were the ideal couple. It was a happy marriage...for me. She was unhappy. She looked for guidance to a controversial figure, concerning whom I had grave misgivings. She told him that I didn't approve of many things he did. He told her to get out of the marriage. This was less than a week after we learned that she was carrying our child. We were together for four months.
To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. I felt that at twenty seven, my life was over. I was alone and frightened. My security and sense of self worth lay in ruins. I was the rabbi of a congregation, and lived all alone in a big house. My sense of failure was colossal. I had searched for ten years. Would it take another ten to find my "zivvug"? Would I EVER find her? On top of this, a rabbi whom I respected had recently written a book of encouragement. It stressed keeping a first marriage together at any cost, as a second marriage is NEVER happy. I was not encouraged.
Ten months later, I was introduced to Sima. It was an unlikely "match". I am a follower of the teachings of Rabbi Nachman, and I was enamored of Sephardic tradition. She was a student of a prominent Lithuanian rabbi. Nearly everyone thought that we were totally wrong for each other. We were married (with many people trying to stop the wedding until the last minute). Nearly thirty eight years later, we are still on our honeymoon. To quote a statement from Sima a few weeks ago "you know, we have one of the happiest marriages on the planet". I totally agree, and give my thanks to G-d every day.
Why did I need to go through that first unsuccessful marriage? I still bear the scars. But I gained many things. First, it has lead me to a lifelong struggle against cult figures and charlatans. There are many. Several of the "rabbis" on Facebook who solicit funds aren't even Jewish Some live in "gated communities" known as "prisons". I do not remain silent, I speak up.The thought that I mentioned in an earlier post in this series, that each of us has many "soul mates", but with one "complete" match. I have no doubt that Sima is my soul mate. She is my other half, in every way. But from my first marriage came a lovely daughter, now married with two darling children. Is it possible to believe that these aren't the mysteries of G-d? There was a level of my soul which my first wife filled. I also learned not to put to much faith in the Court of Public Opinion. We knew that we were right for each other, and that feeling is still getting stronger.
Perhaps most importantly, I have BEEN there. For thirty nine years I have been counseling people who are getting or got divorced. I KNOW the pain. I counsel people with abandonment issues. I really get it. I counsel people who are without hope, for I KNOW that there is always hope! To quote Rabbi Nachman "Gevalt! (Woe!) There is no giving up!"
My scars are slow healing. But because of what I have been through, I am helping many to heal their own scars. What if we all turn adversity around, see where G-d's plan is in all things, and heal the world!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Insurance for borrowing sefer Torah

An acquaintance is borrowing a Torah from a day school for his daughter's bas mitsve, and the day school is unclear whether their insurance covers the Torah while it's offsite; he asked me what sort of insurance one would need to get to cover the Torah while it's at his house.  (Apparently, Google suggested that he ask a sofer, and I'm the sofer he knows.)  Does anyone have any thoughts on the issue?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the matter.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shinui Tzura

A clear shinui tzura - a mistake leading a Ayin look like a Tzadik. I will erase most of it

Friday, March 6, 2015

Condition of batim/retzuos in many balabatish communities

I recently returned from a 6 week tefillin and mezuzah checking campaign. In dealing with mostly balabatim, many seniors with minimal yeshiva education, the number of batim and retzuos that lack paint is staggering. (The number of people wearing their shel rosh too low is also a very serious issue and not easy to tackle when they've been doing it for years without anyone telling them otherwise. I'm glad I've been able to made a dent over the course of a number of visits.) I'm attaching a picture of a shel rosh that blew me away. The side of the retzuah that you see is the front!! Fortunately he now has properly painted batim and all black retzuos.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The shape of the letter פ

Rabbi Greenfeld from Vaad Mishmereth Stam published an article showing that the letter  פ  can be written in the "right shape" and can be written in a "wrong shape" which was invented by a Sofer from Minsk. The title of the article is pretty harsh:

זיופי הסופר רא"ח שמאלעוויצער ממינסק

Here is the link:

And here is the article in larger format (easier to read):

There is reference to  משיכה לאחור  which is valid with ancient sources, and reference to a "broken פ "  which is invalid.  I could not understand the difference. Can somebody please explain?

Is this    

     the  "right" shape or the "wrong" shape?

Computer checking via the internet

Does anyone know of a way to do computer checking via the internet, either via a website or emailing scans to someone?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

why magihim need kabollah and shimush

I have now received unanimous psak from a number of noteworthy rabbonim on the negiya between the beis and the shin posted some weeks ago on this forum. As I feared, the negiya is unable to be scraped and the parsha needs gnizah.

While the outcome of many of these tricky shailos are toloi leinei hamoreh, It reinforces to me how important proper training for a magiha really is. As mentioned in the first post, I first encountered this particular shailo when doing shimush years ago. The shailo only came up once (out of  thousands I saw and recorded) and I have rarely encountered it since. Please don't take this the wrong way, my intention is not to show off or put anyone down who made light of the shailo. Rather, my intention is just to marvel at the fact that had this shailo not come up that one time during my shimush 15 years ago, I probably would have just scraped the negiya of last week and not thought twice about it. For me, that's a scary thought and reinforces, in my mind, how important comprehensive shimush really is.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Keeping An Error

Few days ago the Daf Yomi in Kesubos covered the Halacha that a person shouldn't keep in his house a Sefer that contains errors (Sh'eino Muga), be it missing words or misspellings, because somebody might interpret this sefer erroneously.

I'm writing my Sefer Torah and some bigger tikkunim I'm leaving for later, because I'm looking for better equipment for erasing (ie machine).

Is the problem of Sefer Sh'eino Muga applicable, and perhaps I (and all of us) should take care of any errors immediately rather than pushing it off?



Checking a Sefer Torah

What is the going rate for checking a Sefer Torah? Specifically a Sefer Torah that is generally in decent condition but with a lot of fading Tagin and occasional broken letters. Thanks.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Set up

My set up is a 24x18 drawing board on a DIY PVC stand.

I started safrus a number of years ago in NY, but it fell to the wayside when I moved to FL. I've been trying to get back on track, but now since my job stabilized I have more time to devote to safrus.

Right now I'm practicing on paper with ink thickened with gum arabic. I order klaf about a week and a half ago to write a megillah for myself and I still have half a bottle of nahari ink that is still good. As you can see, I still need some practice before starting on klaf.

Used Torah

I've never really gotten into the second hand sefer Torah business, however recently a shul here bought a few new sifrei torah and couldn't finish paying for them. As a settlement, Rabbi Yurslavsky paskened that they could give me some of the older seforim and I could sell them and take the funds off what they owe.

I'm not looking to get top dollar and this may be a good opportunity for someone looking to buy a second hand sefer. I plan on advertising them.

However I have no idea what to charge.

 This is the best one (pictured). Its alter rebbes ksav, (new it would be $35,000 -  $40,000), second hand I'm sure is a lot less. Its in very good condition, NOT a pre war holocaust sefer, the entire sefer is jet black ink with black tagin‎. Clear beautiful writing, see attached picture. Even the sirtut is strong.

It's also smallish and light (I think 45cm klaf size) so its not like the older heavier ones.

Any Ideas how to price something like this?

Advice would be appreciated....

Friday, February 20, 2015

To those who are available to write a Kesuba, or have nice kesubos available

Someone from Baltimore called me looking for a hand written ketubah for $400.00 or less, or else a nice printed ketuba in which the Sofer can fill in...

If you provide this service please respond with your contact info. I will pass it onto him.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Does anyone know what today's morei horoa have to say on such a negiyah pls

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ideas for a "hanachat tfillin" presentation

  • A friend of mine is having a small hanachat tfillin celebration, and asked if I could do a short program for their son and a few of his friends (aged 12/13, obviously), with something halacha-y, if possible.
  • He's already seen the "putting the klaf in the bayit" when he bought his tfillin. Anyone know of other ideas of things to do for that age?
  • Thanks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Shel Rosh where the compartment is very split

What can be done for battim that the shel rosh compartments are split in a way that it affects the ribua?

Of course, I am referring to those that do not allow any glue in between the compartments whatsoever.

Monday, February 9, 2015

nun pshutah

I found this parshah I put aside months ago with a nun pshutah I wasn't sure how to deal with. Shailos tinok or possul?

Circular Ketubah

Hi Eli,
Writing a round Ketubah can be a lot of fun! I still remember my first, written about 20 years ago. I couldn't find a compass to make a large enough circle, so I ended using a large pyrex bowl to trace the outline in light pencil.   During those days one had to innovate, and my wife's kitchen was fertile territory.

The circular outline served as an exact guideline to set the limits of the text; which I later erased once the ink dried.   I also had someone else working on the illumination, which was done as a separate piece with the center cut-out.  It took some planning to interact with the artist, but these eventually dovetailed together with the text sitting perfectly in the middle.  Be sure to let us know how yours progresses.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

circular text kesubah

Hi all,

I have a request from a customer to write a round, circular shaped kesubah. While I often write kesubos for private customers, I've never done this, nor do I know if it is halachically acceptable. Especially since the customer wants no border around the text.

Any insights?

Monday, February 2, 2015

all black retzuos

Someone told me that Rav Vozner in NY (I'm not sure if it was Rav BZ Vozner or Rav Vozner from the Mishmeres STaM) that he said they were "karov lepasul". Can anyone confirm this and explain it? While I'm aware some don't like it because we don't have a mesorah for it (It's easy to make yet we never did) I'm not aware of any reason that it would be pasul. In addition, Rav MS Klein himself (Rav Shmuel Vozner's close talmid) holds its mehudar, in addition to Rav Friedlander, Rav Shternuch (the Edah) and Rav Landau and Rav Friedlander told me that Rav Elyashiv didn't have an issue with it (in order to ensure kosher/lechatchila retzuos).

Batim from "Neta Levi" under hechsher of a Rav Y or YY Klein, Av Bais Din Vishnitz (fomerly under Rav MS Klein)

Anyone familiar with these batim?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

atzei chaim with removable handles

I just saw atzei chaim in which the upper and lower handles are removable to make transporting easier. Does anyone know who makes them?

Thursday, January 29, 2015


The Hebrew title now reads:
פורום לנושא סת"ם בינלאומי
In correct Hebrew it should read:
פורום בינלאומי לנושא סת"ם  

May I suggest the revision?

kuzu fail?

I just received a batch of mehudar mezuzos with the kuzu done in the above manner. Is there any makor for this? I've never seen it done like this before, nor can I imagine why it should be.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Parsha Dimensions

I recently received an order for parshiyos for size 31 batim w/o the parshiyos going into the titura elyona. Does anyone know the approximate dimensions of such batim? How tall can the klaf of the parshiyos be and how wide can the diameter of the shel yad and the length and width of the shel rosh be? (The order is for parshiyos on klaf that is m'ubbad ba'afatzim, which is generally much thicker than standard klaf, so all of the dimensions are important.) I am assuming that he will most probably be using either Sheinfeld or Dovid Starik fold-free batim, if that makes a difference as far as the chalalim.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sefer Torah for sale?

I have a friend whose shul is interested in buying a used sefer Torah, not written on klaf mashuach.  Does anyone have any suggestions or leads?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Megillah - New Innovations

Here you have another new innovation in this Megillah which is not part of our Massoretic tradition. The fact that the Shem HaShem doesn't appear in the Megillah doesn't deter this scribe from highlighting any allusions.  

In this case the sofer has highlighted the "Rashei Tevot" H-V-H-Y in order to bring to mind that HaShem is "hidden" and working in the background.  The fact that the letters are in reverse order is most important, for one can only be cognizant of the YAD HASHEM when looking "backwards" and examining all of the events after they have taken place. 

In a similar way, we have also done the same by adopting the modern convention of initiating many of our columns with the word HaMELECH.  This is our way of bringing out the same concept that, in the story of the Megillah, HaShem is hidden and working in the background.  Therefore, we interpret that whenever HaMELECH is written by itself - this refers to HASHEM; but, when haMelech Achashverosh is written - this refers to a king of flesh and blood.  

pai peshuta

The new way [introduced by Cesiva Tama] of a pai - in the pai peshuta.