פורום לנושא סת"ם בינלאומי

Thursday, December 11, 2014

can you fit 9 yuds?

Technically speaking we havespace for  a half of yud,  a nun which is one kulmus, a yud is one and the chaf is 2 so we have 4.5 kyudim on the bottom
on top we have a vav 1, a beis which is 2. and mayne another half totaling 3 which gives us a total of 7.5
however if a sofer was to make narrow yuds we might fit

Boro Park Chumra or posul


Teffilin dust and paint fumes

I have heard that working with dust from sanding batim smooth and fumes from teffilin paint can be cancerous is there a proper way to exhaust work room and prevent damage to ones health ?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lamed's Tag

Hello All

Just a quick question -must  the two tagim in the Lamed be clearly visible or it's ok as long as there are two tagim, and that the one in the right is higher? I've seen a few times Lameds with small tagim, that are properly done but quite small.

I guess I can ask the same about all tagim, including Shatnez Getz. Can they be very small or is there a point of making them big and clear.

thank you

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chof pshutah with long gug that looks like a reish revisited

A few weeks ago I posted a shailoh involving a chof pshutah that looked like a big reish, Below is an informative and comprehensive Teshuvah from Rabbi Chaim Heimlich Shlita on the matter. I Share it with members of this forum below:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Message from the Vaad Mishmeres Stam. If anyone has a sample of this guy's writing, please post it.

כבוד הסופרים והבודקים הנכבדים, מזכי הרבים, די בכל אתר ואתר
שלומכון ישגא
הגאון הרב מרדכי פרידלאנדר שליט"א 
אב"ד ור"מ קרית שומרי החומות בעיה"ק ירושת"ו, 
צלצל אלינו להודיע להזהיר ולפרסם על סופר בשם  בנציון זלמנוב  שנבחן לפני 10 שנים לערך וידע טוב מאד. אך לצערינו הנ"ל סרח ופרק לגמרי עול תורה ומצוות, הולך גלוי ראש, נוסע בפרהסיה ברכבו בשב"ק, לא צם ביום כיפור, הכניס את ילדיו לבתי ספר חילוניים ר"ל, ומתגורר סמוך לעיר חיפה.

בינתיים אין לנו "תמונת כתב ידו" במזוזות או בפרשיות תפילין, 
על כן כדי לאפרושי מאיסורא
הננו פונים להסופרים והסוחרים שיש בידם דוגמא או צילום מכתב ידו,
כדי שנוכל למנוע מכשלה רבה זו מאחב"י 

והשי"ת יצילנו ממכשולות, מלבד ביטול קיום המצוה
הוי "סכנה ואין בה מצוה" הואיל ושמות הקדושים אינם משמשים למצוה
הוי סכנה 
כמבואר באור זרוע (על תפילין עגולות) והובא בשו"ת שבט הלוי

נא להעביר ידיעה דחופה זו לשאר סופרי וסוחרי הסת"ם
די בכל אתר ואתר

בצער רב
ועד משמרת סת"ם
ברוקלין, ניו יורק

Monday, December 1, 2014

Keses Ha'sofer, Siman 8, Seif 5 & 8

Shalom to all,

I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on the following issue:

In Keses Ha'sofer 8,5 a scenario is discussed in which one wrote a rei"sh and subsequently changed it into a dale"d by adding an akev on the back etc. He concludes, that although one is not required to erase the whole thing, rather one can erase the akev together with one of the two limbs of the rei"sh, nonetheless "hamachmir... tavo alav beracha".

My understanding of this is: that since there are opinions (i.e. Rada"ch) who would deem it "miktzas ha'os be'chak tochos" to erase only some and leave some to be included in the final letter, therefore, there is virtue, albeit not required, to erase the entire letter before rewriting it.

Now, just 3seif'im later, regarding "me"m pesucha shenistema" Keses rules, that although the me"m is written in two distinct parts (and therefore, only the latter part of the me"m is required to be erased and rewritten), nonetheless "yesh le'hachmir le'chatchila heicha de'efshar" to erase the me"m in its entirety before rewriting it.

So, here is my question: is it the same principle at work in both of these rulings? If so, is there a meaningful difference between the wording in seif 5: "hamachmir... tavo alav beracha" and the wording in seif 8: "yesh le'hachmir le'chatchila heicha de'efshar"? If there is no difference, why does the Keses need to state both rulings seperately? and if there is a difference, what exactly is this difference and by what virtue are the two scenarios different from one another?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Parshiyos Shel Yad on more than one piece of Klaf

I have checked a number of mehudar pairs of tefillin recently where the shel yad has been written on more than one piece of klaf.
My understanding based on the Mishnas Hasofer was that this is kosher lechatchila but not mehudar.
Looking again at the Mishnas Hasofer (Siman Chof - Biur Hasofer - Vehaminhag ledovkom) he concludes - Therefore it would appear that parshiyos that are glued are kosher lechatchila without any doubt, however they are lacking in hidur and mitzva min hamuvchar.

Searching the forum I came across the following post from Reb Moshe Weiner a couple of years ago. (July 17 2012)

Question:   Are parshiyot of yad on klaf that was glued from 2 pieces, [the kadesh, vehaya and shma, where on the first klaf, and the last parsha vehaya im shamoa was written on another klaf, and later glued to the first], are they kosher lechatchila?

Answer:   They are kosher lechatchila. Although it is a mitzva lechatchila to try to write all 4 parshiyot on 1 klaf as written in SA and poskim, this is a mitzva lechatchila for the sofer to try to produce the best yad, but if the sofer could not write all 4 on 1 piece for any reason, then the yad is kosher lechatchila as is [after the klafim are glued as written in Rema 32:47]. There is no pgam in the hidur because it isn't on one piece. (see Mishna Berura 32:219, Mishnat Hasofer  Biur Hasofer p. 236. Indeed the terms lechatchila and bdieved must be clarified, IE the oilam in general does not use these terms with the correct meaning. In our case, once the issue is bdieved for the sofer, then the parshiyos are kosher lechatchila to be used).

Therefore a client/socher may not return tefilin shel yad parshiyot if they are glued on claim they are not lechatchila (unless he specified beforehand that he will only take tefilin shel yad that are one original klaf, and not glued, as the rule "tnay sh'bmamon kayom"). 

My question is - if someone bought tefillin assuming that they were mehudar is he entitled to ask for a new set of parshiyos? Is Reb Moshe referring only to someone who bought a pair of lechatchila tefillin or is he also talking about a person who bought a mehudar pair?

Is there a difference if the klaf is not glued but simply slotted together as in the attached picture?

Somebody mentioned to me that they saw in a Sefer that there is actually a hiddur al pi kabollah to write the shel yad on two klafim. Has anybody since this written anywhere?

Thursday, November 27, 2014


the inside was divided into 4 equal square compartments with klaf

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

FORUM UPDATE: Dropped Out Some Authors

BlogSpot only allows 100 contributing authors. I reached that max already, so to make room for new ones, I dropped out some members who are not active. If I have dropped you out and you wish to re-join, please let me know. (Your name will remain on the Side Bar, you just cannot post or comment.)

I also apologize, I have not updated the Side Bar with names for almost a year. I need to physically go through all the emails of new members and ascertain their full names and location. Hopefully I will have time for this soon. Apologies for neglecting this.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Great 6 CM mezuzah, but wait a minute???

This mezuzah is 6cm. Amazing ksav for that size, I think we can all agree.

But look at chof pshutah in the word "baderech" at the end of the 4th line. He does a number of the chof pshutos in such a manner (too long across the top, and a shailo of looking like a large reish).

My question for Reb Moshe (or anyone else) is two fold:

1) Most probably we do a shaylas tinok here, since the regel is still marginally longer. Do you agree?
2) Assuming you agree, do I cover the other letters or not (much greater chance of a child saying reish if I cover)?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Q&A with Rabbi Friedlander

A few times in the past the topic of the ראשי שיטין in תפילין came up, while almost everyone claimed that it is not important, "Bais Hastam" and I (and maybe others) claimed that in ARIZ"L Tefillin it is a "must". In one of the times Etan Katz said in name of Rabbi Friedlander "that if the buyer ordered tefilin in ksav arizal, the roshei hashitin *must* follow the order of the Arizal, and if not the sale is a mekach ta’os." where Rabbi Gutnick asked "are you sure?".

So I decided to do the right thing and go and ask Rabbi Friedlander directly (he is very accessible, he answers in הלכות סת"ם three times a week in Yerushlaim and once a week in Bet Shemesh). I recorded with my cell phone and planed to transcribe the whole thing later, but apparently my Nokia c2-01 in a piece of junk and the recording came out very noisy and unclear, so I'll just write out the points from memory and what I managed to understand from the recording.

So in short what Rabbi Friedlander says is that when it comes to ARI Teffilin then yes indeed one is to be very makpid on the ראשי שיטין and if not, the terminology he used was "a מום in the מקח", and "it could be a מקח טעות".
Is the Tefillin mehudar? No the tefillin is definitely NOT Mehudar but it would be difficult to say exactly what level it would be, somewhere between בדיעבד and לכתחילה.

This is more or less what  Rabbi Friedlander said.

Now while we are in this topic let us see what other sofrim (that know what they are doing) did. Here we see an example from R' Reuven where he streched out the וחרה and left very large gaps between the words (5 yudim between וחרה and אף!) in order to get it correct:

However if it was not important to keep the ראשי שיטין and it would be unacceptable to strech the letters, why did he not write regular?

As we see there is enough space for an extra word without all the stretching. So here we see that it is important to keep the ראשי שיטין even if we have to stretch out the letters.

Example 2: Why this:

And not this?

(Stop! I know what you want to ask. The answer is - I don't know!).

And about this one (R' Tzvi the Baal Shem Tov's Sofer) I have nothing what to say:

(From R' Moishe's blog, all rights belong to R' Eliyahu Getz).

So as we see, in ARI Tefillin (as well as A"R) one MUST be very makpid on the ראשי שיטין. If not then it is on a (very) low level and not at all "Mehudar". If paid high price then definitely a מקח טעות.

Comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Article on the new robotic device that writes Stam

I recently wrote an article in a communal publication on the new robotic device that writes Stam. Since everyone is talking about it, I felt it was appropriate to address this, as well as use is at an opportunity to address other Sta"m related matters. I include the article below in case it is useful to anyone or if they have any feedback.

Robotic STa"M and other issues pertaining to STa"M not written by a human sofer.
By Rabbi Eli Gutnick

Recently there has been a big fuss in the media about a novelty invention, namely a Torah writing robot. The robot, which looks like a giant bionic arm,  was developed for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, where it is on display actively "writing" Torah scrolls.

This concept has everyone asking if STa"M (Sifrei Torah, Tefillin or Mezuzos) written by a robot is kosher. The simple answer is that it is not. By all three of the STa"M commandments, the Torah specifically uses the word "Uchsavtem" and "Kisvu" - that one should write them -  clearly dictating that one needs to write these scrolls by hand, the way one writes a hand written letter or document. Printing, or the use of device that can form text but not through the act of normal writing is simply a breach of this biblical instruction.

Furthermore,  there is the "Lishmosh" aspect - that these scrolls must be written with the specific and holy intention that only a human sofer is capable of. Even if one argues that when turning on an electric device one can do so with intention, the fact is that the writing of G-d's names needs verbal proclamation and mental intent that a name of G-d is being written. How can a machine do that?

Some years ago , another controversy erupted when a Rabbi in Lakewood ruled that is was kosher to print STa"M by using a method known as silk screening.  His argument is that the ink is applied onto the screen buy hand, which is a physical, manual act done by a person, and therefore it should be considered a form of handwriting.  Furthermore, when one applies the ink he can do so "lishmosh , with all the correct intentions.  No rabbi of note agrees with him, and this method is today considered largely fraudulent and prohibited.

Other halchically dubious techniques include "ksav al gabei ksav" and "the half printed, half written" method. In both, writing is printed on parchment and finished by hand. Ksav al gabei ksav means that STa"M item is printed and the sofer writes over it. This is much easier and quicker than writing from scratch. The halachic loophole is that only the second, upper layer counts, since it was written on top, and therefore the scroll is considered handwritten and not printed. (This method could only be applied Torah scrolls - where the letters do not have to be written in order (kesidran).

Yet the "half printed half written" technique can be argued to be acceptable for all STa"M. In this scam, a scroll is printed with incomplete letters. The sofer then completes the letters - in order and lishmah (with intention). It takes less than half the amount of time and far less skill to produce such products. This was the modus operandi of the recently publicized forger's ring from Ashkelon in Israel that were caught by the Israeli Rabbanut Police. (They were subsequently released after arguing that their method was not against halacha.)

This leads to the other concern over the robotic scribe -  that it may be used for fraud. This means to say that unscrupulous vendors of  STa"M  may use it to replicate properly written items and sell it to unsuspecting consumers.

Frankly, I do not see this as being a problem. If one is looking to fraudulently produce STa"M,  there are cheaper and easier ways than investing in the substantial cost of developing, building, or buying a robot. A simple printing press is able to produce high quality STa"M on parchment, and the en product will not look inferior to that which is written by a robotic device. There is no advantage to using this device from a practical or monetary perspective.

Modern technology has also brought with it devices and gadgets which are permissible to use in STa"M production. These include electric or foot pumps that allow regular flow of ink to a quill (so time is not wasted dipping the quill manually into ink) and light tables that allow a sofer to trace from a stencil under the parchment. These devices are generally permitted because the end product is still 100% hand written and these devices merely assist the sofer.

In conclusion, if there would be a halachic grounds allowing the use of a robot, there would be a much grater concern. People may be tempted to use and sell this type of device on the basis of a minority opinion such as the abovementioned Rabbi who permits silk screening in Lakewood. It could then possibly infiltrate the mass market. However as it stands, the robotic scribe in Berlin remains a one off novelty invention and poses no threat to the kosher STa"M industry.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

long yudim?

Would one rely on the reading of a tinok in these long curved yudim?

Following the opinion of the Maharshag. What is the border line?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sifra De'Aftarta

Does anyone know of a source for a used ספרא דאפטרתא? I might possibly consider a new one as well if the price is right. Thanks.

5cm mezuza not kosher

was just given this mezuza to check. the letters have a lot of cracks. The klaf is very suspicious and i think that maybe it is just paper. How can i check?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

looking for Soferium stat

I am looking for Soferium who can look over used Torahs to place into the Torah Gemach. Some of them will be MeSchuach and some not. We can talk about price. I will ship, but need commitment.
please contact me at 718 207 0474 or email me at

Bentzion Chanowitz


Someone sent me this shailo. The smudge came from a tikun AFTER ksiva.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Alef top yud kind of higher than lower

Alex of Hotzi.
Kosher bedieved as is? Needs to be fixed? Considered mehudar after fixing?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Matlis on klaf mashuach

A friend has asked me to do some basic repair work on his shul's megillah - it appears to be approximately 75-100 years old, and the lettering is virtually pristine, so in terms of reinking, it shouldn't be much work.  The larger problem is that the edges of the klaf are weak, and there are places where the klaf is almost torn/very heavily creased.  (In at least one place, the klaf has been reinforced with scotch tape, which I will obviously remove, and have told my friend that this is, to say the least, sub-optimal.)

My plan is to use thin matleisim around the border of the megillah to reinforce as necessary, but there is one problem - the back of the klaf is mashuach and very, very crumbly.  (The front, luckily, seems to not be.)  My feeling is that if I glued a matlis to the klaf, it wouldn't adhere, and, to the extent that it did, the matlis would come off with the coating quite quickly.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with this?  I was considering sanding off the coating and then gluing, but would appreciate advice from others who might have dealt with this issue.

Kol tuv, and thanks!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Checking for prudos

What is the best way and safest way to check for prudos on the shel rosh without compromising on the rituah of the teffilin ?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Buying and selling used Torah scrolls

I have never been comfortable dealing in used sifrei Torah, only new ones, however recently a shul approached me with three sifrei torah they do not use which are in possul / questionable condition. They don't have the interest or the funds in fixing them and they have plenty of new kosher ones. They could use the money for other things in the shul if they sell them.

I've never looked into this and I know there are complicated halochos about a shul selling sifrei torah.

What is the din if:

1) The shul wants to sell their old / disused seforim to another shul who could use them, and this other shul has the funds and motivation to repair them and bring them back into use.  But if they remained in the first shul they would likely not be repaired or used. There may be a middleman / socher involved in this process who will make a mark up for arranging the sale and organizing the repairs.

2) A shul wants to "trade in" a few old / disused seforim for a new one. The dealer will buy the old ones off the shul and repair them and resell them to other shuls who cannot afford a new sefer. The proceeds will go towards the new sefer the shul is buying, less a cut for the dealer.

I assume there are people on this forum who have experience in this.



Tikkun for Yud in an Azkara

this yud in the Shem needs an oketz but first-- does it have proper tzura to make the tikkun in a mezuzah?

beis from uvayom and second yud from einecha

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Levushei Serad on Seif 15 & 16


I would like to clarify some issues with the approach of Levushei Serad.

If there is anyone who can help me please respond. I would appreciate if we can be in touch via email or phone.

Thank you.

My email address is

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Seeking a young sofer in Montreal available to check and correct a sefer Torah in good condition for reasonable price.

Am looking for a young sofer in Montreal who is available to check and correct a sefer Torah beginning to end. It should not take more than 2 weeks full time or less. I cannot pay a lot of money but if you are willing to work hard and get it done it should be doable.

I live in Ottawa and am looking for someone close by, hence Montreal.

Please contact me at

Monday, October 27, 2014

How to minimize damage when opening heat affected parshiyos

I want to share a tip I learned many years ago regarding opening tefillin parshiyos that have been exposed to heat. As you open/ unravel the parshiyos, if you hear a crackling sound, as if the letters are sticking to the back of the klaf, this is a worry. Often this is an indication that the parshiyos have been exposed to heat, such as being left in a hot car on a hot day.

The way to deal with this is as follows: Stop opening the parshiyos immediately, as you could pull parts of letters off. Instead, hold either side of the parsha and bend the parsha back and fourth for a few seconds. When you continue opening the parsha, you should no longer hear the crackling sound because the bending back and forth movement should have "unstuck" the ink somewhat. It will no longer get pulled off as easily when you open the parshiyos.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tefillin paint thinners

I usually use a lacquer thinner to mix with the thick Tefillin paste-type paint that has a hechsher from Rov Wosner. By the way is this paint petroleum based?
I am wondering if there is any less harmful 'paint thinner' substitutes that also work well?  Does anyone know if odorless mineral spirits work?

Thank you,
Does anyone have any idea if anything can be done with this shaim?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Is there a problem with the ה of Ha lehashem, does there need to be a bigger revach between it and the Shem? How would you correct it?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

interested in sefer tora

A friend of mine is interested in buying prepared yrios of sefer tora, csav ari, from shmos - end.
Please contact

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rav Friedlander Shlitah on intrusions inro reish and daled from the SIDE

Several posts of late address the shailo of an intrusion into a reish or daled from the left side (not lamed from line underneath which is more chomur). I asked Rav Friedlander Sh' as to when we have to be worried about this. His response was that it's only really a problem if it is an abnormal intrusion, in his words a "vildeh" stroke that sticks into the letter before it much more than usual. he said for example, a beis, which has an ekev of two or more kulmusim and most of that is sticking into th eleft of the reish or daled, then it woul dbe problematic. But a regular ekev which sticks in slightly, or even a bit more than slightly would present no problem.

I believe sefardim are more machmir in this but I am unfamiliar as to the practical guidelines.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Piskei dinim of the Beis din of Crown Heights

Decades ago that beis din of Crown Heights put out a psak din about Batim of Tefillin that they should be separate all the way down to the תפר even if they may spread a bit and not be perfectly square since we measure the ריבוע when they are squeezed together.

Does anyone have a copy of that psak din?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Roshey Hashitin

A Yeshivah bochur just came back to Melbourne from where he was learning in the USA and said that while he was away he had his tefillin checked. Everything was fine, except the sofer told him that in the last parsha of his shel yad the words "vechoro af" are on two separate lines. I think his complaint is that from there the sofer did not follow the roshey hashitin of the Arizal exactly.

What surprises me is that the sofer made an esek out of this and allegedly told the customer "the tefillin are still kosher but are only Bedieved". (I'd like to see his makor for that.)

We have discussed this before and while there is room to be machmir about Roshe Hashitin in mezuzah, I have never heard anyone make an esek of it in tefillin. I have always understood that in tefillin a small shinuy like this would present no issue.

The tefillin were not purchased from me so I am not nogeya badovor. However the boys father asked me if he should change the parshiyos. He said he wants everything 100% mehudar, which is understandable.

I was wondering Reb Moshe's opinion on this and /or if anyone else has had such a situation.

Below is a photo of his parshiyos:


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Source, please?

Does anyone have a source for the common practice of facing the shin-dalet-yud on the outside of the mezuzah to the front i.e. facing directly outwards,  and why it is undesirable for it to face the sides or back of the mezuzah case?


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014


gimel and daled of deganecha

I was wondering what the din is by sefardim in the case below. If Rabbi Michael or any others could guide me here I'd be much obliged. I know sfardim are more machmir when intrusion is from side than Ashkenazim.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

vov from hahu

Has a noticeable line going out to the right hand side of the gug, if ain shiur beuve haos my worry is if it's a shinuy to a zayin?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shu"A Ha'Rav - hekef gvil toich ha'os

I am wondering what is the opinion on Shu"A Ha'Rav? Does he agree with the Mishna Berurah that the insides of letters (at least 3-walled letters) are exempt from the requirement of hekef gvil (at least after the fact)? Or does he hold that the inside is no different than the outside?

From my learning I have concluded that the inside is no less than the outside.

I'm wondering if anyone understands differently?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I was reading through some kitvei yad of Rav Haim Vital ZTzUK"L and found this recipe for Dyo.  My own comments are in (parentheses like this):

To make a very good ink-  Take rain water and put into it very finely ground Afatzim(gallnut powder) and boil it a bit.  Then remove the afatzim, take the water and put into it Gum Arabic and Roman Vitriol(called Kankantum in the Shulhan Arukh, specifically it is copper sulfate) as you desire and boil them.  When it turns black remove it from the heat and strain it through a linen garment(a coffee filter will work just as well, or any other fine non-reactive filter) and leave it exposed to the air for a single night, and then place it in the sun and it will be a very good ink.  Once reduces you can add water and mix it with a wooden sliver.

For those who want the original Hebrew:
לעשות דיו טוב מאוד מאוד.  קח מי גשמים ושים בתוכן העפצים כתושים דק דק והרתיחם מעט והסר העפצים וקח המים ושים תוכם גומא ארביקא וויטריאול רומאנו כפי רצונך והרתיחם וכשישחירו תסיר מעל האש ותסנן בבגד פשתן והניחם לילה א' במקום מגולה וביום הניחם בשמש ויהיה דיו טוב מאד מאד.  וכשיחסר תוכל להוסיף בו מים ותערב עם קיסם עץ,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The so-called "Chumra of the Rashb"a"

Shalom to all.

I am new to this blog and I hope to make a meaningful contribution.

I would like to revisit a minor discussion which took place on the blog a short while back regarding what's been called the "chumra of the Rashb"a" i.e. not to scrape away a Negiah which took place prior to the conclusion of having written the second letter.

I would like to clarify two points: 1) it is a complete misnomer to call it the Chumra of the Rashb"a.
2) It is actually much more severe than if it was actually the chumra of the Rashab"a that we are concerned about. Allow me to explain with a basic introduction:

The Yerushalmi states:

"Irev es ha'osiyos - milmaalah: passul, milmaatah: kasher" (I have "shrunk" the actual passage to what the minimum  of whats needed for this discussion).

The Rashab"a (as well as the Ramba"n, and the Sma"k) interpret this to mean that if, as one is forming the second letter, it touched the letter preceding it, the second letter is passul and one may not scratch away the attachment as this would be a chok Toiches. The rational is that by virtue of the fact that the second letter has attached itself to another letter prior to the completion of its own formation - it has yet to become kosher letter, Now, to go ahead and grant the letter its initial "kosherness" via scraping is not permitted. If, however, the second letter attached itself to the preceding letter once its form was complete then it is perfectly permitted to scrape away the attachment. As a matter of fact, the attachment can even be left in place and all is still Kosher. In his rational for this the Rashab"a envokes a talmudic principle of "kol ha'raoy lebila - ein bila me'akeves bo". Meaning, that since the attachment took place once both letters had been completely formed, there would be no chok tioches in scraping away the attachment. As such, it can be considered as if the attachment is not there even without actually ridding it.

This, by the way, is how the Rashba"a paskened le'maaseh.

However, there are many Rishonim who come along and state that the Bavli categorically rejects such a distinction between an attachment "le'maalah" i.e. prior to the completion of the formation of the second letter, to an attachment "le'maatah" i.e. after the comple formation of both letters. They cite the statement of Rav "kol ois sh'ein gvil makif lah - pesulah". Now, since Rav did not qualify his psak in any way this indicates that any negiah is equally as passul and never would we accept the Rashba"s kula that an attachment that comes along after the formation of both letters is acceptable.

Now, the big question is: according to these Rishonim, can negios be fixed via scraping or not? So, the Ri"f and the Ramba"m while ruling like the Bavli in terms of the psul of all negios equally, make no mention at all that these negios may be scraped away. The Ro"sh, the Terumah, and the Mordechai, among others, do indicate that negios may be scraped away.

In other words, according to the latter Rishonim both the Bavli and the Yerushalmi have a Kula and a Chumra. According to the Yerushalmi, negios that happened pre-formation are passul and cannot even be scraped away (the only solution would be erasing the second letter and rewriting it). Conversely, Negios that happened post-fomation are not only permitted to be scraped, but can even be left in place without scraping altogether. The Bavli on the other hand has a chumra that all negios are problematic and must be dealt with. However, the kula is that they are allowed to be scraped away and there is not chok toiches in that.

Now, the big question is: on what basis did these Rishonim believe that the Bavli permits the scraping of Negios? Especially in light of the fact that the Yerushalmi feels that scraping Negios (at least the pre-formation ones) is chok toiches!!!

The one Rishon who actually explains the psak is the Mordechai. He envokes the Gemara in Shabbos which establishes that one is chayav on Shabbos for scraping away a chatoteres of a cheis therby resulting in two zayins. The Mordechai points out that if this scraping was considered chok toiches, then how could one be chayav for that on Shabbos? Certainly chok toiches cannot be considered "keshivah"!? He therefore concludes that when one is engaged in an act of separating two attached letters - it is not considered chok toiches.

Now, the Mahahra"m banet comes along and asks: but we all know that it is not permissible to go ahead and scrape away the chatoteres of a cheis in order to produce to zayins!!! He concludes therefore that although it is true that, le'halacha, in Sta"m such an act would definitely constitute chok toiches, nonetheless, the Rishonim felt that at least regarding a case in which the two attached letters each retain their own look - we could draw on this Gemara as an indication that it is permissible to scarpe.

The fact of the matter, however, remains that from that Gemara there is clearly no solid indication to the permissibility of scraping negios. The Gemara considers it kesiva only in regards to Shabbos because "mleches machsheves" is problematic on Shabbos and whether it is formal kesivah or not is irrelevant in so far as Shabbos is concerned.

Hence, the Gr"a concludes that this "proof" is actually very problematic and difficult to accept.

So, where does all of this leave us? It leaves us with
1) The Ri"f and the Ramba"m who while paskening like the Bavli that all negios are problematic make no mention of the permissibility of scraping them.
2) An very problematic attempt on the part of the Mordechai to infer a proof from the Bavli that scraping Negios is permissible.
3) A Yerushalmi which indicates that at least in regards to pre-formation negios - it is chok toiches to scrape them.

So, now we can all see that the reason for the chumrah is not merely "being choshesh for the Rashb"a". The reason for the chumra is because there is no real indication in the bavli that it is permitted to scrape negios at all!!!

Now, I would like to take all of this one step futher. When the Biur Halacha (Siman 32, 18 "ve'im gorar ve'hifridah kasher") brings the Gr"a as well as others who raise this issue to begin with, he only specifies that the issue would be with negios that happened "le'maalah" and "be'emtza". He does not, however, make mention of a negia which happened "le'matah" i.e. post-formation, but prior to having lifted the kulmus (the lifting of the kulmus being the ultimate indication of having concluded the letters formation).

However, earlier on (Siman 32, 16) the Biur Halacha struggles with a different yet related issue. It is well know that the Beis Yosef has two approaches to understanding the nature of the requirement of hekeif gvil. The first is that the requirement of Hekeif gvil pertains only to negios. The second is that the requirement of hekeif gvil relates both to negios as well as to holes in the klaf, but that the requirement to begin with is only applicable pre-formation of the letters. So, does this second approach not completely contradict the assertion of the majority of Rishonim mentioned above? We stated that most Rishonim hold that when Rav said "kol ois she'ein gvil makif lah - psulah" it means that it is always pasul regardless of when the compromise took place!

The Biur Halacha therefore concludes, that although the second approach of the Beis Yosef indeed indicates that the Bavli embraces a pre vs. post-formation distinction when it comes to the issue of hekeif gvil, nonetheless, it differs to that of the Yerushalmis. The difference lies in the definitions of "pre" and "post". According to the Yerushalmi, "post-formation" means the moment the minimum requisite is formed. According to the Bavli, that moment might still be considered "pre-formation". It is only after the Sofer has actually lifted the writing instrument from the klaf that we now can say "post-formation". So, practically speaking: if I am writing a vav and at the very moment that I complete its tip - it makes contact with the bottom of the preceding letter. According to the Yerushalmi, since the minimum required shiur of a vav was in place prior to the attachment - it is considered a "post-formation negiah". According to bavli, however, it is still considered a "pre-formation negiah" since I had not yet lifted the kulmus. As such, both approaches of the Beis Yosef concur that the Negiah is problematic. According to the first approach - all negios are probelmatic - even post-formation ones. And even according to the second approach such a negiah is deemed a pre-formation negiah and is therefor pasul as well.

Accordingly, it would seem logical to conclude that even a negiah "le'maatah" i.e. at the very end of the writing but prior to having lifted the kulmus, is included in the Chumra not to be scraped.

This point I am not completely sure of, however. It is possible that since the Yerushalmi clearly holds that such a negiah may be scraped (and according to the Rashab"as interpretation - doesn't even require scraping at all), so maybe the Gr"a would be perfectly comfortable with scraping in this case.
Because regarding this case of "le'maatah" we have
1) The Yerushalmi that would certainly allow scraping.
2) Many Rishonim who hold scraping of Negios is always permitted.

In reality, the Keses writes about this case too that there is justification to being machmir.

In conclusion:

For our purposes there are three categories of Negios:

1) "le'maalah/b'ematzah" - A negiah that takes place before the second letter meets its minimum required form.
2) "le'maatah" - A negiah that takes place after the minimum required form is in place but prior to having lifted the kulmus.
3) "le'achar she'silek yadav" - A negiah that takes place after the kulmus is lifted

There are three opinions:

1) The Shulchan Aruch Ho'rav: all categories are perfectly permissible to be scraped. (This is the psak of the Mechaber as well. The Shu"A Ho'rav is very elaborate, however, in articulating the heter).

2) The Mishnah Brurah: category 1 should not be scraped in a Sefer Torah, nor in Tefillin/Mezuzos if you catch it on the spot. Rather the entirety of the second letter should be erased. If one only caught it after continuing to write - then scraping is permitted and one must not erase all the way back. In Hashems name scraping is permitted even in a Sefer Torah. Categories 2 and 3 are permitted to be scraped.

3) The keses Ha'sofer: the same as the Mishnah Berurah, but considers it worthwhile to see category 2 the same as category 1.

I hope I have written this clearly and that it is useful to the readers. Please please please write feedback.

P.s. this article remains profoundly wanting. I have not included many sources as I wanted to present a bigger picture to the extent possible. Please feel free to ask and I can refer you to all sources. Also, forgive me for all of my transliteration... I don't type well in hebrew etc. Finally, this is a very concise overview. There are many many aspects of what I've written that can be developed further - some le'iyun and some le'maaseh. Please understand that I have attempted to stay as focused as possible.

Friday, September 12, 2014


This is a picture of a kindergarten in Israel I am almost positive that the Mezuza here is in the wrong place. I am just not sure where it should be. Should it be in the beginning  of the tiled area, or nearest to the door. The thing in the middle is a blinds track.I think it should be next to the doorpost.

Another question is.... should they have a Mezuza on this gate. It is just a metal rod with a door that goes around like a doorpost.