Thursday, November 20, 2014
These mezuzos are 6cm. Amazing ksav for that size, I think we can all agree.
But look at some of the chof pshutas. Some of them are way too long across the gug. (ie baderech at the end of the line in the second pic)
My question for Reb Moshe (or anyone else), Most probably we do a shaylas tinok here. But do I cover or not (much greater chance of child saying reish if I cover).
Sunday, November 16, 2014
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?
Example 2: Why 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
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
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Sunday, November 9, 2014
please contact me at 718 207 0474 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
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
Monday, November 3, 2014
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.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
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.
My email address is email@example.com
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Seeking a young sofer in Montreal available to check and correct a sefer Torah in good condition for reasonable price.
I live in Ottawa and am looking for someone close by, hence Montreal.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, October 27, 2014
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
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?
Monday, October 20, 2014
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I believe sefardim are more machmir in this but I am unfamiliar as to the practical guidelines.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
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
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
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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
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:
Sunday, September 14, 2014
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.
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
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Friday, August 22, 2014
I'll be in Connecticut to check tefilin etc. fromה -אלול until I get the job done, which will take a few days.
I will need someone to do the sowing of the tefilin, and when I change the retzuos, to make the knots.
It will be a full time job for both of us, and good pay.
Anyone that knows of someone that would be interested etc.
please email me at email@example.com