stamforum

stamforum
פורום בינלאומי לנושא סת"ם

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:
http://theworldofstam.blogspot.com/2012/04/blog-post.html

And here is the article in larger format (easier to read):
https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/88071125

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?

Thanks

YK

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.

Thanks

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

negiya

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

Suggestion

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.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Repairing Klaf Damaged By Too Much Humidity

Long story short, I had an unexpected and sharp increase in the humidity in the area in which I normally store my klaf . One of my yerios was open on a table and it became hopelessly stiff and bumpy.  Is there any way to save it? (its only half written)
In addition, the ink appears to have taken on a "grainy" texture.
Any thoughts? (If not, does anyone know where you can purchase klaf by the yeriah in NY :(

Thursday, January 15, 2015

קובץ תורני בעניני סת"ם

Does anyone know if there is a 'גליון ג of the קובץ תורני לבירורי הלכה ומנהג בעניני סת"ם put out by לשכת הקודש?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

אבד סופר מן הארץ

RABBI AVRAHAM MARKOWITZ ONE OF THE TOP 10 SOFRIM AND ONE OF THE BEST SAFRUS TEACHERS IN THE WORLD HAS PASSED AWAY.



The above aseres was written by him as a tikun to accomplish most shitos including the m"b kiflayim.

Do either of these entrances need a mezuza?



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

machlokes between who?

Regarding the question of osiyos challolos (left at the end of a sefer Torah for a siyum in outline) if such letters are kosher, the common answer is that they are (because ain shiur beuvey haos) EXCEPT for the yuddin, which is a machlokes. Does anyone know who the machlokes is betwee? Thanks

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Shel yad parsha that protrudes a little into the titura elyona

We've been through this before but I recently had another case and  found some new discussion of this in the sefer zichron Eliyohu, which I did not previously notice.

It is well documented that we are more lenient about parshiyos protruding into the titurah elyona of the yad than by rosh - reasons are well explained in  perek aleph siman daled (of the sefer zichron Eliyohu).

In a phone call to Rabbi Moshe Shaul Klien Shlitah some years ago he echoed this understanding by telling me that if the parshiyos (letters) protrude a little into the titurah elyona in the shel yad the tefillin are still geder mehudar, but in the shel rosh not. (Obviously it cannot extend into the area opposite the "filler" (piece added into the titura in the middle) which does not have the din of bayis. he is talking about the titurah section above the filler).

Regarding shittas Chabad, I have heard conflicting opinions based on S'A HaRav, with most rabanei morei horoah explaining  that since S"A HaRav only mentions this issue by tefillin shel rosh, the shel yad would be OK if it protrudes as little into the titurah elyona.

Those who are machmir cite S"A AHrav 32:77, where titura is not cosnidered to have the din of bayis. However many say S'A Harav is talking about a type of bayis where the titurah is a different piece of hide to the bayis (this is why he insists on knofayim). However gassos batim today are made where most of the titura is made of the same piece as the bayis (in miksha batim ALL of the titurah is the same piece as the bayis) . Therefore by gassos we dont have to be choshesh to this.

The chiddush here is that I never saw this clearly in print before, and noticed it for the first time on Friday, in sefer Zichron Eliyohu which is quite heavy. See below.




Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ot Y'tsiv Megillah - ayin rabati?

At the back of the Ot Y'tsiv is this photo of aseret b'ney Haman from a Megillah which appears to have an ayin rabati. I've not seen any source for this before. Is this something that others have come across? Been meaning to post this for a while.



Friday, January 2, 2015

feedback?

a Sofer asked me to put this up on the blog so he could get critique from experts in the field. All feedback is welcome.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dealing with "Wavy" klaf

One yeriah of a megilla klaf is "wavy" or "bumpy" which makes it difficult to write upon.

Does anyone have a technique or process to improve this yeriah?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Second guessing a tinok



The Nun from hotziyonu has a small kotz coming out the back of the bottom right, possibly a shailos tinok. I felt certain the child would read it as a nun, esp compared to the other gimmels. To my surprise, the tinok read it as a gimmel.

My gut feeling is to show another few tinokim and go with the majority, since I feel the child may have erred on this. However at what point does one decide to negate the original tinok and show it to more than one tinok? Am I doing the right thing by showing it to other tinokim just because he surprised me? He is the tinok I usually use and generally fares well. What does Reb Moshe (or others) think? I never understood the criteria of using multiple tinokim.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Familiar with retzuos from Rot?

My regular source for retzuos (I only use avodas yad) under Rav M.S. Klein is out for about a month. (I have plenty Edah retzuos.) I need a number of rolls and someone recommended retzuos from Rot also under Rav M.S. Klein. Does anyone have any experience with them?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

MEKOTZETZ

AHRON TOUCHED A RAW NERVE BY ASKING IF THERE IS ALSO A MEKOTZETZ.
The above parshios seem like decent tefilin however they were made on an assembly line and the sofer has no rebbe or no yiras shamayim, and the metayag is definitely a young bochur who has no idea what he is doing and  its very possible that he is not mekadesh -which again on tagim wouldn't pasel.
None of the following pasul the parshios but are wrong :
alef beis yosef in ksav ari
eikev habeis to long
gimel head should be square-it should be rosh not gag ,
eikev hadalet too long
eikev hay too long sometimes right foot is in middle of gag as second hay of hazeh
hay of shem not according to kabala -these are ari parshios
vav missing tag-ari
zayin-is long ,head is not square  לא יהא רגלה ארוך מב' קולמסים,וראשה- ויהיה מרובע
ches makel too short הוא כמו תג גדול
yud-MEKOTZETZ  for those who need source that tag elyon should be longer then kotz see pm"g
kaf- square inside
LAMED IS MEHUIDAR YAY IT HAS THE RIGHT KOTZ HIGHER first lamed seems as not mukaf gvul also looks like flag not vav וראשה של הצואר יהיה עגול
mem sofit ולא ימשוך הגג לצד שמאל הרבה ובדיעבד יגרור המותר
nun head is too wide ולא יותר רחב מראש הזיין(hiz zeins heads are also too wide)
shin middle regel connects to right regel-seeשבעת
THE WORST PART IS NOBODY EVER TOLD THE SOFER THAT HE IS NOT WRITING PROPERLY.
CONCLUSION,bdieved (after the fact that they were written) these tefilin are kosher (not kosher bdieved) all mem sofits should be scratched.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Alef


The bottom YOD in the above Alef differs from one that is usually found "TELUYA BEGUFAH" (lit. hanging from it's body).  In the above case, the bottom foot appears to be lacking a "YEREKH."  Is there room to be lenient, or would you consider it just plain passul?

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

מזונות

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
YK

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.

בס"ד
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

SHOCKED!

THIS PAIR CAME IN TODAY
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?