פורום בינלאומי לנושא סת"ם

Thursday, October 13, 2016

atzei chaim kalil

did anybody try these?
I heard the ball bearings imside make it heavy

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Quick question

If someone brings tefillin for checking and I see the retzuos are cracked or have white marks and subsequently possul, do I need to tell them to put on tefillin again if it is still before shkiyah? (Or can we rely on the more lenient opinions?)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hay from hu

Given that it's a Sephardic ksav it has me a bit more worried than usual (sdfradi ksav has straighter right regel in a kuf)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Torah should be commissioned from only clean source. Story with the Bal Shem Tov

The Money to Purchase a Sefer Torah should come from a Clean Source
The money used to commission a sefer torah should not have any doubt of gezel (theft) or come from any other unscrupulous places.[1]

[1] Lev Chayim 2:167 ois 44 sif katan 15. There it also cites a story of a community that the sefer torah would always be found to have a mistake in it, even after fixing it a different mistake would be found afterwards. The matter was told to the Bal Shem Tov and he said that the torah was written with money from an unscrupulous place and therefore it will never be able to be kosher.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Orel retzuos

Do you have experience with them? Are you happy with the quality? Do you find them to be soft? thin/thick?

Do you know anything about the machshirim (2 runs) - Rabbi Sheikovitz in Italy or Rav Hillel Weinberger (Satmar dayan) in New York?

The retzuos under Rav Weinberger are the same or more than those under the Edah. I'm not aware of any halachic advantage so unless there's good reason, I'd rather stick with the Edah, as it's a strong selling point plus it's known that they're experts in retzuos and their supervision is thorough. Your thoughts?

זיי"ן או נו"ן פשוטה

הז' של זבח יוצא ממנה קוץ כלפי מטה -  נראה לי שמועיל שאלת תינוק כאן [בגלל שיש להבחין בין עובי הירך וקוץ] ואם יקראנה ז' מותר למחוק קוץ זה
זה דעתי, ואני יודע שיש רבנים שליט"א אחרים - שיש להם דעה אחרת בנידון

Saturday, September 17, 2016

2 Mezuzahs, same problem - Mistake or another minhag

I was given 2 Mezuzahs from one client to inspect both Uvishearechas finish at end of the line.

I was wondering if maybe theres a shita that holds a minhag to do this other than Shitas HoRambam where a parsha ends as a parsha psucha with under 9 yudin.  Its been a long time since I learned Keset Hasofer.

Can anyone share if you've ever encountered such an issue and are these Kosher lechatchila or B'Dieved?

Friday, September 16, 2016

I have been asked to make a presentation and have kids try to write. Dyo stains. is there a water soluble washable  ink that I can use instead?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Ellul Checking Incentive

As a bonus service for those who check their Tefillin and Mezuzos with me during the month of Ellul, I am offering an additional service whereby I send a scan of their parshiyos to Mishmeres Stam for a complimentary computer check. Mishmeres Stam has very reasonable rates for this service and they have the report emailed back to me in a few hours.

I forward the customer the report and the following email. I have done this for my pre-Ellul "early bird" customers and found it is very much appreciated by people.

Wishing everyone much success in their Ellul checking season.

Dear valued customer,

I am now offering  an additional (free) service for Ellul customers whereby a scan of your parshiyos brought in for checking is emailed to the head office of the Vaad Mishmeres Stam in Israel for analysis.  The report gets emailed back to me within a few hours for reference, with a list of any errors or potential concerns that require further scrutiny.

I have forwarded your report with this email.

Although I still manually check  your parshiyos locally as part of my checking service (and apply the necessary maintenance and repair when necessary), the advantage of the report from Israel is that their computer system has been proven  the most reliable available, and statistically has a higher chance of catching spelling errors such as missing or extra letters than a human examiner. So it’s one extra aspect that I feel adds to the maximum level of checking I strive to achieve.

It also means that a detailed image of your parshiyos is kept on the database of the Mishmeres Stam and can be referred to at any time by referencing the code at the top of their report.

If you have any questions about this feel free to call and discuss.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kelaf Ibud Afatsim post Ibud Sid

This is regular kelaf that was processed with an additional ibud of gallnuts after it was already processed with the usual lime, thats what gives it its yellowish color in this case...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Be careful with batim paint

I have been asked by a prominent Rov to announce on this forum that anyone working with batim paint (particularly sofrim who  who seal batim hermetically) should be aware that the standard laquer based tefillin paints are highly CARCENOGENIC r"l and to always use them with proper saftey gear (gloves / mask) and in a well venitilated arera such as an outdoor paint booth.

We have discussed this in the past but reminders of this nature are important.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

נפלה טיפת דיו ליד נו"ן פשוטה

כדאי לראות הגדלה

נפל קצת דיו ליד נו"ן פשוטה ועושה לה מעט מושב. אני מסתפק האם זה פסול בודאי, כי נעשתה לנו"ן כפופה, או שמא מועיל בה שאלת תינוק. ואם יקראנה נו"ן פשוטה נוכל לגרר

Thursday, August 11, 2016

KOTZO D'ALEPH: New Letter from Vaad Mishemeres Stam

Kotzo D'aleph. It's  Kaballistic significance is gaining recognition (as per the above letter), and  is important that sofrim and magihim read the above.

On the topic of Kaballistic hiddurim,  I have heard from countless sofrim and Rabonnim the Kaballistic importance of the right side of the choteteres of the ches, that it should be thicker and more prominent than the left.  (This is seen in many choshever older ksovim and brought down explicitly in Shulchan Oruch Harav, so IMHO also very  significant.)

Secondly, it's important to keep things in perspective : Kaballistic hiddurim are certainly important. However the primary concern for a magiha is that people should have Kosher stam. Shulchan Oruch comes first. It seems that some magihim  put an inproportiantely greater emphasis on  lengthening tagei lamed, yet seem less interested in fundemental halachic repairs that are of far greater significance and concern.  Just saying...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


חי"ת שרגל שמאל כפופה מעט כעין תי"ו

לחי"ת ברגל שמאל יש בליטה או כפיפה מועטת, והיא קצת מתדמה לכעין תי"ו
נראה לי שמעיקר הדין יש להכשירה כי היא אינה דומה לת' משום החטוטרת שבה, ומכיון שהיא יותר דומה לחי"ת, היא כשרה
אבל מדין "כתיבה תמה" יתכן שהאות פסולה משום שנדמית קצת לאחרת, ולכן יש לשאול תינוק
אם כן קודם ירגילו היטב התינוק בחיתי"ן שבכתב זה, ושאר אותיותיה כגון תוי"ן נוני"ן וזייני"ן, ושוב לשאול תינוק, אם יקראנו חי"ת אזי היא כשרה. וכמובן מצוה לתקן את הירך בהוספת דיו כדי ליישרה

Thursday, August 4, 2016

ה"א עם שתי רגלים שמאליות

הסופר שכח למחוק את רגל שמאל של הה"א הראשונה אחר שמשך את הגג ועשה לה רגל שמאל חדשה !!!
האם הה"א כשרה כך??
ואם לא, האם מותר למחוק את הרגל הפנימית, או שזה פסול משום חק תוכות??

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Removing Atzi Chaim

is there any hakpada not to remove atzi chaim in order to make is easier to take on a plane?

2000 Years of Failure

For the benefit of the new members of this forum, I publish this article again.

In our quest to be Tzaddikim we forgot about being a Mentch.

2000 years ago, we caused, with our own actions, the destruction of Beit HaMikdash. For the next 2000 years we cried, we fasted, we wore black hats and jackets, we learned many pages of Gmara by heart, and we prayed for the reconstruction of Beit HaMikdash - to no avail. Beit HaMikdash is not yet rebuilt and we seem to get deeper and deeper into the hole. We made an experiment, a 2000-years long experiment, and we failed.

God could not care less what color hat we wear. God could not care less if we wear a shirt, a jacket, or a kappotta. God could not care less how many pages of Gmara we know by heart or how many days in a year we fast. There is only one thing that God cares about – what we do for each other. The time we spend helping someone in need, is infinitely more important than the time we spend with our noses pointed to the books we learn. Yes, we do have to learn Torah. It is very important to learn Torah. But, when nobody visits a lonely person in the hospital; when nobody helps an older person carry heavy shopping bags; when nobody helps an overwhelmed family care for a sick child; when we hurt another Jew who is not as "holy" as we are; when a person can say “Let somebody else provide the help, I am too busy learning Torah”; all the pages of the Torah books we learn, cannot make up for it.

The prophet Yeshayahu, during the days of the first Beit HaMikdash, already warned against false Frumkeit. In Ch.1 and in Ch.58 Yeshayahu tells us that God does not care about our sacrifices; does not care about our prayers; despises our holiday observances; and does not want our fasts. The only thing God wants from us is justice and acts of helping those in need. We did not listen, and Beit HaMikdash was destroyed, twice.

It is time for us to wake up from our illusions and false Frumkeit. It is time for us to understand that we have failed and that we need to change our priorities. It is time for us to start helping each other with our actions, not with our lips. If we ever want Beit HaMikdash to be rebuilt, we better drop our books and roll up our sleeves to help each other in times of need. As it says in Tana Dvei Eliahu (24.1): “Those who went out of Mitzraim had one Mitzvah that was liked by God more than 100 other Mitzvot ... they were all united, with a covenant to do Chessed with each other.” All united – not segregated into private cliques and groups which act like private insurance clubs.

A man who had trouble in his marriage, complained to his Rabbi: "It says that folding the Tallit immediately after Havdalah is a Sgulah for Shlom Bayit. I always do it, yet, it does not help." The Rabbi answered: " I have a better Sgulah for you. After Havdalah, roll up your sleeves and go wash the dishes."

Let's not try to be a Tzaddik. First, let's try to be a Mentch.


Teach me how to be a Mentch.

I don't want to be a Rav,
I want to be a businessman,
I don't want to turn the Torah
Into my commodity in trade.

I want to learn the Torah
As a guiding light for my daily life.
I want to know how to deal with people
With honesty and respect.
I want to know what to do
In difficult situations
Which come up from time to time.

I don't need to know
What Bracha to say
If on Succot day
I wake up at the top of a palm tree
Holding on to an uncut Lulav with my hand.
I promise you, I never will.
I also have a feeling
That you will neither.

I asked my Rabbi
What did he get tested on
When he was ordained as a Rav.
He told me many things
Which matter from time to time;
Not even one of them
Had anything to do with
How to be a Mentch.

Please my teacher, please again,
Teach me how to be a Mentch.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Shailos tinok on reish

I just received a batch of mezuzos, it's a simple but Halachically sound ksav and overall easy to check. However there is one issue that keeps coming up with the letter reish, namely the sofer wrote some of them a little too square on the top right... not a zavis chada (ie a sharp corner which would be possul) but a fraction less than that and a little too square for my liking. The halacha in such a case (Mishnas Hasofer and others) is to make a shailos tinok. However I find that the child always reads it as a reish, because they are used to a daled protruding on the top right and these obviously do not, even in the worst cases. So my question is, how useful is a shailos tinok here and does anyone have any other more practical guidelines on how to deal with this case?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sheurim in Kesses and M.B.

does any one have, or know where I can get Sheurim in Kesses and M.B. in english or Heberew?

If your wife is pregnant or nursing a baby...

Danger:      Mothers Who Fast While Pregnant or Breastfeeding Have the Highest Rate of Mentally Retarded Children



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Keses Hasofer in English

Does anyone have an English translation of Keses Hasofer's 5th chapter on tzuras haosiyos? I would like to quote it in a paper, so I am looking for a translation with no copyright problems.
Thanks a lot.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Israeli whatsapp group for batim and sgira

שלום הרב אלי, קיבלתי את המייל שלך, שיש לך פורום בינלאומי לענייני סת"ם. אשמח אם תפרסם שם את ההודעה הבאה:
יש לנו קבוצה בווצאפ, המיועדת למי שעוסק בסגירה ושיפוץ בתי תפילין.
הקבוצה מיועדת אך ורק למי שעוסק במקצוע.
בקבוצה נמצאים יצרני תפילין, ומורים המלמדים סגירה.
בקבוצה נמצאים חברים מארץ הקודש והעולם.
מי שמעוניין, שישלח הודעת ווצאפ
ל- +972 50-410-6417
בברכת התורה.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hachnasa Sefer for a 15cm Torah

15cm sefer is a bit too small to let kesivas osiyos, anyone ever heard of doing sewing instead?

Monday, July 11, 2016

How to attach the tefillin knot to the bayis

R' Melech Michaels is a talmid of R' Avrohom Tzvi Wosner and has kabboloh from the Va'ad Mishmereth Sta"m.

There's also an incidental product placement for Beis HaSta"m.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reish / yud shailo in Gett

The reish from "Geoffrey" . The Gett was already written and sent with a shliach, and the shailo noticed by the receiving Beis Din. So it cannot be fixed...
Does it need to be rewritten?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mezuzah at car dealership

This yid owns a car dealership and is very proud of his mezuzah at the entrance to his show room:

But is such a case Halachically acceptable?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Article in online news about Safrut and Sofrim

Canadian Jewish News featured yesterday online. Also, a beautiful YouTube video showing a Sofer STaM: Click here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I am very excited to announce this course. It is unique in that it is the ONLY course which offers both practical training in כתיבה coupled with a rigorous curriculum of הלכה, quizzes and tests, and Shiurim.

I will be running this between Sukkos and Pesach as well B'ezras Ha'shem.

Please email me for the full syllabus, cost, requirements etc.

Do these Judaica artists know they are committing fraud???

Just went to one of the wealthiest families in the country to put up mezuzos. They spent thousands purchasing mezuzos from the finest galleries and boutique shops in Israel. As a traditional Orthodox family they asked and were assured everything was kosher.
I decided to do a quick inspection and, believe it or not, every single mezuzah but one was a paper print! Very unpleasant explaining to these nice people that they'd been comprehensively defrauded...

Since writing the above post, I emailed this link to some of the vendors, with an explanatory email as to why their selling counterfeit mezuzos, while possibly not a concern to them, is unacceptable and shocking to some of their clients. I have added some of their names in the labels below, so that people searching for their products may come across this post and be warned. Am I wasting my time? Who knows. But the more people they hear it from the better. At least two of these are very popular Judaica artists and if I see their cases with their trademark paper mezuzos on a regular basis, then certainly others across the globe are equally affected.

(The fact that in this case the victims of their fraud are well known and highly influential in the Jewish world may also help in getting  their attention.)

I remember some years ago having a similar dialogue with a popular Israeli Judaica chain. The outcome was positive. Today, they sell kosher Mezuzos. You can see the dialogue here:

If others have been exposed to this type of blatantly unacceptable activity, an email objecting to it is likely the best course of action. The more they hear about it, the more likely they will worry about it adversely affecting their reputation, and the more likely they will stop doing it...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

botched correction

out of town sofer gave me this parsha to check while he was visiting. I found that he  wrote כי twice,  I  instructed him to 1.erase first yud and second kuf  2.widen the kaf  gradually. he corrected it and left town. As our minhag we recheck prshios that needed correction. I have a sofek as it looks currently, however since correction was done gradually we must also view it at every step of the way if it had a shinui tzura

Humongous mezuzah at Ben Gurion Airport

On my way to the departure gates at Ben Gurion Airport, I noticed the mezuah on the wall before the duty free shopping area. So, my thought was what size / what kind of kulmus made was used to write these letters?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lishmoh controversy

I have always been in the practice of saying "kol mah s'hani osay hayom..." before switching on my desk lamp and working for the day, as a precaution lest I forget to say "leshaim" before making a correction or even a kesher etc. I have always understood that this is bedieved OK and covers you if you forget. I instruct my staff who sew tefillin to do the same.

Yet recently, someone told me that this is not worth anything and if you forget you cannot be "covered" by a proclamation at the beginning of they day. He did not provide me with any sources but if anyone knows if there is basis to this, please comment...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vov of vehoyu

It looked ok from far, but after a closer examination, is could well be a kosher zayin...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Do Yekkis have a mesora for setuma in parshios?

Is anyone aware or have sources for the mesora for yekkis as to whether they should make the setuma in parshios according to the Rambam or Taz?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kaballah Tagin

When checking someone's private tefillin (or mezuzos) , is a  magiha obligated to amend Tagei Kabollah that are not written correctly? (i.e. add if they are missing, scratch out if extra?) Most people I have asked over the years including those I learned from say not to. But I consistently see (mostly in) tefillin where these have been altered, most likely by others who have checked before me. It seems some are definitely those out there who feel strongly enough to do this. (Sometimes I even see the kaballah tagin have been played with but seemingly more necessary repairs overlooked.)

Id be interested to hear what others have to say about this?

Friday, May 27, 2016


I search ebay periodically trying to find stolen tefilin.In Brooklyn iyt has become a makat medina, so far I have not seen any surface on ebay.
I did come across this post and it seems legitimate , if anybody is interested and needs somebody local to look at them I can try to help.
I have not contacted the seller nor do I know who it is

You are bidding on two beautiful pairs of tefillin - a Rashi and a Rabainu Taam set, written by the late Rabbi Eliezer Zirkind (, the Lubavitcher Rebbe's personal scribe. They are extremely rare, in great condition, and were checked roughly three years ago. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Siyum Sefer Torah during Sefriah days?

I want to know if some circles will do a siyum sefer torah during the sefirah days. (I understand that there is a debate among Ashkenazim and Sefardim about how one counts the mourning days.) 

Here is my conclusion:

During the Sefirah days (the days between Pesach and Shavuos), the Poskim differ if one may perform a siyum sefer torah with dancing and music, it seems proper to avoid unless there are particular circumstances that preclude the celebration being done at another time.

Certainly on Lag B’Omer one could make a siyum sefer torah since it is a day of celebration. Likewise a few days prior to Shavuos one may make a siyum sefer torah.

My reasoning:

Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 493:1) holds that one is not allowed to dance [nor play music] even for the sake of a mitzvah during the sefirah days. (See however Hiskashrus (vol. 246) which understands the view of the Shulchan Aruch Harav differently to even allow making a siyum sefer torah during the sefirah days.) See also Piskei Teshuvos (493:5) which brings that one who does make a siyum sefer torah should at the very least avoid playing music.

According to the Keren LeDovid (Orach Chayim 119) one may make a siyum sefer torah during the sefirah days. This is because according to the Magen Avraham (493:1) as explained by the Machatzis Hashekel the only problem with dancing is when it is not a mitzvah dance, however, when it is a mitzvah dance, one may dance even during the sefirah days. Since that dedicating a sefer torah to a shul is a mitzvah, thus it is allowed to have a siyum sefer torah together with dancing as well.

Prior to Shavuos even the stringent view may make a siyum sefer torah since many Poskim hold that there is no need to refrain from dedicating a sefer torah during the entire sefirah days. Additionally, dedicating a sefer torah close to the holiday of the giving of the torah is an auspicious time.

I would appreciate your input.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gid to hold kesher on bayis shel yad

I can't remember if we've discussed this before but my many of my Ashkenazi customers ask me to fasten a gid to their kesher shel yad so that it doesn't move away from the bayis.

I notice on some tefillin that this is done with fishing wire and sometimes even elastic, which is much easier to connect and also stronger (as the gid tends to break).

Is there an inyan that this must be done specifically with Gid? And if not, why do so many people use gid if you don't have to?

If anyone has looked into this or has any further info on this issue it would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

שי"ן וסמ"ך בכתב חב"ד

 כחיזוק לדברי ר' אלי גוטניק בנוגע לשי"ן, ברור שאין לו להיות עם מושב שטוח אלא מושב המסתיים בחוד שלא יהא ראוי לישיבה כמבואר בגמרא וב"י ושו"ע רבינו שהשי"ן אין לו עמידה משום ששק"ר אין להם רגלים. ולכן השי"ן שהביא כשר רק בדיעבד ואינו צורתה לכתחילה

בשתי הדוגמאות אפשר לראות ברור שמושב השי"ן אינו שטוח, אלא נוטה אלכסוני לקיים דברי הגמרא והלכה הנ"ל

בנוסף לזהירות בשי"ן לעשותה נכון כנ"ל, יש להוסיף גם זהירות באות סמ"ך שיהא מושבה עגולה ממש כלפי מטה ולא שטוחה עם קוץ בצד שמאל - כי גם זה אינו נכון לכתחילה

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Alter Rebbe Shin Continued

I am currently reviewing and cataloguing a collection of over 100 older Torah manuscripts and fragments.  Within the collection, there is the above scroll which is approximately 200 years old. The klaf seems to have been cured by tanning as evidenced by its rich golden brown coloring.  Because of the script and jet black ink, I identify this scroll as coming from Russia.

This Russian type script is the precursor of the Ba'al HaTanya's script. Here one can notice the clear upward curved strokes similarly employed in writing the Alter Rebbe's Shins. With the quill held at about ten degrees off vertical, the stroke rises to meet the bottom of the right top tooth of the Shin.  It is this upward rising stroke that creates the angled pointed base of the Shin that's so distinctive of this unique writing style.  Subsequently, the middle and leftmost teeth are then connected to the uppermost corner of the base, giving this letter it's final and alluring shape.

The same but slightly more elongated curved upward stroke is used to connect the base of the TETs and AYINs to the top right heads as well.  As such, the TET in this script also stands on a pointed base very similar to the SHIN.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

shin in "Alter Rebbe" script

Both the Shulchan Aruch Harav and the Mishnah Brurah use similar terminology when describing the importance of the shin being "pointy" on the bottom and all three branches of the letter shin meeting at a point or "chad" at the bottom of the letter. There is a strong foundation in Halacha for this and for the bottom of the shin to be flat like a moshav (base) is considered questionable (Pri Megadim) and definitely not Kosher Lechatchillah. It is worse if the moshav is very wide, but it is still questionable if it is lechatchillah if there is a thick noticeable base rather than a chad.

Even for Sephardim, who lechatchillah make an angular base, it is still important that the base is indeed on a (significant) angle. If the base is flat, even if all three branches of the shin come out of the base  connected , as in the top picture, it is problematic.  It is worse in the bottom picture below where the right head/ branch comes out of the right part of the base and the middle and left branches come out from a different part of the base.

(Pictures are from sefer Ksivah Tamah)

In the Alter Rebbe's Ksav, the shin is one of the most difficult letters to write correctly. This is because the right branch of the shin curves and gets substantially thicker as it comes down, almost  like an ayin. But it is important to ensure that it still meets the requirement of all three roshim meeting in a "chad" as described in S'A Harav. It is very easy to slightly err and inadvertently create a (flat) moshav. In some cases this can be problematic and may need to be fixed.

Over the years I have seen some very exaggerated cases, where the bottom of the shin looks more like Mor Uktzia ksav than Alter Rebbe ksav.

I recently saw a very beautiful Alter Rebbe mezuzah where most of the shins were done very well, such as these:

But some (few and far between) in the same mezuzah looked like this:

I stress that these are mild cases (and not the very exaggerated type I refer to above). However these still have a clear, distinguishable moshav and are flatter than ideal, and hard to really consider Chad kra'ah . IMHO if such a Mezuzah is being sold as "high end mehudar" it would be worth fixing the few shins written like this with an ever so slight adjustment to create a better chad.

Does the oilam agree?

UPDATE: Someone emailed me this picture highlighting what he felt to be the most incorrect aspect, namely the almost 90 degree angle between the right branch and the moshav.

Although I touched on this, he wanted me to reiterate that this is a common mistake and the inside should be round / curved ie one flowing aiver  and not have such a sharp angle which essentially exacerbates the problem.

Sunday, May 8, 2016