פורום בינלאומי לנושא סת"ם

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Letter Gimmel

Here is a letter gimmel with a backwards foot.  Since the foot is reversed, do we maintain that this gimmel has lost it's shape?  Afterall, in Gemarah Shabbat 104a we have young students describing the shape of the gimmel within the context of the Alef-Bet.  There, they describe the Gimmel as having its leg extended towards the Daleth, because it's as one who bestows kindness - "gemol dalim."

That is certainly not the case here, for the foot is certainly facing the other way.  However, with respect to the above example, it is still possible that one may argue that the leg is extended towards the Daleth and that, only the foot is backwards.  The answer to the above is that in the real world, the leg follows the direction of the foot, and therefore it is still facing away from the Daleth.

The bottom line is that the language of the young students are allusions to the shape of the letters before them at the time.  They do not describe real life cases of logic as above. As such, this is a She'elat Hakham.  Is there a way to be lenient and correct this gimmel or is it plain passul?  Your educated and informed response is always appreciated.

Mashuach Repair

Does anybody know if there is any way to clean up a Mashuach Sefer Torah from all the dust it is 40 years old and in very decent  shape on a whole

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Question about seams

Today I re-glued a matlis that came loose by a seam. I noticed that the seam is stitched almost from the top edge to the bottom edge. It is my understanding that the seam shouldn't be sewn from edge to edge so that the klaf wouldn't tear. I checked a few more seams and they were sewn in the same manner as well.

This particular sefer is used for rosh chodesh and yomim tovim. Should the seams be redone, or would it be better to leave it as is since it's not used as often?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

the problem with buying from sochrim

I was checking a new set of parshiyos today for a basic kosher lechatchillah set of tefillin I am putting together to sell. The hagoha was going really well until the last parsha, where I encountered this:

It is clear that some sort of (suspicious) mechika was made on the kuf. I bought the parsha from a socher (although I prefer working with sofrim for this exact
Reason -but I didn't have a choice really). While the socher vouches for ksav kabollah and general ehrlichkeit (don't they all), I really get bad vibes when I see a mechika like this. A Lot of scratching between a gug and regel of a kuf is not a good sign.

 On the one hand it's b'chezkas kashrus. Certainly if it was someone's personal tefillin already in use, it's not my business to be a forensic detective, and obviously I wouldn't say a word to the customer. But these are new tefillin and the customer is trusting I give him something I'm happy with...

If I was dealing with the sofer directly I'd be able to get some peace of mind by asking him for more details of what went on, which rov was consulted, how he fixed it etc.

I was wondering how others deal with this type of thing...

Friday, August 21, 2015

ריבוע תיתורא

Is it מעכב if the תיתורא תחתונה doesn't meat up with the עליונה
How is it fixed?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I am looking to restore a pre Holocaust  Sefer Torah
I need a Lab in NYC that can wash all the years of dust off does anybody have info on a reliable Lab
Thank You

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How do we stop this

It's been a few years now that this hechsher with these mezuzos are going around we can't only blame the public for being ignorant when buying stam but we also have to stop the bad seller's

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Price quote for shir hashirim, megillot eicha and rut


Shalom rabbonim and STaM chevre,

what price (in dollars) should a sofer with mehudar ktav charge per amud (including klaf) for writing shir hashirim and megillot eicha and rut?

how many amudim does each one have?

thank you for sharing your wisdom, experience and expertise

Sunday, August 9, 2015

computer checking, camera V Scanner

I recently upgraded my computer checking program to DUK version 3. It uses the Cannon EOS 1200D camera. Before that I was using an older version with an A3 scanner that was sharp and reliable.

I find the camera images are dark and sometimes blurry on the edges. Also the light reflects off the letters sometimes. Are there any tips that anyone can offer to take better images? Thanks

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How Do You Wrap Your Mezuzos? Pros, Cons, etc.

Recently I saw Mezuzos shrink-wrapped. Is that really a smart idea?

Some people use saran-wrap, others use wax paper.

I've seen Mezuzos wrapped first and then rolled up so that the plastic covers all the words, is that oisgehalten? I can't find a reason to prohibit it, but it just seems to me that it might be a problem.

How do you wrap your mezuzos?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Are these Yuddin really Reshin? 2 1/12 Inch Mezuzah

What do you think of these yuddin, and the vav?
(Enlarged many, many times.)

Here's the entire mezuzah with the penny for scale.

There's this embossing from the other side, but it's only visible from this side. Ever seen that before?
Please comment with your opinions.


Since there has been a spate of posts pertaining to fraud, I feel compelled to post this truly shocking case that just came my way. A good Jew from Melbourne who has been very ill (life threatening) asked his Rabbi to bring me his tefillin for checking. The tefillin were bought for $500 USD at a "Tashmishei Kedusha" store in the old city of Yerushalayim. The buyer met with the sofer himself (see attached card) who assured him the tefillin were strictly kosher and that he had put them together himself. The sofer  wore a beard and Yarmulkah and presented certification.

I recognised the "certification" that came with the tefillin as I had encountered problems before from this sofer. So I opened up the tefillin together with the rabbi, and what we found was mindboggling:

Please see the pictures below and note the following:

1) shel yad old mashuach possul letters, kav moshuch, cracks,  no tagin etc.
2) shel rosh - every parshah from a different sofer (no way it could be kesidran). Every parsha had some sort of tikun, some with pen, clearly not written halachadic or kesidran. Obviously these were bits taken from genizah.
3) The rosh had no parshas kadesh. Instead there 
were two vehoya ki yeviecha parshiyos. The second was cut out from a shel yad parsha.
4) Remember, this was from the Rova in the Old City, not a tourist shop in Tel Aviv who know no better. This was sold by a "frum" chareidi sofer!

It doesn't cease to anger me when I encounter these things.  To those of us in the industry including the many readers of this forum who put their "kishkes" into every detail and nuance, who drive themselves crazy if a yud is choser eiver or a ches has to be fixed to be thicker on the right, and then along comes a guy like this and desecrates all things holy about our work and violates the great responsibility involved in our work and shamelessly desecrates Hashems name, not once but repeatedly...such a person must be confronted and stopped, if not by the rabbinate then by the appropriate civil authorities on the basis of the criminal fraud he perpetrates.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Problems with this mezuzah?

I was looking over this mezuzah earlier and I noticed that the dyo at the bottom of V'haya im Shamoa seemed a bit smudged. Opinions?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Osiyos Challolos by Siyum sefer Torah

Does anyone know when the practice of writing the letters in outline for a siyum sefer Torah began? And where / by whom did the practice originate? Thanks

Sunday, July 26, 2015

right side of chotteteres thicker than left

I hope everyone had an easy fast. We discussed this once a while ago but does anyone have an official reason or explanation why the custom according to the Arizal of making the right side of the choteteres of the ches thicker than the left is largely ignored? Furthermore it is brought down in SA Harav so why aren't the Chabad sofrim makpid? Any insight would be appreciated. Tthanks

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cover for Tefillah shel Rosh

B"H, I plan on going to Israel later, next month. However, this presents a danger to my tefillin. As a Kohen, I will have to duchen whenever I am with a minyan for shacharit, which endangers the ketzitzah of the bayit shel rosh.

Does anyone here know anything about a cover for the shel rosh, such as the one referred to in the link below by R' Aaron Shaffier?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ink Blot On Shem - Came Right Off.

An ink Blot fell right on the Shem, and after carefully blotting the wet ink immediately, all that was left was a very light shadow, which would not be disqualifying at all.

After cleaning it a little more with an eraser, nothing at all was left from the ink that fell, and the original shem remained as clear as before.

What are your opinions on the matter, with sources/reasoning please?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yud without a Rosh (edited)

This is not the first time I've encountered this problem in a mezuza.
Again, I'll reiterate - it is not easy to distinguish between (1) a yud whose Rosh is slanted and also functions as a "kotz" אליבא דחתם סופר ודעימיה and between (2) and yud that has only a kotz and no Rosh. In this case I believe it's the latter.

(Btw we've been here before though I think this case is worse)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Beware of Tfillin fraud

סכנה: רצועות תפילין עם חותמת כשרות מזוייפת

דוד קורצוייל כ״ו בתמוז תשע״ה 13/07/2015  
סיפור עגום על זייפן תשמישי קדושה נחשף הערב במהדורה המרכזית של קול חי. מדובר על איש בליעל שבעבר נקשרו בשמו סיפורים על זיוף תפילין ועוד תשמישי קדושה. הערב דווח במהדורה על על חותמת כשרות מזויפת, כביכול מבית דינו של הגרמ"ש קליין שמתנוססת על רצועות תפילין שאינם כשרות. לצרכנים קשה מאוד לדעת שמדבור בזיוף כשרות. זה מוצר שנרכש פעם ב– ואנשים לא עוקבים חודשים אחרי לבדוק האם פרשייה שנחשפה קשורה למוצר שקנה אי פעם. הרב ישראל יוד ממכון פאר שוחח עם אבי מימרן ונתן 'טיפים' לזיהוי מוצרים שאינם כשרים. "מאז ומתמיד היו כל מיני יצרנים שהמציאו לעצמם תעודת כשרות פרטית ומפוקפקת. לאחרונה זה הגיע לרצועות שם יש בעיה קשה כי נכנסו מספר יצרנים לתחום. ברצועות יש יותר הלכות מאשר בבתים. הלכה למשה מסיני זה ברצועות. זה צריך להיות מעובד לשם קדושת תפילין עם צביעה לשמה. בשנים האחרונות זוהתה שיש בעיה ולכן אצלנו ב'פאר' יש רצועות רק בכשרות העדה החרדית או הגרמי"ל לנדאו, ומקפידים רק עורות מהודרים שסמוך לשער הבהמה". על מצב התפילין בכללותם אמר "המצב גרוע. איש הישר בעיניו יעשה. אין פיקוח וכל אחד עושה מה שהוא רוצה. לפני שנות ה-70 הייתה מחלקה לכשרות סת"ם שנסגרה כי הם לא עמדו בלחץ. כל אחד יכול למכור מה שהוא רוצה בלי שאיש בודק. אנשים קונים כאילו תפילין וכאילו מזוזות". לסיום ציין יוד כי "נעשו כבר כמה פעמים סקרים חיצוניים שמראים ש95% מבתי ישראל מקפידים על מזוזות. אנשים רוצים מזוזה כשרה ונכשלים בדברים שהם זיוף ולא כשר".   י

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sofer Recommendations for Boston Area

I am presently learning hilchot safrut to the best of my ability, however, I would much prefer to learn with a sofer. Furthermore, the schul I daven at during the summer has three passul sefarim which need to be corrected, including a beautiful, small, Sephardi sefer which we used to use for regular k'riah and our former maftir sefer. While I know of one sofer, I have yet to hear back from him (and I feel uncomfortable giving his name because I'm not sure whether that would be to'eles).

Kol tuv

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Likut Sifrey Sta"m?

I have been trying to learn the halachot of k'tivat sta"m, however, I am still looking for the relevant sefarim, seeing as the ones on are mostly illegible. One sefer that I've noticed is Likut Sifrey Sta"m. Does anyone know how good this sefer is? Is the type clear? The illustrations? Are there any alternatives which are likely a better choice?

On talking with a sofer in the NY area, I was advised to wait on this sefer and to look instead at Mishnat Hasofer. Does anyone know if it's possible to find this for under $30US?

Sefer Haftarot

 ז וַיַּךְ שָׁאוּל, אֶת-עֲמָלֵק, מֵחֲוִילָה בּוֹאֲךָ שׁוּר, אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי מִצְרָיִם.  ח וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ אֶת-אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ-עֲמָלֵק, חָי; וְאֶת-כָּל-הָעָם, הֶחֱרִים לְפִי-חָרֶב. 
The sofer must have accidentally skipped a line leaving out the bolded letters above. 
How would you go about adding it in? 

Yud without a Rosh?

Regel and kotz but no Rosh?

The worst fraudulent Mezuzah ever. They didn't even bother!

From Facebook:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Question on vertical שרטוט

A friend of mine writes mezuzot by placing the klaf on a transparency. The length of the lines in the transparency is shorter than the distance from the right vertical  שרטוט  to the left vertical שרטוט . This results in a blank space being left at the end of each line between the end of the line and the left vertical שרטוט , as seen in the picture below.
How kosher is it?

Bar Mitzvah Chinnuch Workshop

I recently did a Tefillin workshop with a Bar Mitzvah school group of a dozen or so kids. Besides for learning many of the halochos of tefillin, I did an interactive 3 session project where the boys made their own pshutim mehudarim batim. Of course the tefillin are not being used in real life but the project gave them a practical understanding of many of the halaochos they had learned about tefillin. The best part was that there was no cost , I was able to obtain the pieces from a factory in Yerushalayim who were happy to give me their seconds. Its the first time I did this and the boys enjoyed it very much. I think its a good idea for anyone out there who does school presentations and workshops, especially for Bar Mitzvah aged groups.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

kabollah tagin

Hi, just wondering what people do with regard to inconsistent kabollah tagin in tefillin and mezuzos that they check. My policy in the past (based on my shimush) was not to correct them (many sofrim vary slightly) unless the discrepancy was very blatant. But I see some sofrim scratch and add and make a real big deal of it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ksav of a 15 year old Sofer.

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

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

Thank you! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

High Price Mezuza

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

Monday, June 8, 2015

מידות השירות

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

פצפונים בדיו לנצח

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

Source and punishment for soaking kemaya in water

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

shinui tzura?

...שמע ישראל