lamed as a kav mashuch

hi ari
my name is moshe weiner from jerusalem
i would like to comment on your lamed - the source of kav mashuch is from the beit yosef and shulchan aruch ch.32 regarding the top yud of alef and resembling letters that have yudin (yudei shin, ayin etc.) Rabbi Wozner in his shu"t Sheivet Halevi writes that a diamond shaped yud (something like the lamed you have) is not obvious kav mashuch. He concludes that although there is place to machmir, one that is matir such a alef is acceptable [his lashon is: אין מזניחין אותו] i dont know to translate exact, but it means one cannot disregard such an opinion.
[if anybody can give the correct english for this - thanks]
i understand his psak as fitting what you were told, this is a case of safek mashuch (or maybe R. Wozner indeed thinks that we dont have permision to pasel such a kav mashuch, but didnt want to openly meikal)
second: there is a additional dimension of the law of kav mashuch, since the rishonim (beit yosef above) mentioned only yudim of alef etc. And it is obvious that a vav that is a stick [kav mashuch] is pasul, because it is lacking a vital piece - the rosh
from these 2 laws - later acharonim (i dont know offhand who started this chumra) learned that letters that have vavim, example: the left part of the mem, if it is a kav mashuch is equal to the yudim mentioned in BY and Shulchan AR
this equation is questionable, although logically makes sense
but in regard to lamed note shulchan aruch harav ch.36 on lamed that clearly says that the [minor] diyukim are only lachatchila
i wish all the friends and all am yisrael a happy healthy year, chag sameach


  1. seems that sefardim are the most meikel, doesnt rav ovadia pasken a lamed without a rosh is kosher?

  2. b"h
    just to fill in what i wrote on the kav mashuch of lamed
    the poskim that pasel a kav mashuch on a lamed are Kol Yacov 32:106.
    but mishna brura (mishant sofrim end of lamed) in name of lishkat hosofer and others that bdeived is kosher. Rabbi Shtern in Mishnat Hasofer (5:111) writes that the MB and Keset (in his lishka) only meant after fixing the head, then bdeived it is kosher.
    This was in regard to a kav that is mamesh a stick only, but in the case ari posted i think all agree that it is kosher bdeived, and obviously as eli wrote should be fixed, and then is kosher.

  3. Please correct me if I'm wrong but:

    Regarding Mishna Berura's comments that a kav mamash is kosher bediavad - he clarifies what he means by that by saying that
    a) in keriat hatorah a new sefer is not needed and
    b) if one has no other tefillin he may use them without a bracha.

    This is in contrast to other pieces of sta"m that may not conform to the 'lechatchila' requirements (ie classed as 'bediavad') but nevertheless can still be used with a bracha.

  4. yes you are correct in regard the MB psak there.
    I was basicaly coming to prove that kav mashuch in lamed (and seemingly the same should be in regard to the vav of a mem)is not the same level of chumra as the kav mashuch in the yud of alef etc.
    (I didnt explain the difference between the yudim and vavim in my comments but a difference can be easily explained - maybe another time)
    since the acharonim debate if the kav mashuch applies also to the vavim, therefore wherever there are further reasons [as in your case of the lamed] to be meikel, we may. in addition fixing it as eli wrote is the correct procedure, since:
    a. some authorities are matir fixing even mamash kav mashuch even in yud of alef (this is even understood from the MB in regard to lamed you quoted)
    b. even a kosher letter bdeived if its tzura is not correct should be lechatchila fixed.
    thanks again for posting this important shayla and bringing up the issue, and i wish you and all a chag sameach

  5. fix of sentence in comment before:
    a. some authorities are matir fixing even mamash kav mashuch even in yud of alef (this is also understood from the MB in regard to lamed you quoted, according to mishnat Hasofer I quoted earlier)


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