If it's too good to be true, it usually is.....

I recently saw an article where mishmeres stam exposed a sofer who was selling magnificently written ksav velish mezuzos, parshiyos and sifrei torah (see pic). However the sofer was using a dubious technique - he was printing on the klaf with a machine, and then writing over it. While ksav al gabei ksav is common in Sifrei torah, esp. refurbished ones, and presents no Halachic problems, the issue here was that the first ksav underneath was computer generated and printed, not hand written. Rav Elyashiv Sh' and others ruled the sefer should go to genizah.

If you look at the second picture, you can see and example of  the way he was caught out. The printed ksav underneath was not always perfectly covered by the new ink. This led to "double edges" and edges that were a different shade and texture, which was a giveaway, particularly when examined closely with a magnifier.

I once had a discussion with a prominent rav as to whether you could use a stencil when writing stam. Besides for being impractical and time consuming, we concluded that since it is not the normal way of kesivah, it would be problematic. Sofrim using light tables is more acceptable, since you are still writing normally, the light table only serves as a "guide".

In all likelihood, this sofer, who was in a remote country and far away from the mainstream sofrus world, probably acted out of am haratzus rather than flat out deceit. However it was undoubtedly the un-humanlike perfection of his ksav that made the rabbonim take a second look.


There is a sefer here in Melbourne which like these fake ones, looks too good to be true. The sefer is at least 70 years old maybe even older.  After reading this article I am considering taking a closer look at it. I always though it was a bit suspicious and wondered where it originated. I have attached a picture below of some of it's writing I took with my blackberry. Please let me know what you think. Perhaps the problem Mishmeres stam has just discovered has been around longer than they think....


  1. chevra read all about these things on rabbi greenfelds blog

  2. the thing with this s.c. sofer is that he is still kicking and trying to claim that people are trying to set him up.
    i personally mailed the mezuza to the scientist who did the test,he really does not know who this sofer is and has no agenda whatsoever

  3. interesting. but my thoughts are that if he was looking to cheat he would have just printed and thats it. why write over it? something sounds fishy....

    either as r' eli says he is an am haaretz and thought as long as he writes over its kosher or maybe it really is a set up?

  4. Maybe he wrote over Rabbi Obadi's silk screened products. Then perhaps he thought it was OK mitzad sfek sfaika. (kidding)


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