Showing posts from December, 2011

Is this pay lechatchillah?

I received this as a sample of a sofer who can write a medium quality Afrizal script sefer torah. I noticed the pay in the word beginning on the 10th bottom lineis a little funny. I was wondering, s this pay kosher lechatchillah?

Chaya writes back - Perhaps something was acheived after all?!

Below is their final email I just received . I have attached the whole correspondence in case anyone missed it Dear Rabbi Eli, Thank you for your good advice.  We will check this matter and maybe find a different sofer to purchase our scrolls from. As for the scrolls your community member wishes to return, if you let us know when you will be in Jerusalem and in which of our shops we will have the money refund waiting for you there. Sincerely, Ronit and Chaya "CHAYA" 13 Cardo St. Jewish Quarter Jerusalem ISRAEL Tel:  972-2-6280751 Fax:  972-2-6288098 Cell:  972-523-823-544 E-mail: Web:                          * 6 Yoel Salomon St., Jerusalem Tel:   972-2-6240720                           * Mamilla, Jerusalem Tel:  972-2-6253241 From: Rabbi Eli Gutnick [] Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2011 2:51 PM To: chaya Subject: Re: Mezuzah Purchase Dear Chaya and Ronit, Thank you for your response to my email. I


What do you think of the kuf of "umilkosh"? do you think its just a fat tag or he wrote another lamed and was too lazy to erase it and turned it into a kuf without erasing the rosh?

3 questions in regard to retzuos

Yehoshua, [shaylos for tommorow] Please ask Rabbi Shammai: A.  What is the law bdieved if the black paint of the retzua peeled off in some place. Is it kosher if the majority was left black, or the shiyur rochav of the retzua must be totally black, so if the width is less than the shiyur although the majority of the width is still black it is pasul, even bdieved. B. The M ishna B rura [27:42] וצריך ליזהר מאוד where the retzua is bent because of the kesher… Does this mean that it was bent and stretched permanently because of the kesher and therefore lost its minimum width, but the MB is not concerned about the width at the time a person puts them on since the retzua actualy has a shiyur – it is just that because he is tying the tefilin on, the retzuos are bent temporarily , so the shiyur is considered complete and intact. Or the MB means even if it is bent only at the time a person puts them on, he is not yotze yday chova ? And what is Rabbi Shammai's opinion l'ha

Questions on mezuza

enlarge for better view Yehoshua, Please ask [and post the answers from] Rabbi Shammai shlita, in regard to this mezuza. [I gave one pic. of the mezuza, and a second the same, only I encircled the following questions]: 1. Is the revach in the word מצוך kosher, or not. May it be fixed? how? 2. Are the 3 end lines on the left (starting U'vesherecha) pasul as a kuba? 3. Are the yuds incircled kosher or not (since their foot is much longer than their head - around twice or more. enlarge to see clearer and also when you print! ) if not, may they be fixed? 4. Are the nuns incircled kosher, or they are shvura or shinuy tzura? Thanks for your help, and I hope this may be help to all the forum members. In any case anybody that wants to comment before R. Shammai's comments or after, please - as Yehoshua stated in his post, one of the issues of this forum is also to learn !!

Posting Shailos

I have started to take any shailo posted here on the blog to ask R' Shammai Gross Shlit"a. We are all here to share and learn and I figured this is a good way of learning more. I'm a talmid of his and speak to him on a daily basis so to print out 2 or 3 shailos to bring on a daily/weekly basis is not so much (hopefully the ink on my printer won't go so fast!) I will perhaps in due time go through older posts as well to find more shailos (might take a while.) Any of those shailos I will re-post with some sort of note and the psak. In the meantime anything that stays up on the first page here I will try my best to print out and bring in and post in the comments with the psak before it moves off into the archives. With this in mind when taking pictures, scanning, editing photos, etc make it the best as possible especially so I can print it out here on my home ink-jet printer Yasher Koach to everyone here and a Freilechen Channukah.

cracked / bruised letters in tefillin

I did some decoloring - is this more accurate? The question here is it permitted to fix in tefilin??

cracked / bruised letters in tefillin


tes resembling a beis yosef tzadik sofit

The tes (is this is a mlo ois ketana underneath that would posul)?


Is the Alef of Acheirim missing the Regel of the Yud Ha'elyonah? Is it allowed to be fixed?

dalet or reish??

Are these dalet or reish??? Also the beis of v'avadtem?? I cut out these words from the mezuza psula that I posted last week.

beis - caf

Is this beis [be'eto] kosher? Is this caf [artzechem] kosher?

Worksheet for STAM Buyers

I’m in the middle of writing a series of educational posts about purchasing STAM on my own blog — trying to give potential STAM buyers as much information as possible so that they can be educated consumers, while at the same time not overloading them with too many extraneous details. The series isn’t done yet, but based on what I have so far I’ve developed a “worksheet” for people to use to evaluate the merits and weaknesses of STAM from different sources. Ideally, the worksheet is a supplement to the blog, but it should be able to stand on its own as well. I believe the worksheet is ready to release into the wild, but it would be helpful to have input from other STAM professionals first. Please take a look and comment on this post if you feel there is anything missing or extra that takes away from the effectiveness of the worksheet as an educational tool. The worksheet is free of charge for anyone to download, copy, and distribute without modification, subject to a Creative Comm

Name and Shame website

I think there is a need for a website that names resellers and retailers of fraudulent mezuzos. Perhaps or the like. If these guys won't listen to reason or halacha, perhaps if their businesses are threatened they may come to their senses.

I have updated the Stam Forum membership list and I welcome all new members

So that everyone knows who they are conversing with, I have updated the Stam Forum membership list.  I would like to introduce the following new members: R' Ezra Kahfif User name: Ezra Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil R' Elad Rozenfeld User name : Elad Location: Palo Alto, California R' Yehoshuah Deitel User name: Yehoshuah Location: Jerusalem, Israel R' Etan Katz User name: Etan Katz Location: Beit Shemesh, Israel R' Yerachmiel Askotzky User name: Yerachmiel Askotzky Location : Israel R' Aryeh Schechter user name: aaa Location: Brooklyn, NY Some of the above members are noted authors and experts in the field of Stam. Welcome to the Forum and we look forward to your contributions!

Ink that reappears!

I have an interesting reoccuring problem. Every time I have to do a Mechika, although I use a #10 blade, an ink eraser, and sand paper, and it comes out perfectly white at that moment, the very next day, everything that was erased reappears as a shadowy image of all those letters. I know this has to do with some chemical reaction; I just don't know what to do to avoid this happening other then erasing the first time like I always do and then putting the sta''m aside until the next day and then erasing it again after it reappears, leaving it completely white as I want it. This is very impractical when trying to complete a pair of Tefillin. By the way, the ink I use is Nahari. If anyone has any advice, I'd be very grateful.

zayin with a long head


Different arrangement of the words on the lines

Line 14 should end with the word את ,but השמים was also written on this line. From that point on, the mezuza was written in a different way as the tradittional(Keeset Hasofer, 27-5, Lishkat Hasofer-4). Does this make the mezuza posul, or it is kosher bedieved and just the soffer was not "metticulous"?

Nun: wide gag, narrow moshav

Is this nun posul?

"Mr Metayeg"

Since we recently had a lot of talk about "Mr Metayeg", here is a "metayeg" who put Christian crosses on the first line and shem Hashem's. This was recently found in Israel.

UPDATED: My response to Chaya's email

Dear Chaya and Ronit,   Thank you for your response to my email. I have conveyed to Mr. Harris your kind offer to refund his payment for the problematic mezuzah scrolls. He is reluctant to return the mezuzot by mail and has asked me to bring them to Israel the next time I travel, which will be G-d willing for Passover. I hope that it will still be OK to bring them back in a few months.   Also, I noted in your email that you say you are aware that some people do not consider the mezuzot you sell as kosher. You also write that you are doing the sales only as a “service to your customers”. Please excuse me for saying this, but I cannot see any type of leniency that would render these mezuzot kosher. Many of them have blatant spelling mistakes and all had flaws that are completely and utterly unacceptable. Again, if you doubt the seriousness of my claims, I suggest you show them to an independent rabbi.   Furthermore, if you are doing this as a service to your customers and yet you know t

Kosher, Lichatchila/B'Dieved

I had a discussion with a sofer the other night and he wanted to say (after I kept using the following phrase in describing certain changes in a tzuros haois) that it's not always right to use the words "kosher b'dieved" in terms of describing an ois that wasn't written *exactly* like it should be. He said rather say "kosher" because that's what it is. Maybe this way it's not "mehudar" but v'dai kosher and not just kosher b'dieved. I've seen lashonos before in MS that sometimes says kosher and sometimes say kosher b'dieved...Perhaps that's exactly what the chiluk is. One is "Kosher" (changed somewhat from what it should be, just not "mehudar") and sometimes could be "Kosher B'dieved" which is certainly not "mehudar" and a darga less than kosher -- but still kosher enough to use. Could be there is even a dargo of kosher and mehudar just not the "lichatchila sh'b'

Shailos by tzuros ha-zion

If one of any of the 4 corners is rounded off what's the din b'dieved? What if the bottom 2 corners are rounded off but the top ones aren't? The rosh is rounded off completely I'm assuming this is a shinui in the tzurah and pasul b'dieved?

Ktav Russi/Alter Rebbe?

I'm wondering if anyone can explain what exactly is "ktav Russi". Apparently, it looks like Alter Rebbe in every way, but for some reason is not..? It is sometimes referred to as "Russian Arizal"

problems in hay, reish

The hay is problematic. 1) this may be a shinuy tzura. 2) where do I measure the shiyur MOK of the foot. I suggest where I added the red line (notice that the hay is a bit on a slant, my line is straight). The same problem for this reish, in regard to where do we start the measure of MOK. BTW this reish is somewhat acceptable - last week I had a reish that was much worse (and this isn't the first time I see these things in reish) [I coudn't recive a scan to show on the forum] the basic feature was a slanted line, that left no real gag [maybe there was half a kulmus stright before descending on a slant] and a tiny foot protruding downward.

zayinim psulim

An old parsha - the zayins encircled, are pasul. [click to enlarge] Notice also the tavs right foot bent backward, we spoke about this in one of the earlier posts.

Why is there no hechsher on stam?

Following Bais Hastam's post, why can't there be a hechsher on stam ie people get accustomed to buying only with hechsher, just like food, that will remove the negative elements and fraudsters As far as I know at the moment tghere is only landau and that is not very big

Minimum challal of letters

Elad pointed out a question that the challal of the mem is a problem. Indeed I think that if the majority of the challal of a mem or samech are blocked by ink, they are pasul as a shinuy tzura. We find in Alfa Beisa that lechatchila the challal of the beis should be wide [hight] 1k, but doesn’t explain bdieved the minimum a challal may be. The Maharsham (vol. 7:112, 115) asked on a caf that its challal was very thin as a crack, he paskened that its kosher, since no shiyur in the letters challal are m'akev bdieved. I understand that the Maharsham would machshir also if the majority of the length [right-left] also was blocked [illustration 1], as long as this doesn’t constitute a shinuy zura. But, see yalkut hasofer p. 65 pic. 127, in name of Me'asef l'chol Hamachanos that the caf that its challal was thin as crack is pasul. I would think that the mem must have a full kulmus length of challal horizontal, less than 1k I doubt its kosher [illustration 3]. A

What Happened To Vaad Mishmeres Stam

“THE VAAD” as known in USA and in all of Diaspora was supposed to solve many of the problems we are dealing with.Ksav kabala, computer check, removing bdieved sofrim from the market, removing ganavim and tricksters from the market, educating the public, notifying sofrim of problems,printing material and sforim on STa”M what happened to them???????????????? I remember as a child 30 years ago “THE VAAD” was the most respected organization that brought together the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Moishe Feinstein, Belz,Ger and Lubavitch we all watched their presentations what happened to them?

A tear in parsha of tefilin

A tear in parsha shel rosh that penterates 2 lines of the 4, without cutting/damaging any letters. It seems in the acharonim (See Pishei Tshuva Yore Dea 280:1) that the law of a tear in the klaf of tfilin and mezuzos is the same as in a sefer tora. Accordingly it should be kosher [and obviously fixed by gluing a matlis  on the back of the parsha]. But I have doubts, since the tear is almost half the hight of the klaf, if it would be the majority of the highth of the klaf, would this be kosher although only 2 lines are penetrated by the tear. Do we consider this רובו ככולו. I saw in Chazon Ish (Orach Hayim 11:5,7) that he questions so. But is pashut that if the parsha was torn into two separate pieces [without damaging any letter] that it is pasul to glue back together.

Ksivas Shem Hashem according to Ksav Arizal

In the post "Mezuza Pesula" we saw a ksav velish mezuza posted from Rav Weiner where he pointed the problem of a not proper "psiah lebar" on almost all of the ה of Shem Hashem. (There were many other problems some possibly even shinui tzura but that was on a side note). Concering Shem Hashem, the zohar is very strict about writing it with special kevanahs (not just "leshem kedushas Hashem") in addition to this it needs to be written in Hei(5) chalukos (Zohar Vayikra daf 11,b). Poskim including the Imrei Shefer and the Kol Yakov (yoreh deah 276:6) take the chumra of writting all of Sta"m with Shem Hashem to be written with the 5 parts, however it is not meakev (to say the least) for the special kevonas since many cannot do this properly. The Keset Hasofer, (who did not include the chumra of the zohar in his chibur)in his Lishkas Hasofer (Chakirah י) (in the paragraph starting with asher)explains that since it is implied that the zohar does not just

mezuza psula

click to enlarge When I saw this mezuza, I knew immediatly that it is pasul. No normal sofer writes the [left] regel of the hai such! Obviously the sofer?? didn't learn how to write!!


This is a mezuza [click on it to enlarge] I have pointed out some of the classical work of MR Metayeg! I don't know in this mezuza if MR Metayeg is a second person, or the sofer himself [which in the latter case will be honourably classified himself as a metayeg]. Notice what happened to the shinim at the bottom right! I don't know if these additions where added shlo csidran, overwriting the original shin, making panim chadashos, or not? In a usual case we would rely on chezkas kashrus of the sofer that he didn't do a psul. Can I apply that chazaka to this case???? The vav of ועל נפשכם is also problematic, a shayla of yud?


In continuation to Beis Hastam's post - I hope he will follow up, there are very many problems with cheap mezuzos/parshiyos, one of them that the sofer doesn't waste his time doing the tagim [IE doing Hashems mitzva!] he gives it to a metayeg (another person that only adds the tagim. Sometimes "metayeg" is a cover-up for the sofer himself. First he writes the mezuzos and after finishing many, before he releases them to the socher, sits quickly to metayeg them). This metayeg [usualy] doesn't have a csav kabala, didn't learn or know the laws of stam. NOTHING!! There are many cheap sofrim that give parshiyos, or sefer tora to metaygim - this causes that many letters are left without tagim. Here is a common problem the metayeg causes without even understanding what he is doing!!?? I have added lower a more accurate picture of the zayin in mezuzuot. The metayeg adding tagim blotched up! added a whole head to the zayin causing the zayin's head to be more

Some shailos:

 In the top two pictures the rosh of the nun is very thick, you get only approx 2 roshim in the regel, would this passel the letter and render it a big zayin? In this tzadik pshutah i was adding ink with the rapeatograph to give it a better tzura however i went out too much and created essentially an os chalullah. the 2nd line however was done in one movement.


READING REB MOISHES COMMENT THAT THE METAYEG BOTCHED UP"AS USUSAL" I would like to hear the worldwide sofrim's opinion on the following: 1)if the metayeg does not have ksav kabala would you sell it? 2)can you be sure all tagim on shaimos were done leshem kedushas hashem 3)now that there is kosher ink for rapidographs are you comfortable with metayeg using dyo min hashuk especially since many times he covers the original rosh. 4)when thick "beautiful tagim with ziyun are made is there shinui tzura after first tag(on nun) 5)very often the metayag widens the gag or "fixes" the original letter. My conclusuion is on inexpensive mezuzos to have the sofer make the tagim even if they will not have ziyun better then falling into above problems. In the case i must use a metayeg i have the sofer do bedek chaya (along with kav haschala no ziyun)and the metayeg shall do shatnez getz with dio lanetzach so we do not have shaimos prob

Nun and Zaiyin

The head of the nun is unbalanced, should it be fixed with hosafas dio on the bottom right part of it or shav vial taseh adif? (maybe it would make it too wide?) The Nun in the second picture is moiel havchanos tinok? In this third picture is the second zayin of Mezuzas moiel havchanos tinok, (Some say that 3 and a half kolmosim is a kosher nun sofit at least bidieved).

great shiur from Harav M Freidlander

watch it here

Has anyone seen Ari?

I enjoyed his posts and comments. does anyone know where he dissappeared to?

Is this giddim?

In this Sefer Torah, the tefiros of this yeriah have a frayed string attachment. I do not think that it is giddim, does anyone know? It could be that only next to the knots did they tie this frayed string attachment (but I would not know what is accomplished with that)? In any case, according the Mishnas Hasofer in Siman 27 he brings that beshas Hadchak one can allow stitching with linen or silk (etc..) this is only until one can get kosher giddim afterwards. Would that be the case here? (Since I do not recognize what material this is exactly, and if it is only around the knots).

Very apt. comment

Beis Hastam said... I would like to take the oppurtunity to vent my frustration here in this blog.It should be posted all over "if you cannot afford mehudar tefilin do not purchase ksav alter rebbe ". I go through this nonsense on a daily basis the satmara need mezuzos bli bchiros, the lubavitchers need alter rebbe and the litvaks need avodas yad , however 120$ for a mezuza is outrageous in their opinion.There are so many am haratzim out there that think tefilin or mezuzos are a commodity -the worst of all are the judaica stores where the an haaretz salesman with a long beard sells the unknowing jew the mezuzos that match his chasidus .I refuse to sell any chumros on a mezuza thats less then mehudar.please chevra lets here your horor stories December 8, 2011 3:47 PM I find this comment by Bauis Hastam very relevant and  noteworthy. First and formost: I have said this before on this blog and I will say it again - If you are selling to lubavitchers with a limited budget, b


I know we have been through this before but I would like rav weiners opinion on these yudin. please click on pic to enlarge, its not clear here. I'm talking about the words ki, bonai, vayehi, vehoya and mibeis

My response to Aaron's post

The yud in yisroel is the yud in question. As it is, this image is substantially larger than real life. If you stand back about a meter from your screen it will be similar to what it would be like looking closely in real size. As it is- in real life, it looks like a yud with a small blita on the regel which would probably best be fixed by adding ink to the right side of the rosh with a rapeatograph. I would not even classify it as a shaalos tinuk. Sure, if you blow it up several thousand percent and rotate it, and isolate it / crop it, and show it to a child on its own, you will confuse him good and proper. But as Reb Moshe says, I don't think  you are obligated to do that.

What letter is this?

What letter is this? If you say Beis then what does this mean about Mezuzah #1 from this post . What I did here is isolated the yud from that picture and rotated it a bit. What I remember learning is that if a letter looks like any other letter, even rotated, upside down etc it is a shinuy tzurah. It seems pretty clear to me that this letter, when rotated is a beis not a yud. Rav Weiner, in the comments you mentioned that the extra part could be scraped away. I have two questions: 1. Shouldn't you cover the letters around it (since its small size might mislead the tinok) and show it to a tinok? 2. If you are machshir this Yud wouldn't it be better to add ink instead of scraping so at least it's not a safek of Chok Tochos, since Shelo Kesidran is derabanan. Shouldn't we treat this like the case of a square Chaf Sofis which is brought in the teshuvah of the Tzemach Tzedek?

hefsek in tefilin

I permitted to fix this nifsak in tefilin.

Extended heads of the letters shatnez getz

What is the law in regard to the heads of zayin or nun that are extended? [The pictures are edited, and may be exagerated in order to emphasis the problem] MS (ois nun) writes: one should be careful not to extend the head of the nun, because it resembles a beis. It seems he is saying so, even if the moshav is short, still an extended head resembles partialy a beis. This follows what the MB 36:3 writes that there are opinions that changing a letter so part of it resembles a different letter is pasul, but the MB there concludes this isn't pasul. So we may understand here the same, that lachatchila this should not be done, bdieved it is not pasul. The Mikdash M'at (nun:5, in name of Da'as Kedoshim) questions maybe an extended head and short moshav is pasul, because it looks like an upside down nun. (this reason is questionable, why can't a tinok be asked?) And indeed in Shavet Halevi vol 5:6 writes that if the head is 3k wide it is pasul, either because of