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Monday, January 16, 2012

siyum sefer tora

I think it is correct to stop the custom that people write letters at the siyum sefer tora.
Only the sofer should write all the letters and complete finishing the sefer.
Allowing others to write letters causes several problems:
1) people that are mechalel shabos are honored / they are pasul to write.
2) many people although told, don't mekadesh the csiva, and when there are many people honoured the sofer forgets to remind each and everyone, sometimes the sofer is embarresed to make a issue, so he keeps quite.

Holding the feather by the person honored - thinking the sofer is writing, although correct that it is the sofers csiva - also causes problems, many times he pushes the hand of the sofer causing disturbance in the csiva and tzuras haois.
Leaving hollow letters to my opinion doesn't help at all - since the iykar csiva is the one that finishes the letter, and the begining thin lines is not a kosher letter yet.
Even according to the thought that the thin lines are a letter, the person writing over them is csav al gabei csav - which is problematic if the last one isn't kosher.

Obviously there are situations where everything is 100% but the custom is copied everywhere getting into very touchy [touching somebody's honor] situation.
Chazal said: the chacham is one who sees beforehand not to get into a bad/difficult situation.
I truly think it is a big mitzva and cavod for the kedushas sefer tora to be mevatel this custom.  

6 comments:

  1. There is a teshuva in ShuT R' Akiva Yosef Shleisinger that discusses this. I have to look it up again to see exactly what it says. But I remember one point he made was that in many places this minhag was never even heard of. He also brings down that in some places the sofer would erase all the letters after the siyum and write them over again (there are more teshuvas about doing this as well. Many of course don't like approve of it.)

    I spoke to R' Shammai about this minhag a few times (not so much in regards to not frum people, but the other points.) I'm still lacking clarity in this inyun. However I'll mention one nice thing. He told me every letter written there as an outline is kosher. R' Eliyashuv when they come to him to write an ois always wants the "Yud" because he holds the outline is not a kosher ois at all -- while the other oisios are kosher. R' Shammai agav told me he's cholek and holds even the yud is a kosher ois.

    I'm with R' Moshe on this though. Many Tzrich iyuns on the whole thing....

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  2. The best way is just for the sofer to write everything and the person makes the sofer a shaliach. I let them hold the feather and pass it back to me so they feel involved.

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  4. The custom of leaving empty outlined letters for people to fill in the Sefer Torah, is old in practice, Natei Gavriel (Hachnasos Sefer Torah) p. 109 quotes several sefarim that mention this minhag.

    With that being said I agree that it should not be done as lax as it is done in some places,like letting someone write a full letter in the Torah.
    As Eli mentioned this can be avoided through plain shichus. I think it is also fine if the person gently holds the top of the hand of the sofer,in a way that does not bother the writing of the sofer at all.
    I am not 100% sure, but I think even if someone is not kosher for writing there would be no problem in this case (of holding the top of the hand of the sofer lightly) since it does not affect the writing, and it is the sofer who is really writing in all aspects. {(Although theoretically speaking maleches ksiva on Shabbos is not transgressed by two people writing together, however here the second person is not considered writing in this case. I would like your imput on this comment of mine)}.

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  5. Dovid, I agree that holding the top of the feather is nothing metzad csiva and only symbolic - the point I was saying that sometimes people push the hand of the sofer trying to help, which is a problem.

    But the iykar problem is people's honor. You come to a siyum and the brother/uncle who paid half of the sefer is called to write a letter. He doesn't know anything (and is mechallel shabos) and he thinks that he is entitled to what ever others do. The one before him was the rabbi - and the Rabbi isn't going to hold the feather, You stood up and honored him to sit and write himself. So when the honorable uncle comes everybody turns away not to see, and what do you the nebach sofer do???

    Chazal said: the chacham is one who sees beforehand not to get into a bad/difficult situation.
    I truly think it is a big mitzva and cavod for the kedushas sefer tora to be mevatel this custom.

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  6. I was by a siyum once where in the beginning when only the family who donated the sefer Torah was there (they were frum) and a few others, at that point, they allowed certain people to write an ois themselves. A few Rabbonim, the ones who paid for it and their family (all frum) and a few aspiring sofrim that had a connection to the siyum. After people started to arrive, a sofer sat their and filled out the rest allowing people to make a shliach. Towards the end a Rosh Yeshiva came and they gave him the last ois. Could be also a chosson came and got an ois as well. Aside from that everyone stood there watching making the sofer a shliach (as well as donated some money for the sefer Torah.)

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