Showing posts from February, 2012


"particularly the Rabbis of the Vaad, who's job it is to protect the kashrus and integrity of stam." WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO HELP THE VAAD HELP US? if the vaad charges a few cents more for computer check we run to the cheap computer,then we expect the vaad to have money to run an office send out flyers investigate etc THE VAADS ONLY INCOME IS FROM COMPUTER CHECK. WE ARE KILLING THE VAAD WITH OUR OWN ACTIONS

kuba vezanav shaila


Rapidograph Tagim

After seeing informative posts from Reb Zvi and Reb Avraham Chaim about dio,and the posts by Reb Moishe and myself prooving how many problems "metaygim" make is it not about time we boycott tagimmachers? or for the least they should have kabala and use ink with hechsher. Here is a recap of the problems: 1)dio might not be kosher 2)according to bnei yona dio rapidograh is not dio 3)matyeg forgets to be mekadesh sheimos 4 )metayeg makes jumbo tags that change tzuras haos 5)metayeg widens rashe hanun 6)metayeg who makes little mistake can easily do chok tochos or shelo kesidran to fix up 7)reb moshe showed how kutzo shel yud can get killed by metayeg.

Ink, Kosher vs. non-Kosher

We all know that there is no ancient source that requires ink to be מן המותר בפיך . Possibly, as said here before, because in the olden days ink was always  מן המותר בפיך and the question was never raised. It was probably self-evident. Nowadays, no decent Rav will approve an ink which is not מן המותר בפיך  . Who was the first one to raise this question? Was it raised because of animal ingredients or because of non-kosher wine?

Tefillin Batim

I have started having trouble with these Tefillin about a week ago, I started noticing a crack in the paint where the shel yad would be opened (first picture from top), and the left bait (when looking at the picture) of the shel rosh was starting to separate a little from the rest (Second picture). I was keeping it tight in its box to try and save the Shel Rosh and it improved a little. Then this morning before the tefila I opened the Rosh and a big piece of the paint from the bottom of the Shel Yad just fell off in one piece.  Can anyone tell me what is the status of the Tefillin, meanwhile, can I wear them? I live in Slovenia and until I can get someone to fix them it will be at least a couple days. 

Placing a Mezuzah

I have a customer placing mezuzot on his office building.  One of the doors is an emergency exit which can only be utilized as a fire escape and leads out to the front sidewalk.   Normally, such a door would be considered an entrance into the building, and the proper place to affix the mezuzah would be on the right as one is coming in from the street. There is one caveat, however.  From the outside the solid door has no handles and no key!  That is, even if one wanted to use it as an entrance into the building, it would be impossible to do so.  Would the user of such an office building be exempt on this doorway?


I wrote an article about the kosher/non-kosher status of shellac which is used in all forms of India Ink for a rapidograph. I want to include also what HaRav Mordechai Eliahu said about it. I was told that it can be found in אנציקלופדיה לכשרות המזון,  להרב אדרעי, עמ' רנ I don't know which volume. I don't have access to it in our little Shtaitle in Pennsylvania. Can someone in this forum maybe find it and post it here? Thank you.

I honor chumros, but ....

Baruch Hashem I honor chumros, but .... chumros should not get out of hand, may tend to bend things a bit more important. I honor the discussions mentioned in regard to dyo and feathers, and every part was quite interesting, but .... The simple hallacha is that any kulmus is kosher for writing with (even a non kosher feather, chas vshalom . It may be gnay  and not mehudar for the sofer - but doesn't invalidate the stam!!) The same regards the law of dyo - dyo doesn't need al pi din to be mutar bpicha . It is true there is a whole debate in the acharonim on the issue, and it is quite important to understand why dyo is different than klaf, batim, retzuos and gidim that must be "min hamutar b'ficha"?! [a simple terutz would be: that all types of ink/dyo used in talmudic times, never included parts from animals. so the question didn't arise]. But for fact it isn't mentioned in the talmud, rambam, tur or shulchan aruch such a rule that dyo must be min ha

Eseres Bnei Haman

Who are those that speak about the issue that the names should be written straight and not one bolet to the left side. The Minchas Yitzchak has a teshuva about this and writes that it's only a mitzvah min hamuvchar not like the Beis Shlomo that wanted to say that it's pasul even b'dieved. However tzrich iyun since if one looks into the 2 teshuvas from the Beis Shlomo that he brings down it seems to be talking about that the names of bnei haman and the "v'es" shouldn't be bolet to either side (meaning at the beginning or end.) However does not seem to speak about if the names themselves are not even. The shailo and what the Minchas Yitzchak is talking about is quite clear however I'd like to find others that speak about it. If anyone has any mareh makoms please comment, Thanks! (The Teshuva of the Minchas Yitzchak can be found here: )

GLUE for Sta"m

Can R' Zvi or any of the scientific minded members of this forum please comment on the kosher status of commerical glues used today such as super glue or PVC, both which are used commonly in Sta'm. I have not heard of any of these glues being certified for sta'm use. Is there any signifigant risk of them being made of non kosher animal products, particularly PVC?

Feathers for Kulmusim

I'm of the opinion that the best feathers for making kulmusim come from the first five feathers on either wing of the wild Canada goose which have been naturally molted from a mature bird.  They're strong, have much longer barrels than turkey quills, need much less resharpening and one such quill, properly tempered, can last for months of full-time writing. These quills do however require a much lighter touch than say turkey quills. Next best, I think is the Toulouse goose.  These birds often reach 25 lbs or more and produce very large feathers.  Because they're raised in captivity their feathers seem to be not as strong as those of birds which fly.  Nonetheless, their quills are highly desirable and make fine, long wearing pens. The average white domestic goose has potential, but seldom is allowed to reach a size, or an age where it's quills are large, or hard enough. Most common of all for use as kulmulsim are the feathers of the turkey, mostly white dome

Megillah C'Sidran?

I don't know how this would be but someone told me tonight that the Kol Yaakov writes that there is a shita that holds a Megillah has to be written c'sidran. I looked through the sefer on Siman 691 but didn't find anything. I made a search on the sefer as well for the word "כסדרן" on Hebrew Books and nothing came up in that Siman. If anyone knows where this is or has any idea who else might bring it down, please share! Thanks!

Nictav b'pasul

A "Tav" was written instead of a "Hei". The sofer before erasing the regel of the Taf put down something on the klaf to soak up the dio a little that it should be easier to erase. After doing so he saw that the "reish" part of the taf had also lost a bit of it's color and before erasing the regel re-wrote the reish part. Is this considered Nictav b'psul? Since that chelek was written b'kashrus, only the regel makes the ois pasul he only has to erase that. However now before erasing the regel he re-wrote the reish with the regel there in place. Maybe this is not called "Nictav b'psul"? There was seemingly enough dio still (and dark enough) that it would be considered Kosher. However maybe writing over it makes a problem now. Any thoughts please share!

Detachable mezuzah case

I came a across a mezuzah case, where it slides off the rack, this is to allow easy access to have it checked without the pain of having to put new wholes in the wall. It is a special patented invention, sounds cute and smart, however this is not an adequate setting to the doorpost which halacha requires. See Yoreh Deah 189:4- that one should affix a Mezuzah with nails, (as to make it permanent). Note, that the blessing we recite is "Likboah Mezuzah"... to set a Mezuzah (scroll)- showing that it should be made on a permanent way. It is self understood that one could not make a bracha on seting such a case either. Now it is shown to me that this case was already mentioned in the Sefer Pischei Shearim p. 334 that it is not kosher.

The shape of ancient letters Tzadik

Here is a response to the "disturbing news" in the previous post. I have some photographs of ancient STAM. The right side head of the letter Tzadik is not a straight Yod and not an inverted Yod. It is like the letter Zain, which has protrusions on both sides of the neck. It looks like Beit Yosef took half of it, and the Arizal took the other half. Open the following image in a new tab or new window to see it full size.
There is a disturbing news, a Sofer in Cedarhurst is poisoning the minds of any one who has tefilin with Ksav Arizal and convinces them to change to Beth Yosef  Here is a Teshuva from the baal Mishmereth Stam against this practice דע מה להשיב

Lemarbe continued...

Just want to share something extremely interesting as a continuation of our topic on Lemarbe.  We have seen how our tradition documents two variant writings going back to the 10th Century, one in two words and the other as a wholesome word, as per the Aleppo and Leningrad Codices.  However, in both cases the MEM is written as a SOFIT.  I have always wondered what would we see if we could travel back in time 1,000 years prior to that and be privy to see a much older scroll.  Would they exhibit the same nuances and scribal traditions?That would truly be a fantastic thing! Today we have the incredible resource of being able to see a scroll of Yishaya found in Qumran which forms part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The sefer dates back to approximately the year 100 bce.  How is Lemarbe written there?  Let's take a look! Yishaya 9:6 - Courtesy of the Israel Museum If you read carefully you will see that it is also written in two words!  This is an amazing find, because it documents

Old Tefillin Parshiyos

I occasionally check very old Tefillin Parshiyos. They usually were a yerusha from the zaide to the grandchild. These old parshiyos are often in bad shape (and there is only so much a magiah can fix). I sometimes feel to let the tefillin owner know that he should possibly switch to a new pair since there are many "issues" with the Tefililin, although kosher . I notice that some people are annoyed at even hearing that the Tefillin are anything but perfect, basing it on the fact that their zayde was so holy... The question if they think they are wearing halachikly mehudar Tefillin and to my opinion in its current state it is not mehudar, how to address this sensitive matter. Any suggestions? Side question, I found parshiyos wrapped in synthetic string, (since sayros are halacha moshe msinai), is there anything to be concerned with the parshiyos (the ksav is not nice but basic kosher)?

Megillah 11 lines

Is there a standard size for shura on a Megillah with 11 lines that is concedered THE MOST mehudar or beautiful?

kotz Rabenu-Tam

The kotz Rabenu-Tam is not at the left edge of the yud. I think that although lechatchila it should be made at the left edge, and in the given examples lechatchila should be fixed [if easily accomplished], bdieved it is kosher - since basicaly the yud has a protrusion on the general left part. Other thoughts/opinions would be appreciated.

D'yo for Sofrut

I'm new to this group so I thought I'd start off with a question.  Normally, I use some form of afeitzim based dyo for daily writing, either homemade, Nahari, or Hadar depending on the task, the amount of gloss desired, and so on.  I recently came across bottled Japanese sumi ink.  After some digging, I learned that it's made from vegetable oil soot, water, a synthetic binder and borneo camphor, some brands contain shellac to make it waterproof, but apparently no products directly derived from animals.  As one who spends a lot of time restoring old faded sifrei Torah, I've developed a keen interest in finding, a permanent, archival black ink, that won't fade, or crack over time.  I know many of us use rapidograph ink, but that doesn't seem to come in a bottle.  Would sumi ink be kosher for STAM? I've made some preliminary experiments on klaf and find that it has many of the same properties as regular sofer's ink.  It's intensely black, dries sli
Hi Yehoshua, I am delighted to post pictures from some of our oldest codices depicting the writing of Lemarbe as it appears in Sefer Yishaya 9:6. This first picture is from the Keter Aram Tzova (Aleppo Codex).  It was written by the Sofer Shelomo Ben Bo'oya under the direction of Aharon Ben Asher in Tiberia in the 10th Century.  This Codex was our oldest extant manuscript of the entire Tanach + Masoretic notes including punctuation and Ta'amei HaMikra.  As mentioned in my previous post, it is also the most authoritative due to it's proven exactness. Notice how Lemarbe is written in two words, with the MEM SOFIT placed at the end of the first "word."  Likewise, notice the masoretic note indicating that it should be pronounced as one word... i.e. Lemarbe. In it you will also notice other strange things with regard to how they used to write Ketav Ashurit in 10th Century Tiberia.  Notice the length of the YOD.  Although we would invalidate it today; then, t

shiyur revach gimel yudim

The Mishna Berura 32:110 writes that lechatchila one should be careful not to leave a space of 3 yudim between words, since according to Rabenu Tam this is a space worthy of a parsha stuma. I have noticed many old csavim [especialy from Lubavitch] that didn't care even lechatchila to leave a vacant space of 4-5 yudim between words, and were not choishesh of this shita (even lechatchila). I think the explanation for this opinion is, A. the basic shiyur of 3 letters mentioned by RT was 3 big letters like beitin, not small letters as yudim. B. since the soifer is accustomed to large revachim for spacing each parsha [9 letters, no less] leaving a small 3-5 yud space, will not resemble at all a shiyur parsha. I explained these issues elsewhere, and it is difficult on the blog to write in length. I did add a bit to this in my hebrew blog פורום לנושאי סת"ם: ריוח ג' יודי"ן בסת"ם

Roshe amudim in sefer torah

Hi , does anyone know 1) what is the roshei teves for the 6 or so amudim in a sefer torah that don't start with a vov. Also, is this mentioned anywhere (keses for example) and if so, where? thanks!

Advice For A Student

I know this is a little different than most of the halachic questions on the site, hopefully the answers will serve as a resource to future students.  I am not yet a certified sofer, I am a student who has been studying for a year with a local sofer in New York.  I am working on my first megillah and getting ready to take my test.  My question is whether any of our veteran-sofer members can provide advice to someone like myself.  For example, tips for the certification exam, any materials (outside of the mishna berurah or kesses hasofer) that are helpful to prepare.  Of course I discussed this with my teacher but I am interested in hearing more opinions/advice. In addition, I would appreciate advice on some more mundane matters including: sources for safrus supplies in america and any tools that your recommend/can't live without.  Again, I am hoping your responses to this post can serve as a resource for other budding soferim. Thank you for all your advice and Good Shabbos.

is this beis a problem?

the line goes right down from the gag to the moshav without nifsak, however it is thin

Is blog public?

Is this Blog supposed to be available for public to follow?

To high for shlish haelyon, Heker tzir

Perhaps these issues where addressed already. Is there some kind of consensus amongst Chabad rabonim in Eretz Yisroel about: a)How high is too high to put a mezuzah in shlish haelyon. b) When the only entrance (or entrances) to a room w/o openable windows are against heker tzir, does one put mezuzah against heker tzir?

Changing the term "Checking"

I am trying to change the term used for being magia STA"M from checking to Servicing, this would indicate that a sofer does more than just look it over, but is usually doing some hgaah as well. What would be a good term to use in hebrew instead of Bedikah? 

Some Shailos...

1)  I widened the gag of a chof pshutah (from the word lecha beow) to make it wider because there was more than 3 yudin between the words. Then , in order to make the chof pshutah more perfect, I attempted to thicken the regel with my rapidograph, only I started a bit too wide and ended up making a gap. see pic below. I am 99% certain that this would not be a shinuy tzurah in any way, however I wouldn't mind a second opinion before I fill it in and complete the tikun, which should look fine once it's complete 2) The vav from the word vechol above... 3) Finally, I have a house that has a very unique entrance way, when you walk down the walkway there are 3 metallic "archways" which are not there for support, but more for design. since it is in essence a mashkof and you walk through it, would they require a mezuzah? Its on the main walkway leading to the front door.

faded letters / ink deteriated

A question lately came of this mem that the ink has deteriated and fell off [this is probably caused because of some chemical disorder/interaction between the klaf and dyo. In other cases it may be caused by bad conditions as to much humidity that the mezuza is exposed to] - the background of the letter is still distinct, but the dyo that is actualy intact shows a different tzura. a. it looks more a samech, b. there is a definite gap on the left part of the moishav turning it into a psucha - how do we relate to this? There is a famous teshuva of the Chatam Sofer (YD simen 256) that ink that fades naturaly by time is still kosher although the hallacha is that ink must be black, since this is the natural decline of color it is still accepted [as long as it is still a brown color, and not totaly faded.] I think this heter does not apply in our situation. a. This is not a natural fading over time, but a quick deteriation because of a problem that is affecting the ink, the ink i

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

lamarbe hamisra

sorry for new post but i uploaded tikun ben asher by tzinagel

Mem-Pasucha and Mem-Stumah

I heard a kasha today from R' Shammai Gross that I wanted to share with the olam. The tzura of a mem (both pasucha and stumah) is that of a chof and vav (only difference is the bottom) if that's the case why is it if someone writes a Mem-Pasucha with a chof and then a line (not with a tzurah of a vav) that it's pasul and can't add onto it (see Mishnas HaSofer) while by a Mem-Stumah if someone wrote a box and didn't put a small kav on the top left he would be allowed to add it on b'dieved. In both cases you are being m'sakain the "vav" so what's the difference (I hope I have said over the kasha in the right way. Any mistake is mine and in a lack of understanding perhaps of what he was asking...)

"Lamarbeh HaMisra"

I heard that there are those who write the word "Lamarbeh" as one word and some who write it with a seperation between the mem-stumah and the reish. Does anyone know where it speaks about this? Also what is the accepted minhag?

Hak Techot

My question is about the Chet in Nuach... After finishing the letter, I was trying to strengthen the Hatoteret and the ink blotted and filled up the whole space ( so that the heads are no longer visible, there is just a thick line ) in between the two heads of the Zayin and Vav (of the Chet). I latter made some of the correction because I was sure that the letter was still Kosher and that the Tzuras Ois was not lost. Then I realized that maybe I made a mistake, I figured since the Rashi holds this shape of the Chet, that I was allowed to make the correction and it would not be Hak Techot. I will surely destroy the letter and rewrite, but my question is... would the letter be kosher bedieved, or lechatchila if at all kosher if I left it?

Not saying "leshaim" by a siyum sefer torah

I had a situation a few years ago where someone wrote some letters at a siyum sefer torah without saying leshaim. I was out of the room at the time and the guy just sort of did it on his own without asking anyone. We later could not remember which letters he did so we didn't have the option of erasing and rewriting. I subsequently called a number of Rabbonim to clarify what to do. Teshuvios ranged from those who said to erase and rewrite the entire final omud except the shaimos (we left the whole omud for this siyum ,it was a big one) to those who said it was OK since the outline was already there and that was written lishmah. In the end the morah deasrah of the shule followed the majority opinion that it was OK since the outline was there and there is no shiur of the uvai haos so therefore the letter was kosher even before. However this incident still nags at me and I still remain a little uneasy about it. I would appreciate anyone's imput or similar experiences / teshuv

Alter Rebbe ktav?

I was recently given this Megillah to fix and was wondering about the ktav. To me, it looked like Alter Rebbe, but the person told me he asked a few sofrim who said this was Arizal... is this "ktav Rusi" or Alter Rebbe?

Mezuza in alachson

We all know the reason of putting the mezuzah on a slant to minhag ashkenaz is based on the Rema 289:6 the madakdikim are yotei both opinions ... I have heard more than once that the mezuzah is placed on a slant as to let the kedusha flow into the room. I was wondering if there is any credence to this statement, I have never found it written in any sefer. Does any one know if this is a reliable statement or not? Side note, if affixing mezuzahs for a sefaradi (who follows the sefardi minhagim) if the mezuzahs were previously affixed in a slant, should I advise them to switch to straight up or leave it how it is? Update: I found a Teshuva from the Maharil in his Shu"t siman 94 he brings from the Yerusahlmi, that the mezuzah needs to see the face of the room, therefore he explains that it should be facing on a slant in the direction of the room.

bayis lacking tefiros

I saw a bayis that the tifera went around the whole bayis [4 sides] once, but the second time [coming back] the toifer tyed the gid a bit past halfway missing the 2 or 3 last tefiros. I think that bdieved this was kosher, since the tefira is on all 4 sides, although not double. I didn't see anybody speak about this case. Now I found in Zicaron Eliyahu ch. 9 that this case may be learned from the law if the tefira was torn [SA siman 33, that 2 tefiros may be permitted. I am not quoting the details]. They quote Eshel Avraham as doubting the equation, so their maskana is that if it's lacking 1 tefira, its kosher, but not 2. I think that tefiros torn are worse then tefiros lacking. Tzarich Iyun, maybe somebody has some information.

bracha - reaffixing the mezuza after checking

When giving mezuzos to be checked, it is the regular hoira'a here in yerushalayim that if they are reaffixed the same day a person doesn't have to make a bracha when putting them back [each one to its exact place]. But if they are only put back the next day (or later) one must make a bracha. Are there any other minhagim in this case/s?

matlis in tefilin/mezuza

What is the law in tefilin and mezuza in regard to placing a  matlis  on a hole in the  klaf , is it permitted as in a sefer tora or not? It is  pashut  to me, that to glue a  matlis   after  the start of the writing of the tefilin or mezuza, and then write on the matlis [csidran] is not accepted [it is pasul], since this is writing a mezuza [and tefilin have the same law] on 2 parchments, as explained in Yore Dea siman 288:4. My question is , if he glued the matlis before the begining of the writing tefilin or mezuza, may he then write part of the parshiya or mezuza also on the matlis (obviously only complete letter/s with the hekef gvil as in a sefer tora). See Pishei Teshuva YD 288:4 in the name of Shut Rabbi Akiva Eiger that permits gluing 2 parchments before the csiva and writing after they are combined, a mezuza. Seemingly the same should apply to a matlis that was glued before, but maybe matlis is worse than a complete piece of parchment? See Mishnat Hasofer 27:5 that th

Sofrim: Chutz L'Aretz and Eretz Yisrael

Perhaps someone can help with this question. I live in Eretz Yisrael and I know here there are many many many sofrim throughout the country (more than needed maybe.) Does anyone know what percentage breakdown is of sofrim in regards to Eretz Yisrael and Chutz L'Aretz. I know one sofer for example who after getting married here and spending a few years in EY thought about moving back to Chutz L'Aretz. However his parnasah is from sofrus and didn't think he would make any money as a sofer in Chutz L'Aretz since there is a high demand for STaM coming from EY (perhaps someone can clarify this as well.) In the end he decided to stay here Baruch HaShem. He ended up getting a job writing a Sefer Torah for a Chabad shul in Canadan (if I'm not mistaken.) It come through someone here in Eretz Yisrael who had a connection to the shul or the community at large there. His chances of getting such a job like that in Chutz L'Aretz would have probably been less. Maybe can some

Tikunim in stam

What should a magiah need to fix when checking? Only the matters which are posul and other fixes like hosafas dio when very necessary? Or one should fix even smaller problems including but not limited to missing tagim of Bedek Chayah and shatnaz gatz (how about on the back of the mezuza where it is not at all meakev? I see that many are not makpid on adding tagim on the back, not that is a proof that it should not be the Magiahs obligation to fix it if he is anyways checking it, however it is not so simple to obligate fixing in the back either). Two things to keep in mind: 1)The more the unnecessary fixing the higher chances there are to also potentially posul chas veshalom. 2) When the client gives their sta"m to be checked are they not expecting that even smaller issues should be fixed. (Is that not what they are paying for)? I know that not all magihim work the same, is there a oral or written teshuva to this question? I however think that it also depends on the general status