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Friday, February 17, 2012

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.

3 comments:

  1. I would get ksav kaballa, it's very important. Also I would suggest learning Rav Stern's sefer Mishnas hasofer in addition to the standard stuff (Kesses, MB (AR)).
    It's also worthwhile to learn about other minhagim and practices (Sefardi, ashkenaizish, chabad, chassidish etc) as there is a good chance trhat as a sofer you will end up servicing a wide range of customers. (Nothing irks me more than sofrim imposing their views on others).

    In terms of buying supplies and other practical stuff in NY, I'd suggest Shmiel Traube of bais hastam, (he's a regular on this forum). If your background is Chabad you can try Yitzchok Raskin in Crown Heights.

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  2. After receiving a csav kabballah be sure to set aside time to learn the halachos in depth (keeping in mind that however well you know them if there is ever a shailo to ask a Rov who is a mumcha in these halachos.) A sofer that knows the halachos *well* will have a better ability to know what is a shailo and what is not in order to not pasken by on their own and more importantly to not skip over what is a potential shailo. R' Shammai Gross (from the biggest mumchim in STaM in Eretz Yisrael) said there are 2 types of people that can't/shouldn't pasken shailos in a STaM...One is a Rov who is not a mumcha and doesn't know the halachos good enough to pasken. The other is any Sofer since they are nege'ah b'davar (although this itself might vary on a case to case basis depending who the sofer is.)

    As Eli mentioned Mishnas HaSofer is great sefer to learn. I know many sofrim that are constantly learning the sefer since it includes so much.

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  3. thank you for the responses, i already have (and use) the mishnas hasofer and I do intend to get my ksav kabballah. any advice beyond that would be helpful. i.e. what tools do you use regularly (outside of the obvious -- kulmus, dio, klaf). etc.

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