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 hamutar!!


  1. I have no intention to weaken a sofer who wants to be me'hader in doing the mitzva with the best kulmus, and best dyo - as "ze kaly v'anvehu".
    I was only trying to put chumros in the correct drawer!

    1. Of course we must satisfy the halachik requirements for our materials, but once done, we should also seek out the best materials technically for our work. Not doing so has led us to the point where we knowingly write with dyo that crumbles, cracks and fades after a few decades.

      That something is kosher does not automatically make it good to use. For example blintzes, strudels and schnecken are completely kosher, making a steady diet of them though is likely to lead to obesity, heart disease and a slew of other health problems. It is the same with our materials.

      As to kulmusim, I think of them like the various tools used by a craftsman, they are of different sizes, possess different qualities, but each has its use. Turkey feathers have their place and shouldn't be discarded, but it's good to have other more responsive options available when doing really fine work. Using turkey feathers for everything is a bit like reaching for the ten pound maul, when what's really needed is a jeweler's mallet.

  2. When we first came out with Dio LaNetzach it had a hechsher from a non-famous local mashgiach. The American and Canadian sofrim had no problem with it. The sofrim in Eretz Israel, on the other hand, would not touch the ink because they were not familiar with the hashgacha, even though the same mashgiach was acceptable to the American Satmar and Beltz. Only after we obtained the approval of Vaad Mishmereth Stam, the Israeli sofrim accepted it.

    Even then, we got requests from some sofrim to obtain an additional Hechsher from בד"ץ העדה החרדית . I asked (via email) one of them, which Hechsher does he see on the ink with which he writes now. He admitted that it has no hechsher at all.

    Then I asked how can he on one hand write with an ink without a hechsher, and on the other hand, say that even Vaad Mishmereth Stam is not good enough for him, and only בד"ץ העדה החרדית is good enough. He disappeared and never answered.

    This is still a mystery to me. How is it possible on one hand to write with an ink without a hechsher, and on the other hand, to say that only בד"ץ העדה החרדית is good enough?

  3. Reb Zvi,
    I will share with you a little secret - there is no question!!
    I agree with much of the written above lately - hecsherim are used for money reasons sometimes.
    In your case those that will not accept your dyo because of a hecsher - IE a cover-up for other reasons!!

    I think it is better for your personal advertisement not to tackle the hecsher side [as I wrote here, dyo realy doesn't need a hecsher, it is only a hidur, although a worthy one]- rather emphasize the high quality your dyo is worth. I personaly believe that will [in the long run] work better.

    I bless you with much success. Many of my friends use your dyo. Others have technical difficulties.

  4. R. Moshe,
    You indeed inject a breath of fresh air into a world that has been overtaken by humrot. Let me say, that in this respect, I am a kin spirit and share the same view as you.

    The above has always been the classical view of our hakhamim. Even if they took certain strictures upon their own selves, they always refrained from making it halakha for the rabim. Quite the opposite, they always were firm and clear to uphold the fact that if halakha permits, then it's status of kashruth must be upheld in all situations and without reservations.

    R. Zvi, I must tell you that from my point of view, R. Moshe's advise is right on. You must always uphold the quality and resilience of your ink. Endorsements are great, however, never as good as proven word-of-mouth. I have worked with many inks, and yours is simply the finest. Keep it up and don't let yourself be swayed by these independent interests.

    Halakha never required a heksher on ink. If sofrim come to use it, it's because they trust you and see that it works. In a like-manner our grandparents used to buy homemade cheese from the Yid next door because they trusted him, and the cheese was tasty. They never required a heksher.

    Ink making is still a cottage industry. Keep up the quality work, and you will see the power of word of mouth. There may be kinks along the road, but they will all be a blessing in order to help you perfect it.

  5. Reb moshe i often wondered why kulmus naeh is part of "veanveyhu" we dont see it after product is finished?
    May I suggest that the quality of the kulmus is reflected in the ksav

    1. I appreciate your pshat which indeed is correct. the simple pshat is, that a mitzva should be preformed in the most honorable way to show that we honor the mitzva - therefore a sofer should use a kulmus nae so as to beautify and honor his activity out of the cavod for the mitzva, even if there would be no after affects on the csav.

  6. Some Hiddurim and Chumrot have become over the years minimum standards. A shchitta knife, for example, today needs to be perfectly polished and absolutely smooth. If Moshe Rabbeinu were to apply for a Shochet job today with his original knife, he would probably be laughed out all the way to the exit.

    When we buy an Etrog, the same applies. No one will buy today an etrog which is just kosher.

    Tfillin from cow skin or in one piece are also a modern invention. The process for making them was invented by Rabbi נתנאל תפילינסקי in ירושלים about 100 years ago.

    So, we do have hiddurim which have become minimum or almost-minimum standards.

    1. Reb Zvi,
      There are some areas that definitly require hashgacha and hecsher, as kashrus areas and esrog. But not every area requires a hecsher, some hecsherim are made up in order to make money. In cases that the hecsher milchatchila is wrong, then it is quite difficult to ask why isn't the hecsher lshem shamayim!

      Tfilin gasos from cow skin is an excellent example for our issue:

      I personaly hold that dakos are more mehudar hallachicly than gasos. The new miksha tefilin are more problematic. So what is the success of gasos, becouse they are stronger and their edges don't get rubbed/broken as in dakos, it was very easy to presuade people to buy them [["tefilin lanetzach !!]].
      Kal vchomer in the dyo, just show what your dyo does for the sofer/csav, that will prove its quality.

    2. R' Moshe: I don't disagree with you. I am not in favor of חומרות יתרות either. I am just trying to express my frustration, and maybe also find a side of מלמד זכות on those, including great and famous Rabbanim, who would not consider Dio Lanetzach with an unknown local Hechsher, and waited for a universally recognized confirmation of the Hechsher. My frustration was, as mentioned before, that on one hand they required a recognized hechsher, and on the other hand use ink with no hechsher at all.

  7. Beis Hastam,
    your suggestion that the quality of the kulmus is reflected in the ksav is appreciated. May I add that the noeh of the kulmus also has a hashpah on the Sofer (which translates into his ksav) as in "... Dirah noeh, marchivin daiton shel Adom".

  8. I believe we can apply the klal of 'Zeh ... vianvahu' even by machsirai mitzvah. I saw in the Natei Gavriel (siyum Sefer Torah) the minhag of many to have a beautiful keset for the siyum sefer Torah and it is because of 'Zeh ... Vianvahu'. I do not have the exact page on me right now. Certainly by the kolmos as well (this is besides for the reasons already mentioned).


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