Showing posts from March, 2012


Shavua Tov, Dov, a sofer friend of mine has asked me 'do the shemot in haftarot require kidush? Does the word 'shalhevetya' in Shir HaShirim require kidush? 'haleluya' in Tehilim?' I would say yes to the first and no to the other two, but I can't actually find any sources that back this up and I've been reading through quite a few books to see if this is specifically mentioned. Anyone out there have any specific references to sefer haftarot and the other two that I can pass on to him . Many thanks, Mordechai

I received this email from Montreal, if anyone can help please respond

BH I just heard about your blog and wonder if you could post a question for me? I have a pair of meyuchasdike parshas Rashi Tfillin written in 5741 by R' Yaakov Silberman obm in Montreal. There is now a psul in the 2nd and 3rd parsha of shel rosh. I wonder if anyone knows of someone who might be interested in selling Rashi parshios from Reb Y. Silberman, or has put away the last 3 parshios mehudorim - ksav Admor Hazaken - written in the last 30 years? Sinai Weinbaum Montreal email   Note: Obviously Mr Weinbaum would need a whole new rosh by Rav Silberman, since there is no real way to ascertain kesidran unless exact dates can be verified.

Chak Techot?

An interesting thing happened to me in the word Nisan here in this Megilla today. As I was finishing the Samech, on the very last point of connecting it in its top right hand corner, I touched the Koz RT of the Yud. There is no Shinui Tzura so I would usually be able to be Gorer and destroy everything in the Samech from the that point on. Since the point of Negia is also the point of finishing the letter what do I need to do? Can I just separate them? The real question is what do we consider as happening first, and if it happens at the same time then do I need to Mevatel Ha'Ot (since it happens Be'Et Ketiva)?

Megillah with Eitz Chaim

Is it muter to make a megillah with an Eitz Chaim like a Sefer Torah? Or since l'maseh it has to be an like an igeres then this is ossur to do?

ches with rosh missing on vov

Something like this. is it a shinu tzurah? can it be fixed in tefillin and mezuzos? Yehoshua, can you please ask ravs shammai? conceptual only, I am not asking about this particular picture.mteh case is that there was a thick low chotteteres but no actaul rosh on 1st vav


I am wondering, what are your thoughts regarding this Sefer. A friend bought this in Israel, and is a bit unhappy with how the lines are sometimes coming out of the sirtut. It also has some letters that are misshapen (such as his chet where he makes the vav part shorter then the zayin part etc) Do you see this as kosher or kosher b'dieved? mehudar or not? I did not find a whole word coming out of the line, but a lot of letters coming out.

Creases in k'laf

I recently checked through a Torah that had been rescued from Germany just before Kristallnacht in a suitcase. It is going to require some considerable restoration and means a great deal to the family and congregation that it is loaned to. However, four or five amudim have very bad moisture creases. I have been in touch with the British Library regarding parchment restoration and also chatted with a sofer colleague but was wondering whether anyone on the forum has practical experience of dealing with this. I don't want to replace the yeriot if I can help it because of the historical nature of the Torah - it has lots of marvellous kabbalistic taggin and special otoyot. Also, I would be interested in the view on kashrut if the crease is particularly heavy and obscuring the letters even if they are a) there and b) complete when the creases is pulled back, as I've only dealt in the past with relatively minor creasing where the letter was still guf echad or where addition of ink m

hefsek in Yud

A hefsek in the Yud between the guf and the regel - may be fixed, as all nifsakim.

lamed with a clear hefsek

I know there is a debate in the Acharonim as to may one fix this lamed in tefilin and mezuza. My opinion is, that le'maase we can be meikal and fix [even shlo csidran].

כי מלאך ה' צבאות הוא

The Viznitzer Rebbe of Bnei Brak was nifter (as many probably know) last week. Many from different Mosdos and groups of Chassidus signs were put up in honor of him as what usually happens when someone well-known is nifter here in Eretz  Yisrael. My friend noticed in Mea Sharim one sign that had written on it the following (as it appears here wtihout any changes "כי מלאך ה' צבאות הוא" Usually the signs are covered over within a weeks time and then eventually torn down and thrown in the trash is there any problem from that fact that it was written "צבאות" on the sign? (As this is one of the Shemos "shaino nimchakim")? It could very well be that my friend was mistaken and that there was some sort of shinui made however let's evaluate what would be the halacha if this did happen.


I have been seeing recently, a lot of Soferim who let a woman hold the tip of the feather while the Sofer is writing during a siyum and was wondering what is correct halacha? In the past, I let the women dip the kulmus in the ink and then me and their husbands do the letter, but am now facing a lot of Rabbi's who say they saw so and so let women hold the kulmus, and why I don't do the same? Thanks, Shabbat Shalom

problematic Zayin

The second zayin in mezuzos - is lacking a complete rosh on its right side. I think it is pasul. Here is the same picture, at the smallest size available for the blog. In reality it is even smaller - cut the screen size to 50-65% - for a more accurate size - and the blita of the right is unnoticable.

Ink eraser knife

In the nineteenth century, there used to be made a knife that was created especially for removing ink from parchment.  It's blade was shaped like an aspen leaf, hollow-ground and exquisitely sharp.  The shape of the blade in some ways imitates the shape of the lunellum, the knife which the klafmacher uses to thin and smooth the skin during processing and it is therefore extremely suitable for making erasures on parchment. Unfortunately, they are no longer made, but they can still be found fairly easily on any number of sites specializing in old writing paraphernalia.  They cost usually between 20 and 80 dollars or more, but are definitely a tool worth investing in.  When sharpened properly, say to about the same degree of perfection as a knife used in shechita, these knives really are the very best thing for thoroughly removing stains and unwanted letters.  They are much sturdier than a razor blade, or an X-acto knife, and give better results.  They can also be resharpened.

The Morning After

We have all experienced the morning after Simcha Torah.  Broken atzei chayim, ripped parchments, seams to be repaired, etc.   Shuls turn to us to repair their bruised scrolls and patch-up their ailing Sifrei Torah.  With a sense of duty we all rise to fulfill our call to be true Torah doctors. What about the morning after Purim?  Did someone's drinking ever affect a Megillah?  Today, I received this one.  It didn't necessarily happen on Purim, but some liquid went over it causing the writing to run and staining the parchment. Tomorrow, I will try to clean it up a bit.  Before doing so, however, I would like to hear from your experiences and what you have done to remedy similar mishaps.

where does the word "vellish" come from?

I was totally stumped today when someone asked me why sefardi sksav is called vellish and where the word comes from, particularly since it sounds like an ashkenazic name. Anyone?

caf with problem

Just to add to Nachman's shayla - here is a caf with a problem, its is round but seems to have an akev.

beis with poor eikev

hi, what would be the din of a beis with a very minute eikev, and roundish , such as the picture here. I have some cheap mezuzos with such beises.


There is a problem by a Sefer Torah if it is "menumar" (I can't find right now where it says this in Hilchos Sefer Torah so if someone could post where exactly I would appreciate it.)  Does this din also apply by a Mezuzah? By a Sefer Torah the problem is since it is read b'tzibbur, but by a Mezuzah no one will see it. The shailo came up like this. A Bachur learned how to be a Sofer and even has a csav kabbalah already. His father wants him to write for him mezuzos however this bachur doesn't want to write any Shemos so he will get someone else to write the shemos (c'sidran obviously.) But with someone else's csav you could run into the problem of menumar. The shailo is if it's even noge'ah by a mezuzah at all.


Switching gears to the fast approaching Purim, I need help finding a Makor for a new post. Melech in this post claims that the Chacham Tzvi is the source for highlighting the letters of the Shem throughout the Megilla The owner of the megillah pictured here had the sofer put three dots on top of every word that hints at Hashem’s name. The source for this is from the Chacham Tzvi. I will hopefully bring the exact place that this is brought down. I can't find the Makor - does anyone one knows and can you provide a link from Shut Hacham Tzvi which is available in Hebrewbooks. Purim Sameach YK

Dio - Min hamuter b'ficha

I admit that I found a Rishon that clearly says - the dyo must be mutar bficha, as all the rabbis mentioned in the blog claimed. The tshuva is from Rabbi Eliezer ben Natan from Lunel [ba'al sefer Hamanhig]. see in source: ויראה הטעם מדכ' למען תהי' תורת ה' בפיך צריך שכל עשיית התורה לשם ה׳ בין עשיית העורות בין הכתיבה .. וכתי

Dio - Min hamuter b'ficha

I'm sorry to make a new post about this. However if I added this to the comments of the original post (which now as I am writing as 55 comments) I'm afraid people would miss it. As well I'll take the opportunity to mention another point for new members. I'm a Talmid of R' Shammai Gross and have the zechus to m'shamesh him on a daily basis. Today I had asked him very pashut if that which dio should be "min hamuter..." is a din lichatchila, b'dieved, mitzvah min hamuvchar, etc. He responded that it's pashut that it's "m'ikar hadin". I asked what is the makor. To which he responded pashut that just like Klaf has to be, so to with this. Now I know there are those people here that will ask why I didn't push any further, for a better explanation, etc. however it wasn't the right time (for a few reasons) and that he was clear in the psak. He of course mentioned the discussion of using Stam yanem, but for sure has to be from

Megillat Esther

In a previous post we established that the Megillah as it appeared in the Keter Aram Tzovah had both Parashiot Petuhot and Setumot.  The same is true of the Leningrad Codex.  Here is a facsimile copy of the first two pages of the Megillah as it appears in the original Leningrad Codex.  You may "click" on all the following pictures in order to enlarge. As we all know our current custom is to write the Megillah in its entirety with closed parashot.   When seeing the above, one must ask the question:  How is it that such a change came about?  I have no answers, but have decided to share a bit of my cursory investigation with you. The oldest documented text alluding to the writing of the Megillah with all of the parashot Setumot (as per our custom today) is from Maharam from Rothenburg who lived in the 1200's in Germany.  Here is a printed copy of his halakhot for the Megillah.  Does any one know if there is a manuscript copy of the Maharam's Halakhot or his

kabalas shabos insight

I would like to share with some of our friends an insight that came to me at kabalas shabos. [All remember the big argument last week] I was thinking it can't be, that there is no remez in the Tora that dyo is different than the klaf that has to be mutar bficha?! Then a flash of thought came to me: Don't you remember the midrash raba [shir hashirim] on the pasuk:  - "קווצותיו תלתלים שחורות כעורב" קווצותיו תלתלים זה סרגול [שירטוט השיטה] בספר תורה שחורות כעורב זה הכתב The midrash raba says that "black as a raven" represents the letters of the sefer tora. This is a nice remez that the letters are resembled to a nonkosher foul, they may come from a non-kosher source.

Parshas Zachor

By the shul I daven in this Shabbos they have 2 kosher sifrei Torah (could be a third also?) they lein from (one big and one small.) The small one they always use as the "second" Sefer Torah. It was asked which one to use for Parshas Zachor. In terms of csav, hiddur, etc they are probably both the same. However the smaller one is older. Better to davka take the newer one or no difference? In the end they quickly decided to use the smaller older one and save the bigger newer one for Zachor...To which the bal koreh said afterwards it was hard for him to lean over the bima and lein from such a small sefer Torah the whole kriah. Any thoughts please share.

Some minhag Chabad questions:

A prominent Chabad rabbi here asked me the following two questions, both of which I need the advice of Reb Moshe or anyone else for that matter who may be able to shed some light on the following: 1) A door which is a secondary external door - it is not the front door per se but is a main door of a building leading to a parking lot which on weekdays is probably used more than the front door as an entrance - should we follow heker tzir or yemin haknisah? I know this is a machlokes in chabad but what do we do lemaasseh in this case particulalry. 2) There seems to be a minhag in Chabad which was more common 40 years ago and less common today - to put  a mezuzah in a paper or thin plastic wrapping directly onto the door. (The idea of see through coverings comes from the Remah, I do not think it is relevant to this discussion). I know that Chabad's philosophy was always to use simple cases because the main hiddur should be the actual mezuzah klaf and not the case. however today we h

Yalkut Yosef


Dyo Making

In light of recent discussions of ink and the ingredients used in it's manufacture.  I thought it might be helpful to post a detailed explanation of how it's actually made.  I apologize if the post is somewhat long, but hopefully it will shed some light on the issue.  All recipes for sofer's ink centre around three basic ingredients: 1. Oak Galls -Afeitzim Oak galls are formed when the tiny torymus sp. a wasp, lays her eggs in the twigs or leaves of a living oak tree. Here is the torymus sp. perched on a blade of grass, which gives the scale of the insect.   The tree tries to eliminate the invader by producing a gall around the eggs.  This gall happens to be extremely high in gallo-tannic acid. It is is this gallo-tannic acid that we are interested in for making ink.  Certain types of oak trees produce galls with greater concentrations of this tannic acid and consequently are more sought after.  The most effective for ink-making are the Aleppo gall

could this be the result of too much laquer thinner?

I checked a pair of tefillin yesterday where the shel rosh was clearly damaged by a black liquid like substance that had gotten onto the bottom of the shel rosh parshiyos (see pic). After closer examination I saw that the bottom of the bayis, ie the tip of the mechitzos, had it as well (see pic). Clearly liquid entered the bayis at some stage and did damage. I have seen water damage but this was different because it left a grey / black stain whereas watermarks are usually clear. I think what happened here is that the bottom of the bayis had paint which was washed off with laquer thinner. You can still see some of the paint in the charitsim on the underside of the bayis. The dirty liquid (laquer thinner mixed with the paint) went thought the holes of the tefiros and enetered the bayis, staining the lower bayis and the bottom of the parshiyos. Clearly the guy used too much laquer thinner. I cannot think of any other way these parshiyos would have got damaged in such a manner. The point