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.


  1. Hi R. Moshe,
    In this case as the belita is clear, it has a definite tzurat BET. If we were in doubt, however, then we would be obliged to show it to a tinok.

    Bottom line, as a Khaf, this one is passul. However, if one were to be in doubt whether it was perhaps a BET, then one must have a tinok take a look at it.

  2. This shailo I had brought to R' Shammai a while back (exact picture). R' Shammai said he is very m'supak in such a case if a tinnok may be asked or if it's pasul as it is. The last thing he said is that he believes a tinnok could be asked since l'maseh along the bottom it is round.

  3. Asking a tinok is useless in this case. Children learn today only one "correct" shape of the letter ב. They don't even know that there is such a thing as ב with a sharp corner at the bottom-right and without a heel. All children will read such a ב (sharp corner without a heel) as a כ. In the olden days the only difference between ב and כ was the sharp corner vs. rounded corner. The heel was added later on to make for a better distinction. A tinok who never learned it, can not be asked on something like that.

    1. R' Zvi, It's great to discuss these cases as we all learn from them. Let me point out, that in the above case we are not trying to find-out if it is a kosher BET. Rather, we are trying to determine if it is a KHAF. As such, asking a tinok would be of avail if one were to be in doubt.

      However, as I have mentioned above, this KHAF has a clear protrusion on the heel. This gives it a definite tzurat BET. Therefore, in this particular case, we are not obliged to ask a tinok, and we declare it passul.

      As to what you mention with regards to the case of a BET with a sharp corner at the bottom, I am in full agreement with you children today do not recognize this BET and it's useless to show it to them.

      This type of BET with a rounded top and a sharp corner at the bottom is both, PASSUL for a BET and also PASSUL for a KHAF. The only difference is that if it was supposed to be a KHAF we would then be able to round the bottom if a tinok was able to read it as such.

      But as you say, if it was intended to be a BET, then the reading of a tinok is to no avail, and the letter is just plain PASSUL.

      There is one exception to the above case of the BET, and that is if we are in doubt whether it is square on the top right corner (appears very slightly rounded), then showing it to a tinok may be of avail.

      In this day and age however, as you mention, a tinok will very likely call it a KHAF for he is just not used to the BET you indicate. It's a sad case, because the same tinok 500 years ago would have likely called it right.

      Finally, a BET that is square, both on the bottom and the top right and does not have a protruding heel, is KASHER as it is. We don't even bother asking a tinok. I'll put my money with you, that even in this case, a modern tinok will call it a KHAF.

      These are the times that it is useless to show a tinok. They never learned or saw such a BET. In this case, we know the halacha, and the OT is KASHER as it is. There is no need to involve a tinok.

  4. R' Shammai Gross I have heard say many times that important the tinnok should know what is the correct tzurah of each ois. From that I'm assuming now we rely that if he'll see a Beis, he'll say Beis and if he'll see a Chof, he'll say chof, based on his understanding. Obivously if a tinnok would say something is not the correct letter when in fact it is and all the poskim are machshir it, we wouldn't listen to the tinnok...As well I've heard R' Shammai say on many occassions to ask a "Good Tinnok" whatever that mean. I'm sure everyone can draw different conclusions.

  5. Im sorry im a little on this one, but from what i remember the most important thing in a Chaf is that it should be rounded in the right side corners. Some even machshir if the top right corner is sharp but everyone will agree that the bottom right corner must be rounded and not sharp. In this case, the chaf is rounded, the only problem is the slight blita. In my understanding, as long as the bottom right side is not sharp, the Kaf will be kosher.

  6. Sefer S'fakot Hasofer brings this exact issue (indeed with a very similar picture) in letter kaf:8 and he says that if the ekev is very clear then it is pasul but if there is safek (and I think there is here) then it does avail to show to a tinok as we are trying to establish it is a kaf.


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