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Friday, March 16, 2012

siyum

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

16 comments:

  1. better to avoid the practice completely. just be their shliach

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  2. Moshe Weiner has been shouting a long time about the siyumim - this is one of the side affects !!!
    Every sofer at the siyum should anounce that; only and only the sofer will do the siyum, the honorable people will make the sofer a shaliach.
    Things are getting out of hand and woman are going to hold the hand of the sofer "leshem kedushas sefer tora"???
    Those Rabbis allowed women etc. for the sake of money .... excuse me for being blunt !!!!

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  3. Could someone please explain how 2 people write one letter at the same time using 1 Kulmus.It also seems to be risky business having someone touching a Kulmus while the Sofer is writing .

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  4. they hold the top while the sofer holds the normal position

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  5. Already in ShuT R' Akiva Yosef Shlesinger he spoke out against this minhag of having a siyum and people without experience taking part...The time is to be m'vatel it like many have already said.

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  6. I heard of a sofer who uses a special ink that does not stick. He lets anyone who wants to write, women, non-from, etc. Then, afterwards, he secretly peels off all the last letters and re-writes them himself. I did not succeed in finding what kind of ink it is.

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  7. Cancelling this Minhag will never happen because of the golden rule - those who give the gold make the rule.

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  8. I agree with all of the above.
    It just causes awkwardness and anger.

    When the women dip the kulmusim in the ink, they usually put a ton of ink on it, and it can mess up a letter, and the husbands holding the kulmus, sometimes twitch and the letters are not as nice or mehudar as it should be. I usually have to go over it after the siyum and make sure they are still kosher.

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  9. I have never allowed anyone to hold my pen during a siyyum. I usually explain that the writing is very delicate and the slightest shake can invalidate the Torah. Not only would this be unsightly and become the talk of the event; it will also refocus the attention of everyone coming up to write a letter to zero in the mistake. Definitely not something that we would like to happen.

    In the past, I have had people who become very insistent including women. The most I have done has been to allow them to place their hand on my covered forearm. More recently, if they are extremely insistent I direct them to softly lay their hand on my shoulder. As a rule, however, they are only to stand or sit by my side during a siyyum. This is across the line for both men and women, equally.

    What makes the above a truly awkward situation is that they feel entitled. They have paid for a letter and want to call the shots. I have learned, and now work this in anticipation with the Rabbis and planning committees to issue a guideline email letter to the participants of what to expect when coming up to fill a letter. It makes a big difference.

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  10. I usually ask the person who bought the letter to sit next to me. I give them the quill and tell them to hand it back to me, appointing me as their shaliach for writing the ois. Then I dip and write. This was the eitzah I received from R' Moshe Halberstam z"tzl.

    Before starting the siyum, I usually ask the Rav of the shul or the donor of the sefer to explain to everyone there that this is the procedure that will be followed without exception. and it tends to go smoothly.

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    1. R. Avraham,
      That is excellent advice from R' Halberstam. Thank you for sharing it with this forum.

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  11. ZVI, EVEN IF SUCH AN INK EXISTS, IT WOULD BE MARAS AYIN TO LET WOMEN WRITE, SO I DON'T GET THE WHOLE CONCEPT

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    1. Eli, I didn't say I agree with letting women write. I only mentioned what I heard. Anyway, it is relatively rare. The more common problem is the non-frum people who do not keep Shabbat.

      The idea of handing the kulmus to make a shaliach is excellent. It give the guest a feeling of participation. Maybe, it would be helpful to remind everyone before the writing that a Brit Milah is a Mitzvah for the father. The father fulfills this Mitzvah by handing the knife to the Mohel, making him a Shaliach.

      If a stubborn guest says that he wants to write himself, or hold the kulmus while writing, ask him if he would also do the same while the Mohel does the Brit to his son.

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  12. Generally I have allowed people (men or women) to hold my arm (not hand) as I write on their behalf as they may not be shomer shabbat. That said occasionally you get an older congregant (or nervous one) who shakes a bit and makes writing a little harder! I ask them to make a declaration and sing out the letter from a tikkun. I do like R. Halberstein's idea of handing them the kulmus to make a shaliach - a very good idea that I think I will incorporate into my siyyumim in future.I usually explain what is going to happen in advance and make a bit of an educational session prior to starting so people know what to expect. I give them a certificate after.

    I understand there are some sofrim who will complete the outlines of the letters so that they are kasher in form and then permit the filling in by others since that does not change the form of the letter or affect the status of the already kasher letter. But then you do get the dangers of them going out of the line, smudging, messing up etc.

    However allowing people to participate as much as possible in a siyyum is key as most cannot ever afford to have their own torah but Menachot 30a does at least afford the opportunity to a select few to have the status of the mitsvah accorded to them. 'R. Sheshet said if one corrects even one letter it is considered as if he wrote [an entire Sefer Torah]' and adds: 'whoever writes a Sefer Torah, Scripture deems it as if he received it from Sinai'.

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    1. R. Sheshet is reffering to one that corrects even one letter, only in a Torah which belongs to him & was Posul at the the time he obtained the Torah. One cannot fulfill the mitzvah of Ksivas S"T on a torah belonging to another.

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  13. What is everyone relying on here to allow a woman to hold onto your arm or touch your shoulder or any other part of the guf even if there is a separation of some sort of beged?

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