Showing posts from April, 2012

Sefard and Ashkenaz customs of reading the Torah

Does any one know of a makor or at least the reason why Sefardic minyans read the Torah while it is standing, where as Ashkenaz minyans read the Torah while it is laying down? Was this concept from a mesorah or did it evolve through the time as a way of giving proper kavod to the Torah, similar to some of the ornaments that came about over the time?

White out on Klaf

I heard an eitzah today that I want to know what the olam has to say about it. Sometimes the klaf takes in the dio too much that even if one is able to erase what's on top, still there is a roshem left on the inside that cannot come off. Could someone take white-out (here in Eretz Yisrael they have typex which I think is the same thing?) put that over where the part to erase was, be m'shafshaf a little bit where the typex is then write over it?
Just been asked a couple of questions. One about k'laf patching which I could answer but one about the retsuah for the head tefillin getting damaged in specific spots where the leather comes in contact with sweaty skin, which I would appreciate some thoughts on as to how can this damage be prevented (and 'stop sweating' is not an option) or repaired?    Todah,   Mordechai

big Vov in the word "Gachon" in parshas shmini

I recently sold a sefer Torah to a shul who brought it to my attention that the word gachon is supposed to have a big vov. I spoke to the sofer and he gave me a list of the accepted big and small letters in the torah, which I have attached to this post. Gachon is not one of them. Can anyone tell me the background info about this vov and if it is commonly written large today or not?


I want to thank Eli for this beautiful, thoughtful and very interesting and usefull forum. May Hashem grant you strength to continue this, as many other good deeds. Moshe

tricky image

Yesterday Mordechai Pinchas posted this question - what is this? a kosher zadi, or a yud connected to a nun? I think this is exactly the argument mentioned long ago in the בכור case, that the caf and vav are so close to each other but not touching. [posts given at end of this blog] The opinions in regard בכור that say that it is kosher as is, so no need/care what a tinok will read. Accordingly here, they will say since the yud and nun are touching and they are a kosher zadi, we are not concerned what a tinok may read. [I don't think anybody is concerned of the regel of the yud - as a cause of a shinuy tzura of the zadi]. The opinions mentioned in regard to בכור that say that although the letters are not touching, still the wrong conception in the eyes of a tinok cause them to be considered another letter [in that case - mem], will say here the same - we must ask a tinok what does he read חמץ או חמין??? See   The word בכור that the caf and vav are very close to another and

Torah Ornaments

Does anyone know when they historically started using the common Ashkenaz Torah ornaments like: Crown, Breast Plate, Meil. Also, when did the custom of Sefardic communities start to have a Torah placed in a special box. When did these two differing customs evolve? Does anyone know of a sefer in Hebrew or English which explains everything about the Torah also on a historical perspective.

Selling a mezuzah to a goy

I suppose this is a bigger problem for Judaica shops who are open to anyone who walks in off the street. What isw the halachah? Perhaps Rabbis Bloomestiel or Gorman would have experience in this matter?
Just fixing parshat tsav in at Torah and noticed this error. I think what has happened is that the join between yud and nun sofit shapes faded badly (though it is still there and still solid but very thin) and then a subsequent (and it appears careless) scribe who was inking over thinking it was a yud has added a regel to the yud creating a safek over the tsura of the ot. It looks like a yud and nun but is actually a tsadi sofit. Or is it? It should read chamets (see tikkun). Now can one merely thicken the existing join between the letters and then scrape the regel of the yud or is that chok tochot? The simplest non doubt way would be to erase the whole yud and rewrite as a tsadi sofit. However what if this had been in tefillin or mezuzah where shelo k'sidran correction would not be permitted - could one reinforce the existing join and scrape the regel? What do people think?

Tefillin for someone missing an arm

1 What is the halacha when someone is missing their left (weaker arm) from the kibores? 2 What is the halacha when someone has a full arm cast which covers even the kibores? It appears that in the first case the person is completely exempt from placing tefillin shel yad 27:1 Rema; Shulchan Aruch HaRav 27:3, in the second case they should put on tefillin, to satisfy the opinion of the Rashba , (that does not hold there is a problem of chatzitzah with Tefillin), however without a bracha (based on S A HaRav ibid:7. There is the opinion of the Magen Avraham 27:3 (also quoted in the S A HaRav 27:3, which is inserted in special parenthesis), that in the first case the tefillin shel yad should be placed on the right arm, without a bracha. Does the Magen Avraham hold the same for the second case? Is it correct to say that Lehalacha Lemassah one does not follow the Magen Avraham in this case(s)?

missing a stitch on tefillin

Hey chevreh, A stitch missing from the underside of the bayis in the middle, not on the sides, is still kosher, am I correct? where is this brought down?

Work has been slow...

...So I have had a little time to put some TLC into this blog, including the new layout as well as updationg the members list (apologies to all those who joined ages ago and I neglected to add them).

The Great Escape

How kosher is this Lamed which I attempted to keep out of the Chaf Sofit above it? What is better to do this or make a short one?

Alef of Shem HaShem

In a Sefer Torah (or in Tefillin/Mezuzah when no shailo of c'sidran ) A Sofer wrote an alef completely and one of the yuds of the alef in the Shem HaShem became niskalkal (i.e. no rosh/regel that is niker) may it be erased and re-written a proper yud? (Keeping in mind in a case when there is no problem of c'sidran.)

correct position for mezuza

MITZVA  LEFARSEM !! I have lately been asked and have noticed many mezuzos that are not affixed at their right place. The 1st picture is a double doorframe [very common], one where the door actualy closes, and an external frame. The correct place is shown here, the mezuza must be placed in the inner frame, that is correctly called "mezuzas ha'shaar" and the area within is "challal hapetach". In the 2nd picture - the mezuza is standing at the wrong place lechtchila. But bdieved or if impossible to affix at the inner doorframe, the second option is kosher if the mezuza is a tefach [8 cm] within the inner frame. Further away than a tefach is probably pasul. See Chovas Hador p. 67 note 3 :  בהרבה פתחים יש מזוזה and Pishei Shearim p. 307-8 (אות לב) I think  the same law applies to affixing the mezuza on the ou


What's the din if someone was m'kadesh the word "aleihem" ... "dabar Hashem aleihem". He was makadesh first the Shem wrote it and then got mixed up after seeing the "alef-lamed" together and was mkadesh that and realized after writing "alef-lamed". What's the din?

Can We Pasken From Enlarged Photos

I notice that a lot of the posts on this site are "shailos" about certain issues.  Invariably, the poster includes a picture of the shailah, oftentimes enlarged (and even if not enlarged, our own viewing on a computer screen may enlarge the picture).  We likely never view the shailah in the actual exact size of the original writing. Can we actually pasken or even give an informed opinion using these enlarged, hi-res photos? In Siman 32, Sif 13, Sif Katan 32, the Mishna Berurah says that small wholes that are not visible by the naked eye do not passul a klaf even though you can see the hole when holding up the klaf to the sun.  I saw in the dirshu mishna berurah, that many poskim learn from there (and indeed it is clear from the mishna berurah itself) that a writing is only passul if when the issue is discernable by the naked eye.  In other words, whether or not we see an issue in an enlarged, hi-res photo, should have no bearing on the halachik status of the writing. Is it

Tzuras Ois

First is a Beis with the moshav not reaching the end and has a third missing. With the nunn of einechah there is a slight 1mm bit sticking out over end but is rounded not sharp so the kav looks from meal habima to connect to the end. Only by close study can you tell the difference

Watch your back

Found this on a mezuzah today

Ibud Ha'Oros for Klaf

The poskim speak about what one should say when making Klaf - l'shem kedushes Sefer Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah...Best to always say L'Shem whatever Kedusha it is for. However an eitzah is given to make everything with a tanei that one may use it for Sefer Torah or Tefillin or Mezuzos or even for chulin. L'maseh what is done by our klaf, what is said, etc.
Interested in people's opinions of this excerpt in Mishnat Avraham regarding the vav maleh that some say should be in Aharon in T'staveh. And particularly his suggested solution at the end with the suspended vav which 'seems to him' to meet all opinions. Has anyone actually ever seen this?


I would like to take this opportunity to wish all members and readers a kosher and freilichen pesach. Next year in Yerushalayim!

Chok tochot issue

I'm just starting a megillat Esther and I wrote a resh and the intended to write the taf (see photo) but just went a bit too far and it joined up forming a much longer resh. If I scrape the join then is this chok tochot, as that is defined as forming the letter by means of scraping and the actual letter form is already formed and the scraping does not change the tsura of the ot - it is still a resh. My first thought was that I have to scrape back the resh to a vav form from the right to the left and then redraw the resh, but I'm not so sure since the form won't change even though I'm scraping? Thoughts and sources?

Sefer Haftarot

The Levush (1 and 559:1) was of the opinion that the haftarah must be read from a klaf observing the same rules as the sefer Torah since kriat ha'haftarah is only b'tzibbur .  Other authorities disagree and say that one can also read from a printed text.  The Magen Avraham, for example, states that it is preferable to read from a Tanakh containing a complete Navi than to read from a Chumash that contains only the specified portions.  However, the Magen Avraham, the Taz and the Mishnah Berurah all state that one fulfills his obligation by using even a Chumash, or Haftarah book. Historically, there has perhaps always been this question of the validity of taking the various portions of the Nevi'im and writing them together into a sefer.  In Gittin 60, Rabah and Rav Yosef hold that it is usser to write anything but complete sefarim of Tanakh. Mar bar Rav Ashi even holds that such a sefer is muktzeh because one is forbidden to read from it.  The halakha, however, appear