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Monday, April 16, 2012

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 possible that all our "is it kosher" posts are at best, wasting time and at worst, lifnei iver? The more i thought about this, the more concerned i became about "computer checking"-- a camera lens is not seeing the same thing our eye can see, how can stam be checked by computer at all?

4 comments:

  1. You may have a point regarding the high res close ups as it may be misleading us. However I know sofrim who use a small magnifier to check things (I have certainly done so in the past) and I think that the eye getting up close can see similar to the close up on a camera. And also naked eye is probably a bit misleading when we're probably over average wearers of glasses or lenses! I think we can all probably adjust for the magnified size to look and see whether that was a real hefsek or whatever issue is with a form. But you may be right.

    In terms of bedikat machshev this is really only for chaerot and y'terot and transposed letters etc and whilst it can spot odd forms and negiot, it will miss stuff. Indeed one Torah I checked the computer had missed a mem where a mem sofit was supposed to be! I spotted it but the programme clearly didn't. Sefer Yeriot Shlomo - diney b'dikat STaM (17:2)is very clear that one is not bound to check using the computer and one should not rely on the computer in place of a suitably expert sofer checking and the computer should only be used after the magiha has checked. Indeed the Torah I recently checked for a colleague he then got the computer check and it did pick up a few chaserot and y'terot that I did miss as humans will sometimes see what they think they should see even if we are being as careful as possible. Having the human followed by the machshev perhaps gives the best of both worlds.

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  2. I would comment 2 points on this issue:
    1. the questions and answers on the forum are subject to decision of the sofer/magiya himself, since every situation is different - what people are doing on the forum is basicaly hallachic advise, and they use the advice to their best need and understanding of the situation at hand.
    2. the shaylos posted as questions in tzuras haois questions, are usualy the same as seen by a regular eye in reality - if there may be a change [as example the nun of anochi posted yesterday, I clearly advised that the magiya should check and see if this picture is correct with what a regular eye sees] the one asking [the magiya] should always consider this option, in his final psak/decision.

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  3. For questions about negiot you have a good point, but for most other questions brought here, it turns out this forum format is very helpful for quick questions for sofrim around the world.

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  4. For questions about negiot you have a good point, but for most other questions brought here, it turns out this forum format is very helpful for quick questions for sofrim around the world.

    ReplyDelete

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