Showing posts from May, 2012

Historical Tefillin Questions

The argument of Rashi and Rebeinu Tam (havios smuchos...) concerning the order of placing the parshiyos in the Tefillin is actually recorded already from the Geonic period and existed most probably well before. Someone asked me how can it be that we do not have the concrete mesora of how the Tefillin Parshiyos were placed in? Could it be that through the harsh golus this issue became lost from us? (although that the olam follows Rashi as the ikar). The other question I was asked -Did all of Am Yisroel put on Tefillin in the Midbar or did this become more universal to all of am yisroel well afterwards, and if so when? I would like to share your answers with this questioner. Thanks,

Ink or paint?

There are several references in the sources to the need of ink to be ink (Dio) and not paint (Tzeva). I did not find, however, a definition of what is  Dio and what is  Tzeva. Is there such a definition? Is such a definition agreed upon by all Poskim, or are there differences? Gut Yom Tov to all.

Wishing one and all a Gut Yom Tov!

In many ways, as sofrim who are osek in writing, fixing, checking and selling sifrei Torah, Zman Matan Toroseinu has an extra special significance.  So I would like to wish one and all a freilichen Yom Tov, may we be mekabel the Torah "besimchah ubepnimiyus" and may we all have continued success in our holy work!

Pei - Shinui tzura?

Can there be an issue of shinui tzura with some of these Peis?

Small Hole

I made a small hole in the klaf where the taggim would go for the word sason. What are my options other than switching the Iriah? It is an 11-line Megilla and this is the second to last amund on this piece of klaf.

Stop ink from spreading

Regular paper towel, which is very absorbent, was subjected to treatment which changed its properties. The treatment leaves no residue on the paper. The following photo shows: Left: Untreated paper. A drop of ink spreads easily. Right: Treated paper. A drop of ink stays in its place and does not spread. Is it similar to results obtained with gum Sandarac? (The treatment is not gum sandarac.) Is it useful for treating klaf to obtain sharper writing?

two shailos

1) What is the exact halachic status of a chof pshutah that is square on the top right,rather than being round? 2) A mem stumah that is stretched to the size of four normal letters, is there a chance that tis could be considered a shinuy tzurah since it is not one of the "Lehaderes" stretchable letters  - and if not, is it still lechatchillah and / or mehudar? Thanks

Yeriah with 2 amudim

In Shulchan Aruch it says that each yeriah should have no less than 3 dafim/amudim. It says in the poskim as well that this is only l'mitzvah and is not m'acev. This is the din by a Sefer Torah. Is the same true for Nevi'im? Or perhaps nevi'im is more kulo-dik and even lichatchila one could make with 2 amudim in each yeriah

Gum Sandarac

Just a quick post before Shabbos about a very useful tool that we've recently been discussing in the context of another post.  As R' Avraham said, it really does deserve to be better known and more widely used among sofrim. Gum sandarac is a resin derived from the juniper like tree tetraclinis articulata, native to many parts of the Mediterranean basin.  The resin exudes from cuts made in the branches and is collected for use by scribes, varnish makers and woodworkers. The lumps of resin are generally small and brittle and can be easily reduced to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice mill.  The powder is then placed in a small, loosely woven, cloth bag made from a square of fabric.   By scribes, gum sandarac is used as an initial preparation for writing on parchment.  It's use accomplishes several important things: prevents ink from spreading on porous surfaces makes the ink appear blacker improves the sharpness of the writ

erasing diyo from paper

Is there a way to erase and fix diyo that was written on paper, for example a paper teudah? I do not assume that it can be fixed but if there is such a method I would like to hear. Thank you

Letter Bet

What would you say about the letter BET as depicted in the above picture.  In this case the right descender of the letter meets the moshav before the middle of the letter.  As such, the EKEV is wider than the letter.  Would you consider this a serious enough shinui in the TZURAT OT to invalidate the letter?

Name is Csav Ashuros

Is it muter to write a child's name b'csav ashuros with dio to put on their siddur?

Is this a valid argument?

הקונה התמים רוצה שהתפילין והמזוזות שהוא קונה ישארו כשרים לעולמים. אף אחד אינו מסכים שהסת"ם שלו יפסלו בקלות. הרשב"א כותב על כתיבת ספרים בדיו: "לענין ספרים דבעינן דבר המתקיים לעולם" .(שבת,קטו). הרמב"ם כותב על דיו שאינו מתקיים: "איך יכתב בכגון זה דבר שירצו שיתקיים אלפי שנים?" (שו"ת הרמב"ם, סימן קלו). צמח צדק כותב שלש פעמים: "עיקר מעלת הדיו הוא זה דכשכותבים בו הוא דבר של קיימא ... עיקר מעלת הדיו היינו שהוא דבר של קיימא ...  עיקר ענין הדיו הוא דבר של קיימא" .  על דיו שנושר מן הקלף כתב צמח צדק:  "להזהיר שמרבוי הגלאנץ לא יהיו נושרים וקופצים האותיות". (צ"צ, שו"ת, או"ח, טו).  מכאן אנו למדים שדיו חייב להיות כזה שמתקיים לעולם (או אלפי שנים) ואינו נושר וקופץ מן הקלף. המציאות בימינו היא שיש דיו "עפצים וקנקנתום" שנסדק ונשבר בקלות והדיו מתקלף ונופל. כל הפסולים שנמצאים בימינו בדיו נגרמים בגלל דיו כזה שנפסל בקלות ואינו מתקיים. יש פוסקים שכתבו שדיו עפצים וקנקנתום כן מתקיים, ואנו רואים שיש דיו בימינו שנ

Ibud ha-Oros

According to the opinion that holds that one who is m'abed oros and say they are doing it l'shem Sefer Torah may even use it then for Tefillin, Mezuzos or a Megillah (since it's colel all of the kedushas.) What about if the Sofer wishes to write a megillah and 'draw' on it as well many tzuros like some are nohag to do. Is this a problem? They made it with the intention of a Sefer Torah however can use it for any other Kedusha (even something less.) However maybe these pictures are not part of the "kedusha" of the megillah (more a theoretical shailo or in a case where the proper tanai wasn't made.)
Can I get advice on the Tzurah of a Yud  I am uploading 2 pictures  (yud of Ki) On the right side a kotz has been added by a touchup.  also the regel yemin swings round quite far and has a Moshav. Any thoughts? Mendel Gorman

Hey there!

What should be done, if while writing a ה, you wrote the gag and the left regel, and the left regel is touching the gag k'chut hasara, and you have not yet written the right regel? Is it an issue of chak tuchos to separate the regel from the gag? is this the machlokes of radach "chak tuchos bechatzi os"?

Tzade Sofit

Take a look at the TZADE SOFIT of AL HA'ARETZ.  The Yod part of the letter has no Yerech where it connects to the body of the letter.  However, the YUD part does have a yerech on the right, just like a normal YOD would. Are you of the opinion  that one could possibly be makil on this, as the YOD part does have a YERECH.  Or would this be a shinui in the shape of the letter, since there is no Yerech toward the side of the body, How would you consider this?    Are there grounds to hold that the letter still retains its shape, and therefore consider it KASHER?  Please don't be shy with your comments.


When a sofer finishes a mezuzah or tefillin parshiyos do they always send it to a magia? Do sofrim do this work themselves? I'm assuming a Sefer Torah everyone sends, maybe not? B'kitzur now a days what's the seder ha'davarim after a sofer finishes something until it is finally sold (Sefer Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzos)

gid on top of gid

When I was closing this pair of Tefillin I started plying in the black groove line and noticed that there are bits of old gid stuck in the groove, they were painted over and when they were checked the previous time they must of not been totally taken out and therefore concealed and sewn with new gid right on top of them. Am I obligated to wedge them out in order for the Tefillin to be kosher? Or is it anyways kosher? Any advice how to get some of the bits out where even a needle cannot ply them out.


I just got klaf for a new 11 line megilla and on the yeriah I was working on today, I came across this stuff which I'm not sure what it is. Im thinking it is Duchsustus, but since this is my first time with this sort of thing I'm unsure. It peels off with a knife just like the MB says, but it is VEINY, or it is shaped like veins. It is also whiter slightly than the rest of the klaf. I also have this yellow strip on the bottom corner of the klaf which peels off by hand and I think it might be Ducsustus but it is different than the "veiny" stuff. Another question is what happens in the case a letter or part of one is written on this on a megilla, is in different than Tefillin since Megilla doesn;t have to be written on klaf? If someone could please help me out with their opinion I would appreciate it!

Closing & Sealing Tefillin

This shabbos I had a fascinating conversation with another sofer about many heretofore unknown (to me, at least) methods of sealing gassos tefillin after bedika.   I would like to invite the chevra to share their most effective techniques for closing and sealing gassos-- there is a lot of diversity of techniques out there and I'm we  would all benefit by learning new methods!

Erasing tagim of Lamed in Shem

A lamed was written in Shem Elokim and the 2 tagim on top were left the same height. Al pi kabbalah however the right one should be longer than the left one. If it's not possible to add dio to the right tag may a little of the left tag be erased? In general is one allowed to erase taggim from letters in a Shem? What about the ois lamed, perhaps it's different (i.e. different from Shatnez Getz)? I heard from someone that R" Menachem Davidowitch writes somewhere that p'shat that the right tag has to be 'bigger' than the left is that it has to be "wider" than the left. Has anyone heard this? (If so then this is a good eitzah in such a case.

Is the world's largest mezuzah kosher?

I saw an article recently that a Chabad sofer in Israel has recently broken the world record for the largest mezuzah (50+ inches tall). See article here . This comes as the latest of a number of attempts to write the world's biggest mezuzah. A number of years ago another Israeli sofer actually made it into  Guiness Book Of World Records for writing what was then the world's largest mezuzah. See link here: Then there is the huge mezuzah at Ben Gurion Airpot which must be at least one meter tall. My question is: Are these supersized mezuzos kosher? My concern is that it says in the Torah "Uchsavtem" not "Utziyartem". Stam must be written, not drawn. These jumbo letters cannot be written like normal letters, but rather must be drawn or "painted" (ableit with a quill rather than a paintbrush). Is such a manner of writi

L'Shmo by Kasivas Tefillin

In Shut Maharsham Chelek Daled Siman 111 he brings down a "shitas Ramban and shar poskim" that Tefillin you don't need l'shmo at all even by casiva. Where is this Ramban? Who are the "shar poskim"? What other achronim have used this as a tziruf in dealing with a shailo of "l'shmo"? (Teahuva can be found here: . He mentions the Ramban in the second to last paragraph of the teshuva. d'h "v'hinai")

Left foot of Hai inside a Dalet

These are illustrated pictures The sofer mistakenly wrote a Hai instead of dalet, he may not make the Dalet kosher by scraping away the foot, this act is called "chok tochos" [see Mishnat Sofrim, Dalet]. The same applies by pulling the gag of the Dalet leaving the left foot way behind, this doesn't make the Dalet kosher, since this is still actualy a Hai. Even if this Hai would be considered pasul [for any reason], it still would be a [pasul] Hai, and not a Dalet. Therefore the sofer must pasel this dalet after scraping away the left foot from the Hai, in-order to correct the Dalet through writing  כתיבה ולא חקיקה. This is a Dalet that a drop of ink fell into its right side - a tinok should be summoned and asked, if he reads this as dalet, it is permitted to scrape away the drop of ink. What is the difference between these cases? I think in the first case, since the sofer intended this to be a Hai, it is still a hai [until the left foot is erased], but the seco

Ideas For Presentation About Safrus To Young Children

Chevra, I was asked by a local girls' school to give a presentation on safrus to the pre-1a (~6 years olds). Anyone have any ideas or experience with this? I was thinking about discussing all the different things we write and showing them some examples.  I was also going to show our tools (kulmus, klaf, ink).  Since they are learning the alef beis I was also going to show the letters and how they are the same/different. Finally, I was thinking about cutting a rudimentary kulmus for each girl as a "souvenir" and letting them try their hand at writing a letter (not on klaf). Any other ideas or thoughts? Thanks

Tanei on Sefer Torah

By the Beis Horah today R' Shammai Gross had 3 people asking the same shailo. They are all making hachnosos Sefer Torah on Shavuos itself and the Sefer Torah will not be finished by then. The Sofer however has the sefer that is missing already written from another Sefer Torah that they want to now put it all together in order to make the chachnasos Sefer Torah on Shavuos and then later take it apart when the Sofer finishes whatever Sefer that is missing. R' Shammai l'maseh said it's muter to do as long as a tanai is made when they are tofer everything together. If anyone has anything to add on this or any thoughts, please share.

Kosher Bais?

Is this a Kosher Bais?

Halacha Please

Can anyone please tell me what is the din if a sofer wrote repaired cracks or broken letters in tefillin parshiyos and cannot remember if he said lesahim kedushas tefillin, or worse,  he is doubtful if he said it?

My trip to Venice: Safrus is everywhere

A couple days ago, I took my family down to Venice for our first time. I really enjoyed learning about the history of the Jews of Venice, and how the world's first ghetto came about. Undoubtedly, the highlight of my trip was purchasing a Venetian Murano Glass Dip Pen. What is special about this pen, which was used and invented in Venice in the 1700's I believe, is that it is completely made out of glass. The tip which is used for writing is very special, it has spiral cuts that allow it to contain much more ink that a normal dip pen. The reason I got it is because there is an opinion that we should not write with metal, because metal is Chokek. For those who go by, or would like to go by this opinion, it makes Tikunim a whole lot easier. Because it is also shaped like a normal pen, it is easy to use. With radiograph ink, it can write about 10-15 english words on paper before having to re-dip. It makes very clear and thin lines perfect for making corrections and TAGIM. F