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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stretched letters of "L'haderes"


I always understood that to stretch letters of "Lehaderes" (Lamed, hay, daled, reish and tof) was acceptable lechitchillah. In the sefer torah above, the photo depicts some stretched letters of Lehaderes. Am I correct to assume that such a sefer, with the occasional stretched letter of "Lehaderes" is definitely kosher lechatchillah? Has anyone heard anything otherwise, and that the above sefer would not be kosher lechatchillah?

21 comments:

  1. Reb Eli, Is this a trick question?

    Stretching lehaderes osiyos is par for the course and perfectly fine.

    I have here on my wall a collection of famous parshiyos by famous sofrim including Reb Zushia's parshiyos, The Bobover Rebbe's parshiyos (By Reb Elyish Hasofer), rav Ahron Unger Zatzal, Reb Zvi Sofer (the Beshets sofer), even Chaim Osher Lederman zatzal (sofer of the Chazon Ish) and many many more and not one parshiyah in my collection does not have significant stretched letters of osiyos lehaderes.

    As a matter of fact it is impossible to keep the roshei hashitin and write the last line of par' shema without stretching three or four letters at least 4-6 regular letters long. Even the most expensive / mehudar parshiyos are written like this lechatchillah.

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  2. Nachman this is not a trick question and I agree with you totally, however someone was kvetching about the stretched letters in this sefer, insinuating that the sefer is not kosher lechatchillah, so I thought I'd see what others had to say

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  3. The above stretched letters, as long as not stretched to a ridiculous length are kosher lechatchila. I had a shaila on a new sefer Torah that was sold as a basic mehudar ksav. The sofer stretched some mems, koofs and Bais's to at least double the normal width (he could have easily stretched other lhadres letters or been more careful about the spacing) Rav Friedlander pasekened that while lechatchila, they were not mehudar and in order to bring the sefer to the expected mehudar status he said they should be fixed. (the letters and any surrounding letters than needed to be removed were professionally erased to minimize the aesthetic damage and then rewritten by the sofer.)

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  4. The reason why rav Friedlander said they are not mehudar is because they are not from the allowable "Lehaderes" stretchable letters.

    Rav Friedlander has no problem with stretching Lehaderes, I have asked him personally, even stretched 4-6 letters long is mehudar

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  5. Whoever is "kvetching" about the elongated letters is out of touch.
    They are perfectly acceptable.
    This is a beautiful sefer

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  6. I think the zirkind school of sofrim don't believe in stretching letters, even להאדרת
    possibly that is based on theses sources
    שוע אדהז סי' לו אות ך
    ואע"פ שכל האותיות אין למשכן מכל מקום בדיעבד כשרות אבל זו פסולה אם תינוק שאינו חכם ולא טפש אינו קוראה כהלכתה
    משנת סופרים אות ך
    ואע"ג דכל אותיות אין למשכן זה למצוה אבל בדיעבד לא פסול אבל בכ"ף פשוטה אם האריך גגה עד שנראה כרי"ש פסול

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    Replies
    1. Funny that you should say that because I have parshiyos on my desk that I am in the middle of checking by Rav Clapman who is R' Zirkind's chief follower and he has stretched letters of lehaderes all over the place, (including one reish here that is 12 letters long). Not that there is anything wrong, but it seems odd that he should do it if Rav Zirkind is against it.

      Truth be said I am not familliar with Rabbi Zirkind's shittos on everything, I have spent much time trying to understand some of his shittos which differ greatly to what I learned while doing shimush in eretz yisroel.

      Having said that, I still think you will find a competent Rov or M"H , both inside and outside Chabad, anywhere in the world, who will say that stretched letters of lehaderes are not lechatchillah (unless they are abnormally long, much longer than those in the picture above).

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    2. they also cite A"R 35 ss 2
      אבל יכול להאריך מעט האותיות בשיטה שניה כדי לכוין סופי השיטות ולא אסרו אלא להמשיכן כל כך בענין שיהא נראה לעין שהן גדולות מחברותיהם ונראה הכתב כמנומר

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  7. Eli, yes, as I pointed out, the letters that were not mehudar are not the l'haderes letters. However, there is a point where even these stretched letters do lose their mehudar and even lechatchila status. Tomorrow I have to return some mezuzahs to Rav Friedlander that he gave me to check and bli neder I will get a more clear guideline from him.

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    Replies
    1. Please ask him the following;

      1) Lehaderes - what uis the max length these letters can be stretched before they compromise halacha?

      2) Beis, chof, mem, etc - what is the maximum they can be stretched before they loose lechatchillah or mehudar status?

      3) When one gets a pair of tefillin for bedikah, is the sofer obligated to stick knives down and break open the "prudos"?

      Please also send him my regards, (he gave me kabakllah 13 years ago).

      Thanks,

      Eli

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  8. Perfectly fine to stretch the letters, though I suspect people are kvetching because with tikkunim that give rochev hashurah then the onus might be on the sofer to think ahead with their spacing and compensate to avoid stretching the letters too much.

    Ganzfried was anti stretching though as we can see with his view of the vavey ha-amudim that Keset 16:5 says that one should not do this for through this one comes into errors, widening or shortening letters that is not according to the rules. Maimonides refers to these scribes who do vavey ha-amudim as ignoramuses. However this is now the norm as it has been worked out how to do it without over-extending or shorterning letters [too much] and there are good tikkunim to follow (D’varim Shebichtav)

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    1. Again with the "Ganzfried." Show some respect and at least put an "R" in front of his name.

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    2. Actually no disrespect was intended, so you shouldn't really be accusing. Precisely the opposite in fact, as I tend to refer to him in the same way I would say Hillel or Shammai - so great and known they don't need a little R. in front of their name. But if it makes you happy, then if I should quote him as an authority I will put an R. in front of his name.

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  9. This is not a lechatchila shaila.It is a money question

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. there is a concept in sta"m that lechatchila you try to do something one way, however if it doesn't come out like that (which happens VERY OFTEN) then it is kosher lchatchilah (even though thats bedieved, because you should have tried to do it better)

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    1. Correct. So it would be still be Kosher Lechatchillah lebracha, but it cannot be called kosher lechatchillah leksivah. There is a big differenc ebetween the two both from a halachic point of view and a choshen mishpat point of view.

      An example of this would be say in Chabad if the sofer left less than 9 osiyos gedolos at the end of shema, (but of course more than nine yudin. Its kosher lechatchillah lebracha and the owner of the tefillin is yotzei 100%. However it is not kosher lechatchillah leksivah.

      However it is important to note that by todays standards set by todays Morei Horaah, to stretch the letters of lehaderes is muttar lechatchillah and Stam with stetched letters of lehaderes is kosher lechatchillah leksivah.

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    2. BTW the Israeli poskim are very into lechatchillah leksiva V Lechatchillah Lebracha, to understand the gedarim exactly it is recommended to undertake shimush with a Rov such as Rabbi Shamai Gross etc.

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  12. It is potentially a money shaila when the (extent of) stretching in that mezuzah, parsha or sefer is not considered the norm for the level/value of the ksav. (Obviously if the stretching lowers the halachic status of the mezuzah, etc. then it also lowers its value.

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    1. Yes but that was not the question. The question at hand was strictly halachic - and your answer as well as the general consensus is that yes, the letters in the photo are kosher lechatchillah.

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