Vellish or Sfardi?

From my understaning Ksav Velish is not exactly the same as Ksav Sefardi. 2 letters that seem much different between the two is ח and ך. Ksav Vellish these 2 letters are very similar to way they are on this screen. A few questions: 1 Why do many call all Sefardi Ksav by the name "Velish" if they are not truly the same thing, besides the fact that vellish is a form of Sefardi i.e. it is Sefardi but not necessarily vise versa that all Sefardi is velish? 2 Do sofrim write authentic Vellish today? 3 Why does Ksav Sefardi not follow Beis Yosef (or at least it is heavily influenced by other sources to the extent that there are sometimes conflicting views in the details of writing of many of the letters? ( I am sure this has many answers, I assume that it has to do with the fact why the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch (Beis Yosef) did not write the laws of writing of the letters in their code of Jewish Law.


  1. The word “velish” is based on the old German word “welsch”, which means “Romanic” (in German it was originally a reference to the Italians and French). In Yiddish, the word “Velish" came to refer to Jews from Span and Portugul, and in STAM it came to refer to all Sefardi-style writing. Along the same lines, the word “Sefardi” (literally “Spanish”) is often used to refer to Jews from North Africa and the Middle East.

    Until very recently there were many different sub-styles of writing among Sefardim. The major Sefardi communities — Spain/Portugal, Italy, Babylonia/Persia, etc. — each had their own distinct style (with small internal variations based on sub-region and era). In the last 50 years or so, Sefardi writing has become more or less homogeneous as the various Sefardi communities relocated to Eretz Yisrael.

    What you are calling "ksav velish" is probably a specific historic sub-style of Sefardi writing. If you post examples I'm sure there are people on the forum who can estimate the approximate community and time period.

    The discrepancies between Sefardi writing and the descriptions of the tzuras ha'osi'os in the Beis Yosef are noteworthy, but a better question would be, "why didn't the Beis Yosef codify the style of writing used by Sefardi Jews in his time?"

    As you wrote, the simplest answer is that the Beis Yosef based his "Alfa Beisa" entirely on earlier sources, and all of the earlier source material was written by Chachmei Ashkenaz.


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