Showing posts from January, 2013

Sofer in Johannesburg

I need a sofer with ksav kabala in Johannesburg, Please post here

This Is Why You Should NEVER Buy Tefillin Online Or From a Judaica Store...

ALWAYS buy from qualified Sofer Stam.  NEVER buy from a Judaica store or shul gift shop. Examine this picture very carefully. A local store sold these to a fellow with a certificate of kashrus and a computer scan report on the parshios. The fellow wore them for almost TWO MONTHS before anyone in his minyan noticed the problem.

Mezuzah Problems

The daily task of checking mezuzot that are not written by properly trained sofrim is daunting.  In this mezuzah, there are letters that are not properly formed.   Please take a look at the MEMS and NUNS. In the above case the roof of the MEM is greatly separated from the VAV and descends to the bottom of the CHARTUM.    In the subsequent case the NUNS already appear like KHAFS. These appear to be straight PASSUL.  However, it is not so simple.  With the MEM, because the thickness of the descending line; it appears that, on the left it connects to the middle of the VAV, and on the right at the bottom.  Perhaps, we have to be lenient like in the case of a GIMMEL where the left foot connects to the right foot near or at the top of the roof.  Would you be lenient with such a MEM?  Your comments please.  
I always struggle with the ends of the lines on the cheaper Mezuzos, I always understood that if it has three lines one ending a kulmus further then the line above its possul. but ive been told its not so poshut to passul a Mezuzah because of this... also what about a Mezuzah such as the one in the picture where its all wavy, whats the din?  any thoughts or guidelines that i can work with? Thank you

Inkwell on Slanted Desk

Very basic question, I use a drafting table to write which is fully on a slant, what can I use as an inkwell to leave on the table?


I was asked to write a hand written Ketubah for someone who is getting married in the summer. I then found out there are several Nushachim. The groom is Yemenite, and I would like to know if there is some knowledge between the users here. What is the best option regardless of family backround? For a Yemenite, is there one option or more? What is best? Thanks to all in advance.


As requested I took of the previous post and apologize if anyone was offended. What disturbed me is that not everyone has enough שכל to understand that the time stamp is not an indication. If someone will want to attack someone else over the internet (very common) he can easily say "מחלל שבת" and bring a screen shot. Who will bother to check out if it was true or not? To accuse it is easy but to prove innocence, well that's a different story. Just like the case I mentioned. I tried to make it a little humorous, but apparently not everyone (I'm referring to myself) has the talent. And again I apologize if I offended anyone.

learning the Alter rebbe's ksav

Gute voch, A question for those who write with Alter rebbe ksav. : How difficult is it to learn for someone who did mostly Beis Yosef and never Alter rebbe? How many hours should it take to learn the differences? Thanks

zayin pasul

I think the zayin in the word be'chozek is pasul. It is a narrow dalet (tilted a bit), not a zayin. I would appreciate your opinion/thoughts.


I'm left-handed and I write upwards. (I turn the klaf 90 degrees, so the lines are vertical) The issue: when writing I need to support my right hand on the klaf, now if I wrote already a few lines my right hand is on the letters. Then, even if they are dry my fingers get dirty and when I move my hand I make the klaf dirty with small black dots. (you can't see from far but its not clean) So what I did was to put piece of paper on top of the lines I wrote and put my hand on the paper. Now, after I wrote a few lines I removed the paper, but the paper got stuck in the letters. I don't see a piece of paper on the letter, just very light marks of paper. Do I need to scrape every thing? Can I just pass ink over it? Thanks. ps. I'm writing a meguilah


A letter TAV that is written with both feet coming out from the same point on the rosh, although not written in accordance to dikduk, is still kasher.  In the above case, however, the first TAV of TITEN has the right foot as partially appearing to come out from the left yerekh.  This is due to the thickness of the line, as the rest of the the right foot emanates from the roof. There is another problem with the above TAV.  If one observes carefully, the right foot appears to emanate  from the middle to"west" of the middle of the roof.  The halakha is also such, that if the right foot of the TAV emanates from the middle of the roof, although not written bedikduk, the letter is still Kasher BediEved. Summing the two above problems, it appears that this letter should be rendered passul.  Although one may argue as to the kashruth of each separate case, here they seem to compound thus changing the Zurat HaOT. Your comments are appreciated.  Is the above TAV redeemable or i


The "ך" of "והמלך". Can I scrape the small dot inside? Thanks.


What do you make out of the first Zayin of Mezuzot? When magnified there appears a slight zavit on the right of the head.  However, this is not the case on a normal scale where the foot appears to be just plainly thrown to the right.  My inclination is to follow the Sefekut HaSofer and call it PASSUL.  However, it may perhaps have a redeeming quality that can save this beautiful mezuzah.  Your comments are all appreciated.

Hei of Shem

This came to the Beis Horah today by R' Shammai Gross. The psak was pasul.

What should I do?

I was planing to write "עלי" in the same line but there is a "ך" on the line on top. Should I write a long "מ"? Is the "ך" ok?

Applying a T'lai that's Hidden from the Eye

By way of mechika I have made a hole in the klaf of a megillah. The hole is very small and I would like to fit a tlai on this spot in a cosmetic way where the evidence of the tlai's presence (either when looking from the front or the back of the yeriah) goes undetected. Can anyone with professional experience describe how to go about this delicate procedure? Cheers, Pesach

Taking the Torah out: Updated

I was asked if one may take out a Sefer Torah (which the choshen was donated by the family)for the purposes of the Bar Mitzvah boy to take pictures with. The family (traditional-not Orthadox) considers it very important to take a picture with the Torah. I heard there is a halachik issue of non kavod LeTorah for taking it out for reasons other than reading or fixing it. Based on Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 135:14) there are halachik limitations to where a Torah is allowed to be transferred as the Mishna Berura puts it (ibid:47), "that it is a dishonor to bring the Torah to people who need it rather the people should go to it". The Rema (ibid)writes that for a adam chashuv it is allowed to bring a Torah to him in any scenario. The Mishna Berura ibid:50 interprets adam chashuv as a gadol beTorah, the Mishna Berura also brings the opinion of the Magen Avraham that a adam chashuv is not enough rather in addition they need to be an anus (unable physically to come to the Torah).


A torah that I'm due to check shortly has apparently had it's top and bottom margins trimmed some years ago quite drastically (to within 3-4mms near the otiyot) to fit the atsey - I don't know who did this. Assuming that the letters are still mukaf g'vil then b'dieved this is kasher even though it should be 3 thumbs and 4 thumbs thickness (though varies for big and small sifrey). Is there a source that I can rely on for this as most of the discussion I've seen is around what is appropriate for margins depending on the relation to the size of the script.

Chabad 4x4

 Gute voch, shavua tov! What size of klaf fits for the Chabad 4x4 batim, both shel yad and shel rosh and what is the height of the letters?  Thanks.

Does this "archway" need a mezuzah? It is metal and permanent


Super thick kulmus

A rav  I know overseas emailed me today that he has a balebos who wants to commission a giant one meter mezuzah to donate and affix to a school front gate (that is 5 meters tall). He has someone who will make the case but he wants to know if I have someone who can write such a mezuzah. I did the math and for such a mezuzah I would need a kulmus that is about 65 mm thick. I would write it myself if I knew what I could use to make such a thick kolmus. Perhaps bamboo? does anyone have any ideas?

The X Issue

Today, I checked this set of tefillin.  Besides the attached X shaped Alefs, there were many other issues that rendered it passul.  The question here regarding the Alef is such:  At what point is the letter considered to have changed it's shape? Part of it involves the relative  proportioning of the letter.  For example, in the case posted below by R. Moshe the bottom yod of the Alef is totally out of proportion with that of the letter.  As indicated, it is more like another "kav" rather than a "nekuda." As with many other cases, however, it is likely that both of the above letters may be read as an Alef by a tinok.  However, they may still deserve to be invalidated because we observe that it is truly a distortion of the letter's basic shape. It is therefore, pretty evident that there is a certain amount of subjectivity that needs to be exercised by the sofer in cases like the above. My question to the forum is: Would you use a tinok as an arbi


Tinok read as mem and zayin without hesitating. tinok is familliar with ches of stam

Shaila for Reb Moshe

1) In this picture, the second beis is round on the eikev. It looks good from far but worse close up. So i showed it to a tinok, after showing him some beises and some chofs , he looked at this one and said "beis?" with a bit of a questioning tone. But he definitely said besi. Is this enough to rely on?

Aleph, Ayin and Vav/Yud

Pic 1) I don't recall his exact words but I seem to remember R Shtern in Mishnat HaSofer saying that if both nekudot in the Aleph touch at the same place (ie like and X) then it's a major problem - I think he may have been machshir bediavad and I know others are but can anyone shed some light for me? Pic 2) how far does an Ayin have to go to be meshane tzura? This one could almost be a tZadi peshuta - I reckon this one may still be ok, but it's close...? Pic 3) for me the yud and vav are too close even for a tinok. Some may argue since they're slanted and the vav is a bit lower then a tinok can still help. Thoughts?

alef pasul

The alefs in this mezuza are pasul. The bottom yud is totaly out of porportion of the letter, and is more another "kav" rather than a "nekuda". I am sure that this mezuza was not written by a sofer that learned tzuras ha'oisiyos !!  

Stiff retsuot

I have been asked by someone who has retsuot that are still very stiff and he says difficult to use properly. There are softening lotions, but he is hesitant to use something without checking. I've never actually used anything before as I just think they soften up fairly quickly with wear. Does anyone have any recommendations and advice?

question in a mem

The mem inside is almost completely blocked. I think that if a tinok may read the letter as a mem it is still kosher, and the inside can be carved out (this is not considered "chok tochos" since the letter will be kosher as is).

Re-inventing the wheel

Today I put up mezuzos for a local balebos who built a new house. Besides for buying beautiful mehudar mezuzos, the owners, who intend on living in the house for many years, instructed their builder to chisel out a compartment in the door frame for the mezuzos to fit into. Then, for extra protection, a perspex panel was screwed onto the wall to cover the mezuzah (see picture). This concept is not very common today, but it used to be common in times goneby. Perhaps it's time to reintroduce this concept, for the following reasons: 1) It is undoubtedly halachically superior to many other ways of affixing a mezuzah. Many of the mezuzah cases available today are made of two pieces, with the mezuzah sitting in the front part of the mezuzah case that is often not even connected to the wall in a permanent manner. This is because when affixing with glue or double sided tape only the back part is properly affixed to the wall. Even if you tape the front part to the back, something a lot o

Computer program

B"h I would like to buy a computer program that checks sta"m and I'm looking for advice for which program to get and how to get it etc.

Tikun for 7 line hamelech megillah?

I have the 11 line hamelech megillah tikun. Is there one for 7 lines? i once heard there was. does any one know where this could be obtained?

Want to be an Ink distributor?

We are looking for an energetic person to distribute Dio LaNetzach in Israel. If you are interested, or know someone who is interested, please contact me at  zvi @ diola net zach . c om

Is a Mezuzah required here?,

If yes, on which side? Girl's rented basement in Crown Heights. Views from the kitchen to the hallway Views from the hallway to the kitchen

Art table, drafting table, sofer's table, what do you use?

I am curious about what kind of tables you are using, and your experiences and advice regarding different kinds of tables. I am also curious about what angles, positions, and sitting positions you find best. Please share any experiences and information. Thanks!

Press for tefillin bottoms

I have a hot press that I have used for years for flattening warped tefillin bottoms.  I got it from another sofer about four years ago.   It died a very final death today and I need another one.   Before putting in the money, though, I would be interested in hearing other techniques/equipment used for flattening warped tefillin bottoms.   Please Share!

Supply Shopping In Israel / Yerushalayim

This is a little different than our usual topic.  I will soon have the opportunity to be in Yerushalayimg for the first time since becoming a sofer.  Any recommendations for places I can buy supplies including stocking up on some klaf, and some tikkunim. Also, any good seforim stores in the yerushalayim that will have a good selection on st'am.

Interesting "Doorway?"

Just thought I would share this and see what the forum thinks.   The mashkof is an AC duct that has been lightly plastered and drywalled over, while the "mezuzos" are both built-in cabinets that are thoroughly attached to the walls and floor.   Hmmmmm....

Megillah written in pencil

Someone sent me a picture of a megillah they were offered by a Sofer in Eretz Yisroel. It looks like it has been written first in pencil. Is this possul due to a: Ksav al Gabei Ksav and b: Shinuy tzurah of many of the letters caused by the pencil marks underneath? Rav Stern in Mishnas Hasofer 3:8 writes that this is posul for Tefillin Mezuzah and Sefer Torah is there any reason why the same halocha would not apply to a megillah? He also writes in 8:9 that pencil marks made by a magiah can cause a shinuy tzurah, presumably that would also apply here.

One of those moments we all dread...

It happens to me at least once a year, or perhaps one in every several hundred pairs of tefillin I check. A parsha that just won't come out of the bayis. It is usually happens because someone very inconsiderate before me did not bother fitting the parsha properly into a suitable bayis and just forced the parsha  (usually kadesh or vehaya im) letting it become the next guy's problem. So while I have my tricks of the trade that I employ to remove stubborn parshiyos, sometimes they just don't budge. And once there is no matlis or saaros left and options are very limited. My question is, what do you do when you go past the point of no return? ie the parsha may be damaged from your efforts to extract it, so you cannot just leave it there. Do you replace the bayis and parsha (putting the old ones in genizah) or do you continue trying to extract it even though in doing so you could ruin it further as well as possibly damage Hashem's name, but at least you save the bayis?

Shin with line almost touching Nun

A sofer came to the Beis Horah by R' Shammai this week with an example of a shailo he had seen recently. L'maseh it's not touching (the line coming out from the shin that is next to the Nun) R' Shammai was machshir and told the sofer it's similar to one when writes a Chof and Vav and they came out very close together however not touching. This I've seen by him a number of times (the shailo of a chof and vav) and as long as it's not touching was also machshir.

Osios with lines coming out #2

This is a parsha meyuchas to Rabbi Efrayim Sofer of Brod [lived in the Baal Shem Tovs lifetime]. The mem stuma have a line descending on their left side. Did Yehoshua mean this or the like? Here is another example:

Osios with lines coming out

Today I saw a Mem-Stumah that looked perfectly fine aside from the fact that it had a small line coming out from the bottom right corner (not so  small - or thin - either.) While I wouldn't say the Mem looked now like a different ois or that there was a shinui in the tzurah still it didn't "look" right. You could see clearly the Mem-Stumah, however there was this line coming out also. On other oisios (or this ois) when could this be a problem? What can be said about this? Until what point do we say there is no shinui tzurah? Although I don't have an example on hand at the moment perhaps if R' Moshe or someone else has one and could be posted that would be good. Hopefully I'm being clear in this.