Showing posts from April, 2013

Water on Nahari ink - experiment

I drew lines with about 5 years old Nahari ink on a business card and on klaf (unknown type and source of klaf). Let it air dry, then baked it in the kitchen oven at about 90 degrees C for half an hour to make sure it is really really dry. Then, dripped water on the lines. Here is what it looks like. On the klaf the ink spread a lot. On the card it barely spread. I then dripped more water all over the ink lines on the card. The ink for some mysterious reason did not spread. I don't know why is there such a big difference between ink on card and ink on klaf.

Dealing with mold on a sefer Torah

I was recently contacted by a shul here in the Pacific Northwest about treating a problem with mold growth on two of their sifrei Torah.  Having briefly looked through both sefarim it looks like the mold is fairly widespread manifesting in black spots along most of he margins and in a few places across areas of writing.  Based on my recommendation the shul took immediate action to dramatically reduce the level of humidity within the shul which has been nearly 100% by installing de-humidifiers.  The humidity is now holding at approximately 55%.  At this level, I think mold growth is much less likely, but it still leaves the tricky issue of dealing with with what's already formed on the Torah scrolls themselves.  I've done a bit of research on dealing with mold on parchment and it seems like there's quite a range of opinions, everything from misting the parchment with a solution of alcohol to exposing the klaf to direct sunlight for an hour, to using UV lamps.  Does anyone

Landlord putting up Mezuzah with bracha

This shailo has come to the Beis Horah many times by R' Shammai Gross and haven't been able to find anyone yet that speaks about it (although perhaps the psak is obvious?) It says in Shulchan Aruch that if someone rents a dira the chiyuv of putting Mezuzos on the dira is on them. Many times here in Eretz Yisrael (as I'm sure in other places) it's become the custom that the Landlord puts the mezuzos on the dira. Especially in a case when it's a dira being rented as "fully furnished" apartment. While there might be some discussion in this I know R' Shammai holds this to be the "minhag" that such a dira also comes with mezuzos. However in a situation when this is the first tenant the dira is being rented to and it doesn't yet have mezuzos up and the bal dira wants to put up before the tenant comes in can he make a bracha? If the tenant had already made some sort of kinyan and made him a shliach to put them up I would say for sure then he c

Retzuah problem larger than we may realize

I noticed yesterday somebody's  retzuos were peeling in a manner similar to the faulty retzuos that everyone was talking about last year. It was peeling a little and then I was able to peel off a 30cm strip of the black veneer. The retzuos are less than a year old HOWEVER they are from a very large and well established retzuah manufacturer, with a very well known hechsher (not the same as the one that the controversy blew up about last year). Perhaps Rabbi Traube or someone in the know can tell me if this is a new development or not. Thanks

I need some advice here...

I posted a question earlier in the week regarding a sefer that seemed to be getting water damaged easily, and what could be done to waterproof the ksav somewhat. I am still a little worried about this sefer, and would like to share my predicament with members of this forum, in hope of receiving some advice or insight.  Some months ago I sold a new sefer Torah to a shul here in Melbourne. The sofer who wrote the sefer is a sofer mumacha with a beautiful ksav.  As usual,  I had the sefer checked first by computer, then manually, then tikkunim (repairs) and then a second time by computer. (The magiha who did the manual examination is a magiha mumcha with 30 years experience and although he charges twice the usual amount for the job, I find that it is worth it because he is extremely reliable). The sefer was used for a few months and received many compliments from all who saw or lained from it. So far, so good. Two weeks ago however, a problem was found and it was put back in the mid

yud of alef touching the guf

Excellent example of the yud touching the guf, most Rabbis passel this and don't allow fixing [chok tochos] in tefilin or mezuza. [In ST you may scrape away the whole yud and rewrite it]. Some Rabbis may permit scraping the negiya from the left side. Ask your Rabbi !!

Great tool for extracting Parshiyos!

Hi, I just discovered the Sickle Scaler, something you probably have seen only at the dentist. I tried it today to remove a parsha that was stuck inside a tight chalal and it worked like a charm. The matlis and sairos had long disappeared but I was able to stick the sharp point into the bottom of the parsha (under the letters) and carefully pull it out.

Letter Nun

It appears to me that the first NUN of VeShinantam is straight PASSUL; and not even a sheelat tinok. Your comments/insight are welcome.

Legal Advice & Guidance for Soferim

I just went through a very harrowing legal situation with a customer who purchased a Sefer Torah through my store.  B"H, emes won out - but the legal fees and other procedural costs are crushingly hard to bear.  It seems, though, from talking to other brokers of Torah scrolls, particularly used scrolls, that many people are on pins an needles after the recent scandal regarding Holocaust era and "rescued" European scrolls.  Does anyone else have this sensation?   A few legal insights and lessons I learned were:  1) In the sales contract, it must state that "kosher" is not the same as "immaculate physical condition."  It sounds obvious to we soferim, but many people who do not know better cannot make this subtle distinction and assume that "kosher" means pristine and like-new condition. 2) /I will never again agree to give every single detail of the repairs to customers.  I emailed daily logs of everything done to the sefer as p

Shaylas tinok on Beis that resembles a mem

There is a small line in the Beis (ירבו) starting to close it, turning it into a mem. This question was already brought on the forum, see link The International STa"M Forum There the Rabbi [Dovid L. Greenfeld, head of Vaad Mishmeres Stam] paskened that the letter after Beis should be covered (so the tinok doesn't realise it isn't a Mem, because it is in the middle of a word] the tinok in that case passeled it reading it a Mem. Here [lower] are 2 similar questions, The tinok was asked and read the Beis's in question as Beis, although the other letters were not covered. Bdieved his reading is accepted, and the letters are kosher, we do not need to ask again.

How do you store your kulmus?

I've always cleaned my kulmus after a writing session, using a cotton swab and a cloth. Then I place upright in a stand or stow in a small case. I've recently heard of other methods, including keeping the kulmus (tip down) wet in a cup of water; and also placing it in the top part of a cup with a divider separating the water on the bottom with the dry area in the upper part of the cup - thus maintaining some moisture whilst keeping the kulmus dry. I'm interested in hearing about best practices. Thank you.

waterproofing ink

Hi all, there is a new sefer torah that has a beautiful ksav but I have already been called a few times to fix it for moisture damage. Once it had what looked like a drop of rain that had maybe fallen from someone's hat, and once it had what was obviously a spit mark that had caused a negiya. The ink seems very water soluble and it's making the owner nervous, as twice already they put it back during laining. While I explained that these things happen, he asked me if there were any preventative measures that could be taken to waterproof the ink, such as spraying the sefer with fixative? Anyone have any ideas or experience?

Mezuzah Placement Shailoh

In the picture below, it is a safek if it requires a mezuzah because the owner is not sure if the pillars are there for support or as an entrance way of sorts, so he was instructed by his rav to put up without a bracha. My question is, do we put it in the first tefach of the pillar, as is the custom, or in the center of the pillar so it will be under the main mashkof. Furthermore, if you look closely, do you consider the white rendering on the pillar as part of the mashkof, because then, seeing that it overhangs a few centimeters even in the first tefach of the pillar, it may be considered then being under the mashkof.

Does anyone know the Zirkind shitta on holes?

Hi I have a parsha from a Zirkind style sofer written on the trademark Zirkind Klaf which has got holes in it, some of them touching the letters. My Rav here passelled it because they are big enough to see in regular light (not against the light) and ink goes through them. But I remember once hearing that Harav Zirkind is meikel on holes and perhaps if its kosher according to him I can tell the customer that there is yesh lismoch for the past and then he can decide what do do for the future. Thanks.

why kuf?

The halacha regarding a small, thin negiya (kechut hasarah) between the left regel and gug of a hay is well documented. Scraping is prohibited and considered chok tochus. This is in stark contrast to other letters in which such a negiya is fixable, for example where two roshim of a shin are connected with a thin line or the yud of an alef is connected from the other side as well as the yerech. It seems the hay is more chomur because with such a negiya it can become a ches. However a thin line connecting the left side of the bottom yud of the alef or two heads of a shin are less problematic because in both cases its still clearly an alef or a shin. So why then do we rule that a kuf, where the left regel and gug of a kuf is connected by a thin negiya, that it's outright possul like a hay. Surely it's still recognizable as a kuf in the same way other letters that have a thin negiya without causing a shinuy tzurah.  Why do we treat it the same as a hay? I never understood thi

Sefer Kesivas St'am By R' M. Mendlowitz - Where to Buy It

I have R' Adam's sefer Yalkut Stam, in it he waxes very poetic about the sefer Kesivas Stam by R' Mendlowitz as an indispensable primer on technical information for a sofer.  Does anyone know where I can get a copy (I'm in New York). Thanks

PSA: תיקון סופרים וקוראים "מסורה" תל-אביב תשכ"ב

I used the above tikkun for the Eicha I posted about and it has at least one error in that amud alone. The last word should read מלבו  not מלב. Anyone who uses this tikkun should probably check their writing against a different one.

Rav Friedlander on paskening from a computer image

                                                                                                  Rav Mordechai Friedlander Shlitah During my recent trip to Eretz Yisroel I met with Rav Mordechai Friedlander, M'T of the Vaad Mishmeres Stam (Yerushalayim) and of the Eidah. Rav Friedlander gave me kabollah 12 years ago and I have been in touch with him many times over the years. For those who have not met him, Rav Friedlander is a world leading posek and is extremely knowledgeable. He is also very approachable, tolerant and broadminded (perhaps because he is American), and he understands the mentality and nuances of different groups within the frum world. One of the things I discussed with him was this forum. I showed it to him on my laptop and he seemed quite impressed. He felt that it was partuicularly beneficial for sofrim such as myself living in "Chutz laaretz" where there is no real organized support for sofrim and others in the field of Stam. I asked him i

Beginner question: Appraising this Ksav

I hope this doesn't break the no commercial content rule; if it does I will gladly delete it. The picture below is an amud from my second-ever megilla, this time Eicha. I have better sections and worse ones but this is pretty representative. I was hoping to sell the finished product for about $400 US. Is this reasonable, and if not how much would you say it's worth? Note that the smudge was on the lens, not the klaf The whole amud at higher resolution. Click the image for a very close-up view. As you can see, I also need any writing tips I can get. Different parts of this amud were written at different times. What do you recommend to keep the ink at the same consistency between sessions and the kulmus at the same width after sharpening? EDIT : Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate professionals like you taking your time to give me beginner tips. Here are two new pictures of the same amud.



Gevil II

I just wanted to post a follow-up to R' Avi's recent post about gevil, particularly the link he posted to R' Yehuda Sherez website  It really is a fascinating read.   He does beautiful work and it's nice to see interest in gevil reviving somewhat.  I think the art of making it very nearly went extinct. As I was looking through some of the images and information on his site, I was struck by the fact that there must exist a variety of traditions for making gevil.  Although all the techniques center on the same process melach to slip the hair, kemach to bate the skin, and afeitzim to tan it, the end results are dramatically different.  The technique I know results in a deep red gevil and glossy surface. This is a sample of some of my gevil that I sent to YK Sofer in the Netherlands.  This is his ksav on a menorah shaped lamnatzeach.  If you would like to see his whole post it's here

How would you fix this?

Sorry for all the beginner level posts. Ignoring the terrible ksav, how would you fix this?  As it appears, these are hand smudges which occurred after ksiva. I am looking for both the halachic status and practical strategies to fix. Thanks!

Writing Nach

Are there any tikkunim or texts available from which one could write a sefer of Nach? I know there is some debate about the exact text, but before I figure out which mesorah to use, I want to at least have in hand a text. Thanks

Beginner: Basically my first mezuzah that i just finished.

If its not too much trouble, i would really appreciate any comments, critique and advice thanks!!