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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dodgy mezuzot

Here's an interesting case.
I was not machshir this mezuza for a few reasons.



In this mezuza you have instances of a vav with the same dimensions, in some locations (ואספת, ושמתם) it's a vav and in others it's more of a nun (יורה). Its hard to tell because in the word יורה for instance - is the hey long or is the reish short? We know that bediavad the regel of a reish can be kosher if its the size of a regel yud. But, the yud here is even shorter than the reish. Without the hey, the vav would be a clear nun.
 But if we call the vav a vav based on the height of most of the rest of the line, then the nun of פן should be a zayin even though normally פן is a unique case due to the height of the peh.

There are similar instances with other letters, eg kafim etc

Normally we look at both dimensions of a letter and the surrounding ktav. In this case the surrounding ktav changes drastically between lines and even words.


13 comments:

  1. Similarly, the Kaf Sofis appears to be problematic, especially in proximity to the letter before: מצוך ובקומך בביתך דגנך לבהמתך etc. Also, the height of the (Vav of the) Lamed, as in ולא יהיה, etc.

    Nice Kutzo Shel Yud, though ... Still, the one in והשתחויתם seems to have the Ches problem discussed here not long ago.

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  2. Ari I know this mezuzah very well. There are many thousands of these here in Melbourne, they were sold over the years by a local shop. I usually take them back to the shop for a refund or tell the customer to do so. I also saw some of these in Perth during my visit there some years ago, as this shop used to supply Perth as well.

    There are a few other types of small problematic mezuzos of which there are quantities of out there which I recognize, and this is one of them.

    Thankfully the standard today being sold by this shop is much better.

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  3. The biggest problem with this mezuzah are that often he makes the final chaf short, like a kosher reish, although I don't see it in this scan.

    Also the flat ayin is highly problematic according to many poskim incl. rav stern.

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  4. Yeh those are all reasons not to machshir. Except probably the height of the vavs on the lameds...I wouldn't pasel that even though its very bediavad.

    The particular vav I noted was just interesting because of its location...most of the kafim could probably be saved.

    Do you know if this mezuza is attributed to a particular person? Or if the store just didn't know any better?

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  5. Yes, its attributed to a particular shop and period of time. Thankfully now the situation is better.

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  6. What about the Dalet of את דברי??
    Are the zayinim of מזזות kosher?
    is the Noon of נשבע kosher?
    what makes the כף סופית of מצוך chof abd not reish?

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  7. The dalet, zayinim and nun I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to should be Pasul.

    The kaf, you're right it's not clearly a kaf.

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  8. the dalet of את דברי could be a hey because of the lamed going into it.
    Looks to me there is a small dot on the right bottom side of the Nun of נשבע which can make it Gimel specially for a sefardi mezuzah.
    I am not sure the Vovs in this Mezuzah is a problem. We don't make the Nuns like long Vov.

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  9. If you look where the line of the regel of the dalet ends, I think the amount of the lamed actually entering is very small- too little to make it a hey to a tinok. The picture is not easy to see.

    Nun of Nishba, could be a potential S"T but I think it's more the fuzzy picture....I'll have a look at the klaf later. Truthfully, I didn't go through each letter properly up to that point because it was fairly obvious the mezuza was no good.

    re the vav's, even though we make the nun peshuta normally with the rosh of a zayin, it's not so clear that if it was made with the rosh of a vav that it would be pasul. The PMG leaves it as צ"ע. Even though the MB on the letter nun says that others pasel a nun with a rosh like a vav, on the letter vav the MB clearly says that one shouldn't make it long lest a tinok would read it as a nun. In sha'ar hatziyun on that point he brings Ledavid Emet who pasels a vav that was made long like a nun.

    I also didn't mean that those problems I mentioned above are the only ones - clearly there are lots. Those were just examples.

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  10. All comments here are great aside the original problem
    ARI you have a problem with a long vav? there is no real mekor that a long vav is a problem,I don't think any Rishonim mention a long vav as a problem and actually the Bbaruch Sheamar writes that a vav should be a bit longer than the surrounding letters.Furthermore in many tefilin and sifrei torah from gedolei olam we find very long vavs. The way I understood it is, since a nun sofit has the head of a zayin therefore a long vav is not a shaila. and actually the bereisa writes that a sofer should be careful not to interchange vavs with yuds-IE make the vav long , the beraisa continues 'do not interchange zayin with nun-IE make zayins short.
    The m'b does bring that if a tinok happened to read a long vav as a nun there would be a problem however otherwise it is not a shaila

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  11. All comments here are great aside the original problem
    ARI you have a problem with a long vav? there is no real mekor that a long vav is a problem,I don't think any Rishonim mention a long vav as a problem and actually the Bbaruch Sheamar writes that a vav should be a bit longer than the surrounding letters.Furthermore in many tefilin and sifrei torah from gedolei olam we find very long vavs. The way I understood it is, since a nun sofit has the head of a zayin therefore a long vav is not a shaila. and actually the bereisa writes that a sofer should be careful not to interchange vavs with yuds-IE make the vav long , the beraisa continues 'do not interchange zayin with nun-IE make zayins short.
    The m'b does bring that if a tinok happened to read a long vav as a nun there would be a problem however otherwise it is not a shaila

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  12. All comments here are great aside the original problem
    ARI you have a problem with a long vav? there is no real mekor that a long vav is a problem,I don't think any Rishonim mention a long vav as a problem and actually the Bbaruch Sheamar writes that a vav should be a bit longer than the surrounding letters.Furthermore in many tefilin and sifrei torah from gedolei olam we find very long vavs. The way I understood it is, since a nun sofit has the head of a zayin therefore a long vav is not a shaila. and actually the bereisa writes that a sofer should be careful not to interchange vavs with yuds-IE make the vav long , the beraisa continues 'do not interchange zayin with nun-IE make zayins short.
    The m'b does bring that if a tinok happened to read a long vav as a nun there would be a problem however otherwise it is not a shaila

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  13. There's a difference between a vav that is a bit long and a vav that is shiur nun peshuta. The eitza to make the vav a little bit longer is to remove the possibility of it looking like a yud. But I cannot recall reading a psak that is machshir a vav if it's written k'shiur nun peshuta mamash.

    The question is where/how do you draw the line. This comes down to 2 points.
    (1) The shiur in terms of dimensions, i.e. kulmusim - classically the vav is 3 to just over 3 kulmisim high (speaking about a ktav gasa of 3 kulmisum height) and the nun peshuta is classically 4+ kulmusim.
    (2) the context - i.e. the surrounding ktav and style of the sofer.

    These two issues are the same considerations when looking at any shiur in STa"M (yudim, reishim, even the regel pnimi of the hey etc.). The first consideration requires good halachic knowledge and the second requires good shimush.

    The reason I get concerned is for precisely the reasons I mentioned. When it comes to a nun if one made it with a rosh vav it's not so pashut that it would be pasul or unfixable. And even if it is pasul, if one makes a vav k'shiur nun peshuta, LeDavid Emet pasels and MB quotes him and therefore would pasel via a tinok.

    The lashon of the MB "lest a tinok read it a pasel" doesn't mean (in my opinion) that a very long vav k'shiur nun would be kosher but if a tinok would happen to read it nun it would be pasul. What the MB means is that lest one make it long enough so that a tinok would read it as a nun. The tinok is just machria the metziut when we have a doubt, he's not a posek. Therefore, MB is warning of the danger if one writes a vav that's a bit long but not 100% a nun, that a tinok could read it a nun and it would be pasul.

    Finally, the reason I posted the photo was because of the two original considerations. Because the ktav is very irregular, it can be tricky when being machshir shiurim.

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