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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Siyum Sefer Torah on Chol Hamoed

This year I am doing a siyum on Chol hamoed. It's the fifth time I have done a siyum on Chol Hamoed .

If the outline of the remaining letters is written before Yom Tov and the siyum involves just filling in letters,it is permitted to do so on chol hamoed because such work is not considered maaseh uman. It is for this reason that it is not uncommon for a siyum to occur on chol hamoed.

My question is, if something goes wrong i.e. there is a smudge or mistake that needs to be repaired during the siyum process - and the skill needed to fix it is masseh uman  - ie we are not just filling in letters anymore, this is a proper tikkun - what is the din? Thankfully it has never happened to me, but I was wondering what happens in such a case and if anyone has experience in this matter.

A gut Moed!

9 comments:

  1. See Moed Katan, Perek gimmel Mishnah Daled.

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    1. I know the Mishnah forbids it. However poskim allow the "filling in" of letters since it is not maaseh uman (and certainly not the normal way of writing) - see chol hamoed kehilchoso. So people are noheg to do siyumim on Chol hamoed. However what if there is a smudge or soething that needs fixing at the siyum? do you delay the whole hachnasa? Or can you fix it, even if it means rewriting some letters?

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  2. It seems from MB 545:2 that davka filling in is not ma'aseh uman and therefore allowed. Also, MB is matir separating negiyot. Writing letters in STa"M even to fix a mistake seems to be assur unless it's letzorech hamoed (eg they need the sefer for chag leining etc) or for example one needs the money urgently letzorech hamoed. Rama (3) is also matir for tefillin and mezuzot if the item will be used for mitzva on the moed and the sofer could use the extra money for simchat yom tov. Not sure if this would extend to a sefer torah. Maybe if delaying the siyum would cause a hefsed for whatever reason? I can't think how it could be justified without one of these factors...

    As a side note - Sefer Ketivat Torah brings shutim that even the minhag of holding a siyum S"T during chol hamoed is really bediavad and lechatchila it should still be done before or after the moed. I don't remember the exact shutim he cites but if anyone's interested I'll look it up later and post them...

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    1. The first time I had a customer who wanted to do a siyum on chol hamoed sukkos we called Rabbi Gavriel Tzinner in New York (author of Nitei Gavriel) - who happened to be a friend of the donor. He instructed us that it was OK under a few conditions - one was that the eitz chayim had to be sewn on before Yomtov, another that the sefer be used on Yom Tov (he also said the sefer should have a floral wreath to make it more beautiful than the other seforim). The shul that it was going to had plenty of other seforim and the donor had donated other sifrei torah before...

      Since then I have done 3 others , all on Chol hamoed succos and one more tomorrow. Ideally I would rather not do it on chol hamoed, but I think its a prime time before Simchas Torah, people are in the mood, also a lot of people are not working and its a good time for a simcha, so its definitely a reason why people want to do it then.

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    2. If the sefer is being used on yom tov, wouldn't any ma'aseh uman be allowed as tzorech hachag?

      Re your original question, as a part time sofer I was told I can write for a commission because my free time to write is a davar he'avud though that heter does not extend to the s'chorah aspect. I'm wary of stretching a heter that feels thin as it is but possibly one could say that the community's time and the money already spent on the hachnasa is also davar he'avud. Would you like me to ask?

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    3. tThe heter only applies when there are no other seforim in the shul, or not enough for the different kriyos.

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    4. Fair enough for the first heter. What about the money spent on the hachnasa. BTW, I had to fix our shul's maftir sefer on Sunday.

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  3. I guess it depends how you define tzorech hachag. From memory S"A says if the sefer being fixed is the only sefer and it's needed. If the shule has other sefarim I'm not sure the same level of tzorech would apply?

    I assume that R Gavriel's instruction to read from the sefer makes it easier to allow holding the siyum at all, which maybe is because some say that it's bediavad in the first place. Perhaps his thinking is that if we combine factors such as leining from it and making it more beautiful than the others then we can even do it lechatchila?

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    1. I think that his psak was its OK to do even lechatchillah

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