Showing posts from May 24, 2013

Hiddur Ayin & Daled continued...

Hi R. Michael,
Here is a picture from an older shel-yad in which the AYIN & DALED of Shema' descend to the lower sirtut as described in your previous post.  I believe, that both Hakham Ben Tzion Abba Shaul and Rav Mordekhai Eliyahu stipulated the above as a hiddur in order to comply with the directive of the Arizal that  the SHIUR of the big DALED of SHEMA' should be that of four small DALEDs.

If one takes a look at the pictures of the older Sifrei Torah in your previous post, one will notice that they were meticulous as to not extend their large letters above the upper sirtut.  Since normal letters extend into the middle of the sirtut, the only way to maintain the requirement of the Ari was to double the size of the letter, thus extending the foot all the way down to the lower sirtut.

We all know that the above is not explicitly required by halakha.  The only requirement is that these letters should be slightly larger so that it may include at least four tiny DALEDs.   Mo…

Smudged tag on top of Beis

I didn't see the shailo yet itself however I heard today someone say they found a Beis in a Mezuzah that the tag is somewhat "smudged". To what degree or how much I don't know. However what would be the din if ...

(1) It's not niker anymore as a tag. Should they erase it and attempt to fix it? Or simply erase it and leave nothing there.
(2) Is niker but however "not so nice" because it's smudged. The same thing, should this be erased and fixed or erased and not fixed? Or not to erase at all?

I realize it's difficult to describe without a picture. Maybe I'll try and get if I can before whatever happens, happens.

500yrs of Sefardi Sifrei Torah

This first one was written by Rav Yitzchak Abuhav for the Arizal, in which the Ari wrote all of the shemot hakodesh himself:

This one is from Rav Sulamein Ochana, a Persian sofer from the roughly the same time.  What is interesting about both of these first two is that the sephardi sofrim were clearly holding by Rashi and not Rambam on the shape of the Chet.

This one is from Rav Yedida Rafael Abulafia, 7th Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat HaMekubalim Beit El, who served as sofer for the previous five Roshei Yeshivot.

This is the writing of the Kol Yaakov himself.  Notice at this point the mekubalim started placing a tag on the vav of Shem HaShem.
Sefer Torah from Rav Ezra Shayo an important Rav, posek, mekubal and sofer in Beit El

This is from Rav Yehuda Patya a famous mekubal and sofer.  You can see in this his attempt to get the Ayin and Dalet as close to the sirtut as possible.  Also that he placed a tag on the vav of shem hashem, though it seems he was chozer on that later in his life.

A Hair's Breath!

Hi Eli,
What you notice is correct.  Here is a sample of a beautiful sefer written by HaGaon Sadka Houssin around the turn of the century in Baghdad.  As you may notice, the writing is extremely exacting/mehudar.  Likewise, there is little spacing between the words.

The above phenomenon is not part of a leniency.  Rather, it's part of an ancient tradition of what is involved in fulfilling the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah Min Hamuvhar.  As the RAMBAM clarifies for us, "One should write with very careful and attractive calligraphy, leaving the space the size of a small letter between each word and a hairsbreath space between each letter".
Hilkhot Sefer Torah 7,4

As can be seen, the above directive was carried out with punctilious precision.  More so, although the words are very close, one is able to differentiate between one and the other with impressive clarity.  Today, we are not as expert, therefore our practice has become to leave a slightly larger space between w…