Showing posts from May, 2014

Why they let the forgers go

We all remember the fuss a few months ago, when they busted that forgers ring in Ashkelon who were printing computer generated mezuzos. It was all over the news and online, including this website. But apparently the forgers had all charges dropped because they were able to prove to authorities that what they were doing was not against halacha and they had rabbinical approval for what they were doing. And what were they doing? They were using computers to generate mezuzos and print them out on parchment. Except the computer left part of the letter out. For example, they would print a lamed with the chof part and the top of the rosh of the vov but leave the regel of the vov out. So every letter was 80% done, except a vital aiver of the letter was missed out. This was then later filled in by the sofer, lishmah and kesidran. Since lishmah is enough for part of the letter, particularly the last part that makes it kosher, they got around the lishmah issue. Since the kesidran is only

More questions on ink

There are a few things which I don't understand. a) עפצים and  קנקנתום  are argued by some Poskim to be mandatory in ink because they are mentioned in the Gmara or Rishonim. There are, however, other ingredients, like   עשן פחם דבש אדרמינט  שמן , which are also mentioned in the Gmara or Rishonim. עשן is the most favorite blackening ingredient amongst the Rishonim and Achronim. Yet, these other ingredients are not considered mandatory.  How come? b) The  קנקנתום  which is argued by some Poskim to be mandatory in ink, is a natural material mined from the ground. Nowadays this natural קנקנתום  is difficult to obtain. As a substitute, ink manufacturers in Israel have replaced the natural קנקנתום  with much cheaper synthetic iron-sulfate.  קנקנתום  and synthetic  iron-sulfate are not the same material, and, the synthetic iron-sulfate is definitely not the natural קנקנתום  of  חז"ל .  (Natural קנקנתום contains iron-sulfate plus other ingredients. Synthetic iron-sulfate also cont

מנומר במזוזות

 In Igros Moshe Orach Chayim 4:9 (pg. 14), it discusses in brief the importance of having all the mezuzahs and tefillin parshiyos the same ksav. In there it was specifically referring to ksav Beis Yosef not being mixed with Ksav Arizal (where one main difference is the letter tzadik) and that it would be pasul mdin menumar. I am interested in any marei mekomos that discuss the issue of menumar for mezuzahs. Is this law of having the same mezuzahs a hiddur or chumra or mi-ikur hadin - for within the Igros Moshe it uses the wording posul mdin menumar? Also would there be a bigger issue when there is Beis Yosef follower using non Beis Yosef ksav in some mezuzahs (or Tefillin) or would it also apply within Sfardic ksav with Arizal? Of course, all ksavim are kosher and good, but I am asking strictly in regards to menumar. Thank you

two shailos


Question to Yosef Chaim B

Thank you for commenting on my ink article. In your comment you stated: "Many poskim disagree... Many rishonim have clearly stated the use of our ingredients." Would you please be kind enough to teach us (so I can include it in the article) which Poskim and what exactly and where did they say that the עפצים וקנקנתום  type of ink is preferable over good quality דיו עשן  that does not fail? We are not interested in biased פילפולים , or in those who said that  דיו עשן is not being used because it fails easily or because it was not known how to make good quality דיו עשן.  Nor are we interested in those who said to use  עפצים וקנקנתום וגומא ואין לשנות when they discussed specifically the עפצים וקנקנתום type of ink. We are interested to find out where and who (if any) said explicitly, based on sources, that the  עפצים וקנקנתום  type of ink is preferable over good quality דיו עשן , even when there is  דיו עשן  of good quality that does not fail. There are well known Poski

mezuzza in laundry room?

Our laundry room has a door that can be entered/exited to the side yard, even though the door is locked 99.9% of the time. We also have our cat's litter box in the laundry room. I have a mezuzza up, but I always question myself when cleaning our cat's litter box. What to do? Thank you.

You never know....

Here's something interesting that happened to me today. A woman walked in to my office with a boy of about 9 or 10, I was not expecting her nor did I recognize her, so  I asked if I could help her. She told me that she was just walking past and saw the sign on my office so she wanted to come in and say thank you. I couldn't imagine what she wanted to thank me for (I was glad she wasn't complaining about something). So she went on to tell me about 10 years ago she had already been married for quite a few years and was unable to have children. Her rabbi suggested checking her mezuzos. She's not a religious woman and she was sceptical. she was even more sceptical when she had them checked and was told that her bedroom door mezuzah was printed on paper. She replaced the mezuzah with a kosher one. She told me that less than a month later she got pregnant and she pointed to her son and said he was her miracle baby. So she said she wanted to thank me for checking her mez

Ugly/ wierd Tav

Someone emailed me this picture, it looks like he tav was repaired very crudely, by either the sofer or a subsequent magiha. We know the mikdash me'at is very meikel by a case where the left regel of the tov comes out of the MIDDLE of the gug, and in the sefer ksivah tamah he is machshir cases even worse than this, based on the mikdash me'at. I felt that while very ugly, the tzurah is still kosher. I showed it to a local Rav who ruled the same. Obviously it should be fixed properly and a bit of the gug should be removed to allow proper spacing between words. Obviously we are talking about a basic mezuzah here, nothing begeder mehudar. I was wondering what Reb Moshe's opinion is on this as well as anyone else who would like to comment:
Help shaaloh on a tof. I was writing and this taf got filled in if someone could answer i would really apreciate it.

Door post

Does this second door post immediately to the left of the mezuza ALSO require a mezuzah?

Saaros in Yerushalayim / batim paint & thinner in NY?

After many years, my source for Saaros (R' Kendle, the magia near the Mir) has stopped selling them. Who sells clean/cut Saaros in Yerushalayim? I'll be in the US soon and need to purchase a liter can of batim ("Benedict") paint locally since taking in a suitcase is illegal. Who sells it in the NY area? In Israel we use thinner (21) to thin down the batim paint. Thinner 21 isn't sold in the US so I've been using Acetone, as recommended to me by a batim worker in NY. Do you know if any sofrim/dealers imports/sells the thinner 21 in NY, as I prefer it over the Acetone?

Your thoughts on the "Beis"?

Your thoughts on the "beis"?

Right vov of ches

Ches of echad, the right vov looks to me it can be a reish. I told them I can fix it but that it would not be mehudar. Another wider said it would not be a kosher reish.

Understanding the Crown Heights "love affair" with tagei lamed...

I call it the Crown Heights "love affair" (for lack of better words) as opposed to the Chabad "love affair" because it is a hakpada that is primarily found amongst Chabad sofrim from (or trained in) Crown Heights, as opposed to Chabad sofrim from  Erertz Yisroel and other places. It is fair to say that different groups have different things they are machmir about (ie the Litvish are into klaf avodas yad, Satmar are into Bli Bechiros etc). And the fact that in recent years Chabad sofrim from Crown Heights are way more makpid when it comes to doing the tagei lamed correctly than anyone else (right higher than left - without exception - even when other hiddurim and lechatchillah aspects are blatently overlooked) IS A GOOD THING. Here's why I say that they are more makpid than anyone else: True, all good sofrim are makpid to write the tagei lamed properly - with the right tag taller than the left tag.  After all, it is brought down in the Mishnah Brurah a

Your thoughts?

I received this shaila from a sofer in chu'l. The achronim and poskim discuss a similar shaila by a mem kefufa (where the vav is a nun (and some also say a gimmel) in which they hold the following: Daas Kedoshim - noteh lehachshir Mikdash Meat-  tzarich iyun Binyan A-B and kol sofrim - passul lemaaseh: Mishnas Hasofer - machshir Mishmeres sofrim - shailos tinok Sfeikas Hasofer - shailos tinok I'd think that the shaila is more serious by the mem so there should be more room to be machshir and certainly a tinok can be asked. I hope to eventually show this to Rav Friedlander.

Your thoughts on the chaf of Anochi?

Bear in mind that this is a 7cm mezuzah so the ksav is enlarged considerably.

Tor Computer trap

I recently had a mezuah where the sofer wrote " yud hay yud hay "instead of Hashem's name (wrote a 2nd yud instead of vov).  It came with a computer checked sticker from a socher with the Tor program. When I was in Israel I recently brought the mezuzah back to the socher who did the computer check. together we looked up the mezuzah (based on the number) to see how the mistake was overlooked. The Tor computer picked it up as a "problematic letter", and put it with a large group of vovs under the letter vov. Because the sofer makes the regel of the vov a little thin, many of the vovs looked a bit like yudin. this "vov" looked no different to many of the vovs surrounding it - and unless we clicked on it - to look at the actual letter -  there would be no way to know it was a spelling mistake. But how many people who do computer check click on each "problematic letter"? Not many, I should think. This socher certainly doesn't. And I bet

Big mistery on the Halachot of ink

I was told that there are Rabbanim in Israel who believe that ink, even if it is דיו עשן , must also contain עפצים וקנקנתום . This seems to be in contradiction with Rishonim who said that ink with עפצים וקנקנתום is Passul. "ווטריולא [קנקנתום] שמשימים בדיו של עפצים ודאי הוא פסול שאין זה דיו אלא צבע." (מרדכי, גיטין, יט, ע'א, בשם אור זרוע). "דיו של עפצים אסור לכתוב ממנו ספר תורה - דהא אינו קרוי דיו" (ספר התרומה, הלכות ספר תורה, קצ"ה). "ועל כן היה פוסל ר"ת ס"ת שאין כותבין בדיו שלנו [שאין בו עפצים]" (תוספות, שבת, כג ע'א). It is also in contradiction to the Achronim who said NOT to add  קנקנתום  to דיו עשן . "אין מטילין קנקנתום לתוך הדיו ...וטוב לחוש לדבריו לכתחילה לעשות הדיו מעשן עצים או שמנים". (שו"ע הרב, או"ח, לב, ד) "מעשן עצים - פי' ולא יטיל לתוכו קומא או קנקנתום". (משנה ברורה, לב, ח) The Rambam says to add  במי עפצים וכיוצא בו  in order to help the ink stay on the klaf and not fall off