Kesivas Shem HaShem: to fix, or not to fix?

shalom rabbosai,

a post from a few years' back (kesivas shem Hashem) briefly mentioned various opinions on the hiddur of writing the holy 5-part azkara as it pertains to ksav arizal.

in my possession is a ketores written in ksav arizal except the shemot are not written according to the Zohar's prescription.

is it permissible to m'taken these shemot so they have the appearance of being written as described by the zohar?

l'aniyus da'ati it would seem there is room to say 'yes' namely because various opinions such as the keset hasofer held that writing this way was extraneous given the kavanot that he felt were meant to be included at the time of the ksivas haShem

i'm interested in hearing from anyone, in particular those who have experience with the issue of whether this sort of tikkun is considered an improvement to the ksav or whether it should not be touched....


  1. Its definitely not a halachic issue. And for a ketores I think its a minor issue.

  2. Its definitely not a halachic issue. And for a ketores I think its a minor issue.

  3. from the aspect of business ethics and good middos, is it a mekach ta'us to 'doctor' the shem ha-Shem so it merely looks like it was written al-pi kabbalah or would we say that l'ma'aseh it doesn't matter since the Shem l'chatchila had not been written with all of the kavanot implied in the Zohar's formula?

  4. definitely better to have it written al pi shittas arizal than to doctor it.

  5. Is it possible to be "metaken" without making them look bad? The Halachos of Hiddur on the Shem are more stringent than on other K'sav. For example, Shulchan Aruch states more about Menumar on the Shem (as when someone is Maavir Kulmos for some reason on one of the letters) than on regular K'sav.

  6. A few things:
    1) How do you know that the names are not written to the specifications of the Zohar and the Ari? Many mekubalim, including the Ashkenaz Mekubalim such as Rav Eisenbach and Rav Duetch of Shaar HaShamayim were of the opinion that one should try to make the letters look the same, aside from the פסיעה לבר on the first hey. But even that should be kept small so as to not constitute a shinuy.

    2) The Shita of the Zohar and of the Arizal is that one only needs to write the name that way when one is chayev to write the name lishma. Such is not the case in a pitum ketoret. In fact many mekubalim hold that one shouldn't write the name with the shitah of the Zohar/Ari in a Pitum Ketoret.

    3)The Zohar/Ari require that certain kavvanot be performed while writing the name, and that is the reason it is written that way. Yes later authorities did say that there was even some form of hiddur/requirement to do it even without the kavvanot, but all of that depends on it being done at the time of the writting. No one says the letters can just be dressed up to look that way, so really there is nothing to metaken.

    1. Nikkarm Divrei Emes...

      I've written a Bircas Hamazon and several Ketores on Klaf, using two Yuds for the Shem and the combination Aleph-Lamed (=neither an Aleph nor a Lamed) on Elokeinu, Elokim, etc.

  7. chas veshalom- first of all mechikas miktzas hashem is forbidden there is a machlokes if its deorayta or not. anytime you are touching a shem there is a possibility you will botch up,furthermore you are not gaining any extra kedusha ,never mind a ktores but even with tefilin and mezuzos-the zohar has to do with the writing of the shem not with the outcome appearance.


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