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Monday, December 1, 2014

Keses Ha'sofer, Siman 8, Seif 5 & 8

Shalom to all,

I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on the following issue:

In Keses Ha'sofer 8,5 a scenario is discussed in which one wrote a rei"sh and subsequently changed it into a dale"d by adding an akev on the back etc. He concludes, that although one is not required to erase the whole thing, rather one can erase the akev together with one of the two limbs of the rei"sh, nonetheless "hamachmir... tavo alav beracha".

My understanding of this is: that since there are opinions (i.e. Rada"ch) who would deem it "miktzas ha'os be'chak tochos" to erase only some and leave some to be included in the final letter, therefore, there is virtue, albeit not required, to erase the entire letter before rewriting it.

Now, just 3seif'im later, regarding "me"m pesucha shenistema" Keses rules, that although the me"m is written in two distinct parts (and therefore, only the latter part of the me"m is required to be erased and rewritten), nonetheless "yesh le'hachmir le'chatchila heicha de'efshar" to erase the me"m in its entirety before rewriting it.

So, here is my question: is it the same principle at work in both of these rulings? If so, is there a meaningful difference between the wording in seif 5: "hamachmir... tavo alav beracha" and the wording in seif 8: "yesh le'hachmir le'chatchila heicha de'efshar"? If there is no difference, why does the Keses need to state both rulings seperately? and if there is a difference, what exactly is this difference and by what virtue are the two scenarios different from one another?


  1. Firstly, the basic din he brings is to erase that which was written בפסול.
    However, the chumra from the Maharalbach & Radach is that even if some of the letter is written בהכשר, if part is written בפסול then since it connects with the letter to form one whole letter, the whole letter needs to be erased. i.e. there was never a time where the whole letter existed b’hechsher.

    There are 3 cases mentioned:
    1) A Mem was written nistam. Therefore, the Nun part was written בהכשר and the Chartum was written בפסול.
    2) A Reish was accidently written as a Dalet.
    3) A Reish was written and then accidently made into a Dalet afterwards.

    According to the basic din, you only need to re-write that which was written בפסול: Case (1) just the chartum, Case (2) the whole Dalet, Case (3) since it was initially written b’hechsher you just need to mevatel the tzura.

    According to the chumra, even if part of the letter is written בפסול the whole letter needs erasing: Case (1) the whole mem, Case (2) still erase the whole Dalet. Now Case (3) – since the reish was actually initially בהכשר, really all that needs to be done is to mevatel the tzura. However, one who would erase the whole letter and write it completely new בהכשר is תע״ב.

    Secondly: The Lishkas Hasofer mentions another possible reason (granted, the case is slightly different) for being more lenient with Case (3). Perhaps the Reish is more meikel because the error does not constitute a ביטול שם כתיבה since it’s possible to fix it by adding ink. However, by the nistamah, the שם כתיבה is נתבטל since erasing is a must. But he leaves this as צ״ע.

  2. Thank you.

    I think I understood all of that. My questions is: is the reason to be machmir, the same in both cases? I.e. to be choshesh for those who holds that once the letter is nifsal - it's all got to go?

    If so, why the difference in wording between "tavo alav berachah" vs. "Nachon lehacmir heicha de'efshar"? And which is actually more stringent?


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