Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Alter Rebbe Shin Continued
I am currently reviewing and cataloguing a collection of over 100 older Torah manuscripts and fragments. Within the collection, there is the above scroll which is approximately 200 years old. The klaf seems to have been cured by tanning as evidenced by its rich golden brown coloring. Because of the script and jet black ink, I identify this scroll as coming from Russia.
This Russian type script is the precursor of the Ba'al HaTanya's script. Here one can notice the clear upward curved strokes similarly employed in writing the Alter Rebbe's Shins. With the quill held at about ten degrees off vertical, the stroke rises to meet the bottom of the right top tooth of the Shin. It is this upward rising stroke that creates the angled pointed base of the Shin that's so distinctive of this unique writing style. Subsequently, the middle and leftmost teeth are then connected to the uppermost corner of the base, giving this letter it's final and alluring shape.
The same but slightly more elongated curved upward stroke is used to connect the base of the TETs and AYINs to the top right heads as well. As such, the TET in this script also stands on a pointed base very similar to the SHIN.